We all turned around, shocked to see Zaheer standing there with a box in his hand.
Where did he come from?
Why was he even here?
Wasn’t he only meant to arrive the next day?
ME: Er- Umm… Well we were- We were just-
I stood up, flustered and embarrassed, not wanting to repeat the question Safiya had asked.
ME: I actually need to go. I have this um- this meeting thing so-
TARIQ: You said we should ask him, so why are you running away?
I glared at Tariq but he only laughed. Truth be told, I didn’t want to stick around to hear the answer to the question in case it was an answer that would hurt me. If he would say no, I don’t think I’d be able to hide my disappointment.
I didn’t have time to flee though because before I knew it, Zaheer had pulled up a chair next to mine. I slowly settled back down and then, Zaheer was leaning over giving me a quick peck on my cheek. I could only imagine how red my face was.
ZAHEER: I missed you.
He whispered it into my ear but when I looked around I could see Safiya, Misbah and Camilla’s shocked faces staring at us.
I smiled shyly before turning back to look at Zaheer, who had draped his arm over my shoulders.
ZAHEER: Okay so whats the question? I want to know.
CAMILA: Well… are you and Yasmeen dating?
I put my head into my hands as a nervous laugh made its way through my body.
ZAHEER: Hmm… That is a very good question, and its one that I can not answer because if I give the wrong answer Yasmeen will get really mad.
I gasped and snapped my head towards him.
ME: That is so not true! What if I give the wrong answer then you get mad at me.
ZAHEER: Thats impossible. I could never get mad at you.
I looked into his eyes and smiled. He could be so cheesy at times.
And I stuck my tongue out in a childish matter.
MISBAH: Hello! Are either of you going to answer the question
ZAHEER: I’ll get back to you on that. Right now me and Yasmeen have a meeting.
ME: A meeting? With who?
Standing up in a dramatic fashion, Zaheer did a really bad imitation of a superman pose.
ZAHEER: With destiny! Now come ON. Destiny awaits!
I laughed as he dragged me too my feet.
ME: Lead the way!
He lead me through the hallways, the box still in his hand. I started to fall behind, he was walking too fast.
ZAHEER: Come on! Don’t want to be late do you?
ME: Late for what?
I felt like Alice in wonderland, when the little white rabbit was freaking out how he’s going to be late, constantly checking his little watch. I was Alice and Zaheer was the rabbit.
I looked around and realised that we were in the arts and music department, a place I wasn’t familiar with because… well my lack of artistic ability is explanation enough.
ZAHEER: Close your eyes and don’t let go of my hand.
I closed my eyes and let him lead me into one of the drama rooms. As soon as we entered I was hit with a fragrance, a beautiful sweet smelling fragrance. I couldn’t quite figure out what the smell was because soon I could smell food. The aroma of hot fresh bread to be precise. I couldn’t see much but my senses were telling me that I was in for a treat.
ZAHEER: Open your eyes.
I opened them.
Before me was a table beautifully set for two and in the middle of it, I could see french bread. Everything was decorated in red: red tablecloth, red tissues, red flower petals on the floor.
I turned towards Zaheer with a ridiculous smile on my face.
ME: What is all of this?
ZAHEER: Since I couldn’t bring you to France, I brought France to you, well some of it anyway.
He walked over to the table and pulled out a seat for me.
ZAHEER: After you my lady.
ME: Why thank you good sir! How did you pull all this off?
Zaheer took a seat beside me.
ZAHEER: The drama department loves me! I asked them very nicely if I could use one of the rooms and they said yes. Then I bought a whole lot of things that I saw in France and voila, our own little France.
ME: I love it.
Zaheer put his hand out across the table and soon my fingers were tied up in a knot with his. He drew lazy circles on my wrist and I couldn’t help but smile.
ZAHEER: I really did miss you
ME: I missed you too
ZAHEER: I saw a cafe just like this where everything was red and I wanted you to be there to see it with me, but you weren’t. So thats why everything is red. And before I forget, these are for you.
He handed me the box he had been holding onto.
ZAHEER: Aaliya insisted on buying the for you! She said it was unfair we couldn’t take you with us.
ME: Your sister is so cute! I think I like her more than you.
Zaheer rolled his eyes before he bent down and retrieved another box.
ZAHEER: And these are from me.
ME: More chocolate! Are you trying to make me fat?
ZAHEER: Yes. It’s pay back!
ME: Pay back? For what?
ZAHEER: When we were kids, you used to call me Zaheer the Fattie, Fatso, Fat Mohammed, Fat Zah!
I started to laugh uncontrollably, unable to stop!
Not because what he said was funny, but because I remembered calling him that the once and he started crying! The thought of a chubby 11 year old Zaheer crying was hilarious. And then he and I started to have our daily dose of arguing. Once again, we were pulled in to this whole other world, where only he and I existed. After laughing and defending our ‘fat’ stories for what seemed like hours, Zaheer stood up and held out his hand.
ZAHEER: Yasmeen Raheem, Can I have this dance?
ME: There’s no music?
ZAHEER: On the contrary mademoiselle, dancing to no music is the best kind.
Before I could argue, he pulled me up and began to spin me around. He was light on his feet and I was impressed. I had no idea what I was doing so I just followed him as best I could, trying really hard not to step on his feet.
ZAHEER:So, am I forgiven?
ME: Forgiven for what?
ZAHEER: For leaving you here in this crap hole.
I laughed and smiled.
ME: It wasn’t so bad. I made new friends!
ZAHEER: Who? Those South African girls?
I nodded my head.
ZAHEER: They don’t like me very much…
ME: Do I even want to know why they don’t like you?
He gave me a guilty look.
ZAHEER: Let’s just say I pulled a prank on the girl in the year above. She didn’t like it very much.
So Zaheer explained the prank that he pulled on Safiya and I could not blame her for hating him. He was terrible and horrible but even I couldn’t hide the fact that his prank was hilarious. Only Zaheer Mohamemd would think of doing something as stupid as what he did!
And so when the teacher walked into the room, the sight she probably saw was me breaking down in tears of laughter in Zaheer’s arms.
TEACHER: What is going on in here you two?
ZAHEER: Miss! This is Yasmeen, remember I told you about her?
TEACHER: Zaheer, of course. Only you can make a racket like that.
ME: Er- Hi. Sorry.
TEACHER: Don’t forget to clear this room up once you’re done!
And with that she left us alone. Zaheer reached for my hand and smiled.
ZAHEER: Nice ring.
ME: Thanks! It was a gift.
ZAHEER: Oh really? Might I ask who bought you these rings?
ME: A friend. You might know him. Short, fat, slightly balding?
ZAHEER: Hey! I am not balding… Am I?
ME: I’m kidding! Your hair is fine.
ZAHEER: So, I’m your friend?
ME: Well what else would you be?
ZAHEER: I was thinking more along the lines of…
ZAHEER: If I tell you, are you going to tell your friends?
ME: Do you want me not to?
ZAHEER: It’s up to you.
He smiled and a moment of silence enveloped us before Zaheer cleared his throat.
ZAHER: I’m pretty sure you know what I want to be in your life.
ME: I’m not quite sure Mr. Mohammed. Please, enlighten me
ZAHEER: 2 words. Take a guess.
ME: That’s a tricky one. Lets see, best friend? No, that can’t be it. Body guard? No wait. Thats one word.
He began to say as he walked towards the table and retrieved a large box.
ZAHEER: I know this isn’t very French, more Italian to be honest but…
He opened the box to reveal the cheesiest margarita pizza and a few scribbles on the box.
ZAHEER: Will You be My girlfriend?