I readied myself for dinner, slipped into my long black dress and pairing it with my Manolos that Zaheer had bought for me as an Eid present last year. Dinner was at a place of Uzair’s choice since we were celebrating his big news as well as bidding farewell to our Durban guests.
Ashley was due to join us for dinner, along with her parents who wanted to meet Uzair tonight and couldn’t wait till South Arica to meet him.
Zaheer and I walked into the restaurant the same time Ashley and her family walked in.
Yasmeen: Penelope Aunty!
I hurriedly walked up to Ashley’s mother who I hadn’t’ seen in years! She was always such a lovely woman during our school years, so kind and always smiling!
Penelope: Yasmeen darling! How are you?
Yasmeen: I’m very well and your self?
Penelope: Oh I’m on cloud nine right now! With all this excitement and the possibility of a wedding, I couldn’t be happier!
Yasmeen: Trust me it’s not a possibility because this wedding is definitely going to happen!
Penelope: Well lets hope this Uzair boy is as wonderful as Ashley has described him to be.
Yasmeen: You will love him! He’s very down to earth.
Penelope: I’m not the one you should be convincing…
And she nodded her head towards Ashley’s father who was busy talking to Zaheer about god knows what.
Yasmeen: Fathers will be fathers. Come, lets sit.
And so we found our reserved table. Uzair was surprisingly already there, probably making sure everything was in order for his first dinner with the future in-laws.
Ashley introduced her parents to Uzair.
Ashley: Mum Dad, this is Uzair. Uzair, my parents Penelope and Pedro.
Uzair: It’s very nice to meet you both.
I noticed Uzair’s hand was shaking and his face was turning pink, probably from the amount of stress he was under right now.
I did feel sorry for him. This was his time to shine, his time to create an amazing first impression on Ashley’s parents. I never had to go through this because lucky for me, I knew Zaheer’s parents from when I was a child!
But Uzair handled the introduction as well as he could. He was polite and proper. He answered all the questions Pedro Uncle fired away at him. He brought humour into the conversation to keep it light and complimented both Penelope and Pedro.
Penelope: Please, call me Penny. I hear you do a lot of volunteer work Uzair?
By now we were all seated at a long rectangular table, waiting for Zayaan and Fathima to arrive. Ashley’s parents were talking to Uzair while the three of us just watched on, silently cheering every time Uzair said the right thing.
Uzair: Penny it is. Well yes, I found that I had a lot of free time and a friend of mine told me that I had a lot of potential to go out there and lend a helping hand in whatever way I can.
Ashley: Ma, he does a lot more than ‘lend a helping hand’ to those in need. He dedicates his whole heart to those people.
Just then Zaheer nudged me and whispered into my ear.
Zaheer: Did you hear that?
Yasmeen: Hear what?
Zaheer: What Uzair said; ‘a friend of mine told me that I had a lot of potential to go out there and lend a helping hand.’ That friend was you.
Yasmeen: Oh yeah, I did tell him that all those years ago, right after that Yasmin Laher fiasco.
Zaheer: Whatever did happen to her when he saw her in Dubai Mall?
I shrugged my shoulders.
Yasmeen: Maybe she realised life doesn’t happen at her convenience and she realised he wouldn’t go back to her. Good she left. I never liked her anyway.
Zaheer: I wonder why…
Just then Zayaan and Fathima walked in which caused both Uzair and Ashley to rise to their feet to greet them.
Uzair: Fathima, Zayaan you both have met Ash-
Ashley: Aishah. Yeah, we met at the desert but its nice to have a real chance to properly meet you both!
Ashley or should I now say Aishah, embraced Fathima who still in a state of shock hugged her back.
Zayaan offered Aishah a smile before sitting down next to his wife at the dinner table.
The shock was still apparent on Fathima’s face on hearing Ashley had changed her name.
But I was overjoyed for my friend!
Yasmeen: When were you going to tell me?!
Aishah: I only decided yesterday. I hadn’t even told Uzair so this is news to him.
We both looked at Uzair to see him a little perplexed as he was no longer going to be marrying Ashley, but instead Aishah.
Yasmeen: What made you pick Aishah?
Aishah: Well other than the obvious factor that it starts with an A, it’s also the closest sounding to Ashley.
I laughed at the mentality behind the name. If only she knew about the stories in Islam about this significant name.
Yasmeen: Remind me to give you this book about the woman in Islam. It’ll make you fall in love with your name even more.
Aishah: When will I have time to get the book from you?
Yasmeen: What do you mean?
Aishah: I leave tomorrow for Durban with my parents…
And I think everyone on the table heard that. Uzair was surprised but you couldn’t miss the joy that was plastered in his expression.
Uzair: Seriously? You are?
Mr Pedro nodded his head.
Pedro: It seems you love birds are in a rush and after meeting you tonight I have no doubt in the world that you will be good towards my daughter so I told Ashley- my apologies, Aishah that we could leave with you. I hope you don’t mind Uzair.
Uzair: Not at all sir. I was hoping you’d come down with me.
Pedro: Please, call me Pedro.
And so dinner was a night filled with food and friends and family! Pedro Uncle kept us laughing with his wise jokes while Penelope Aunty made us feel young by taking us on a trip down memory lane; more specifically, down the lane of how she met her husband.
Penelope: It was a forbidden love story really. My father detested Pedro and the family he came from. He wanted me to have nothing to do with the snooty British Italian boy who moved into the house down the street. He thought he was part of the mafia!
On hearing that we all laughed. Pedro Uncle looked like a sweet man, nothing like the mafia type.
Penelope: But I was only a teenage girl and when a handsome Italian boy says he can make you the finest pizza this town has ever seen, in his British accent, I couldn’t refuse!
Yasmeen: And did he actually cook for you or was it all talk?
Pedro: Of course I cooked! I remember that night. My father owned a pizza store, it was small but it was loved by the local town. I reserved a table in the back corner for Penny my love and I. And we dined in candle light until the store was closed, until after midnight, until right before the sun rose and when I went to drop her off at home-
Penelope: My father was waiting there with a gun!
The table erupted into laughter! We were all so intrigued with their love story we didn’t want them to stop talking.
Zayaan: So did he shoot?
Penelope: Of course not! I would have died a thousand deaths if my Pedro got shot.
Pedro: Her father just scared me off but I vowed I would marry Penelope. After spending just one night of talking, after having just one pizza, I fell in love with her. Her silly American accent, her bouncy curly hair, I loved it all and I wanted her to be mine.
Fathima: So did you propose to her?
Penelope: It took him a long time to have the guts to ask my father. And when I say long time I mean four whole years!
Pedro: But it was worth it. I was earning a living, I had my own small apartment and I finally went to her father and I asked for Penny’s hand in marriage. And now here we are, 30 years later.
Zaheer: 30 YEARS?! Wow!
I laughed at the look of shock Zaheer had on his face.
Pedro: 30 years son. Let me give you newly weds or soon to be newlyweds some advice. Marriage is hard work and sometimes you’ll just want to throw in the towel. The amount of times this woman has driven me up the wall! She’s nuts! But at the end of it all, I’m nuts for her. I love her with all my heart and from where I come from, you don’t throw in the towel when the going gets tough. And if you love a woman, you’ll stick with her through the ugly and you’ll annoy the hell out of her and-
Penelope: Pedro they get the point!
And we all laughed once again. I loved Aisha’s parents! I really did. The love and respect they had for each other was immense and we could all feel it sitting at that dinner table. We could feel their thirty years of love and we all hoped that we too would have a strong marriage like that.
Yasmeen: Well I think dessert is definitely needed after that sweet story.
Penelope: I must say Yasmeen, you were very influential in the way Uzair and Ashley met. Might I ask how did you and Zaheer meet?
Yasmeen: Oh, we were childhood friends. We lost contact and when I moved back to Dubai, we…
Zaheer: We rekindled the childhood romance we always shared. I swept Yasmeen off her feet and she fell madly and hopelessly in love with me. And then I had to marry her because she would have lived a life of insanity if she didn’t have me.
I swatted Zaheer with my purse multiple times before he finally stopped laughing. I looked at Penelope Aunty who only laughed.
Penelope: Cheeky bugger!
Yasmeen: My specimens exactly…
Aishah: Since we’re on the topic of Zaheer and Yasmeen, I do have a question…
Zaheer: Ask away.
Aishah: How did you propose? And I want the truth, the detailed truth.
All eyes were on Zaheer and I and I gulped. If I started to talk about it i would just get flushed.
Zaheer: It wasn’t all that romantic to be honest. She was away on a trip with her friends when I went to go see her father to ask for her hand in marriage. She was due to arrive the next day so with twenty-four hours I had little time but I did what I could. I phoned up her Aunty Roxx and asked if I could borrow her garden-
Zayaan: Is that the aunty with the maze in her garden and a fancy fountain and everything?
Zaheer: That’s the one. So I went to her garden armed with rose petals, roses and candles. I found a lady online who played the violin and begged her to come help me out on short-term notice. And with the help of Fathima, the violinist and I, we scattered the rose petals all through the maze leading the way to the fountain. Red roses were decorated around the fountain and candles were lit. All this while Yasmeen was landing in Durban airport. Her father was going to pick her up and take her to her Aunt’s house for ‘dinner.’ And-
Yasmeen: The rest is history. End of story.
Aishah: Aww, but we were getting to the good part!
I laughed at her comment.
Yasmeen: Should I start asking questions about your proposal?
Aishah shook her head signalling a definite no!
The night continued with a constant flow of conversation as well as a constant flow of desserts and coffee. We were the last people in the restaurant and at some point the manager came to tell us that they had to close up, and so an incredible night had to come to an end.
And now onto the goodbyes…
Sure I had gotten use to saying goodbye to Fathima every time I had to leave, but it never got easier!
I always missed my best friend!
Fathima: Take care Yassoo. If you need anything, I’m always a Skype call away. We’ll see you soon.
I hugged her tight.
Yasmeen: Give Hafsa hugs and kisses from me. You too take care of yourself Fathi.
We hugged one last time and then she and Zayaan got into a taxi as we waved goodbye.
Next was Aishah.
Yasmeen: Well madame there’s a LOT I can say right now! But all I will say is brace your self for the South African aunties. They can sometimes be a handful but with Uzair by your side, everything will be breezy. I hope everything goes smoothly! Don;t be nervous and don’t doubt your self.
Aishah: Thank you for the advice! I need all the help I can get. You sure you won’t be able to come down for the nikkah?
Yasmeen: Unfortunately no, but you’ll have Fathima.
Aishah: Thank you so much for everything Yas! A million times thank you! I’ll see you soon.
We hugged and I waved at Uzair who walked up to me.
Uzair: I know I always make it seem like you’re the most annoying person in the world, but you know I’m just kidding. And I also own you a big thank you for making ‘this’ happen. So Yasmeen, thank you.
Tears began to well up in my eyes as I looked at these two human beings who were perfect in their own way yet seemed to be even more perfect together.
Yasmeen: You both just remember me at your nikkah okay? Now safe travels and good luck with meeting the in-laws!
And soon they were bundled into a taxi along with her parents as they headed home.
And then it was just Zaheer and I.
Zaheer: So what do you want to do my love?
Yasmeen: Let’s go take a walk.
Not far from the restaurant was the beach. I carried my heels in one hand while the other hand was held by Zaheer.
Zaheer: So is it true?
Yasmeen: Is what true?
Zaheer: What I said when I proposed, is it really a secret?
Yasmeen: If I haven’t told Fathima then yes it is a secret.
Zaheer: That’s a shock. Normally you tell her everything.
Yasmeen: I know, but that’s one thing I’m taking with me to the grave.
Zaheer: And why is that?
Yasmeen: Because Zaheer Mohamed, my heart might just explode with love if I have to repeat what you said. That day, those words, those feelings. I just want to keep it to myself.
And that was the plain honest truth.
Our proposal was something that only Zaheer and I shared and I wanted to keep it that way…
GUYS, I LOVED WRITING THIS POST!
Penelope and Pedro are just too cute! I love them and wish that some day I meet people like them. Lol, wishing to meet fictional characters… thats pretty bad for the health eh?!
Anyway, my fingers are tired and so am I and I’m still gushing about this post because for some reason I thoroughly enjoyed writing it!
Hope you like the small snippet of how Zaheer proposed to Yasmeen. Enjoy the read!
Much Love, Tasmiyah x