Awal shay i'm REALLY sorry for not updating in a long time, wayed minkom waited so patiently for me and I really appreciate it. I've had a long month with loads of stuff to do mixed with severe writers block. I hope you enjoy the new post o enshallah ma7ad feekom za3lan wayed lol ;p
Zeina smiled politely at the doorman as she followed Manaf into their apartment building; she took in the unfamiliar furniture and all the colors of the walls; Manaf greeted a man at the front desk and took some keys from him before he leaned back and put his arms around Zeina.
He led her to a set of elevators where once on, he pressed the button for 23 and tightened his grip on her waist. Zeina hadn’t said a word to him since landing in New York, she was too busy trying to comprehend the idea that she was coming to live and not to visit. She was also quiet for fear that if she opened her mouth words of how much she already missed her mother would pour out followed undoubtedly by a river of tears.
The elevator doors opened up and Manaf half dragged Zeina out into the hallway and towards an apartment door that had the numbers 1204 in gold lettering in the middle. He pushed the keys in and slid the door open for her, “welcome home 7abeebti” he whispered waiting for her to walk in. Zeina took a hesitant step inside and began reviewing the room in front of her; it was a small living room, to her side was a small kitchen and a large hallway appeared to her left. Following it, Zeina found herself standing at the door of the main and only bedroom.
“Ta3alay shofay il view” Manaf’s voice interrupted her thoughts and she made her way back to the living room. Once outside with Manaf, she looked the city lights that were lighting up the dark skies and she found herself breathless.
“Bard..” She giggled snuggling up to him.
“Ee 3abalich ga3da bilk wait intay?” He teased her rubbing her arms with his hands to warm her up.
“We should unpack..” She told him, still unable to remove her eyes from the view.
“Ne6reeni..!” he joked, not budging and tightening his grip on her so that she too could not budge.
“Meta your first day?” Zeina asked him pulling him back inside from the cold breeze, and throwing herself on the couch.
“Bacher I go in 3ashan they show me around..”
“waaay .. wana shasawii ihnee ibroo7i?” She whined
“You shop?” He raised an eyebrow at her reaching into his pocket and taking out a credit card and waving it in front of her.
“Laa mu min9ijik!” Zeina laughed reaching in to grab it
“Kelshay be7dooda, you’ve heard that saying right 3omri?” He smiled at her as she plucked the card from his fingers.
“Nope, never. What does that mean?” She asked innocently. His smile was immediately wiped off of his face as she got up and skipped to their bedroom, leaving him to mentally calculate the amount of debt his new wife was most likely going to put him in.
That night Zeina slept soundly as she thought of the months to come that would be spent alone with Manaf and the hundreds of clothing stores around the states and when she awoke the next day she was saddened to see that her husband had already left for work. She grabbed her mobile and flipped through the text messages she had received over the night; one of them was from Manaf: 9aba7 el khair 3omri, didn’t want to wake you…I’m on my way to work see you at five! Love you.
FIVE?! Zeina wanted to scream as she remembered that working hours in the states weren’t like Kuwait… 2 o’clock in the afternoon was barely mid-workday for them over here, while in Kuwait it was almost after-hours! Realizing she had another six hours to waste before Manaf would be home, she began taking her time getting ready before hitting the Manhattan streets.
Zeina realized as the hours passed slowly that if she was to spend every day wandering the streets alone then the upcoming six months were going to be the longest of her life and after the third hour of aimless wandering she began fighting the urge to call her mother and burst into tears. Manaf had only managed to call her for a few minutes to check on her before she overheard some guys calling him into a meeting and he hurried off the phone. She knew she couldn’t tell him about how hard her day has been because he hardly needed the pressure right now.
Eventually, like a lifetime later, five o’clock loomed in and Zeina hurriedly got into a cab and made her way back to the apartment building, or what she should start calling home. She was barely out of her outfit and into her casual home attire before Manaf’s key was heard at the front door.
“Manooof!” Zeina squealed rushing up to him and hugging him.
“7abeeebti entay…hi!” He chuckled, giving her a kiss on her head, before making his way to the bedroom…”how was your day?”
“Not important! How was yours? Do you like your job? Are the people nice? Are they overworking you?”
“Shway shway …! Kelshay tamam, lots of work, bes inshallah it won’t be a problem” He smiled at her untying his tie and pulling it over his head. “Ta3baaaan” He muttered throwing himself on the bed.
“Aww..7ayati! Did you eat? Want me to make you something?” She offered sitting down beside him.
“La mashkoora, I ate at the office..bes abi I lie down shwaya” He began taking off his shoes and made his way to the bathroom to wash up. Zeina left him to it and went to the living room to flip through the television while he changed. Twenty minutes later she realized that he had not joined her and so she went looking for him, only to find him passed out asleep on the bed. Feeling sorry for him, and a little lonely, she turned off the lights and went back to watching TV alone.
The rest of the week went pretty much the same way; Manaf would leave for work before she woke up, and come back too exhausted to even mutter a sentence before passing out. He’d wake up early into the night and finish up some work, but only after he gave an hour of his time listening to Zeina’s day, which consisted of nothing but shopping since she had nothing else to do. She vowed to not sound whiney and dependant and that she would give herself time to make friends and get herself involved with different things to preoccupy her time and so she decided to avoid telling Manaf just how unhappy she had been their first week there.
“Zeina mama it’s only been a month…ne6ray 3alaih 7abeebti, akeed karfeena bil dawam o ta3ban!” Zeina’s mother spoke calmly onto the phone. A month had passed since they had first gotten to New York and Zeina had finally cracked and broke down, telling her mother everything.
“La mama matadreen, metghayer, 9ayer 3a9abi o mala khilgy o maykalemni kelish” Zeina choked onto the phone, she felt guilty at the pit of her stomach knowing that she was causing her mother pain by letting her hear her crying so uncontrollably. “9ar ma3inda ila ygooli entay matadree eshkither ana 3alay thaq6…o etha 9ar 3inda break law yoom, mayabi esawii shay bes yabi inam o ejabel il tv wela 7atan yfaker ina ana maqmoota o ma a6la3 min il sheqa wayed!”
“7abeebti calm down…intay al7ean met’thayga o eb3eeda 3an deertich o ahalich fa you feel alone…” Her mother began attempting to calm her down with her words of wisdom but she was interrupted by the front door slamming shut. Manaf had come home unexpectedly early. “akalmich mama” Zeina whispered into the phone as she hid her tear streaked face from him. He had not yet seen the tears she had shed during the month and she didn’t know what his reaction would be like.
“Eshfeech?” He asked not coming any closer. His face was tired and impatient and Zeina didn’t feel like hearing words that would hurt her from him.
“Wela shay…kent ga3da akalem omy” She muttered lowering her gaze in an attempt to avoid his eyes.
“Enzain.” He muttered and walked into the room. His indifference sent another trail of tears down her cheeks as she stepped out to the balcony to wipe them off. Just like every other day, Manaf went straight to bed after work and Zeina was left to watch TV by herself. Deciding not to sulk alone at the apartment she headed out and to the nearest bookstore to browse and keep herself occupied. Every few minutes she’d check her phone, one to see what time it was, and two to check if Manaf had called to ask about her. He didn’t.
When she got home she saw that Manaf too had gone out, and without even texting her to inform her. Not knowing how to react she made herself some dinner before crawling into bed and between tear streaked sobs she somehow managed to fall asleep. A voice however woke her up not soon after she had dozed off “Zayoon 7abeebti?” Manaf whispered into her ear.
“Na3am?” She asked turning to face him, half confused half worried. “Shfeek?”
“I want to apologize 7abeebti. I know you’re sad o adry 9ayer 7aywan. I have an explanation bes magdar agoolich..” He said looking away.
“Well then, that makes it all better” She replied sarcastically giving him her back and trying to go back to sleep.
“Zayoon 3omri… latez3ileen 3alay” He leaned in closer but she didn’t budge.
“Shoof shlon you’ve been treating me o gooly laish ma az3al” She whispered back, the tears were making their way back to her eyes and she didn’t want to have another break down.
“Enshallah soon ra7 yetghayar kelshay o everything will become better. Wala Zayoon I promise.”
“Ok.” She muttered.
“Adry mu im9adgatni…bes you’ll see. Wa3ad” He kissed her arm and snuggled to her back, but Zeina made no attempt to get closer to him.
“You know..” She whispered, her voice choking slightly…”you’re not the Manaf I knew.”
And with that they went to sleep.
The next day Zeina woke up to see Manaf getting dressed, “Wain raye7?” She asked him in a cold tone.
“El maktab” He whispered back not looking at her.
“It’s a weekend” Pretending to remind him.
“Adry, bes yabooni akhali9 shay ibser3a..I shouldn’t be more than an hour” He leaned in to kiss her forehead but she pulled away. His face fell with disappointment but he didn’t say anything; slowly he turned away and walked out. Zeina glanced at the bedside clock, it was 11 am “Esh3inda edawem at 11 during the weekend?” She muttered angrily to herself before making her way to the bathroom. Just as she shut the door the apartment phone began to ring; hoping it was her mother Zeina rushed out of the bathroom to pick it up.
“Alo?” She spoke breathlessly into the phone.
“Hi, is this Mr. Manaf Al Flani’s residence?” An American man spoke back.
“Umm yes, this is his wife can I help you?” Zeina replied taken aback, it was unusual for someone from Manaf’s workplace to call the apartment number.
“Yes this is Michael from Doctor Millers office…please remind him that he has an appointment with Doctor Miller in half an hour and not to be late.”
“He has a what? Are you sure?” she replied confused
“Yes Ma’am, he scheduled it two weeks ago. We have all his reports we’re ready to fit him in for testing today.”
“What kind of Doctor is he?” She muttered, beginning to panic.
“Doctor Miller is one of the most esteemed Oncologists in the country ma’am and he runs one of New York’s handful of top Cancer Clinics! You’re husband is in good hands”
Zeina got off the phone, her hand shaking too severely for her to place it back on the handset properly.
She quickly stumbled to the balcony for fresh air as her head began to cloud with dizziness.