‘Get up! You’re going to be late.’ Mom’s voice was as shrill as the alarm bell that went off two seconds after she barged into her room. Fariha sat up in her bed, groggy.
‘Thanks, what would I ever do without you mother dear,’ she muttered. Mom was busy looking for clothes in her closet.
‘What?’ Mom turned around, a pair of grubby jeans in her hands.
‘Nothing. I’m up and I’ll pick my clothes out myself Mom, you go look after Nauhil.’
‘Fine but don’t wear these. They aren’t even fit to clean the floor with. I don’t know why you are so averse to dressing up like a human being.’ She threw the jeans in a corner and went out, screaming after Nauhil to get dressed already.
Mom had left the door open. She hated that but no amount of asking, shouting, slamming the door shut could make her mother understand that it irritated her. Fariha was sure she did it on purpose so she tried not to react anymore but it still aggravated her. Open doors just made her…doors should remain shut if no one’s coming in or going out. There is no point in leaving them open just like that, without any reason.
It took her mere 5 minutes to get ready and 15 minutes to get downstairs. After pulling out an oversize t-shirt and wrinkled tights from a messy closet, she had to spend 10 minutes trying to restore some order to her room that Mom had wreaked havoc in while trying to dig out a ‘suitable’ outfit. This was routine; Mom conveniently forgot Fariha didn’t own a shred of clothing that she would approve of and after throwing clothes around everywhere she left Fariha to clean up the mess.
By the time she descended, Nauhil had been forced into his uniform and was nibbling on his toast moodily. He was the most quiet and lovable kid in the world but was far from a morning person.
‘Mom, where are my drawing board and brushes?’
‘How am I supposed to know?’ She expected this answer but it still made her angry.
‘Because you took them yesterday! Remember, you came to me saying you had an artistic streak and took them away?’
‘I don’t recall anything.’ she replied, not bothered in the least. Fariha took a deep breath. Her mother was so exhausting at times.
‘Mom please, I need them now, I’m already late!’
‘Find them yourself Fariha you are not a child any…’ she stopped short when she saw Nauhil emerging from her room, Fariha’s drawing board and brushes in his hand. She had to exercise a lot of self control to keep her from glaring at Mom who had turned away without saying anything. Instead she kissed Nauhil, only to let him push her away and ran out where Minahil was waiting for her in her car.
‘Hey, have you been waiting long?’
‘No, a few seconds. Done with the assignments?’ Fariha nodded and kept her things in the back seat.
‘For God’s sake Fariha, get a new wardrobe! Why do you wear these rags?’ Minahil raged. Fariha sighed and nodded, suppressing her laughter.
‘Once we’re done with all the assignments, I will go shopping promise.’ Minahil just rolled her eyes and drove on. In some ways, she was just like Mom. She didn’t say it out loud because it would only piss her off more. Minahil never said it but Fariha knew she didn’t like her mother. She thought of her as an irresponsible woman who wasn’t doing a good job of bringing up her kids. Fariha never tried to contradict her because deep down she knew Minahil was right in thinking so. What Minahil didn’t realise though, was that when the ship is surrounded by sharks, you just scream and paddle on whichever way makes sense to you, without thinking and that was exactly what Mom was doing. Even if there was a logical way out, Mom would never take it because she was too impatient and reckless. A failed marriage and two kids had taught her nothing. No matter how much she loved her, Fariha wasn’t blind to her faults.
There was no time to dwell on her mother’s faults, though. The rest of the day was occupied with classes and projects and by the time Minahil dropped her home, Fariha was ready to crash in her bed. But as she unlocked the door, her sleep evaporated. There was a letter. She felt her heart would stop as she opened it. It was another court notice.
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