Chapter 8: Good friends

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 41

Maria flung the door open. Her eyes were still red from having cried the whole morning. She had even skipped work today and had asked someone else to fill in for her. Abdalla only felt sorry for her and she didn't see the woman who had harshly scolded her for sneaking out at night. Abdalla saw a broken woman, a woman filled with worry.

However, at this moment, she stared at them for a pretty long time during which Abdalla moved behind Adamma, to hide from Maria's distrustful stare. 

They entered the house after that. Lulu's mother went to the balcony to have some tea with Maria. Lulu's mother had in fact, been meaning to have tea with Maria for a long time so that they could discuss some other issues facing Maria. But now seemed like the perfect moment for her to bring it all up. At least that's what Abdalla understood from what Lulu's mother had said in the car.

 Abdalla and her group of friends all walked up the stairs and then into Abeni's room just to find her staring at the window with her red eyes.  Abeni sat on the window sill, hugging herself, feeling regretful and feeling (as some of her class members call her) empty-headed.

Abdalla didn't think twice about wrapping her arms around Abeni who immediately started crying once she was in her arms. 

"I'm so sorry Abeni." She gently stroked Abeni's back. Adamma and Lulu all joined in their hug, making Abdalla feel squashed. 

Adamma had even joined in hugging Abeni. This was a new thing, Abdalla thought once they pulled away.

Abeni sat back down while quickly taking short in and out breaths as a way of calming herself. "I should have been a better judge of character."

Lulu sighed before saying, "I warned you. I even told you to not relay to her everything that I was doing. She even wrote about me. She also wrote about whatever thing you guys had pulled off at night here and how scared Abdalla had been. And how you are a bad friend because you tried to blame it on me?"

Abeni covered her face before looking back up at them again. "Thandi had said that it would be a good joke." She couldn't even look at Abdalla as she said. "Sorry, Abdalla. I guess the kids at school are right. I am just an empty head."

They all sighed. 

Abdalla sat down on the edges of Abeni's bed beside Abeni who couldn't stop holding her hands.

"And she wrote about my parents and Lorgan. And your birthday party." Abeni muttered before looking out of the window. "It looks so nice outside. You guys want to go out and study?"

Abdalla shrugged and the other two nodded.

They walked to the backyard where they found black tables and chairs. They all sat down and took out their respective EMS books. They worked silently for two hours before Abdalla began to pack away her stuff.

"Where are you going?" Abeni asked.

"Home of course. To catch the next bus." Abdalla bluntly mumbled. For the first time she forgot to mind her tone with Abeni, and she stopped when she realised this, but Abeni was smiling at her. 

"Okay, you didn't give me an answer about being my model?"

Abdalla paused halfway through zipping her back. She was tired, she thought. Too tired to even pretend that she wanted to be her model. She turned around to face Abeni whose eyes seemed to understand Abdalla, for what Abdalla thought might be the first time, and she became scared. Or had she not noticed before?

"Say this. Where is this birthday party of mine being held?" Abdalla went on to ask.

Abeni sighed and rolled her eyes. "It would have been a good surprise but because Thandi had gone out and spilt the beans, the principal said that it would be best to kill two birds with one stone. He wants to make it a sort of end of the year party, so it will be at the town hall."

"Now there you have it. I'll be your model and you will have all your stuff ready there."

Abeni's eyes sparkled back at Abdalla as she finally understood. "Yes. This is good."

Lulu and Adamma both put up their hands. 

"I don't mind also being put into a custom." Lulu smiled and Adamma nodded.

Abdalla nodded. "That settled it then. See you at school Abeni."

Abeni shook her head with tears in her eyes. "Principal has kept me away from school because of this whole drama thing. Thandi is also being kept away–"

Adamma scoffed as she stood up. "You are being too kind. Thandi is facing expulsion."

Lulu scoffed. "She deserves it. But I doubt it's going to happen because It's just too late."

Lulu fixed up her afro all of sudden before pursing her lips. She grabbed her back and hooked arms with Abdalla and Abeni. She waved at Abeni. "We will visit as often as we can. Be strong, sister. Thandi is finally facing the fire."

They all laughed.

Abdalla hugged Abeni before walking out with Lulu and Adamma. Adamma's mother was already waiting for her outside the building in a Toyota. Adamma waved at Abdalla, with a friendly smile as her mother drove by. Abdalla has never seen Adamma this relaxed, this happy, she thought as she allowed Lulu to drag her to her mother's car. 

Lulu's mother dropped her to the farm.

"What terrible thing is this?" Lulu's mother complained. 

Abdalla was sure that everyone outside could hear Lulu's mother. Lulu was nodding at whatever her mother said with affectionate eyes.

"I heard she has been involved in stuff like this before. Worst of all, she has this blog called juicy content, on this new juicy site that has just been made."

Abdalla tensed from where she sat in the back seat. 

Lulu whispered. "What do you mean?"

Lulu's mother kept quiet as she stopped before Adalla's hut.

"Thank you," Abdalla muttered as she got out.

"You are safe now honey. Bye."

Lulu's mother then drove off with Lulu talking to her.

Abdalla went into her lonely hut. She didn't really study and instead did chores and cooked for herself. She started studying at three in the morning after she had her little nap. 

In the morning, her eyes burnt and no matter how many times she splashed them with water, they continued to burn. These were the consequences of having good grades, she bitterly thought to herself. Living was just a difficult task. She hated waking up every day, and she hated working every day. She hated catching the bus every day, she thought sourly as she tied her shoe laces.

The telephone rang as she was grabbing an apple, in the green baskets. She answered it. "Hello?" 

"Abdalla?" Her mother's voice sounded stressed, almost like she was panicking. "Can you come here after school? Mrs Kennedy's house."

"Mom, is everything okay?" Abdalla muttered.

"Ya, I think. You just come over right after the exam." Her mother sobbed because she was already feeling bad for having even called Abdalla before Abdalla had even written her exams. It would only stress Abdalla, which it did.

Abdalla couldn't focus while writing her exam. Her hands kept trembling and every once in a while she kept asking to go to the toilet. Ms Smith got cross with her eventually and so stopped allowing her bathroom breaks. Abdalla answered all the questions though and as she walked into town, she was glad that she hadn't forgotten anything while writing.

The Town was busy like always. When she passed the town square, she had been hoping to see her father, but she didn't catch sight of him. Today was Wednesday and he usually would be outside selling stuff. Abdalla got a sickening feeling in her stomach that something was very wrong.

Mrs Kennedy's house was splendid but not as splendid as Abeni's. It had a backyard, balcony and a front yard like all other houses. It was a flat, on-the-ground, sort of house. There were no stairs to climb but still the number of rooms was double those at Abeni's house.

When Abdalla arrived, Julia, one of Mrs Kennedy's servants, greeted her. Julia smiled at her but there was sadness in her smile. It wasn't her place to tell Abdalla what had happened, so she led Abdalla to her mother who was briefly talking to Mrs Kennedy.

"How was the exam?" Julia asked her instead on their way to Mrs Kennedy's office.

Abdalla shrugged. "It was alright, I guess. Not worried."

"That's good." Julia smiled. This time she was really happy. "Your mother tells me that you are a smart little lady."

"I am not little," Abdalla muttered while laughing.

Julia rolled her eyes. "Sure, if you say so." 

They both laughed.

"Here it is," Julia nodded at her. Her smile was sad again, but she didn't say anything about the matter. "Have a good day."

"You too," Abdalla said. She watched Julia leave before she attempted to enter Mrs Kennedy's office.

As soon as Abdalla came into the room, Pascale stopped talking to Mrs Kennedy, they shook each other's hand before Pascale turned around to face Abdalla with a forced smile. She had to look alright in front of Abdalla, despite Abdalla not buying it.

Abdalla thought that there was nothing impressive about Mrs Kennedy's office.

"Abdalla. Gosh, you have grown from the last time I saw you." She hugged Abdalla. "How have you been?"

"Well ma'am and yourself?" Abdalla asked.

Mrs Kennedy chuckled. "Too polite. I have seen better days."

"Pascale, see you next week."

Pascale nodded. 

Despite Pascale trying to hide her tears, Abdalla still saw that she was sad. Once they stepped out of Mrs Kennedy's house and into the busy streets of the town, they immediately entered a yellow cab.

"Ma?" 

"It's your brother." Pascale finally said. "He has been caught in a bad … accident."

Abdalla tensed but didn't say anything throughout the long ride. She only stared longingly at the little kids who were laughing carelessly. Pascale noticed, but also did nothing about it. She couldn't soothe Abdalla. There were no words that would erase their reality.

Standford hospital was one of the busiest and most expensive hospitals anyone could ever send their kid to for treatment. The doctor greeted Abdalla's mother who already looked close to tears before the doctor could say anything. Abdalla was forced to sit outside the doctor's white door while he chatted to his parents. The doctor, who was a tall old man, handed her a lollipop for comfort. But Abdalla didn't suck on it. Having some Sugar didn't bring comfort. It just brought more illness, and she had no plans of ever coming to such a hospital. Abdalla instead began to revise her English and Life Orientation. She was going to write both tomorrow.

It was dark when her parents finally stepped out of the hospital red-eyed with their shoulders slumped forward. Abdalla's father was wheeling Benjamin. He was sitting in a wheelchair with his hands and legs in a cast, a small grin directed at her. Abdalla shut her books and packed them away.

No one spoke as they took the seven o'clock bus and headed back home.

Mike, Abdalla's father, would usually crack a joke in such situations but even he felt like life had just drained away from him, and Abdalla could see this from his faraway look and wrinkled forehead. For the first time, Abdalla realised how old her father looked.

For the days coming until Friday, Abdalla had written English, Lo, EMs and history and Geography.  For the first time, she had intently ignored Abeni's telephone calls. On Friday her mother had given her some money to spend( as was planned) with Abeni. Pascale had given her the money with trembling hands and a lot of sadness in her eyes. Abdalla had gone straight to Ravin and had given him the money as she had promised. Her only hope had been that it would bring a little comfort to her parents.

"Seven hundred," Ravin muttered after he had counted the money. He took out a notepad and wrote down her family's name. "You will see workers coming to your hut for reconstruction in the next few days."

They shook hands and he opened the door for her after having handed her her receipt. She had handed the receipt to her mother later that day after she came back from having written her exam.

"What is this?" Pascale asked her.

"Ravin's fund. You guys will get money every month. It's an investment scheme."

Pascale smiled. It was the first time she had smiled after having brought Benjamin back home from the hospital.

Mike, Abdalla's father came home at six that very Friday night. Benjamin sat in the corner of the room, his eyes staring into space as he reflected on his mistakes.

They had bread rolls and soup again, but this time, Benjamin didn't complain.

Before Abdalla could fall asleep after having revised her maths and natural science, his father cleared his throat. "Abdalla, I want to speak to you."

Abdalla sat up.

Mike sighed. "I think you should give up the idea of going to Rachelle."

Abdalla played with her fingers. Tears welled up in her eyes.

Mike nervously continued. "We had spent all the money we had saved on Benjamin's treatment. We have nothing… Noxine high has also accepted you. They don't have any fee requirements.. maybe."

Abdalla laid back down and shut her eyes. She cried that night and even cursed her mother, father and especially her brother. She wished that they all burnt in hell or even that the hut might go up in flames and that they all would die from that.

The next morning Abdalla tied her shoelaces and got ready to go to school.

 Benjamin was also awake.

"Are you writing your final exam today?"

Abdalla paid him no attention. 

"Please don't hate me," Benjamin muttered as his sister reached the door. "You hate it here as much as I do. That's why you want to become an astronaut… it's not because it's your dream. You want to escape this place … earth with all its rudeness."

Abdalla punched Benjamin in the side of his face. Her mother had run inside trying to hold her back. "Yes, I hate this place. Who doesn't? But at least I don't make it a burden on others."

"Fair enough.." Benjamin grinned, feeling quite stupid but at the same time knowing that he had hit a spot.

Abdalla jerked herself from her mother's hands. She caught the bus and hurried on to school. She wrote her exam but Benjamin's words ran in her head. At four she came out of the classroom. Lulu hooked her arms in with her.

"Can't believe that we are done." 

Adamma nodded. "Hopefully the marks are good." And then she clapped her hands. "Guess whose birthday it is on Tuesday!"

Abdalla sighed. She just wanted to be alone.

Lulu studied her. She seemed to catch onto Abdalla's mood but still didn't let her go. "We are going for a sleepover at Abeni's. She has been calling you, ya know. Trying to tell you to come Sleepover."

Abdalla said nothing.

It was Lulu's mother who had dropped them off at Abeni's house. Abeni once she spotted them waved at them with a large smile on her lips. She ran and immediately launched into Abdalla's arms. 

"You are really making this a habit… this thing of not answering my phone calls. What sort of friend are you? I thought on Friday we would hang out, with me paying."

Abdalla untangled herself from Abeni and smiled. "The world doesn't spin around you." She grumbled as she walked beside Lulu.

Abeni watched her, her lips pursed and her eyes sad.

Once they settled inside Abeni's house and Abeni had served them some coke, she finally said. "Abdalla, how is your brother?"

And just then Abdalla began to cry.

Abeni crawled over to her side and hugged her. “You know that you can tell me anything right? I won’t judge you.”

When Abdalla looked into Abeni’s eyes, she realised that Abeni meant what she said and this just made her cry some more.

 


Submitted: June 23, 2022

© Copyright 2022 jj moon. All rights reserved.

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