The horrible feeling increased as I watched my mother, playing nervously with her hands,
whispering some du’aa for my brother Ayman. What had happened during my absence that I
couldn’t know?My brother has always been overprotective saying that no worries should
wrinkle my forehead.
I wondered why my mother chose to take a taxi. Wasn’t the car in a perfect condition? And
whywere we going to pick up my brother in a hotel and not at the airport? Wasn’t it the
perfect place to fetch someone coming back home from Afghanistan, was it?
I had been in Birmingham for twodays now since I left home three years before to go to
Canada, and I already wanted to go back. I was happy to be home obviously, I had missed
them so much…
But there at least, busy as Iwas with work, I could easily overcome the anxiety that I had
experienced five months after my arrival in Toronto. But here… I felt overwhelmed.
I suddenly remembered our departure, three yearsbefore. For the first time, we were about
to be separated Ayman and I. Me, to Canada to finish my study, and Ayman, well, my mom
had decided to send him in Afghanistan.
During our last yearas undergrads, Ayman had changed. He got trapped in the temptations of
this world as my mother used to say. Ayman had been smoking and drinking, spending each
single night outside, clubbing.She used to ask him about his prayers, her eyes full of tears.
He would shout loudly « S…, Ma! Are you ever gonna leave me alone?! » We tried
everything to reason him. In vain.
And now, Ijust couldn’t believe that this man was Ayman. My mom was crying in his arms
repeating « Alhamdulillah! » and I could read such love, such compassion in his eyes!
His features were too severebut yet so soft… Wise?
« Assalam alaikoum, how are you doin’? If I’d known that Afghanistan would change you like that, I would’ve agreed to send you there earlier! » I said, with a shaky voice....
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