We debut a story written by Kathrine Al Neyadi for our “Family” Theme, in which she stated that is a fictional work inspired by the relationship she sees with some families nowadays, as well as her own. Hopefully it can inspire someone, as well as spread the point of how important family is, even the ones that we come to acquire during our life, and may not even be related to us. Sometimes you can find a family somewhere you never knew you could. It also conveys the idea that some people never really learn how important people that love us and care for us are, and may stay their whole life not knowing, which is such a shame.
“Mummy, what’s wrong why are you crying” she asked, with her big brown eyes and curls all messed up. What could she say, how could she explain this, she was only a 7 year old girl, with not a care in the world, she didn’t deserve to see this, to be part of this. This was all his fault, what kind of human being could do this to family. To anyone..
* * *
The sound of ear piercing sirens and voices all over the house had woken her up from her sleep. She had stumbled across her room, and opened her heavy wooden door, to find her mother standing there with tears in her eyes begging the strange tall man in uniform, to not come in the room. “She’s only a child, please officer, she’s only a child .. ” She kept repeating. As the little girl stood behind her mother , and had unconsciously grabbed a hold of her leg like she had always done when she was scared, since the time she began to walk. Her mother held her close as the officer pushed through them, by the time she realized what was happening, everything was flying in her room to the floor, everything was being flipped over and scanned with equipment she had never seen before. She started to cry, she didn’t understand why was this mean man destroying all her belongings, why was he so mad ? She couldn’t stand it, and started running to this man and pulling away her toys, clothes, and was crying and begging him to stop.. All she could hear was him ordering her mother to get a hold of her, he was still angry. But she was angry too. She hadn’t done anything, and didn’t even know him. Where was daddy, daddy wouldn’t let him do this to them. As she ran out of the room, all she could see was more men all over the house, all in the same uniform. Now she remembered mummy had called the man ‘officer’, but why was the police in her house ? As she ran down the curved marble stairs, with her mother running after her, trying to catch up, she could hear shouting ” Stop, my darling, stop, please stop, come here sweetie, please.. ” As she ran faster and faster drowning away the voices the noise, her mothers voice, she could see that everything in their house was on the floor, papers, vases, flowers, portraits opened, couch cushion cut up, everything was all misplaced and destroyed, but she ran across the long hallway, towards the flickering lights, towards the wide door that was ajar, where she thought she could hear her fathers’ distant voice.
“Daddy !!!!! ” She shouted as loud as she could, he still couldn’t hear, It was too loud but as she reached the door, she was sure it was daddy, his face had become as clear as day, so she screamed with all her might ” DADDY !!! “, when he looked up, his eyes were red, “was he crying ?” she wondered. “Daddy never cried,” but as he saw her his eyes filled with tears. Her mum finally caught up to her, and held her back before she was able to run towards her dad, she wanted to hide in his arms, wanted him and mummy to hold her and tell her it will all be ok. But something was terribly wrong. Because daddy didn’t run up to her, grab her or try to protect her, he just stood speaking to the other officer, who seemed kinder, because he came up to her and asked her If she wanted to see her daddy, to say goodbye. ” Goodbye ? ” she cried ” Where is he going ? ” as her mother lead her, the officer told her that her daddy was going on a long business trip, but he would be back soon, and he would miss her very much. As she came closer to her dad, and looked into his large brown eyes, and his face full of love, full of comfort, that was filled with sadness and tears today, she broke away from the officer and her mother, and ran straight into her daddy’s arms. ” Don’t go ! Please daddy, don’t go, we need you, me and mummy need you !! Please daddy ! ” She cried.
* * *
He couldn’t speak, as he looked at his sweet darling daughter, standing there in her pink pajamas, and the teddy bear he had gotten the day she was born, oh that wonderful day, he remembered it like yesterday, she was his darling angel, he couldn’t stand watching those tears run down her flushed pink cheeks, and his wife with her long hair falling down her shoulders moving slightly with the faint gush of wind, in her gown, feeling exposed and cold, how he wished he could just wake up from this nightmare, how he wished he could protect them from this pain. Everything was falling apart, who would look after his child, his wife..They were his world. His thoughts were cut by his daughters warm embrace, and terrifying pleading cry. Oh god, his heart was breaking, his head span so fast, his anger was boiling up like a hundred kettles. He knew who’s fault this was, he knew who did all this, yet the question he kept asking himself was why. How could he.
“Ill be home soon, I promise my sweet. You be a good girl and listen to your mummy ” He whispered, in an effort to keep his voice steady, he didn’t want to upset his little angel. “Be good in school. I won’t be long, Ill write you letters, and send you lovely drawings of the places we’ll see when I get back, and don’t cry my darling..” He said as he wiped her tears with the back of his sleeve. He stood and looked at his wife, his beautiful, loving wife, his best friend. They exchanged a look of understanding and sorrow, how he wanted to take her in his arms, and let her know it will all be ok, he wanted to erase this day, erase the pain and hurt it caused. But he couldn’t, they were leading him out already, it was time to go. She came close and placed her hand on his cheek and whispered ” We love you, always, we will be waiting, have faith, be strong.” As he was about to go, his sweet little angel grabbed his shirt and handed him her teddy bear. ” Keep him with you daddy till you get back, so you can have my love and warmth with you when you are alone and traveling. ” He couldn’t keep it in any longer, he turned around and let them lead him away, so they would not see his tears exploding out of his eyes like the hot painful lava of an erupted volcano. As he was seated in his car, he looked at his house, all lit up by the dreadful colors, and through the gate, branched with flowers and leaves, they planted one summer, which blossomed into beautiful vines through the metals, he could see his wife and his child, standing there, lost and helpless, not knowing what to do, or where to go, so he silently prayed as hard as he could, as long as he could, that they would be protected.
* * *
As her father bid her farewell, and he turned around to leave, she caught a glimpse of something shiny being put around his wrists, ” why were they handcuffing him, did daddy do something wrong ? ” she thought. She didn’t understand what was going on, and nobody wanted to explain to her. So she kept a tight hold to her mother, as they both watched the cars slowly disappear into the night, all the cars had gone, all except for one. She recognized the car to be her uncles’. Her mother noticed it too, because her face which was full of sorrow now turned into anger, she looked like she was about to walk towards that dark car lurking in the corner, but she stopped. Instead she turned around to take me back into the house and locked the door behind her shut tightly. As they stood there looking around the quite house, that once used to be so neat, clean and always smelled so nice. Mother silently sat on the foot of one of the armchairs in the entrance hall, and picked up some random things off the floor, staring mindlessly into the air. Her eyes were distant, full of thought. She was replaying the night in her head, trying to plan her next step. The loud ring of her mobile phone startled them. As mother went to get it, the little girls’ eyes came across a picture of her, her father and mother, it was her latest birthday. Daddy had taken them to the beach, they had the most wonderful day, the picture showed them all in the funny swimsuits they had found one day, wearing large hats and trying to build a sandcastle. She placed the picture back in its frame, and slowly headed back to her room, and placed it right there on her nightstand. ” Goodnight daddy, I love you.”
* * *
Year after year passed by, and times were tougher and tougher, with all our assets frozen. Mother kept it all together, never leaving them without food, or clothes. Even when they were going to take away our home and everything we own, Mother knew what to do, she fought hard, she never let anyone put us down. The little girl, not so little anymore, had to change schools, they couldn’t afford the one she was in anymore, she lost all her friends. But no matter what happened, mother always had a home cooked meal ready for her, helped her with her homework, tucked her into bed and tended to her when she was sick. They barely had enough to survive. But mother made sure that their little angel never felt deprived. As the little one grew up, she began to notice things, she learned. She learned that her family, were not so much a family, she understood that in this harsh world, even people you thought you can count on being there and supporting you, won’t. Good times, and happy times you would always see them around, but came troubles, any door they knocked on, would always be slammed in their face, they didn’t want to be associated with a family of ‘criminals’. Yes, that is what they saw them as, criminals. Once she grew up she figured it out, it didn’t take long for her to realize her dear father was not on a trip, but someplace horrible, someplace everybody thought he deserved to be. Nobody really knew the truth, nobody really knew what happened that night. But no matter what, it made them stronger, they had each other. They knew the truth, the believed in a better day. This was the problem, in her big ‘loving’ extended family, it was all an act. Nobody really said what they meant, or did what they said. It was all a big game of charades, but she refused to be a part of it. So the girl and her mother continued to survive on their own, waiting for the day their loving father and husband would return.
One day, as the girl was walking home from school, she noticed that there were some cars outside her house, she recognized them all being of people she hasn’t seen in years, she was afraid to step in, afraid of more bad news, afraid of what could be inside. As she slowly opened her door, she could hear voices coming from the family room at the end of corridor, right across the library. When she stepped in, her eyes widened with surprise, her heart beat with joy, and before she knew it, she was curling up in her fathers arms, how much she missed her fathers arms, she felt safe again, she felt complete. and she didn’t care anymore, she was now 21 years old, and practically taller then her mother, but she didn’t care, for nothing in the world meant as much as this moment, as having her father back home. And nothing could ruin this beautiful day. Except for one thing, because as she turned to look around the room at all the faces, that were practically strangers now, people she had long forgotten, to the farther side of the room, she saw him. She saw his eyes glistening with sarcasm. His face filled with hatred. Did her father not see this ? How could he let him into the house she thought. But this was what she was hoping for, this was what she waiting for all these years.
As she stood up, she went into the library and unlocked the upper shelf that was filled with mostly old papers and unimportant ads, the shelf that nobody really used, it was long forgotten behind all the books and magazines that were read a million times, so it made it the perfect place. As she pulled out everything she had acquired out of the DVD box she’d disguised, she stepped back into the room and looked straight at her uncle and .. Smiled. Before she knew it the men had arrived, just at the right time. “What is going on ?!!” Her dad kept asking, her mother might have been talking as well, but no she would not hear them, she would drown them out like she did on that dreadful night, but this time, this time she would drown them out to see, to feel every second of pleasure of bringing the person they called family, brother, uncle .. down !! She would take in every tiny moment, like a sweeter breath of fresh air, in watching him pay for what he did to my father. “You are under arrest for tampering with evidence, lying under oath and for the illegal transport of drugs as well as money laundering. ”
Yes, this was the day she had been waiting for, she had been watching him since she was 12. She knew everywhere he went, every contact he had, every tiny thing he did. She had recorded every call he made, which might be illegal, but she was resourceful and smart, she negotiated her way out of that. She had worked with the special unit department after graduation, just for this moment, just for this day. She believed her father to be innocent, even though the whole world, even people who were supposedly our family, were convinced he was guilty, but it was finally here, the day she showed them all, who the real monster is, She wanted her father to watch him being dragged out just like what he did to him., and she wanted them all to watch so their guilt can eat them away piece by piece. She didn’t care how bad it was, how moral. All she knew was, this was her family, people she loved, people who are always there for her, take care of her, support her. They are irreplaceable. So all she knew was that no one would ever, never, ever mess with them, or cause them any pain as long as she was alive. Ever.
Author: Kathrine Al Neyadi