Bismillahir Rahmānir Raheem.
Can I tell you something? I’m not quite sure where to begin, but:
When my Year Two and Year Four teacher — Jo[anne Margaret] Blower was her name. She was (and likely still is) amazing, Masha Allah. A personality, complete with all those little bits of her humanity, sept through into her ‘profession’. I still remember much about her; I remember her teaching me about the pronoun form of ‘its’, and how it shouldn’t have an apostrophe. I loved writing.
Ayesha, too, and her smile, exuding warmth (Masha Allah). A hug from her, and my previously-held conviction that teachers did not go home: they slept in the school library [until, that is, I saw Ayesha at the fish and chip shop in Shadwell and… my understanding of things changed, yet again].
I remember when my grandfather (Nana) passed on, and how I lost my hamster at roughly the same time. I know the two things are not quite comparable. Nana returned to Allah on a Friday, I believe. In Ramadan, just after Fajr I think; it had been raining. I drew a circle, in my notebook, where a tear fell, in memory.
Those days are over, and I honour them in memory. Everyone that has been something quite beautiful for me. The women who smile, and the men who reassure. You’re not alone. And thank you for telling me I’m not “too _____”; thank you for being so beautifully, intricately yourself. To be soft and gentle and kind, in a world that can so easily… harden, embitter.
It’s just that: I’m not sure how to explain it very well. But there are depths, and there are widenesses, to each and every one of us. So much to know, and find, and tackle, reckon with. Be torn asunder; find again, rediscover.
Today, I think about the day, perhaps, that I sat and wondered how things would turn out. One day here, and the next day not. Elsewhere. I think about, Insha Allah, the day that I will get to see the little boy who punches back way too hard when I let him do so… I hope I get to see the day when he is taller than me. The way his eyes gleam, and he looks from beneath the line of hair he currently sports. Smiling a smile that makes his face beam, as he uses his hand to see ‘where he is currently at’. At my shoulder? Suddenly, it seems as though his horizontal hand flies a little, upwards. Uphill.
Can I tell you something about how this place is not our home? And how it cannot really be, even though we try and try? Sadness and fear are part-and-parcel of this experience; love, Alhamdulillah, is too.
Death is an inevitability. I’m not quite sure about the exactitudes of this life of mine, quite a lot of the time. But that’s okay: I have to keep moving, as I have always been doing. Forgetting, and remembering, and doing things the same; differently. What will there be, in this day? And one day, as a tiny mere daughter of Ādam walking through the landscapes that my Rabb has designed for me, far too grand for present comprehensions: I know I’ll know.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.