For you, my lovely readers, a bit of fictional schmoopy-ness. Any similarity to persons living or dead is probably intentional.
Jawdan can hear the scritch-scritch of Khadijah’s pen as she makes marks on her student’s papers. Even with his eyes closed, he can picture the look of concentration on her face, the way her nose wrinkles a little when she pauses briefly to scratch the bridge of it before returning her pen to paper.
He’s curled toward her like a parenthesis, face pressed into the warmth of her hip. She brings one hand down to push through his hair, comfort and the slightest bit of reproach. Jawdan sighs contentedly.
“Just a few more,” she says reassuringly.
“Mrph,” responds Jawdan.
A few minutes later he hears the rustle of papers as she puts her grading materials aside. His head jostles a bit as she shifts into a more comfortable position, and he opens his mouth to voice his consternation but it comes out as a sigh when her fingers finally dig into his scalp. Her other hand pulls at his shoulder, encouraging him to fully lay his head in her lap. He does so happily.
“Did you have a good day today?” she asks gently, her fingers carding through his hair, over and over again.
Jawdan opens sleepy eyes to look up at her. She should look ridiculous from this angle: upside down smile, being able to see right up her nose. Somehow she just looks more lovely, all long hair falling down to tickle against his face, the cut of her cheekbones. He can practically count each eyelash.
He’s still shy to look at her, sometimes.
Her other hand rests on his chest. Jawdan runs his fingers back and forth against her arm.
“It was…interesting,” he hazards. It’s a tepid response.
“Oh?” Jawdan’s eyes have fluttered shut again, but he can hear the teasing smile in her voice. “That bad, huh?”
He groans. “My god, Khadijah, it was like–if I don’t have to see the OIA tower ever again it won’t be soon enough.”
She chuckles. “Uncle Farhan give you a hard time?”
Jawdan snorts, recalling the chain of events that took place after he rolled in to passenger pick-up. After getting in his car Uncle Farhan–sorry, Frank–had taken one look at Jawdan, the CD player softly playing Abdul-Basit, the tasbeeh hanging from his rearview mirror, and began lecturing him about the importance of maintaining a low profile “in this day and age.”
“I think he would’ve been happier if I’d rolled in blasting Jay-Z,” he says mournfully. He’d tried to dodge the lecturing as gracefully as he could by talking about the wedding. That had opened up an entirely new can of worms.
“Hmm. Sounds like Uncle Frank.”
(As soon as Jawdan had dropped him off at Khadijah’s grandfather’s house, his phone began to ring. It was his mother, announcing the arrival of yet another relative. Muneer uncle, his wife, and their kids. Jawdan repressed a groan.
“Beta, bring them to the house. I made pulao,” his mother had ordered. “Asiya auntie and her family are arriving from Delta at 6, so make sure you eat before you go.”
“Ji, Ammi,” he’d replied.
After ferrying what felt like half of Khadijah’s family tree from the airport to their lodgings, Jawdan was exhausted. Weddings sucked, just so much.)
He makes a noise of agreement. “I brought you pulao, by the way.”
“You did?” remarks Khadijah, pleased. “I’m surprised you were able to, in between all that chauffering.”
“I’m a man of many talents,” Jawdan intones solemnly.
“That you are,” Khadijah agrees. “My sister’s lucky to have such a dedicated brother-in-law.” Her hand now rests comfortably on his forehead. Jawdan leans into the touch.
As he begins to fall asleep, Jawdan thinks that while wedding planning may suck, the end result is totally worth it.
(The pulao was delicious, too.)
-end of random shmoopy-ness.