Abdullah moved the phone away from his ear and stared at it. He thought for a moment, wondering whether he should cut him off or carry on speaking. He decided to carry on speaking – he didn’t want to get into more trouble than he already was in.
“I’m at the hospital…” came a squeak of a voice from Abdullah’s mouth.
He heard Ahmed take a deep breath in.
“And what, pray tell are you doing at the hospital?” he tried to control himself, wanting to shout at Abdullah properly face to face.
Abdullah knew his tactics.
“Erm, Amatullah and Asiyah hurt themselves.” He truthfully said, knowing that if he lied, he’d be in even bigger trouble. Ahmed was just the start. Imagine what Abi is going to say! He thought to himself.
“What, just a small cut?” Ahmed jeered, enjoying making fun out of him.
“Well – ”
“Small, but big enough to land them in HOSPITAL!” Ahmed shouted down the phone, interrupting Abdullah’s very clever story that he had come up on his way to the hospital, knowing this would happen.
Abdullah grimaced as he pulled the phone away from his ear, although still hearing Ahmed’s angry tone. Suddenly, someone snatched it out of his hand, pressing the button that cuts the phone off.
“NO!” Abdullah shouted, knowing that he’s going to be done for now. First he lands the girls into trouble, and then he cuts off his very own brother!
The man who snatched the phone looked at him down his nose. He sniffed, and said in a very nasalised way: “No phones allowed. And stop shouting.” He added.
Abdullah took a deep breath in, bracing himself to not punch this intolerable guy in the face. Instead, he looked where he was, and tried to remember the route back to the entrance.
They had come in the ambulance way, Amatullah and Asiyah being carried by the nurse people and Abdullah having to run behind, while on the phone the whole time. The girls had been placed in the beds that roll, and had been pushed at record speed down the long endless corridor. They had then gone up a life, up to the fifth floor, and across a huge corridor once again. Finally, at the end of the corridor came a ward for A&E.
The hospital smelt of detergent, as if someone had just had diarrhoea all over the floor, and the cleaners had just managed to clean it. There were sick people with broken legs, arms and heads scattered all over the place, and the sight was just horrendous. Everyone was stuffed into one ward, and although Amatullah and Asiyah were going to be stuffed in the same ward, Abdullah spoke up. At least his dad and Ahmed can’t shout at him about that he thought.
“Excuse me, miss,” He said to the nurse who was now “settling them in”.
“It’s Mrs.” She snapped, staring at him with her forbearing blue eyes.
Abdullah cleared his throat, looking a bit off thrown off the hook.
“Ok.. Mrs, I just wanted to tell you that my sisters are female, and – “
“Yes, I can see that.” She interrupted again, giving him that cold stare.
Abdullah swallowed, trying to be patient. “If you would let me finish…” he said through gritted teeth.
He got no response, and took that as his turn to say what he wanted to say.
“Listen, Mrs, they’re female and they’re muslim. I would like it VERY much if they had their own room. They can share if it causes you that much difficulty, but they have to have their own private space.”
She stopped tucking them in in stood looking at him, hands on her extremely wide hips.
“As do all the other patients.” She said simply, and went back to fussing over them as if Abdullah never said anything.
In the end, she did nothing, absolutely nothing, and with smoke coming out of his ears, and fire coming out of his nose, he confronted another, kinder, gentler nurse.
“Why, of course, young man. We respect different religions and the privacy they need.”
Abdullah smiled, very angelically to the nurse, and gestured her to help move them. He came across the mean nurse, and smirked casually, as if to say ‘Ha! In your face!’ and ushered her away. He pushed Amatullah into the biggish hospital room, while the other nurse helped put Asiyah in.
The nurse bid her goodbyes and left, and Abdullah was stood there thinking ‘Err… what do I do now?’ Which is when he realised that the hospital are actually supposed to check up on A&E patients, therefore, running out and looking like a petty fool was what he did next.
“HEY! Aren’t you supposed to, like, check up on your A&E patients?!” he said, barging out of the door, into a corridor of everyone looking at him like he was crazy and telling him to ‘shh’
One man even went to the extreme of saying: “I think this lad needs a bed in the mental ward!” At which Abdullah was tempted to take off his shoe and throw it at him.
A doctor came, his eyes wide, not liking that his people weren’t happy.
“What? What happened?” He questioned, making his way to Amatullah’s and Asiyah’s room.
Abdullah looked at the floor sheepishly as he recalled them being checked before they were put into the bed.
“Err, nothing, doctor. Sorry to bother you, it was my mistake.”
The doctor laughed at Abdullah.
“Hal anta tatakalam al arabiyah?” He asked, his Arabic fluent.
This surprised Abdullah. He didn’t expect this guy to know Arabic, he thought he was a black African, not Arab.
“Na’am!” he said. “Hold on,” he thought for a bit, “You are a Black Arab aren’t you?”
“Why yes of course,” the doctor said, pleased that someone knew what identity he held for once.
Ahmed shouted out loud as he heard the dialling tone when Abdullah had conveniently cut him off. He stomped inside the house, aware that when he parked up, the door was wide open, and there was a big pool of blood outside the door.
He stamped his foot and slammed the front door, his fingers automatically running through his hair, trying to repair the stressed out mood he was in. Why can’t I trust my little brother to do anything?! He thought, hating the fact that that responsibility had gone to Abdullah now that Ahmed was getting married.
It was an arranged marriage, happening in just a few months’ time, and he was already worried about that – the awkwardness that you have when you are with a woman alone for the first time ever (that’s not your mahram of course) and she just happens to be your wife.
They had only met a couple of months before, well, his big sister Abtehal had, and introduced him to her, while she was still in the room of course. He had found her beautiful and intriguing, liking her hobbies and the way she lived. And she had liked him, although a bit shy, when he was with family or close friends; he was a jolly person to be around, comical and funny – only if you didn’t get him angry.
Now that’s a different story.
He tried the phone again, and was surprised when Abdullah – or who he thought was Abdullah – picked up. However, there was a very dainty edge to that cough that just came out of his mouth. Ahmed was momentarily confused, when he realised that it wasn’t actually Abdullah on the phone.
“Err, hello?” he said, wanting to make sure.
“Hello. This phone has been removed and is now being held till the visitor leaves the hospital.” Said another robotic sounding female voice.
Ahmed sighed, he just had to go to the damn hospital doesn’t he? He said to himself.
“Yeah, which hospital?” he said to the woman, impatient.
“We need to conform that you aren’t a murderer trying to kill the visitor as soon as he leaves the hospital.”
Exasperated, he said, “Listen, when you picked up the phone, can you remember what name it said?”
“Very clearly. Can you identify that name?”
“It was ‘Ahmed’; see, because that’s what I’m called. See? Now could I have the name of the hospital? PLEASE FOR GOD’S SAKE!” he shouted the last bit, his temper getting the better of him.
He sighed when he finally got the name, you would have thought out of relief, but it was mostly out of annoyance at his little brother. He got his car keys and revved up away from the distress that had made him pick up the phone, and to the distress that made him angry in the first place.
Jamie’s phone rang, an annoying beeping sound escaping from his jacket pocket. He was asleep on the couch, needing much sleep after his encounter with Sarah, and then Amatullah. He could have easily slept for a day. But not so much half a day as he pulled himself of the sofa, and to his jacket that was hanging on the back of his favourite chair.
“Hello?” he said with a very croaky voice. He was however surprised at who had called him. Enough that the croakiness flew out of the window.
“It’s me.” Said a very sophisticated, sober sounding voice.
“Sarah?!” he nearly flew off the sofa. “What’s that noise?”
“Have you ever been in a car? I’m driving you div.”
“W-w-what? You can’t drive! You were drunk like five minutes ago!” he protested, appalled at her fast rate of getting sober.
“Oho! You don’t know me mate.” She answered back, quick and snappy.
“Yes I do. You’re driving and on the phone at the same time!” he pointed out.
“Wow! Nothing gets past you does it (!)” she said, sarcasm dripping from her voice.
“Whatever.” He said, defiant. “Why did you call me anyways? And since when do you have my number?”
“Amatullah’s in hospital.” Her voice went quiet.
“WHAT?! What happened?!” he shouted, getting frustrated when Sarah didn’t answer.
“HELLO!” He shouted, causing Sarah to pull the phone away from her ear in fear of getting deaf.
“I did something very bad.” She said, in a quieter, less audible voice.
“You did WHAT?” he said, knowing that when Sarah is drunk, she could do anything – as he had experienced that night.
“Just come to the nearest hospital.” She said, cutting him off straight after she had said what she needed to. She glanced at herself at a shop window she was passing by while driving, disgusted by what she saw.
How could she do such a thing to someone, and then just expect it to sit in her heart, and for her to feel alright about it? She shook her head as she thought about what Jamie must think of her. Probably a slut – a horrible sadistic slut who think hurting people is fun, be it emotionally or physically.
Jamie was at that moment not really thinking about anyone apart from Amatullah. Least of all Sarah. He jumped in the car and drove exceeding 40mph to his beloved, someone, who he knew would get married to him one day.