f o r t y - e i g h t

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[third last chapter,
the next chapters are very short,
InShaAllah ending it this week.]

—  A Z A A N 

I grope for Sawera, for the first time in years, having slept happily. My eyes open to look for her in bed, and around the room but she's nowhere in my eyesight.

"Sawera, please close the curtains." And come in. But I don't need to ask for that. She was being as needy as I was.

The sunlight gets harsher after a while and I get up to shut the blinds.

The bathroom door's open. I look for Sawera inside the bathroom, in the closet.

Was it a dream? Was I too tired and just hallucinating?

No, no no.

I take the first pair of bottom wear I find and rush down, hoping she's there for breakfast.

Everyone's downstairs.

"Where's Sawera?" I ask, sounding petrified.

"Sawera?" Abyan and bhabhi ask at the same time.

"What do you mean, bhai?" Palwasha asks.

I look for her in the kitchen, ask every servant, look for her car outside.

Did she come in her car? I didn't notice it last night.

"Did you see Sawera's car here?" I ask the guard and he shakes his head. I look at the time and maybe she left when it was still the night guard's time.

Or maybe she never came.

That's impossible.

I know she did.

I call her but her phone's switched off.

Why would she disappear this way?

"Has no one here seen Sawera?"

"No, Azaan. Why would she—"

"—We spent the whole night together."

Bhabhi's eyes go round, "You— you what?"

I sit down on the dining table, next to bhai.

"Yea, she... she knows everything. It all happened so randomly, I can't believe yesterday was just one day. Ammi, you didn't see her either? She was with me till 4AM? How did none of you wake up—"

"Maine dekha Sawera ko."

"Kahaan? Aur kahaan hai abbh?"

"Tum se naraaz ho ke mere kamre mein sone aa gayi thi—"

I'm about to hop off to ammi's room when she stops me,

"Mazaak kar rahi hoon."

"Ammi," I wince and everyone laughs.

"Kitna jazbaati hai yeh?"

While they make fun of me I call her once again, in vain.

"Subbhah dekha maine usse. Baaher jaa rahi thi."

"Baaher kahaan?"

"Mulk se baaher."

What?

"Chaachu," Abyan holds his feet together as bhabhi feeds him a half fried egg with bread.

"Aur aap ne usse jaane diya?" I ask,

"Chaachu," He can never sit still.

"Abyan, wait a second, please."

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