s e v e n t e e n

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When I wake up, I see Azaan coming in my bedroom, presenting breakfast in bed.

His wet hair hints that he just got out of the shower and he didn't make the breakfast. I don't want servants in the house right now. I want to be alone. I don't even want Azaan.

I loathe the thought of all the calories in that omelette and look up at the clock. I see that it's 10AM already and my eyes shoot up. I take my phone to see the date and it's not a Sunday.

"It's 10AM. You're late for office." I tell him as I put my feet on the ground.

"Where are you going? This breakfast is for both of us." He tells me. "We're spending the day together."

I slam the bathroom door as I remember last night. There go the tears.

Not wanting a fight, when I come out, I clearly tell him, "I do not want you to pity on me. Leave me alone. I'm in no mood to talk to you."

I see in his eyes how his heart gets heavy again. "Sawera, I'm sorry for everything."

I don't know why my brain keeps comparing Azaan and Abeer.

Nothing justifies cheating and I'm not expecting any justification from Azaan. Azaan is much worse than Abeer. I can forgive what Abeer did to me, but I can't forgive how bad Azaan fucked my mental health.

His apologies and work-related justifications tire me out.

I dismiss him and walk out in the living room, where a servant's presence stops us from fighting.

"At least have breakfast before going to that gym of yours, Sawera." He says and Sasha looks up from where she's cleaning the countertop.

I open the fridge and take the empty lunch box I've always kept in there for Sundays and other days like these.

- A Z A A N -

Bhai is still not over the miscarriage. Dadi ammi is fighting between life and death on the ventilator. Abbu is tensed about it. I'm the only one handling the whole business and now this.

Sawera's immaturity might have seemed adorable in the beginning, but I knew it would some day start annoying me.

And that day came sooner than I had predicted. Much sooner.

But I can't blame her. I knew the responsibility I was taking. I knew the problems she could bring. The circumstances were just not in my hand.

Two days after our marriage, when I thought I could get a break to spend time with her, she herself messed it all up. That call was important. That meeting could have signed us a deal worth trillions. I could have got a break after that, but the postponing of it delayed other business and I couldn't take even a day off.

It seems like someone cursed our business. And maybe someone did. Maybe that eighty-two year old lady whose apartment was, for her, the token of remembrance of her late and much lamented husband. The apartment that we bought from her children despite her cries.

Fuck it all.

The project's going very well; the company is expanding more and more, day by day; and the net profit margins are a number that makes me say Alhamdulillah every second.

But everyone's going through some kind of mental trauma. And I don't want to join the club.

I don't know why but I can't stop remembering that lady. Maybe she did curse us, instead of her children. What mother curses her children. She must have, of course, prayed for our lives to get worse.

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