ants, battle, brother, dangerous thing, fiction, fly swatter, food, Iftaar, Islam, Islamic Calender, kung fu, mum and dad, parata, paratah, Ramadan Diaries 2012: Day 13, religion, spoon, swatter, sweet smell, ummah, You weren't invited
‘Maaa! I’m going to sleep for a bit ok?!’
Macena ran up the stairs, flew into her room and slammed the door behind her before her mum could say anything otherwise. She pressed some buttons on her phone and set the alarm to wake her up an hour and a half later. Just in time to go down and help prepare the table for iftaar. She placed the phone on the floor at the far end of the room, opposite to her bed, closed the curtains and jumped onto her bed. Snuggling up to the several pillows around her head she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep
I skipped down the stairs and I was met by the sweet smell of freshly made paratah and honey mangoes. Entering the kitchen the heat encompassed me and I began itching all over. My brother, Saf, was the first to notice me. Shooting up a hand to point a quivering finger a me, he gasped loudly and said,
‘Mum! She has ants all over her. Quickly take out the spray.’
My hands automatically began patting my arms and chest and I looked down at myself. But there was nothing there. I continued scratching myself and looked up. But what I saw next happened so fast I couldn’t react to it fast enough.
Saf, mum and dad, who came out of nowhere, had fly swatters in their hands and they flew through the air to land on top of me in a pile. I could feel my arm being pulled in one direction and my back being repeatedly hit with the swatter from all angles.
Managing to squeeze out from under the three of them, I ran for the table spread with plates and cutlery, Picking up a spoon I held it in front of me and threateningly shook it at them. The three stood up and were going to come at me again when they looked at the spoon and drew back.
‘Oh mum, she has a spoon. That’s bloody dangerous! Tell her to put it down mum! Tell her!’ Saf’s voice shook as he nudged mum with his elbow and slid slowly behind her.
‘Macena! How can you shake that dangerous thing at me? Your own mother.’
‘Ma, this is stupid! Why did you guys jump me for? I don’t have anything on me!’
‘Oh but that’s not why we hit you. Actually…Saf persuaded your dad and I that you were taking over the household and if we wanted to take control again, we had to attack before iftaar.’
‘What? Mum, honestly, how can you believe him straight away? All he wants is to have meat and pudding everyday! Don’t fall for it ma.’
Saf stepped out from behind mum and tentatively moved towards me. The spoon shook in my hands as I waved it at them tauntingly. They all shrieked and tried to run away in different directions, but ended up bumping straight into one another and falling to the floor.
‘What are you doing?’
My other brother, Rifat , came through the living room and behind him stood my nephew. They had dirty leather gloves on and a large white fishing net under their arms.
‘You’re leaving this house right now! No one tries to take over this house, threatens their own mother and shakes a spoon on these grounds and get’s away with it!’
Rifat and my nephew spread the net and threw it across the room in my direction. As it flew through the air I picked whatever was near me and threw it at the net. Plates, knives, forks, a chair, a melon, a table fan, a few paratahs…but soon I ran out of things to throw and the net came down on me hard and pinned me to the ground.
I struggled and tried to tear the net with my hands, but it was too thick and soon all I could do was look up helplessly as they all stood over me and looked down in triumph!
‘You can’t do this to me. I’ve done so much for you all. You can’t – ‘
‘Well we can and we will. And anyway, you weren’t invited.’ Saf smiled menacingly and even let out a short cackle.
‘What? Wasn’t invited? In my own house?’ I looked round the circle and found them all looking at me with grave faces.
‘No! It’s no longer your house…it’s our house now!’ Rifat picked up a spoon from the floor and poked my arm a few times.
And by “our house” I understood what he meant. He only looked round at dad, Saf and my nephew. Not at mum.
I turned to mum and pleaded with her. ‘Ma, you have to stop them! Think of all the cooking you’ll have to do. It’s going to be meat everyday! You’ll never see another vegetable in this house again.’
She looked at me with a blank face and simply said ‘Macena, that’s how it has to be.’
‘Noooooooooooooooooo!’ Involuntarily it ripped out of me and I struggled against the net but it was useless. They all started laughing and poking me with spoons.
Macena’s eyes flew open and she found herself in the foetal position with her hands protectively crossed over her body. She was sweating all over and felt incredibly hot, but the light breeze from the open window cooled her down
Just a dream. She laughed. Blimey what a dream?!
She looked at the time on the wall and noticed she had overslept. She didn’t bother looking at her phone to figure out why the alarm didn’t go off when it was supposed to. Trying to rub the sleep out of her eyes, she stumbled out of the room and down the stairs. When the smell of paratah cooking filled her nostrils, she immediately stiffened.
‘Macena! Is that you? Macena? Macena?’
With a shaky voice she confirmed she was downstairs and walked slowly into the kitchen. She noticed the spoons on the table and saw mum flipping about as she stood over the hot cooker.
‘Yeah?’ She didn’t look up when she answered.
‘Do we have any fly swatters at home?’
‘No, not anymore. They all broke after we had a festival of flies in the kitchen on Saturday. Why?’