He lay on top of his soft, inviting mattress, beneath the gentle sheets, unable to find sleep. His thoughts circled around the burning question: when would he see her again? Where could he go to glimpse that enchanting face, the one that had occupied his heart day and night? A sudden warmth bathed his eyes, causing him to quickly avert his gaze. The radiance of the thought of seeing her again overwhelmed him. “Please, don’t leave me,” he whispered to himself, his love evident in his words. “I adore you deeply. I long for us to be together, to share the same path in the shade of matrimony.”

She replied softly, “I’m sorry, my love. I truly cherish you, but I fear that marriage won’t be in our near future, for certain reasons.” He noticed the sadness in her eyes, which mirrored the pain that now gnawed at his heart. Was there some lurking danger? Was her life in jeopardy? Could this be why they couldn’t be together?

With a loud and impassioned voice, he declared, “I don’t want to jeopardize her life in any way. I’d rather step aside and not be the cause of her suffering. Today, you are experiencing the anguish you’ve never felt before. Isn’t it clear that you should distance yourself from this person?” The woman, furious, threw up her hands in exasperation.

A solitary tear trailed down his cheek as he pondered his predicament. “Why does my heart betray me like this? Why does it choose to fall for someone of a different nature? Why does it yearn for someone who is not even human? Oh God,” he raised his hand to the heavens, “guide me, help me save myself.” He rose to his feet and proceeded to perform ablution, preparing for the Fajr prayer. The call to prayer had already begun.

Returning from the mosque, he picked up the book his sister had left for him to assist with her assignment. He diligently worked on it, but fatigue caught up with him, and he drifted into a deep slumber until 9 in the morning.

Meanwhile, Mami Hafsat sat in the living room, enjoying her breakfast. Her daughter, *Mimi*, joined her and inquired, “What’s keeping him? Why hasn’t he emerged yet?” She sat beside her mother and greeted her. Mami Hafsat replied, “He’s still sleeping. The food is ready for him, along with his medication. It’s unusual that he hasn’t come out early today. Is he alright? Go check on him.” With those words, the young girl rose and headed toward her brother’s room, their fates hanging in the balance.

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