They sat comfortably in the parlor, enjoying their time together. Safna reclined on the couch, her phone at the ready. Suddenly, Safna’s eyes widened in surprise, causing a bit of a fright as they were extraordinarily large, Masha’Allah! She inquired, “What are you looking for?” Haj, addressing the servant, instructed, “Go and let them know she’s on her way.” The servant accompanied Haj outside, leaving Safna alone. Later, our mother turned her attention to Safna and, with a perplexed look, asked, “Safna, where did you meet this person?” Safna, her voice trembling, replied, “Mo…, I swear I don’t know him.” Mom retorted, “I wonder if your father would approve of you making new acquaintances like this.” She suggested that Safna go and talk to her father about it before he returned. Safna agreed, and she hurried to her room to don her hijab before heading out.

As Safna stood there, observing him while he busied himself with his phone, she couldn’t help but notice how strikingly handsome he was. He wore a cream-colored hat that perfectly matched his shoes. Safna found herself lost in his presence for a good five minutes. I whispered to Manshat that Safna was off to the market, and just as I said that, she approached his car. It was an unremarkable ash-colored car, and although I didn’t know his name, Safna seemed familiar with him.

While he was engrossed in his phone, oblivious to Safna’s proximity, he suddenly noticed her shadow and quickly looked up. He greeted her with a warm, “Hello, radiant star. Where am I?” Safna replied hesitantly, “Um… hello.” He then asked, “Is it safe for you to go home with them, Safna?” She assured him, “Yes, it’s safe.” There was a moment of silence before he took a step back and inquired, “Are you safe?” Safna raised her head, slightly surprised, and asked, “Did you just say my name is Safna?” He chuckled and said, “Indeed, Safna is a name fit for a queen. I dream of Safna, I think of Safna, and I love Safna. Have you ever wondered what love is, Safna? It’s a feeling that enters one’s heart, and you, Safna, have captured mine.” Safna smiled and replied, “I’m not sure I understand what love is. And as for God, I’m not so sure about that either.” He felt elated because he knew he wouldn’t have to work hard to win a place in Safna’s heart. He introduced himself, saying, “Alright, Safna, my name is Hafiz Alh Abubakar from Makkah. I live in this city, and you, Safna, you’re my inspiration. I love you, Safna! Please, Safna, consider loving me too.” Safna’s mind briefly drifted to her friend Amina A from Makkah, whom they affectionately called “Meeno.” If she was related to this man in any way, Safna might have some feelings for him too. But Amina was studying in England, far away from here. Hafiz interrupted her thoughts, pleading, “Safna, my dear, say something, please.” Safna rolled her eyes and replied, “Alright, I’ll give it a chance.” Hafiz was overjoyed and asked, “When can I see you again?” Safna suggested, “How about in a week?” She shared her number with him, promising to connect later.

When Safna reentered the house, she found the parlor empty. She went on to perform her evening prayer. It was their father who had gone to fulfill his Hajj. She greeted him, saying, “Good evening, head of the household.” He responded with warmth, “Good evening, my children.” Nafee chimed in, “Daddy, he came to work and said ‘Alhamdulillah.'” Safna added, “He left for the mosque as soon as he arrived; he’s attending the Isha prayer.” Father nodded, “Alright, may God keep him in good health. And what about Jabbar?”

Let me introduce you to my friend, Hawa’a’ Ruky, who is married to Alh Hashim, a man with a dollar for each wife, including Haj Rabia. Together, they have children named Abduljabbar, Safna, Zainab, and their younger brother Faisal.

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