This was published in Issue 4 of Unread, a new up and coming magazine which has a wide range of articles from recipes, current affairs, travel pieces and creative writing. I hope you enjoy part 1 of this short story and please check out the magazine! 🙂
Sabrina was her ride or die. Sabrina was the one she would call if she had murdered someone and needed help to cover it up and get rid of the body. Sabrina was the one who knew the worst of her and didn’t judge her for it. Sabrina was the one who brought out the best in her. They were more than best friends, they were sisters in every meaning of the word and more.
Sabrina and Anisah had met when they were three years old and had been inseparable since. All of the changes and growth they had gone through yet their friendship remained immovable. Now they were in their third year studying at the same university, albeit different courses, and were living together in a flat.
Anisah, for the first time in her life, found her best friend unrecognisable. Sabrina had had a boyfriend for the past year and a half but that was not why she was unrecognisable now. The reason behind it was what concerned Anisah the most, in that she did not know the reason. Sabrina was acting differently; she wasn’t attending her lectures or doing work for her assignments. She was neglecting herself and Anisah had to nag her to eat even. Worst of all, Sabrina was not opening up to her, she was pushing her away and insisting there was nothing wrong.
Anisah had noticed a change in Sabrina’s relationship with her boyfriend, Zak. Before, they had both been happy to spend time and hang out with Anisah, the three of them. Whether they went out somewhere or stayed in the flat. Sabrina and Zak would hardly ever spend time alone; because Sabrina wanted to keep the relationship as halal as possible. For the past few weeks, whenever Zak came to see Sabrina they wouldn’t invite Anisah to join them. Anisah could see, clear as day, that Sabrina wasn’t happy to see him as she used to be but she couldn’t work out what had changed.
Anisah tried to work out when these changes had first arisen and she knew it had been a few weeks. There had been a weekend when Anisah had gone back to her parents’ home and Sabrina had decided to stay at the flat and catch up on some work. That had been the turning point. Something had happened that weekend but what, she had no idea.
Late one evening Anisah was preparing dinner in their flat, deep in thought, Sabrina and Zak were in her bedroom. Anisah was abruptly pulled away from her contemplation when she heard raised voices coming from Sabrina’s room. For a moment she paused, completely still, knife and half chopped onion in her hands.
“Get out, get out, get out!” Sabrina’s voice raised louder than ever, frantic and furious. Anisah dropped the knife and the onion. She bolted to Sabrina’s room faster than she knew she could run, surprised she didn’t give herself whiplash. She burst into the room and saw Sabrina sitting at her desk facing away from Zak who was standing behind her. He was red in the face and looked irritated at Anisah coming in. For a brief moment, Anisah stood there silently, waiting for some kind of explanation or excuse from either one of them but nothing came.
Suddenly Zak barged out of the room, swearing under his breath and clipping Anisah’s shoulder on his way out. As soon as Zak had left the room, Sabrina crumbled. Tears were eagerly flowing as if they had been held back for too long. Anisah was immediately at her side and embraced her friend without hesitation, and held on for dear life.
When the tears subsided, Anisah still held on, more for her own sake than for Sabrina’s. Reluctantly, Anisah pulled away and quietly looked at Sabrina, waiting for an explanation, knowing it would come now.
Solemnly Sabrina began, “It’s over between Zak and I.”
Anisah nodded, then carefully prodded, “Why?”
Sabrina stared into her lap, shaking her head, unable to find any words as tears rolled down her cheeks again.
“What happened? Please Sabrina, he did something, I know he did.” Anisah persisted.
Sabrina looked up at that, and saw her unfaltering friend, wanting and needing to know the truth. With that, came everything. Sabrina told Anisah what had happened that weekend. She told her every detail because she knew she would never tell another soul. The two young women, both in tears, held each other and sat in silence when the ugly truth had been revealed.
Anisah was bewildered, she tried to process everything she had just heard. The hardest thing to bear was knowing that her best friend whom she loved so much, had gone through something so traumatic and damaging. Sabrina who was such a kind soul, who would do anything to help anyone. Why did it have to happen to her? As much as Anisah hated knowing what had happened to her friend, as painful as it was for her to comprehend; she knew it was only a grain compared to the suffering of Sabrina and she was so glad she had finally shared it with her.
“We have to go to the police.” Anisah said with certainty and conviction.
“No Ani.” Sabrina said softly.
“Please Sabrina, he has to pay for what he did!”
“He will pay, of that I’m sure. Allah is the most Just. But there’s no way I’m going to the police.” Sabrina stated.
“Why not?” Anisah couldn’t stand the thought of Zak facing no consequences.
“Because of many reasons Ani. There is no evidence, certainly not now. The police will put me through hell. The likelihood of him getting convicted would be virtually zero. The joys of being a criminology student.” Sabrina muttered.
“But still, we have to try!” Anisah insisted.
“Even if he were convicted, Ani, it would ruin my life. You know that it’s true if you think for a minute past wanting revenge. Whether he was convicted or not, I would be telling the world I had a boyfriend. I was alone in my room with a man. I got what was coming to me, that’s what they’ll say. I would be an outcast in the community. How would I have a hope of ever getting married in the future? People would blame it on me; say I tempted him. Say I knew what would happen. All of these things Ani, you know it’s true, you just have to get there.” Sabrina looked sadly at her best friend and knew she understood immediately.
As Anisah processed everything she knew it was true. The harsh reality made her feel sick. In that moment Anisah knew she had to do something. She knew she had to find a way to make Zak pay.