By Abdellatif Oudra
By Abdellatif Oudra
Ouarzazate – It was a very special friendship bonded us together for years. Even though we didn’t hail from the same lineage, he was a true brother to me. We always exchanged brotherly advice and guidance ever since we met each other. His name was Amin. He was a faithful husband to his wife Wafaa and father to his sweet daughter Amal; we worked together for years and never fell out.
Our overstaffed company went through momentary crisis many times. But years ago we underwent the most difficult to date: nearly the whole staff was unpaid for months. As a family man, unlike me, Amin became increasingly despondent for being in dire need of money.
One morning, I woke up bright and early per usual to ready myself for work, when a coworker called me and said the workers were to be paid that day. I was on top of the world hear that, and couldn’t wait to tell Amin.
I rapped smoothly on the door, and as per normal his pretty little daughter answered.
“Good morning,” she said in soft tone.
“Good morning, Amal. Is daddy home? Tell him there is good news,” I told her, and she went in.
“Hi! Good news?” Amin said eagerly.
“I received a call: they’ll pay us today,” I told him smiling.
The news made him jump up and down, and fanatically hugged his little daughter. His wife Wafaa was surprised by the outburst, but when she discovered why, she was full of joy as well. He said his farewells to his family and we left to work.
“I am in a good heart now. I suffered much the previous months for being penniles. I always had that dream of cheering my family, and now it’s time. When I get paid, I’ll buy Amal and my wife all that they need. We will travel where we want, have good time, and forget the frugal months,” he said in tears.
He was blessed with a family. For me, marriage didn’t take precedence over other wishes, but he made me yearn for it.
“Aren’t you thinking of finding a spouse?” he asked.
I struggled to find an answer, and said, “Well, I don’t think it’s a good idea for the moment. I still have a lot to do. Marriage will come later.”
We were about to cross the road when a car hit Amin. I was stunned and could not react in time. Blood covered almost his entire body and head. I drew close to him when I heard him murmuring.
“Take…care…family,” he muttered, and his soul left his body peacefully. The ambulance did not come in time.
I was beyond miserable, as I had lost the best friend I had ever had. Telling his wife was my responsibility. I knocked at the door and she opened herself.
I often return for breakfast when Amin was busy working. “It’s too early, I haven’t made the breakfast yet. You’ll have to wait,” Wafaa said, and prepared to shut the door.
“It’s not breakfast. It’s Amin. I’m sorry, but I have to say this. A car hit him and he didn’t survive,” I told her in tears. She couldn’t bear the news and passed out.
His sudden death turned our lives upside down. I thought that I wouldn’t live a normal life without him. With the help of her neighbors, Wafaa recovered. I met her at hospital to see him. She couldn’t stand seeing his body. She looked at him in dismay and left, and then burst into tears.
We went back home to that find Amal, Amin’s little daughter, had locked herself inside once her neighbors; told her what happened. Wafaa mournfully opened the door and hugged her daughter, trying to pacify her. She was drenched with tears. Amin’s death took a heavy toll on them, and I was afraid that happiness would never return to their lives.
I was devastated at his funeral. It was difficult to bury my best friend ever, but it’s life. I had to be placid, and I simply said my farewells, with his last words engraved in my mind. “Take care of my family.”
One year later, Wafaa told me that she had to find a job, as she could no longer live on a charity account. It was a duty to take care of them, but I really couldn’t give them any of my pay. It wasn’t even enough to meet my own needs.
I thought marrying her would be a good solution for all of us, so I went to suggest the idea to Wafaa.
“Amin was a true brother to me, and before he died he asked me to take care of both of you, but I can’t, because my salary wouldn’t satisfy all of our needs. That’s why I thought of marrying you,” I said
After a moment of silence, she said, “There is just me to raise this little daughter, and I’m already months behind on rent, but I cannot find a job. I trust your good intentions. I won’t refuse if my daughter says agrees.”
Amal welcomed the decision, as she considered me a father after hers passed away.
And I wonder if you, dear readers, would approve of my decision. I’m not sure if I did what should have been done…
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