Fariha faked being asleep as soon as she heard footsteps coming toward her bedroom. She knew who it was. 'How many times do I have to yell at the same thing over and over again’? Her mother said while she opened the curtains of her bedroom window. 'Not again', Fariha thought to herself while her head was covered inside her blanket. 'Does anyone ever listen to me in this house? How do I change you and your brother when your father has the same habit of sleeping till noon on the weekend'. She pulled off Fariha's blankets. 'If you don't come down in 10 minutes you can forget about going out with your friends tonight'. She snapped before leaving her room.
Truth is you have to be asleep in order to wake up and Fariha never slept the entire night. She opened her eyes as soon as her mother left her room and the first thing she did was look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were swollen with all the crying from last night. If there's one thing she absolutely hates, it is someone discovering the fact that she has cried. She washed her face with plenty of water, dressed herself and made her way downstairs to the dining table within 10 minutes. If there's one thing she didn't want, it was challenging her mother's threats.
'Have you been crying again?' Azlan, her little brother whispered to her at the dining table. 'Just shut up and mind your own business', Fariha whispered back. She could hear her father coming downstairs and didn't want her parents to get suspicious about anything. It wasn't that her parents were not understanding. They were like friends to their children but on some days Fariha or even Azlan didn't have the words to explain them what they were going through in their lives. So, they preferred to keep things to themselves.
After breakfast Fariha made her way back to her room. She wanted to be left alone for the rest of the day. She had spent the entire night at her window, looking at the moon and talking to it as if it could understand ever word she uttered, every tear she shed. It's what she did whenever she couldn't sleep or when her whole world was falling apart.
Just like last night.
She decided to ditch her friends in order to avoid any questions they might ask her today at their hangout plan. 'They just need gossip anyway. They don't actually care about me', she thought to herself while she texted a friend with an excuse of not being able to join them today. All she could think of was her last night’s conversation with the moon. How she wished it was a living thing and could respond back to every dark secret she had shared with it. She had made the moon more of her friend than any human being. A part of her even felt like they had a real connection. She found herself constantly checking the time, waiting for the sun to set and the moon to come out so that finally, all her loneliness would disappear.
With all those thoughts, Fariha didn't realize when she fell asleep.
She woke up to the sound of someone screaming. She immediately rushed downstairs and found her family gathered in front of the television. 'What happened? I heard someone screaming'.
'We don't know exactly but they are instructing everyone to strictly stay inside and not leave our houses'. Azlan replied without looking at her.
'But why? What's wrong? Is there a terrorist attack or something'? Fariha felt a shiver down her spine to the thought of it. They did have threats from their neighboring country about such attacks but she never thought it was actually going to happen.
'It's much more serious than that', Azlan said, this time looking directly at her. There was fear in his eyes. A fear she had never seen before and it led her to rush in front of the television to see for herself what the news said.
'Has judgement day arrived'? A news headline read. 'Why is the sun still up’? Another one said. 'Is this the end of the world'?
One by one she read all the headlines and what she could make out was that all the places where the sun was supposed to set already, still faced bright daylight. She felt her whole body go numb as she realized that it would have been a lot better if it were just a terrorist attack.
Yesterday night she felt like her whole world had stopped when she found out that the boy she loved, who she was with for the past 2 years was cheating on her. But she could never have imagined that it wasn't just her world that stopped, but everyone else's, as well.
'What's going to happen now? Is this really the end of the world'? Fariha's mother blurted out with teary eyes and extreme fear in her voice. 'This can't be happening. This must be a dream. I'd really like to wake up now'! Azlan said. Fariha looked at her father, waiting for him to say something similar but he didn't. He just stood there expressionless, not knowing what to say or how to comfort his family. One by one he looked at all three of them-his wife and his two children. Tears started rolling down his cheeks as he opened his arms, gesturing for all three of them to give him a hug.
They rarely ever did that anymore. Get together like that in a hug. Fariha loved family hugs when she was younger. She still did but they rarely ever got together to spend some family time as everyone, including herself, grew separate and busy in their own lives. On some days they would hardly ever see each other. They all had dinners in different timings, would make excuses for not going out on the weekend when their mother urged to spend some time together, and on days when they were sitting together in one room they all would be busy looking in their phones, pretending to listen to their mom’s lectures.
'I don't know what is going to happen', Fariha's father began speaking while holding his family in his arms, 'All I know is that I love all of you so much and everything I have done, I have done for all three of you'.
There was silence after that as all four of them held each other closer and started crying. In that moment Fariha realized everywhere she has been wrong. About her family, about her friends, about her whole life in general. She always thought no one understood her or loved her. She had gradually grown distant and shut everyone out, her parents, her brother, her childhood friends. In the past two years she had given all her attention and energy to the one guy who was never sincere with her, and ignored all the other beautiful relations that have always been there for her.
In that moment all she could do was wish that she had more time, more time to make things right. More time to spend it with the right people. More time to do things differently this time.
But maybe, that was the thing about time. You only realize it's importance once it is up.
And now the world was ending and there was chaos in the entire world. But in that moment, all that mattered was that she was with her loved ones.
'Fariha honey? Are you alright? Fariha?' She heard her mother's voice but it felt like it was coming from a distance.
'I think she's not feeling well, I'm getting worried now. Fariha honey, please wake up..'
It took a while for her to adjust back to reality after opening her eyes. She looked at her parents' concerned expressions and stared at them blankly for a while.
'Honey, are you feeling alright? You've been asleep for so long', Her father said.
'You know we're always here for you if there is something wrong', her mother added.
And right in that very moment, Fariha hugged her parents and started crying.
'I love you two so much'. She managed to say. 'We know honey, we love you too and we're always here for you', her father said while hugging her tighter.
'We didn't want to interfere but you seemed so upset for the past few days and we just wanted to make sure that everything is alright', her mother said.
'Everything is alright, guys', Fariha said while wiping off her tears. 'Just had a bad dream. It got me really emotional. That's all.'
'That's okay. We're here for you whether it's a bad dream or the reality that is bothering you', her father said while putting a reassuring hand on his daughter's hand.
'I know' Fariha hugged her parents one more time. She felt like she got another chance at life. Another chance to make things right. And there was no way that she was going to let this chance slip. She was going to make the most of this chance from this moment onward.
While she was huddled in a hug with her parents her brother rushed inside her room causing them to get startled and face toward him.
'Come quick. The news...'
'What? What's wrong? Is everything alright?'
'No! They're saying there's something wrong with the sun!'
'What do you mean there's something wrong with the sun?' Their father stood up.
'It's all over the news! They're saying the sun didn't set today and the world has stopped moving! You have to come and see this!'
All three of them rushed out leaving Fariha behind, completely paralyzed, not being able to move even an inch.