The Life I Promised You Part #3

That night, as Hamzeh entered their apartment and laid eye on Noor's big, round belly, his face did not show any expressions of surprise. He took off his shoes, mumbled his usual “Salam Noor jan.” and followed Saeed to their tiny living/bedroom. Noor went to the kitchen to boil up some water and bring them some tea. As the water was boiling, she stood near the door. All her ears could pick up was mumbling and “state”, “supervisor”, “drive”. The moment she entered the room with the tray, Hamzeh stood up. - I won't be disturbing you anymore. - Please stay baradar jan I just brought tea. He nodded his head no while mumbling a couple of “thank you”s. As soon as they were alone, Saeed took the tray from Noor and put it on table. “He said there is an open position for supervision.” He put a cup in front of her. “His close friend is also a supervisor. It doesn't seem like a scam.” He slid a couple of biscuits to the plate. “It's in the neighbor state.” He placed the plate in front of Noor. “It's a four-hour drive.” Since the beginning of this conversation, Saeed hadn't locked eyes with her even once. Finally, he rose his head. “We have to work it out Noor jan. I'm sorry.” She remained solid. Again a wall of silence appeared to be surrounding them. “I don't want to ask you to be strong beyond what you're going through right now.” Saeed was the first one to break it. “This seems like our best option for now.” “When will I be able to see you?” Noor's voice stopped the silence from building further. Saeed's eyes turned to her, his gaze was still anxious but Noor's question, or simply she addressing him at that point, made him feel less guilty for a second. “On weekends.” Noor had placed Saeed's sack on the bed, slowly packing some essentials for him. She had put one hand on her belly, stroking it gently over her maxi. Apparently Saeed had to share a room with a couple of other workers who supposed to commute on a weekly basis. She packed a box of masks and some cold medicine. They kept saying that what this new virus does to the body is similar to a cold, but worst. Saeed had to leave at 6 AM tomorrow morning. They both tried to go to sleep for at least a few hours, but it did not felt like an option at that moment. Saeed was running his fingers through her locks and brushing them against her cheeks from time to time. Her belly was pressing right next to his, as if the baby had already found its spot to sleep between them, while they'd be protecting it like two human shields. He closed his eyes, his hand still resting in her hair. “I'll make the life that I promised you to have with me.” Noor wrapped her arm tighter around his waist. “I know.” - Her doctor had predicted that she'd go through labor around the second week of Saeed's absence. Her chest started to feel heavy the moment Saeed got into Hamzeh's car. It was the first time that she had to be left alone after they'd moved to this country. Both of them. There were plenty of nights they both had to stay late at work, but there was always the other person to come home to. But not this time. Nothing felt or looked promising. Not for them. And apparently, not for the world that surrounded them. Every time she'd turn on their tiny TV, there was death news because of a deadly virus that could enters one's body by doing something as necessary and simple as breathing. There was a baby growing inside her. They were already on a financial strain. Saeed wasn't supposed to leave her side. People were dying because they were breathing. She did not want to keep her hopes up one them just to have them being torn down again. - Hamzeh's wife, Suraya, checked up on her twice a week. She had only seen her once before this whole situation happened. It was literally their first week in U.S. when they invited them over to their house to spend a day together. She remembered having a whole conversation with her about many things, from the stores back in Afghanistan they both used to shop at, to how cold are the winters here. “It's OK if you cry yourself to sleep every night. Just don't let him see your tears. He might play strong in front of you but he is as scared as you are. Saeed is just like Hamzeh.” This sentence never left Noor's head.

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