“Ahem! Yusuf. My daughter has summoned you regarding your Nikkah proposal,” announced Mr Ismail.

Mr Ismail then turned to Hawa and joked in her ear, “If you don’t marry this boy, I will.”

Yusuf spilt a drop of coffee from his mouth as he let out a little giggle. Hawa, unimpressed by her father’s comedic comment, rolled her eyes, eagerly awaiting the moment of embarrassment to pass.

“The stage is all yours, my daughter,” said Mr Ismail as he sat down and observed Hawa’s final decision.

The pair turned towards each other in awkward silence as though it was the first meeting all over again.

Yusuf cleared his throat as his eyes fell on the bunch of pink roses in the corner of the lounge.

“Do you remember how you came to adore pink roses?” he asked. Hawa tried to recall where her love for pink roses began, but she couldn’t.

“No, I guess I’ve just always loved them,” replied Hawa. Yusuf’s playful eyes fell to the ground; disappointment marked his face. He frowned, and she could tell a jumble of thoughts was passing through his mind.

“Would you like to have another butter biscuit?” asked Hawa.

“No tramakassie,” replied Yusuf as he tried to coat his disappointment with a weak smile.

Mamma Hafsa barged through the door with grocery bags full of vegetables.

“Hawa, will you lend me a hand, Kanala,” she pleaded. Yusuf hurried to help Mamma Hafsa with the heavy bags. Mamma Hafsa stared at him with a frown and examined his every angle.

“Wag ‘n bietjie, you look familiar, boy?” she inquired. “What is your mom’s name?”

“Uhm…Ashiqah, Ashiqah Jaftha,” replied Yusuf nervously.

Mamma Hafsa let out a loud giggle. ”Oh my goodness! Little Yusuf! Look at how big you have grown!” she excitedly remarked. Confused, Hawa and her father stared at each other. Mamma Hafsa then pointed to Hawa.

“Do you still remember Hawa?” she asked.

Yusuf’s gaze moved to Hawa. Silently he stared at her, his eyes hungry for Hawa’s recognition. Hawa stared at Yusuf, then at Mamma Hafsa.

“Maaammmaa, what are you talking about?” she asked.

“Don’t you remember!” scoffed Mamma Hafsa. “Yusuf’s grandmother, Zahra and I were great friends back in the day. We were neighbours from the district. She owned a beautiful and aromatic nursery. Ashiqah Jaftha is her daughter. We visited her all the time. You and Yusuf were two menaces,  inseparable. Hand in glove. But after the forced removals, Zahra passed away, and I lost contact with Ashiqah. Last I heard, you guys relocated to Saudi. Until I bumped into your mummy a few weeks ago at the airport.”

Hawa’s thoughts rolled all over the place, trying to regain memories of young Yusuf. A smile of relief marked Yusuf’s nervous face as he walked towards Hawa. As he made his way to her, he stared into her eyes and asked her again.

“Do you now remember how you came to adore pink roses?” He lifted his hand to reveal a shiny gold rose brooch sitting in the palm of his shaky hand.

“My brooch!” cried Hawa. “It was you! You gifted me this brooch!”

Yusuf stared shyly at the ground as he nodded his head in agreement.

“It was my grandmother’s favourite brooch,” he remarked.

“Yes, I remember the pesky little boy who plucked pink roses from his grandmother’s garden,” she answered as she giggled in disbelief.

“I guess you are not a stranger after all,” said Hawa as she smiled back at her childhood friend.

Yusuf whispered,  “Is this romantic enough for you?” Then he stared into her eyes.

Mr Ismail sat with his fist under his chin, let out a huge sigh and commented, “I guess I’ll start with the Nikkah preparations.” Like Adam found Eve, Yusuf found Hawa.

‘Yusuf, I choose you,” said Hawa as she stared into his eyes.


The leaves changed from green to orange as they moved along the timeline of life.

Yusuf was the name written next to mine many years ago. Our love story might not be average, but it was decreed way before we were born … wrote Hawa as she finished off the last section of her writing piece.

She closed her notebook and breathed in the fresh air, surrounded by a garden of pink roses. She  smiled at all the things she once prayed for as she lay back in her husband’s arms. He had remained loyal and true, and passionate. Her head nestled on his shoulder.  Like Adam and Eve, Allah paired Yusuf and  Hawa on earth, she thought.

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