The car Papa promised Jasir he would get to drive when he agreed to study enough to enter a good college, ended up causing arguments among the three siblings. Leena, the eldest, argued that he should not need to be motivated like this to study but should study on his own. Inaya, the middle child, argued that Leena liked to study, so for her studying was its own reward. Jasir did not see what the fuss was about as he was focused on enjoying his summer holidays before starting Matric. Mama finally stepped in and told Papa to explain to the children what he had intended by his promise.
“Let me show you children what I meant,” said Papa. “Come with me, Jasir.” Jasir got up and followed Papa out the door and into the driveway. Inaya went quickly after them, followed by Leena standing curiously at the front door. Mama continued what she had been doing without following the rest of the family outside.
Papa went up to the family car and gestured to it with one hand. “I told you that you can choose a car for yourself when you go to college,” he said.
“Yes...?” Jasir looked confused.
“I present to you the family car to choose,” Papa said. “You can drop me off at my office on your way to college, then it’s all yours to use to go to college.”
Jasir simply stared at him while his sisters stood wide-eyed. “But you said I could choose?”
Papa laughed and patted Jasir’s shoulder. “This is the option I can give you to choose right there.” He turned around and went back indoors.
Leena and Inaya exchanged glances. Jasir was the first to break the silence. “I knew it was too good to be—hey, don’t do that,” he said, as his sisters fell around laughing.
“Why?” Inaya said, gasping for air between laughs as she leaned on the family car for support. “Do I need your permission to hold onto your car while I laugh?”
“He hasn’t chosen it yet,” Leena said when she could stop laughing long enough to form a sentence.
“Like there’s any other option to choose,” Inaya said, finally straightening up, then immediately getting gripped by another round of laughter.
“Oh, come on!” Jasir threw his hands up in the air in annoyance. “You know he’s just taking me out of the backseat and putting me in the front to do all the work driving everyone in the morning!”
“When you’re old enough to drive, though.” Leena nodded seriously.
“That’s what he probably meant by waiting until you get into college,” Inaya said.
“Just let me get done with school and intermediate,” Jasir said. “I will drive this car to college even if that means I have to take Mama clothes shopping!” He slapped his fist into his palm with emphasis. His sisters stopped laughing.
“You’ll really do that even though you know it means being dragged around the whole shopping area all day?” Leena asked.
Jasir didn’t answer. He placed his hands on the front door handle of the car. “I can do things,” he said quietly. Turning around to face his sisters, he added, “Even if it’s getting into whatever college! I can do it. I can do it and I can drive this car and I can do the morning drive when I start driving. So there!”
“Let’s start with Matric,” Leena said, smiling from behind the hand she had placed over her mouth.
“I can do that, too!” Jasir stepped back. “You just got to do it alone, without older people bothering you because you’re the oldest. Yeah, I’m the second person doing Matric in this family, but you should focus on what you’re doing right now. I’ll do my own Matric.” He let out a long, loud breath, then he looked up. Inaya backed away from his glance.
“Don’t look at me,” she said, waving her hand in the air as if to brush him off. Jasir’s response was to slide down the side of the car laughing. Leena lowered the hand from her mouth. Inaya shook her head in the general direction of Jasir shaking with laughter, as if she herself had not been doing it just minutes before. “What’s so funny?” she asked.
Jasir gathered himself back up, took a deep breath and said, “When you said that, I suddenly thought that between Leena, you and me, we will have two Matric students and two O Levels.”
“What?” Inaya frowned.
“You know because you did O Levels twice.” He grinned. Leena suppressed her own grin with one hand and tapped his shoulder with the other.
“Ah! I wish.” Inaya pursed her lips. “Just let the exam result for this O Levels attempt come out and then I will never look back again. Then we can refer to it in the past tense.”
“You don’t have that much longer to wait, though,” Leena said.
“Hey!” Inaya crossed her arms. “You’re keeping too much of a close eye on when my results are due. Keep your eyes on your own.”
“She knows she doesn’t have anything to worry about her own grades as usual,” Jasir said. “She uses her freedom from that to worry about other people’s.” A huge grin spread across his face.
Leena just shook her head at him. “You can’t understand what it’s like to be the eldest,” she said.
Inaya rolled her eyes. “You don’t know what it’s like to have an annoying older sister!”
“I know more than both of you,” Jasir said. “I have two!”
The front door opened. A tray of clinking glasses with iced lemonade appeared, followed by Mama. “If you’re going to stand there talking in the heat, at least take this,” she said. Then her eyes fell on the car. “What have you been doing here?” she said. “There are streaks across the car.”
“Um,” Inaya said, not sure how to describe that they had been leaning on or sliding down the sides of the car while laughing uncontrollably.
“Thank you for this,” Leena said, taking the tray from Mama. “We’ll wipe down the car. Right?” she looked back at the others sharply. Inaya and Jasir responded by grabbing the glasses off the tray. Jasir had already gulped his down when Leena sat down with hers. Inaya waved a rag cloth in front of his face.
“Time to do things,” she said.
The day finally came when Inaya applied for a special turn at the family computer. Usually the turns at the computer had a set schedule. Now Inaya had a reason to ask to use the computer not only when it was not her turn, but even after the time for that turn was over.
“I have to wait for my exam results,” she said.
“You’re already waiting for them right now,” Jasir pointed out. “I don’t see why you have to cut my game time in half to do it.”
Inaya exhaled sharply. “What I mean is, I need to sit at the computer and keep trying to access the exam results page until I get in.”
“What’s keeping you out?” Leena asked.
“Everyone trying to access their results at once,” Inaya said.
“You don’t need the whole computer to yourself to do that,” Jasir said. “You can just leave it open while I’m playing and I’ll tell you.”
Inaya glared at him. “I want to see it myself, obviously!”
Leena laughed. “Just wait until you start grade 9 this year,” she said. “When you get your board exams result at the end, you’ll feel differently about it.”
“You know as well as I do that he won’t even bother to check his result and will wait for Mama or Papa to tell him what he got,” Inaya said. “I’m not like that. Trade turns with me.”
“All right,” Jasir said. “I get two of your turns for giving you this one.”
“Done,” Inaya said.
“I’ll just tell you when I want one of your turns, when you have it all planned out, and I’ll ask for it the day before,” Jasir said. “Twice.”
“Do whatever you want,” Inaya said, getting up quickly and going into her room. Jasir looked at her, puzzled.
“She doesn’t have time to be upset by something like that when her result is coming out so soon,” Leena said.
Another result day for the Moin family is on the horizon.
How is it going to turn out?
Keep your eye on Hackschool Project