Jeedah arranged her room; she wore her yellow shirt and her pants, which were decorated with colorful butterflies. Out of her many colorful scarves, she picked the pink one. She put it on her hair and tied its ends making a big knot on her head. She looked closely at her mirror, and put her hand on her neck:
Oh... this light colored shirt needs a colorful necklace She opened the drawer of her dressing table and searched through the necklaces and bracelets.
“Oh…this one is very suitable”.
She took out the colorful bead- necklace with its similar bracelet- which she had made last year- wore them, looked at her mirror and smiled. She looked like blooming flowers.
Everything seemed to be cheerful during this spring day. Maybe because she is going to spend it with her cousin Zina.
“Do you need anything mum, I am going to Zina” Jeedah said.
Her mother came from the kitchen as if she had remembered something important: “sure dear, wait a moment”.
She wiped her wet palms with a kitchen’s towel and went out in a hurry.
Jeedah got a little upset because she knew that her mother’s moment could last up to thirty minutes. May be Jeedah was exaggerating a little bit. Her mother came back quickly with a red iPad device in her hand; it was Jeedah’s grandmother device which she put carefully in a velvet cover: “Please take it to your grandmother and tell her that the Photoshop is ready”.
Jeedah put the device in her summer jeans bag, which fitted all her bright summer clothes: “Ok, but I will go to Zina first”.
Her mother kissed her as usual: “Take care dear”.
Jeedah went down the building’s stairs two by two steps: “Yes mum”…
Jeedah had lots of fun at Zina’s house and her grandmother’s house.
Fortunately, Zina lives near her grandmother.
Thanks to her grandmother, Jeedah learned to love colors. In every corner of the gramma’s house there was an embroidered sheet or a colorful mirror. Although she was sixty years old, she was still interested in drawing and trying everything new.
Last summer, Jeedah attended with her grandmother a hand embroidery course and Jeedah’s designs were the best.
Her grandmother told her that her designs were similar to those of madam Suad.
Madam Suad was the first one who embroidered “abayas” with gilded threads and designed the wedding dress of Jeedah’s mother; as her grandmother had told her. Jeedah laughs whenever she remembers the puff sleeves of her mother dress.
Her grandmother told her that madam Suad had awarded the golden needle prize for that design. Jeedah dreamed a lot to win a prize in design.
In two minutes, Jeedah arrived to Zina’s house.
Jeedah and Zina looked like two sisters, but Zeina was taller. Jeedah doesn’t mind, because Zina was one year older, and she has enough time to get taller.
Zina walks quietly but Jeedah jumps quickly, so every time Jeedah was running ahead and knocking at her grandmother’s door first. But this time, Jeedah had stopped in front of the building which was before her grandmother’s house and walked quietly next to the garden fence surrounding the building; suddenly Zina stopped in front of her: “what happened to you? What are you looking for?” Jeedah signed to her to listen: “Do you hear a cat’s meow”?
Zina raised her shoulders in astonishment.
“Yes I hear, so”
Jeedah got closer and tried to look inside the garden which was not clear because of the high twisted thick branches:
“It is not an ordinary meow, it is a cat that is suffering, where is it? I can’t see anything” Jeedah said.
Zina laughed: “How do you know that it is suffering? Do you know the cat’s language?”
Jeedah signed to her to listen:
“Did you remember the sound of my cat when it was sick? It was similar to baby crying. Listen, do you hear?”
Zina came closer to the garden fence: “yes, you are right, but the sound seems to be deep, come on to search around”. They went around behind the building, but they didn’t find anything.
Zina held Jeddah’s hand well:” No, the sound becomes far away, it is not here; let’s come back”
Jeedah stopped at the corner of the building where there was no garden fence and the branches of plants were far apart.
“Zina, look, we can enter from here”. Zina hesitated a little, but the sad meow of the cat made her agree: “ok, come on”.
They entered the garden, and searched well among the twisted bushes, but they didn’t find anything.
They noticed that the sound was coming from inside the ground floor that surrounded by the garden.
The Flat NO.58 was always dark with closed doors and windows, but that time it looked different, one of its windows was exposed and behind it there was a white curtain; while the door next to it was closed by blind reaching the ground. They approached it, and then they heard the cat’s meow very clearly. Jeedah knelt next to the source of the sound and looked through the small gap between the blind and the ground:
“Zina, look, the tail is here and the cat’s body is inside behind the glass”.
Zina bent over beside Jeedah:” Oh, the cat’s tail stuck in the door gap”
Jeedah stood and tried to look through the blind gaps:
“How the households don’t notice it? Is there anybody here?”
Zina pulled her from her shoulder and pushed her away from the window: “Jeedah what are you doing? You are spying on other people’s homes. Jeedah got away from Zina and looked through the exposed window:
“I am not spying, I am just looking if there is anybody inside, look there is a lady!” Zina approached and looked through the window; behind the white curtain they saw a woman sitting on the sofa, wearing a black abaya and a scarf on her head. She was sitting sideways so they didn’t see her face. Her taut back indicated that she was young; her palm was near her cheek, her arm was resting on the sofa, she looks like she was talking on the phone.
Jeedah knocked on the window:” ma’am, ma’am, please”.
Jeedah knocked again: ”ma’am, I am here”.
Zina pushed her away firmly: “she will not hear you, do not you see that she is talking on the phone, let’s ring the doorbell”.
The two girls left the garden and entered the building. The door of the apartment No.58 was the brown one to the left. They approached to ring the bell, but they found the door slightly open. They looked with astonishment. Zina knocked the bell and waited a little, there was no sound inside except for the cat’s intermittent meow. Jeedah knocked the bell twice, but they did not hear any movement inside.
Jeedah wondered: “how strange! The lady is inside, but how does she not hear the bell ringing and the cat’s meow?”
Zina whispered: “may be she was busy having an important conversation!” Jeedah pushed the door slightly inward:
“Ok, let’s come in and awaken her”.
Zina clicked the door successive clicks:” wait, let’s ask permission again” .Jeedah did not wait and she pushed the door, then the house became clear to her. She whispered to Zina: “look she is still in the same place, let’s talk to her”. Zina held her cell phone:” No, wait, let’s tell our grandmother”; But their grandmother did not answer. Jeedah did not wait, she entered, and then Zina followed her. They got inside the house, and were surprised by the smell of fresh coffee, and the light soap fragrance. At the end of the wide salon which they entered, the lady was still sitting on the sofa near the window, and still in the same position, her back was facing them. The two girls approached carefully:
“Hello ma’am”. The lady did not move; there was no sound in the house except for the cat’s loud meow. The two girls looked at each other anxiously, but there was no way back. They approached more to talk to the lady face to face. They were facing a white face without features; they got frightened and turned back: “Oh, in the name of Allah the merciful”.
It was a mannequin.It was a mannequin.
Zina put her hand on her chest, she was gasping:
“Oh my God, what is this place?”
Jeedah closed her eyes and breathed deeply; she tried to calm down and began to scan the place with a close look. There was another headless mannequin wearing a white wedding dress with puff sleeves:
“Is time stopped here? How old this fashion is!”
There was another mannequin with an embroidered abaya; Jeedah touched its golden embossed threads and smiled as an expert. She has mastered this art completely. She was fascinated while wandering among these things; there was an old style sewing machine, dresses designs painted on yellowish papers, big scissors, long wooden ruler, a fabric cactus plant with colorful pins, and dozens of silk and colored golden and silver threads spools. That place was so familiar for Jeedah as if she had visited it in her most beautiful dreams. She approached a golden object and raised it high:
“Oh my God, the golden needle prize”.
Zina shook her shoulder: “have you forgotten why we are here?”
Jeedah noted: “No, no I do not forget”.
The two girls wandered to search in the place, and they started calling:” is anyone here?”, “the cat is stuck, is anyone here?” The two girls stopped waiting for an answer, but there was no sound except the cat’s meow.
Zina held Jeedah’s hand anxiously:” Jeedah, let’s come out of here”.
Jeedah left Zina’s hand and pointed to the source of the sound:
“What about the cat? Have you forgotten that we entered to save her?” They followed the cat’s meow which guided them to a room to the right. Zina said firmly:” if we don’t find it, we will leave immediately”.
They entered the room; the place was dark, as the sunlight coming from the blind was not enough. The cat was meowing and scratching behind the wide sofa against the glass door.
The two girls looked behind the sofa:
“That it is, wow it’s too small, Zina push the sofa a little bit” Jeedah said.
Zina pushed the sofa, and then Jeedah pulled the glass door which was pressing on the tail. The cat pulled its tail and gave a sharp meow.
Jeedah pulled it from under the sofa gently; she cuddled it and examined its tail:” thank God, it didn’t get hurt”.
Zina wondered: “poor cat, it seems that someone closed the door without realizing that it was here. But isn’t strange they didn’t hear it?” the cat went away and jumped out of the room; at the same moment ,the two girls heard the sound of the exterior door closing hard and the voice of an old woman:
“Oh, a naughty cat, where have you been? I’ve been looking for you for in the garden, and you’re here!” The girls were frozen with fear, Jeedah whispered:” it seems that she is the owner of the house, what shall we do? Let’s runaway”
The two girls didn’t think long, they turned towards the sound of the crutch coming towards them; then they found the old woman at the door of the room. She stared at them and gasped fearfully: “who are you? What are you doing here?”
Zina tried to calm down: “sorry ma’am, we heard a cat’s meow, and the door was open so we entered to save the cat, and we were going to leave immediately”.
The old woman put her hand behind her ear, and approached more:
“What do you say; you hide the cat behind the door!”
The two girls went back, Jeedah tried to explain to her:
“We didn’t hide it; we found it stuck behind the sofa”
The old woman stared at them trembling on her crutch: ”
what! I couldn’t hear you!”
Zina pulled Jeedah from her sleeve:” it seems that she does not hear well, it is useless to repeat the words, and we must find another way”.
The old woman left them and went back to the mannequin’s room, they followed her, and then she turned towards them:
“You won’t get out of here until I make sure you haven’t stolen anything”. She sat on the sofa facing the mannequin with black abaya, she looked at them, and the two girls were astonished: “what shall we do?”
Zina said:” do you have a pen and a paper?”
Jeedah took out her drawings notebook which she always carried in her bag. Zina took a paper and wrote what happened.
The old woman read the paper and threw it away: “I don’t believe kids tricks, you will not get out of here until my son comes along and searches you”
She held her phone and started to tap on the screen.
Zina wrote another paper and gave it to her:
“We are neighbors, my grandmother ‘Om Hassan’ lives in the next building”
The old woman frowned, and then she started thinking:” I don’t remember any one with that name, I was out of the country for ten years and came back only two days ago”.
Jeedah looked at Zina desperately: “Oh no! We’re in a big trouble?”
Zina tried to calm here down. She opened her mobile phone and gave it to Jeedah. Jeedah read on the bright screen:” Grandma, don’t worry if we are late, we are at flat NO.58”.
Jeedah looked wondering, and then Zina whispered:” I had sent her this message before we entered here, she is going to be here in a couple of minutes, and the old woman will remember her. Don’t worry”. Jeedah shook her shoulders:
“Do you think she will come? Your grandma checks her phone every five hours!”
The old woman watched them while she was patting on her cat’s back which calmed in her lap.
After ten minutes, the bell start ringing. Jeedah looked at Zina fearfully: “it must be her son”. The old woman leaned on her crutch and went towards the door. Zina was surprised and whispered: “how did she hear the bell?”
The old woman opened the door. She was their grandmother. She got inside, and the two ladies embraced each other as close friends:” madam Suad, thank God for safety, when did you come back?”
The old woman said: “thanks dear “Om Hassan”, I would have called you if you hadn’t come”.
The grandmother scanned the place and found the two girls surprised. Zina was astonished that the old woman could hear, while Jeedah was thinking:” is it possible to be Madam Suad? The same designs, the same embroidered abayas and the same golden needle prize”
The grandmother looked at them wondering why they were there and said: “forgive me madam Suad, I hope the two girls didn’t bother you; I just noticed my granddaughter’s message and immediately came”.
The old woman laughed and explained to her how she found them in her house.
Their grandmother frowned:” you should never enter any house for any reason without permission; apologize to the lady and promise not to do that again”.
The two girls approached and Zina started talking:” sorry madam, sorry my grandma. We wouldn't have entered if not for the cat’s heart-breaking sound and we were going to leave immediately. ”
Jeedah continued:” the door was open, so we entered to warn the lady sitting on the sofa, but it was a mannequin”.
The old woman smiled, and invited them to sit down:
“Madam Om Hassan Please come in. Actually, the two girls saved the cat. Since morning I have not seen it or heard its sound, so I went out looking for it; if they hadn’t come, it’d have been still stuck. God forgive me, I closed the door without realizing it was there”.
The grandmother asked:” didn’t you hear its meow madam?
The old woman smiled and looked at the girls:” I didn’t hear them well at first. But then I noticed that my earpiece was not fixed well, so I fixed it and here I am”.
Jeedah and zina were surprised, and the old woman continued:
” In fact, I never doubted they were being raised well, and when they told me they are your granddaughters, I became more confident. But I wanted to teach them a lesson”.
Jeedah and Zina looked at each other and they were embarrassment. The grandmother shook her head with agreement: You are right madam Suad, if they had entered another house, they would have been in a big trouble.
The girls repeated their apology for madam Suad. She forgave them and said that she was pleased to meet them.
She repeated their names to memorize: “Jeedah, Zina”
Their grandmother sat with the old woman remembering the old days. Now, Jeedah was very sure that madam Suad was the same famous fashion designer.
She invited them to visit her again, and then Jeedah looked anxiously, her grandmother understood her:” sure, sure madam Suad we will visit you many times”.
Their grandmother put her hand on Jeedah’s shoulder proudly:
“My granddaughter is interested in design and fashion. Do you have anything of your drawings to show madam Suad?”
Jeedah opened her bag excitedly; she took out her drawings notebook and sat next to madam Suad who admired her drawings.
“Wonderful, you have a high artistic sense baby, have you seen the fashion lines of this year?”
Jeedah looked wondering. Madam Suad smiled with confidence: “Every year fashion designers agree on general lines of fashion, when you come to visit me next time, I will tell you all the secrets”. It was more than Jeedah could dream of, it is true that they made a mistake entering the house; but she was happy with this adventure which brought her to the house of the most famous fashion designer in the UAE in the past decade.
The old woman said while she was saying goodbye:
” well done Zina, it is good to tell your grandma everything that happens with you”.
Zina smiled and winked at Jeedah, she always saved her in embarrassing situations.