We checked out bright and early and left to get the kids, to my surprise they were ready to leave. I nudged Abdullha and we told the kids we were taking them to Disney land Paris. Ahmed laughed cried and complained at the same time. Nadia was furious, why would we waste an entire day at Disney land when we could be seeing the fashion capital of the world. I gave her one of those ‘be silent or else’ looks, which actually worked.
Rahim’s parents stayed in London. Drama Queen of the year, Fati was moaning about why Rahim can afford to take Salma to Paris but not her , his own sister. I pulled her aside and told her to quit the crap and if she wanted to go so badly she should tell her millionaire husband to take her. She told me , I should butt out and the Fat Cow needs to leave her brother because she was making him poor. I stood there in utter shock, Salma and Rahim hadn’t even been married for a week. I wanted to smack her and tell her to get a life. I think she read my mind because she decided to take a stab at me about how I dress Nadia like we’re so poor while her children get the finest of everything. I just breathed and smiled, this wasn’t worth the effort.
Rahim and Salma arrived and we decided to get going. The trip was long, any trip with kids is far too long. When they were about to kill each other Salma came to the rescue and kept them occupied so I could have a moment of peace.
Rahim came to sit next to me for a bit , making general chat and telling how thankful he was that we had come and how much he appreciate the gift and loved our family. I told him th feeling was mutual and we were so excited for him and Salma and the new life they were starting.
After ten minutes of us sitting in silence, I told Rahim what had happened with the police and how stressed Abdullah had been by it. He reassured me and called Salma’s dad and explained the situation to him. The man was concerned, Rahim got up and walked away from me so I couldn’t hear the rest. The knot in my tummy tightened.
Finally we reached Paris. The city of love, the next few days would create stories we’d tell our grandkids someday. The crisp fresh air, the cool wind against my face, the snazzy dressers, the sidewalk cafes. All those Paris clichés were true stories and I would tell my grandkids about all of it. Salma read my mind and winked at me , she understood. (yes you can tell when a lady in niqab smiles… it’s all in the eyes.)
Nadia was so excited, she took photos of every thing even and gave me a withering look when I told her we had trees back home too. I will never understand this Instagram generation and their hashtags. We headed to the hotel to get settled, my mother-in-law was uncharacteristically quiet and even decided to stay at the hotel and relax with a book instead of joining us for the Red City Bus tour.
Paris looks magical, we walked and ate and shopped and ate some more. The food options were limited but the dessert selections were pretty large. The chocolate croissants and coffee had me and Nadia pigging out like crazy. Parisians were not friendly and they all seemed to be in a rush. I wondered how anyone could be in a rush , when the city was so romantic and pretty mesmerising.
That night we got to the hotel room so late, it was almost time to leave for Euro Disney. We didn’t have time to eat so we just got changed and called a cab. I left a note for the newlyweds telling them to enjoy the day and make memories to last a life time. I asked the lady at reception to deliver the note with a box of chocolates.
Nadia’s mood lightened when she saw the Castle and the rides. One day was far too little to see everything but it was better than nothing. The kids had a blast and I felt 6 again. Abdullha was in a lighter mood and he joined us on the rides. By midday we were exhausted, Ahmed fell asleep while eating and Nadia was ready to go home. But this was our day and we were going to cram in as much as possible.
We had an incident on one of the rides, a guy told me to please not bomb the ride and his friends laughed, Abdullah got really angry but I told him to let it go, this was our family fun day and they couldn’t dampen the mood. Nadia shouted at them and I had to pull her away before it got out of control. She started crying, asking how they could treat me that way. I gave her the ‘sticks and stones’ talk and dragged her towards the scariest looking ride!
The rest of the day went by in a blur. We had a blast and we only began walking to the gate after the closing announcement was made. We hailed a cab and all fell asleep on the ride back to the hotel. We were exhausted and slept most of the following day. Our trip was almost over, there were a few sightseeing and shopping trips and Abdullah loved the The Grande Mosquée de Paris and as usual he made some friends there. I asked him how many foreign friends a Muslim needs before he becomes a terror suspect and he just laughed.
The days in Paris were simply not enough, the essence of the city is hard to describe. I decided that it’s called the City of love not for the hopeless romantics but because it’s so hard not to fall in love with the place.
As we left Paris, I was thank full for the memories we had created and for the time Abdullah and I had spent alone during our holiday rediscovering each other few away from the craziness of our work schedules and family life. Abdullah was the love of my life and I was addicted to everything about him. The vacation had given me moments to hold close in some of the darkest times that followed. Shortly after the trip Abdullah was taken away from us due to a simple misunderstanding. Everything was about to change and it wasn’t for the better.