15 Minutes Later.
Benali Residence | San Myshuno.
Nura was in the kitchen preparing tea when she was interrupted by a knock at the door. She assumed it was Aahana, back from … whatever she went to go do, but was surprised to see it was Salim instead. They had barely spoken in weeks, after their last conversation went … awry, so a visit from him that day, was not something she was expecting. He must’ve been there for Aahana instead. Yes! That must be it! See, he, being the more reasonable of the two, must’ve come to his senses and realized what needed to be done. He was going to apologize … or … perform some other … problem solving gesture and fix this nonsense between them. Then they, could finally get things back to where they should be. With him and her, together as a family, just in time for her grandchildren’s’ arrival.
Nura, excited: Ani is not here but come in, come in. She should be back soon. Tell me, how have you been?
Salim, confused: I’m … good but … why would I come here looking for Ani?
Nura: Well we have not had a proper conversation in weeks so I assumed you were here to see her since you cannot be bothered to come visit your mother, but [holds hands up] it is fine, I do not want to argue. You’re here now and I’m happy to see you.
Salim: I’ve been kind of busy, but … that’s no excuse. You’re right and I’m sorry, okay?
Nura: You are forgiven. Now, while we wait for Ani, we need to talk.
Salim, still confused: Why are we waiting for Ani? Was she here?
Nura: She’s staying here until the babies are born? She did not tell you?
Salim, irritated: [sighs deeply] No. She didn’t. And that’s what I came here to talk about.
Aahana wasn’t Salim’s only problem. There was another one. One he just so happened to call Mom. And this particular problem was just as bad, if not worse, than the one with his children’s mother because she … she was stubborn and relentless and set in her ways. The only difference between the two women is that Nura could be reasoned with but only if, she was presented with a reasonable alternative and didn’t have to compromise on her core values.
Salim: Ani and I are NOT getting back together, okay? We’re don-
Nura: [turns head away] No! I will not hear of it. Those babies need to have a family, Salim, a real family. How is that going to happen if you are not together and [demonstrates with hands] you are living over here and she is living over there? That is not right. Your father and I did not raise you that way.
Salim: [shakes head] We don’t have to be together to take care of them, Mom. You gotta stop thinking like that. People live separately and co-parent all the time and that’s what we’re going to do.
Nura: [frowns] Is this because of that woman you are seeing? Is she the reason you cannot fully commit to your family?
Salim, aggravated: God, you sound just like Ani. No, this is not about Camilla-
Nura: Then tell me. Why you can be with her but not with the mother of your children? This woman, who is so important, who you’re choosing over your family, why haven’t I met her yet? Tell me.
Salim: Because of this! Ever since I told you Ani was pregnant, this is all you talk about. Every. Single. Time. Why would I bring her over here if you’re just going to run her off.
Nura, stubborn: I will do no such thing.
Salim: Yes, you will, if you keep this up … you’ll run her off … and you’ll run me off too …
Nura was shocked to hear him say those words. Her son. Her only son would actually … stop speaking to her?
Nura, hurt: I cannot believe you would speak to me this way. Your own mother.
Salim: [sighs] Mom … look.
Nura: [looks at him]
Salim: I want you to hear me when I say this, okay? I’m with Camilla now and one day, I’m going to marry her but until then, you gotta learn to accept her. Ani and I are not together anymore. That’s never going to change. I don’t love her. She doesn’t love me either. So if we get back together just for the babies, we’ll never be happy … they’ll never be happy … You said you want them to grow up with their family but wouldn’t you rather them have a happy one? Parents who don’t live together, who love them, but are happy? Happiness is what you want for the babies, right?
Nura paused for a moment, thinking a bit, before responding. Salim thought for sure, she was going to continue to fight him but her response … it was different than he expected.
Nura: This woman. You plan to marry her, yes?
Salim: [nods] Yes, one day.
Nura: Okay … Then I would like to meet her.