It was expected to be a wonderful night. In fact, it had started out that way. On Friday night Mo, the four kids and I decided to take the kids' two grandmothers out for supper - Mo's mum and mine.
Not even the uncharacteristically leathery unchewable meat at our favourite curry joint could dampen the spirits. The kids were bursting with excitement to have both their grannies with them - while the grannies themselves took turns whispering to each other and giggling like naughty school girls (many of the jokes causing Mo and me to cringe while pretending not to hear).
Mo decided to drop my mum off first - she lives the furthest away and he felt it preferable to drop his mum off on the way back home.
After saying our goodbyes we headed toward Strandfontein Road, as it was the quickest route to Mo's mum's house. We had just turned into that road when we heard a deafening bang, which sounded exactly like a gunshot.
We knew that something had hit the car - we just did not know what.
''Everybody duck down! Duck!'' Mo yelled. At that point we had been convinced that a shot had been fired and that the car had been hit. A few seconds later an even louder, more terrifying bang could be heard - followed by shattering glass. The kids screamed hysterically - my blood ran cold as I heard Shakeel (13) whimper. He had been lying sleeping in the back corner of our mini-van (which has 3 rows of seats - he had lain in the left had corner of the 3rd row).
''My back,'' he groaned. ''My back hurts''. He climbed forward to the second row, where Mo's mum inspected his back. There was no blood - it seemed as if the pain was being caused by the miniscule fragments of glass which had penetrated his back. Mo got out to inspect the cause of the incident. By that time there was no-one in the bushy grass alongside the road.
Tharaa (10), who had been sitting on the other side of the back row, sat picking pieces of glass out of her hair. Both she and Shakeel were understandably shaken up and therefore opted to climb into the second row and sqeeze into the available space.
The kids were terrified; feeling insecure and anxious. Mo's mum tried to lighten the mood by informing them of how sweet Aisha (2) had been immediately after the incident when, filled with concern, she had asked, '' Tharaa, are you okay?''
But the kids remained afraid. Mo was quiet - I knew that he was furious. I understood the fury one feels when one is a victim of a crime.
It appears that someone had hurled a rock against the window, which was the first bang we heard. This only managed to crack the window- possibly because of the tint we had put on all the windows last month to protect the kids from the sun. The second bang we heard had been the result of a brick which had then been hurled against the same cracked window (possibly by a second person). Mo found this brick in the car. It had caused the window to fall out - it seemed as if the pieces of glass were being held together by the tint.
Mo even found pieces of glass in Aisha's baby car-seat, which means that the glass had flown into the the second row of seats (behind the driver's seat) on the opposite side of the car. Yesterday he found more glass behind the steering wheel just under the speedometer! Shakeel is also still bruised, as the part of the brick had hit him on his back.
The kids were visibly rattled. I ranted and raved about leaving the country. I insisted that Mo check the Skilled Occupations List of Australia - I wanted to move as soon as possible. I looked over at my kids who were all sitting huddled together under a blanket on the sofa. And then I realised that we were incredibly incredibly lucky. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God).
I went to sit by them. They told me that they were afraid. I calmly told them that we had been protected. If God had intended for us to be injured, it would have been so. How fortunate we were - firstly, the tint, (which we had only put on a month ago) drastically minimised the impact of the brick once it hit the window. Secondly, despite Tharaa's attempts to awaken Shakeel, he continued to sleep like a rock - seat reclined with his back facing the window. If he had been sitting in his usual upright position, he would most certainly have been hit in the face.
I shudder to think of how close we had come to a really awful situation. If the window had not been tinted and Shakeel had been sitting in his normal position - I shudder to think what the force of that brick entering the untinted window would have done to his face. The tiny fragments of glass we were picking out of his back could very well have been in his eyes.
الحمد لله والشكر لله (All praise and thanks be to God).
I have had moments of anger at the perpetrators - especially when I see how shaken up my kids are. I do believe that what goes around comes around. I'm not wishing ill on anyone, but I do believe in Divine justice. But I don't ponder upon those feelings for too long; doing so would detract from my gratitude - at having being blessed and protected.