Jana couldn't stand it. The way her mother acted, sometimes. It was enough to drive any normal teenage girl up the wall.
Jana's mother seemed to always be hungry for attention since Bo Fawaz left her. From family, from friends, from strangers - she always tried to flaunt herself and exaggerate her stories in order to make herself feel wanted. It broke Jana's heart sometimes, but at other times it became absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing. Um Fawaz had a way of talking - stretching out her words and babying her voice, and a way of dressing - wearing colorful high heels, tight jeans, and even tighter tops. Even when she'd go out to restaurants with her children, she'd make it a point for all the men to look at her. Jana hated more than anything being the daughter of divorced parents, and this was the exact reason why.
One summer night, Jana had fallen asleep late after staying up on the internet. Her mother barged into her room 15 minutes after she had dosed off and told her to take her to the hospital.
"3asa ma shar, Mama, shfeech??" Jana asked worriedly, springing up from her bed.
"Daggat galbi saree3a, madri shfeeni!" Her mother croaked in the dim light of Jana's room.
"Yalla, Mama, al7een awadeech," Jana wasn't in the mood to go anywhere at this hour, especially since she knew exactly what the doctors would say and what would happen. This wasn't the first time this happened. She slowly pulled her black Adidas sweater over her head and tied her hair up into a messy ponytail. "Are you ready to go, Mama?"
She peered into her mother's room only to find her mother getting dressed up in jeans, a long tunic, and high heels.
"Wain ray7een? Mo giltay binroo7 ilmstashfa?" Jana asked, sarcastically. It was 3 AM; there was no need for high heels and all that get-up, especially since she was so used to her mother throwing on an 3abaya for these instances.
"5al9eeni," her mother grumbled, grabbing her purse from the armchair, "Yalla."
The drive was quiet, except for her mother's loud breathing.
"Shfeech, are you ok?" Jana asked.
"Ee, ma feeni shay," her mother replied quietly. Jana raised her eyebrows, fed up with the silly charade her mother kept pulling.
They pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, and Jana's mother got down and teetered in her high heels towards the emergency room, Jana lugging behind her.
Her mother popped into the doctor's room, paying no heed to the people waiting in line before her. "Mama, fee nas gablich yayeen," Jana said, annoyed.
"Ma 3alaih," her mother replied. She began explaining to the Dr. M7amed about how she was in a deep sleep and how she suddenly jolted from her sleep because of her rapid heartbeats. She put her hand on the left side of her chest for emphasis. "Diktoor, madri shfeeni," she told him in a sad tone of voice.
"Ma feech illa il3afya, inshallah," Dr. M7amed replied, and proceeded to place his stethoscope along the lengths of her back. When he came around to put the stethoscope on her chest, Um Fawaz pulled the neckline of her shirt down, purposely exposing a little too much flesh. The doctor's face turned a deep pink, and Jana sucked her teeth and hid her face in shame.
Quickly, Dr. M7amed pulled away and said, "You heartbeat is normal. You might be just a little stressed out."
"Ee Dr., tadri ba3ad ilshi'3il wilbeit..," Um Fawaz began. Jana rolled her eyes in disgust. She knew there was nothing wrong with her mother; it was just a little act she'd create to make others pity her. Or to show herself off. Whatever it was, Jana was tired of it.
"I understand," Dr. M7amed smiled politely, and Jana and Um Fawaz made their way out of the doctor's room.
The drive home was quiet once again, untill Um Fawaz's mobile rang. It was Um 6areq, her best friend. Um 6areq was nocturnal - she would sleep for long hours during the day, and would stay up all night watching movies on MBC. "3alamich hal 7azza 6al3a? 3asa ma shar?" Jana could hear Um 6areq's loud voice from the phone.
"Ta3bana, walla, kint nayma chan afiz min ilnooma walagi galbi ga3d yidig bser3a! Madri shfeeni!" Um Fawaz repeated the story to her friend. Jana tried to stop herself from dozing off at the wheel, and luckily, they made it home in a few minutes time.
"Tabeeni anam 3indich?" Jana asked her mother, just in case she would have one of her incidents again.
"La, la, no need. Thank you, 7abeebti," she replied.
The next days went on as they usually did, with Jana waiting sourly for her mother's next performance.