” OVER MY DEAD BODY!” …
Her words sent rippling waves of shock, of guilt, of dread and then finally of rage flowing through my throbbing veins. My blood ran ice cold and I froze wondering how could my own mother be so heartless!
I told her that I could not return home to London in 4 weeks. I cried as I told her about my life there and how I hated everything. How I didn’t love my husband or even feel attracted to him. How I didn’t think that he loved me either! How my mother in law went out of her way to make my stay most unpleasant and uncomfortable!
I was sobbing…
I pleaded with her…
But my mother just listened silently with her back turned towards me as she stirred the pot cooking on the stove. Then came her reply…..
She would not house a divorced daughter. Did I not worry about the shame that this would bring to her name, she asked me. Everyone in the community would speak about her behind her back!
” Where will I put my face if you did that Sameera?” She asked me.
“Think about your nani! I don’t think that her heart would be able to take it”!.
I looked down as I reminisced about my father, and again the question ran around frantically in hysterical circles through my mind as it so often did.
Was I responsible for my fathers heart attack?
Was the whispering from gossip mongers of the community more important than my happiness?
Why does it always come down to ‘what will people say’?
If we had nobody to impress how truly wonderful life would be! If we could be judged on the appearance of our souls rather than our faces how sublime this world would be…..
Some people live their lives centered around other people and its unfortunate when innocent souls are forced to paint the picture of a life that looks pretty on the outside just so that everyone can smile and applaud at the illusions that we create and feed to them while all the while we trudge through a life void of happiness, a life void of love…
If only eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals would be. And have we ever wondered how pretty would we then be?
I lay on my musallah crying as if I had no hope of meeting a tomorrow. I felt as if there was nothing left to live for, no one to live for. There was such a comfort that blanketed me as I lay there on the floor in the chilly hours of the early morning. I was broken and shattered into countless shards, but lying there, in the embrace of Allah, I felt more whole than I ever did before. I asked Allah for some way, for some path, a better path. I asked that he give me something to live for… Something to look forward to … I could not picture spending my life going through this downward spiral. I wanted to feel happy again. I wanted to feel loved again.
They say that the duaa made at the time of tahajjud is like an arrow that never misses its target. My arrow didn’t miss target and that’s exactly what my Allah gave to me…..
Zaheer called me the next day. He heard that I was in town and he contemplated over whether to contact me or not. He said that in the end, he found his physical self dialing my number, while his subconscious self screamed at him, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!
We talked for the first time since that day when I watched him walk out of my life. It was as if no time had passed at all. We were the same people. We talked about everything. He had joined a prestigious law firm, working his way up from the bottom while still studying through the firm. He was not yet married and he said that he doubted he could ever marry anyone. He asked if I was happy and although I did not say that I was unhappy, my silence was filled with everything that he needed to hear….
For the first time in a long time I felt happy. I sat smiling at nothing and at everything. It was like I was almost her again, I was almost the old Sameera.
I heard from him again a few days later.
He wanted to see me. He needed to see me, he said. I considered meeting him deeply. I wanted to see his eyes again and to see his silly smile. I thought of all the right reasons to meet him, how we wouldn’t be doing anything wrong, how we would just chat as friends and when reality dawned and the severity of meeting him entered my mind, I tossed and turned the argument to suit me. I wanted to see him so badly that I convinced myself that it was okay….
In the end I told him that I would not meet him. He understood and he promised to never call me again if I asked him not to. He left me with just one gift… The hope of us being together one day – if I ever choose to walk that path with him he would always be waiting for me in the shadows. He told me that no matter how unbearable life would get, I should never lose hope. He’s arms and he’s heart would be open for me any day, all that I had to do was call him. I placed the telephone receiver down with tears streaming down my face. Hot tears washed away thoughts of a future with Zaheer. Maybe this could have been a short while ago, but not anymore. I had just found out that morning that I was pregnant.
My life in London beckoned to me again. I thought that I would never board another flight to Heathrow ever again but my unborn child would need two loving parents and a home. I didn’t want to bring any shame on my family or my unborn child. So in the end I sacrificed my happiness for the happiness of my baby. Would I one day tell her or him this story? Would doing this give me peace or was I just bottling up and masking all the hurt, resentment and pain that lay just beneath the surface of my plastered smile and dulled eyes….
The arrow did not miss its target and it was rooted in my belly, growing as the minutes, hours and days turned pages. Soon it was time to return home, even though it didn’t feel like MY home. I pushed Zaheer’s offer to the back of my mind as I stepped off the aircraft on a chilly Monday evening. The cold London wind slapped me hard across my face welcoming me home….
To be continued…