Days became weeks and then weeks became months and with each passing second Saara bloomed and blossomed looking more radiant with each day and each week that she grew into her pregnancy. Like the flowers of spring, she adorned and beautified every room that she entered into with her maternal glow. ” It must be a girl” everyone said upon seeing her for it is an old wives tale that the mother looks more radiant when carrying a baby girl. Her memory was returning in bits and pieces, she was smiling and happy but still she did not have any recollection of Ahmed or of their marriage. The doctor said that because they had known each other for only three short months before marrying, her mind may never recall their time together. The grief of Ahmed leaving her so soon after marriage probably affected her so much more than anyone knew. It affected her so immensely that she tried to mask the pain by storing it deeply somewhere within her brain. She crammed it into the darkest corner she could find hidden from even her own conscious mind that it could be forever lost floating in an abyss. Ahmed could be a stranger to Saara forever or she could wake up and remember every kiss, every smile, everything….
The thought of Saara never remembering him crippled Ahmed.
His wife, the mother of his unborn child, thought of her husband as a stranger! Daily Ahmed would ring the doorbell to her parents home fueled and invigorated with new hope, armed with flowers or chocolates, sometimes he brought her favorite treats of sweets that she was craving. Every so often he even bought baby clothes or toys in the hope that Saara would remember him or feel some affection toward him. He hoped that perhaps she would want to ‘try’ at a life with him despite not remembering anything, but the look in her eyes each time that she looked straight through him cut into his heart like glass cuts through flesh, deep, jagged and painful.
She didn’t love him. She didn’t know him. She said that she didn’t want to get to know him or to fall in love with him. She did not want to ‘try’ to make a life with him. She felt no desire to live as a married couple with her husband, she wanted to have their baby without him and then decide what she wanted from the future or see where it would lead her to. She thought and felt with the heart, body and intellect of a 16 year old Saara, not the Saara that had fallen in love with Ahmed. She was almost like a child again, stubborn and adamant. She told him that he could still be a part of their baby’s life if he wanted to, just not a part of her life. In her mind, Saara only remembered school friends and high school crushes. Her thoughts were focused on University and what to study after graduating High School. Suddenly she had to deal with the fact that she was a wife and a soon to be mother!
” I need to find myself” she muttered while looking out through the opened window. The sweet scent of roses subtly wafted in creating an atmosphere of dejavu and at that moment Ahmed had a premonition of sorts, perhaps it was just hopeless fear. He felt that Saara had sifted through his fingers like the soft grains of the desert sand, dispersed, forever lost and never to return. He stared at her back in disbelief as the stark reality of the future washed through him in ice cold currents. He wondered who was this woman, this impostor and whether he was dreaming, he had to be dreaming! This can’t be my Saara he thought.
After each failed attempt he drove away feeling rejected, feeling so overwhelmed. It felt as though he was driving through a nightmare. The dark road was covered in a thick smog and he could not make out the horizon. All that he wanted was to feel the break of dawn on his face or to hear the adhaan for fajr sound in his ear’s disturbing his sleep pulling him away from this nightmare. He thought about how life would have been had Saara not had the accident, had Saara remembered him and of course daily he battered his mind with thoughts of ‘if only he hadn’t left her’. He imagined waking up next to her as birds chirped announcing the arrival of a new day. He would awaken her with at least ten kisses he thought. He would serve her coffee in bed every morning without fail. He would kiss her belly and then place his ear on it speaking to their unborn baby as Saara stroked his head. But instead of these dreams materializing and even though she was still his wife, he knew that he may never get the opportunity to do any of those things. Chances of Saara remembering him grew weaker as each week passed in the excruciatingly slow blinking of an eye. The doctors had warned him that the longer that Saara took to remember him, the more unlikely it was that she would ever remember him.
What kind of a future did he have he wondered. Was he a father? Was he even a husband at that point. It pained him to imagine that his home would be void of his baby’s cries or his wife’s smile. Was this any life at all? He grew distant and detached himself from almost everyone and everything. Eventually he detached from Saara too. He would visit less often than he used to but Saara didn’t mind, she was relieved to not have to deal with his needy imploring eye’s. She hated looking into them as they made her feel guilty for a crime that she did not commit. She happily tried to find her swollen feet while enjoying every moment of her pregnancy and all the while Ahmed became a close companion to loneliness free falling into a state of depression.
Saara couldn’t believe that a life was growing within her and she beamed at the thought of being a mother. However, she could not envision herself as someone’s wife, least of all as Ahmed’s wife and whenever her parents broached the topic she shot it down curtly,
” I don’t know him! How can you expect me to just begin a life with a stranger!” She said…..
Ahmed closed himself off from the world trying to make sense of the madness in his life. He filled his days with extra shifts at work just so that he wouldn’t have to go home and face the deafening reality of an empty house and when he wasn’t working he spent most of his time in the path of Allah.
Still, time was trickling and dripping like soft rain harvesting a crop, edging everyone closer to the future with a stifling uncertainty. What would become of this union? What would become of their baby? Would he or she grow up in a home with just one parent? And how unfair it all seemed that an innocent child loses out on the perfect childhood because of no one’s mistake at all, because of fate….
Everyone prayed and asked for ease and just when we somewhat begin to accept the reality that we’ve been handed by making peace with our situation, yet again the unexpected happens.
Saara was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Nabeela walked blindly into Ahmed’s life sending the bag of groceries flying from his arms. And just like that, fate makes its entrance, unannounced, bringing with it hope and uncertainty. Nabeela was beautiful. She was everything that one would seek in a partner. She made Ahmed reconsider his entire future all over again.
But was Nabeela the one?
Could she fill Ahmed’s heart and make him whole again?
And who exactly is Nabeela?
Could Ahmed be with someone other than Saara?.
These questions plagued his mind day and night as his feet shuffled in nervous confusion back and forth. Some moments he edged closer towards Nabeela and then suddenly he took a step back. Ultimately Ahmed knew that he had a choice to make. Start anew with Nabeela or sit in wait of Saara, perhaps forever….
They say that time changes a man, perhaps time has changed Ahmed as well. Forever is a long time to wait. Ahmed longed to feel loved like every human being does. And that’s how he began contemplating a future with Nabeela. Perhaps she was the one who could make him feel whole again…