TRAPPED! Part 5…

Its 3 am and I stand before the bathroom mirror entranced by what the mirror offers me as a view. My eyes are swollen and heavy but I cannot sleep. Yusuf is away on a business trip again and I have nothing, no one for company but the lady staring back at me. My long chocolate brown tresses have been cut into fashionable layers, dyed and then streaked a golden blonde . I trace my fingers delicately along my cheekbones and chin, its like staring at a stranger. My once plump cheeks are now hollow pits, valleys for my tears to run through. The rims of my eyes are darker from too many sleepless nights, from too many tears spilling out of them and from too many nights of falling asleep with my face still painted on, waiting up for Yusuf to return home. My stomach turns at the sight of me, I don’t even recognize the woman staring back at me. I had given my all to Yusuf. I adhered to his every agreement and command. I changed who I was for him. I kept up a pretense, a facade for the sake of my marriage, for Yusuf and I, for my parents and for everyone that I knew as well as didn’t know. I didn’t love Yusuf any longer, I feared him instead, but I stayed with him because giving up on my marriage meant that I was a woman forever tainted by that grey smoke cloud above my head, ‘divorceé’. I remembered how the neighborhood aunty’s would come over to mummy for afternoon tea. Armed with a plate of treats in one hand and a mouth filled with gossip, ready to hand out unmeasured doses of the latest punchaat, discussing those who fail at marriage viciously. There was no pity, no compassion, no understanding in their words. It was judgment after more judgment, slander after more slander and I was weak, I didn’t want them to speak about me in that way. ” These children of today, can’t make their homes! One fight and the girl runs back to her fathers house. In our days, we knew, once you married, no matter what, you leave your in laws home in your kaffan!”. They never ceased to discuss the lives of others even though they themselves lived a less than perfect existence. We all do that, we all hide our trials to portray perfect lives to each other and so I didn’t want to be the topic of discussion at their afternoon tea table, more importantly I didn’t want my parents to be. Isn’t it sad how we live lives to please others while suffering at the hands of our tormentors silently. Isn’t it beyond sad how we live up pretenses to please people and not Allah. I told myself that there are women out there in the world living lives worst than my life. I lied to myself that many women would swop places with me in a heart beat! I had an upmarket lavish apartment, I had everything that I could ever desire from clothes to shoes to jewelry to anything that money could buy. But I wasn’t happy, in fact I was miserable. I tiptoed around my husband, fearful of upsetting him. Everything that I possessed couldn’t be enjoyed at all and they were merely embellishments confirming to the world that I was living a life of comfort. But the world was blind. It couldn’t see that I lived behind beautiful plastered walls as a prisoner dressed in stylish clothes. It was like having a vase filled with roses of every conceivable color, you could look at them and touch them but you couldn’t smell their sweet fragrance. Yusuf was barely ever home, he worked long hours and late into the night, most nights. He wanted the picture perfect wife and so he took the pencil to his hand and drew the precise image that he wanted. He had no desire to fulfill his rights as my husband. He sought no comfort and no companionship in me and he didn’t ponder over the fact that a husband is a garment to his wife and vice versa. He married for convenience and definitely not because he wanted to fulfill the other half of his eemaan. We married each other for different reasons, we were completely different people and we stayed together for all the wrong reasons. He kept me as his wife to complete the pretty image for the world to applaud at and I stayed with him so that people wouldn’t talk about what a failure I was as a wife and daughter. So there I was, stuck in this bubble of a life that looked breathtaking from the outside but no one could see that I was choking behind my smile, gasping and battling for oxygen on the inside. Yusuf was not faithful as a husband nor did he try to hide it from me. He came home with perfume and lipstick smudges on his clothes. He neglected me, choosing work colleagues over me. I had signed the marriage agreement saying that I could do nothing about his female acquaintances so I had to endure his infidelity silently and painfully. There are few things in life that are worse than knowing that your husband does not value you, your presence or your feelings. He allowed me to go nowhere, I could not have any friends, I couldn’t even go shopping without him. He bought me everything that he thought I needed and never what I actually wanted from the clothes on my back to the foods that we ate, the shoes on my feet, even my underwear couldn’t be my personal preferance or choice. He undermined me at every opportunity, infront of anybody, slowly stealing my life and my entire identity from me. I was a walking, talking, breathing duplication of what he wanted to see. There was a constant ache, a dull stabbing pain in my chest. “This isn’t how marriage should be, it isn’t how bliss should feel!” , I kept telling myself. I knew that this was not the life for me, I could not live according to the demands of a human being. Every morning when I opened my eyes, dread at having to face the day, at having to face my life, came to cloak me in its heavy robe. I could not find delight in things over relationships with human beings. I could not find happiness in loneliness or pretense. My soul felt wayward and isolated, like it was searching for a companion, a home, a place to settle in. But I could not leave my husband, what would people think of me! Right? So each night I bit on my lower lip to stop the tears from falling, I looked at the woman in the bathroom mirror at 3am and then I turned the light off and went to bed. Each morning I pulled on my heavy robe of dread, I painted my face with a smile, I hid the dark clouds under and inside my eyes and I faced my life. It was a cold day in the middle of June, I was married for ten months. I sat on the plush white leather lounge suite waiting for Yusuf’s call, dressed up with nowhere to go to. The telephone rang startling me as it always did. Every single day Yusuf would call to check up on what I was doing or to quiz me about something and everyday I had a mini anxiety attack each time that the phone rang. But when I answered, it wasn’t Yusuf. The call pulled me out of my home and into the cold winter streets unexpectedly, frantically. Before I realized what I was doing, I was behind the wheel of my car, driving myself to my mother’s home with tears streaming down my cheeks, my heart beating loudly out of fear. My mother had called saying that she heard intruders in the yard! Her voice was above a whisper and quivering, I was so afraid of something happening to mummy, I didn’t even think twice, I just reacted. I grabbed the keys and I drove with my heart in my throat uttering prayer after prayer that Allah keep my mother safe. ” Ma! Are you ok?” I asked between breaths of fear and relief. My mother sat at the kitchen table, white as a ghost, breathing heavily, her hand on her chest, fear screaming in her large eyes. Rotis were rolled out in neat circles on the flour dusted kitchen counter. ” I’m alright beti (daughter). Aunty Khulsoom pressed the panic from next door after I phoned her and security came to check in the yard. They said everything was ok. Must be they got away or something. Laak laak shukar Fatima, you know its getting so dangerous this area. You must make lot shukar Allah took you away from here”. I heaved a heavy sigh, I threw my head back in relief and closed my eyes as I thanked Allah for keeping my mother safe. I had never felt such gratitude. I kissed my mother and then rushed back to my own home hoping to make it back before Yusuf did, but when I entered the front door, I felt uneasy. It felt like I was the intruder this time. My life was about to change forever, yet again. Yusuf sat eerily still at the dining table staring blankly at nothingness. My breath caught as I entered and saw him just sitting there. I froze, I wasn’t sure of what to do next. Do I stand there like a statue or walk in and kiss him on his cheek. The sight of my husband always took my breath away, but never ever in a good way. I greeted him with salaam but he kept on staring ahead saying nothing to me. His face was expressionless, his eyes unreadable. A cold shiver had plugged into me sending every hair on my body on a goosebump chase. Yusuf was never the type to raise his voice nor his hand to me, it didn’t fit his profile. He was better than that so he did worst than that to me, he ignored me, he offered me copious doses of silence and he belittled me until he had full control over me. I had explained what happened with my mother and the reason for me darting out of our home so unexpectedly. I kissed his cheek telling him how scared my mum was. I put the kettle on to boil but it was as if I was engaging in conversation with a mannequin. ” I cooked your favorite love, prawns in that coconut and cashew gravy with saffron rice. You remember it? We had it at that restuarant in” ….. My voice faded to nothing as I watched him sit motionless. My mind was screaming loudly, incoherently and then Yusuf began to drum his fingers on the glass table. My eyes shifted nervously to something sitting beside his hand. A white envelope addressed to “Fatima” whispered to me. The handwriting was Yusuf’s, neat and as eloquent as his speech. “What’s in the envelope?”, I asked trying to sound cool and calm, hoping to break the silence finally. ” Your divorce” he said as he stood up to leave the room. His stride was measured and perfect, he said nothing else. I watched him enter the bedroom and then shut the door softly, drowning me in deafening and debilitating confusion. The blood drained from my veins. The life that I so desperately tried to hold on to had just filtered through my finger tips like water filters through sand. ~H (Taken from the Muslim Woman Magazine) ❤


4 thoughts on “TRAPPED! Part 5…

  1. veryberry2 says:

    Please take the divorce. . You deserve so much better. . & you should only be living for your Creator & Not His Creation. . Yusuf is such an Ass. . I definitely would have walked out ages ago. . It’s not a life to live that is for sure. .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Luthfiya Malek says:

    The fact that Fatima has these thoughts shows that she knows that this life with Yusuf, is not a life! She’s trying to save an already failed marriage with someone who despises her – no one should be made to feel inferior or useless like the way Yusuf makes Fatima feel!


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