CHAPTER 4 (continued)

Posted: May 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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transformation definition

Grief does not change you, it reveals the true you. – John Green

“So what was that all about?” I ask Yusuf when he finally joins me. I take note now that the two women are staring at us. They make no attempt to be subtle about it either.

“That lady wanted me to help with her phone. She said it was new and she can’t get her e-mails to update or something like that”, he said very matter-of-factly. He obviously didn’t see anything wrong with the situation. “So did you manage to fix it?” I asked still wanting to know the details. Yusuf laughs “Do I have Cellphone technician written on my forehead? the last thing I want to do is be harassed by strangers at the park. Its bad enough I have to deal with technology at work. I just saved the number for technical services for her and told her to call.” I smiled and responded, “No wonder she looked mad, she was probably expecting more than that”. He surveyed me carefully then seeing some relief on my face said, “Anyways……There’s only one person I do after-work services for”, he smirks and puts his arm around my waist and holds me tight. My inner chachima pulls her oiny over her face shyly. “Wanna give then something to really stare at” he jokes with a mischievious smile. I glance over his shoulder and they are still oogling in our direction. “They eyes are still glued” I say to him with a grimace and a roll of my eyes. Before I know it he turns me to face him and surprises me with a classy, sweet kiss on my lips. When he pulls away he smiles and winks at me, then nudges his head in the childrens direction who are now quickly running towards the slides.

At the swings I scan the park again, those pushy women are now, nowhere to be seen. Yusuf and I sit down next to each other on a bench watching the kids climb up and slide down the slide. I think about the womens’ audacity to charm my husband. I get a sick feeling in my stomach. These are the women that I could never be friends with. Women so obsessed with power, men, their careers and money. Is there any place for anything else in their lives? Despite all of their achievement I can’t help but think that their lives must be empty. I briefly wonder how Hijab’s daughter, will turn out with a mother like that. I maintain that although my mother was widowed young and had to be the main breadwinner, she was always a mother first and everything else came er. Her example is the basis of the choices I make today today. Oh how I wish I could tell her that. The familiar ache returns. It feels like my hearts overwhelming need to completely break down and wallow in my sorrow forever sharply contrasted with my brains need to reason and just carry on without her. It’s a battle within me that no matter what the outcome, it both means the same thing. She is gone and she is never coming back. The catch 22 is that when the brain does eventually make headway like this reasoning, it still triggers an emotional response anyways.

I shake my head and put my head in my hands. Yusuf instinctively pulls my head to his shoulder and rubs my back. He whispers in my ear” I miss her too. We sit like that for a few minutes. Then he calls the children and says quietly to me “Lets go home Hassie”.

Back home after salaah and a busy supper, I put my exhausted children to sleep and change into some comfortable pajamas. I had downstairs. Yusuf is in the dining room going through some documents. He is preparing for an early meeting tomorrow. I smile at him when he looks up and i am about to walk away when he says “Im nearly done sweety. Im coming now”. I nod and head to the lounge. I turn on the television in an attempt to drown out my thoughts. It doesn’t work. My thoughts are racing as quick as ever. . I know it is Allah’s plan, but I always prayed for long life for my mother. But maybe I was not specific. I did not specify how long, and what age. My duas will include specifics from now one. Now sitting on the couch I realize how tired I really am. I decide to close my eyes just for a moment.

When I see Yusuf again, he is serenely asleep in bed next to me. Did I fall asleep? I wondered. Wasn’t I on the couch? Had he carried my up to bed? Well he must have because I have no memory of climbing the stairs. A dream about my mother has shaken me awake and I feel unsettled. Although it was a good dream, it was so real and so comforting that waking up now, like this, in the middle of the night and realizing that it was only a dream is earth shattering. I could see her and I could feel her just like she was in front of me. ‘Oh if I had only slept a little while longer’ , I think. My eyes begin to pool like a dam about to burst. I needed to get up. I shift so slowly that each muscle I moved ached as I tried best not to displace the bed too much and wake Yusuf up. I managed to climb out of bed and decided to head downstairs for a cup of coffee.

As I descended the stairs the loneliness and stillness of the house could be felt immediately. I have never been awake this late at night alone. Maybe this was not such a good idea. Determined not to be a grown woman scared of the dark I continued down to the kitchen. Going back up to bed meant possibly disturbing Yusuf, and I did not want to do that. He mentioned he had an early meeting, earlier than usual. I really didn’t want to disturb his sleep.

As I switched on the lights I realized that the house really was not as scary as I thought. In fact late at night when all is so quiet, there’s a certain peacefulness about it.  I grab a mug out of the cabinet to fill with water for coffee. Only water, it has to be strong and black. I need a strong cup of coffee to calm my nerves that has been on the verge of breakdown all day. I have tried my best all day to keep the floodgates closed, but here –now -by myself, I just can’t be strong anymore. The battle between my head and my heart rages on again and a flurry of emotion choke at my heart. There’s an ominous emptiness within me, as if a part of me has been ripped away leaving nothing in its place. A hole in my heart, a hole in my life and a hole in my spirit. I sip at my coffee slowly. It’s as hot as the anger that wells beneath the surface. The stupid truck driver – I say aloud. That bloody stupid truck driver, I say again, now a little too loudly.That was just the means of her death.As a Muslim I know that, but… anger is anger.  Then the questions. Why didn’t I go with her? Why was I so involved in my own life? Why did I dismiss her efforts all those times encouraging me to sketch? It’s the guilt of it all that gives way to sobs. Sobs that become low cries. I hang my head in my hands and give in to the sorrow. No matter how many times I replay the events that day, one year ago, I cant believe it. I know it happened, I was there but I can’t believe it. It’s broken me in some ways , but in some ways I have been made stronger. I don’t feel the strength now, I can’t, not today. The steady stream of tears now threaten a downpour. I don’t want to stop it. I need to feel it. For so many months after, I just felt numb. No pain, no hurt, no nothing. I lift my head, my hands are wet with tears. The salty tears glide effortlessly down my cheeks. Tissues, damn I forgot tissues. I start to sniff and wipe my tears with my sleeve.

I think back to my wedding day and when my children were born. She was there through the wedding dress disasters and even when I became intolerable, she was always by my side. The birth of my children and subsequent confinement was close to a holiday in Maldives, with her waiting on me hand and foot. Should I have waited on her instead? Should I have been less demanding at the time? What if I have another baby? How will I cope without her strength, without her presence, without her smile and laughter? Now that house. How will I live in a bigger house knowing she was meant to share it with us? Im curled up onto the kitchen stool now, my arms on the granite table my hands supporting my weary head. My body feels drained. As if all the sadness has taken the life out of me with the tears. The sobs are still consistent as I close my eyes as if to block out all the hurt and pain. When I open my eyes again Yusuf is next to me, a box of tissues in his hand and a look of pain on his face. ‘He feels it too’ I think and somehow that makes me feel better. As if my burden is made easier if we carry it together. He takes a tissue and wipes the tears from my stained cheeks. “Its OK Hassie”, he says stroking my back. “You should have woken me, you all alone like this baby”, he says deepening the pained look on his face.

He takes me in his arms and gently sways me back and forth rhythmically till my sobbing relents. When I am calmer, he pulls me away from him and holds me at arms length, he looks at me and says “I made a promise to you, to your mother and to Allah to be for there for you forever. The tragedy that happened last year ,hurt us both deeply. I lost a mother too” he says this with so  much sincerety that my heart aches for him. “We need to be strong for each other”, he finishes. He reaches behind me and pulls my hood of my pajama top over my head. Then, holding me close again, begins reciting Surah Yaaseen from memory.

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Comments
  1. silentliving says:

    Aaaah.. Yusuf is just the sweetest husband I’ve ever heard of… May Allah make all the men in this world as compassionate and sincere as he is..
    Sister I’m engrossed.. I can’t seem to keep my eyes away from ur story..its excellent mashallah…
    Even with my pathetic batry life of my fone.. Its taking longer but I’m loving every bit

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