Devil

The other night my husband and I watched the ‘Devil’ movie. In it, a group of people were trapped in an elevator. The devil was one of them and pretended to be a victim as well.

The movie ended with only one survivor, the one whom the devil saved for last and was his actual target for walking the earth. Fortunately, the man repented before the devil was able to take him. He buried a grave secret in his conscience, and, although the devil discouraged him by saying that he will not be saved even if he repents, the man continued to ask forgiveness for the sin that he kept secret for a long time. He humbled himself and accepted that he was not worthy of forgiveness. And the devil let him go. The man to whom he committed the sin, who was bitter and angry for many years because of what happened, forgave him too.

After watching, I asked my husband what he learned from the movie. He can be so thick sometimes that I have to spell out even the most obvious things. He said we should learn how to forgive. Anything else? That’s it. See, he missed the part where we should see ourselves as who we really are – sinners – and repent for our sins. Darn, that was why I made him watch the movie. I pointed it out to him and continued that those who do not know how to forgive are also not forgiven. I told him that I am committing this sin because of him. He asked why and I said it’s because I have not forgiven him (and her) yet. How can I when they still continue to hurt me every second of the day?

All this time I think he still believes that he is not doing anything wrong. As far as he is concerned, he followed the dictates of Islam ( i.e. marrying and not having relations outside of marriage) even if this meant disrespecting and hurting me and totally forgetting that he had a responsibility to his kids. He just doesn’t get it. On top of that he feels he is being fair to me and the other.

Review:

Time spent with me – 8pm-10:30pm (sometimes that even gets cut down to 10pm)

Time spent with her – 10:30pm to 5(or 6)am the following day

Thursday time with me – same

Time with her – 10:30pm to 11am (and sometimes 12 noon) the following day

Accompanies me where I want to go – No

Accompanies her where she wants to go – Always

Ya Allah! I do not want to say anything to him anymore. Right now I want to keep my promise that I will not nag and just wait until Ramadan – when he will (I hope) let her go. But please, please, please find a way to make him realize all this so he can acknowledge that his ‘additional’ relationship has changed him unpleasantly. I do not want him to come back without understanding why he has to let go, then blame me in the future for forcing him to make that decision. If he does come back, Inshallah, he will come back with conviction that that is right thing to do.

 

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Are you still there?

Yesterday was a busy day at work. We only had a few visitors but the tons of paperwork the bosses required me to finish were just tiring. By the end of the day I was physically strained and when I learned from my colleague that I will take the Saturday shift this week, I got even more weary. It was supposed to be my turn to have the Fri-Sat off and I was very much looking forward to it. Now I’ll have to take the Thurs-Fri off. We hate that because when we have the Thursday off it doesn’t feel like a day off at all. Everyone else is at work, there’s no one to talk to and there’s nothing nice to do. It just kind of feels like I’m on a sick leave and I become too sluggish to do chores.

On my way home I had to pass by the post office to drop off some mail. While walking from the bus stop I remembered the way my husband used to call me when he knows I’m already on my way home. He would call to tell me to be careful commuting, he would call to check if I got in the bus safely and another call to find out if I made it home fine. Now I hardly hear my mobile ring. I got teary-eyed again.

I opted to walk home from the post office, it was just a 10-minute walk anyway, and I wanted to take time to do some thinking. When I arrived home, my husband was already there, getting ready to cook rice. Oh, so you’re already home, I said. He did not even ask why I arrived late.

After dinner, I was a bit quiet. He asked me why I wasn’t my talkative self. I said miss the way he used to call to check on me all the time. He said he did not have credits on his prepaid so he wasn’t able to call. After that I just did not feel like talking anymore. We just lay quietly on the bed. He did not seem interested to talk himself, and we just stayed there waiting until it was time for him to go down to see her.  When he got up to get ready he felt that my feet were cold. He took a pair of socks from the closet and put them on me – and I wept. He used to do that before we went to sleep at night and as he did, he would tell me that he will put socks on my feet until we grew old.

These are traces of his old self that used to make me love him more. Now it’s these things that make me cry. His new relationship has changed him into an uncaring, cruel and insensitive person but on some instances, his good self surfaces. This makes me think if that part of him is still somewhere underneath the dark person I see now. If it is, I want to shake him out.

Before lunch today, he called and asked if I already ate. I said I just woke up and I thanked him for asking. He told me to get up and eat, and asked me to do the laundry. He always does the laundry. He told me before that it’s the one thing he’ll never ask me to do because he knows I have never washed my own clothes my whole life and I doing that will make me very, very depressed. But now he’s asking me to do it. Thank you very much for the thoughtful call, dear.

Ultimatum

The past few days have been very exhausting. We fought every day, and it was always the same thing repeated over and over. He said I give too much thought and meaning to every move he makes and every word he says and needless to say, he is very, very annoyed. This I matched with nagging, nagging and more nagging. I nagged so much this week that even I got tired of hearing myself. We talked, shouted, argued, walked out on each other, broke each other’s mobiles, name it, we’ve done it. We have said all possible kind words to make each other shut up and the next minute it’s a cats and dogs fight again.

I think exhausting was an understatement. I want to fly away, high enough to feel numb about everything that’s happening. I want peace and quiet.

Over the course of his ‘new relationship’ I think I have said everything on my mind already. I have cursed him, rubbed to his face how insignificant he is, psyched him about why he should let her go…but in the end there’s me telling how much I love him and him echoing whatever I said. It was in one of these clashes when he blurted out something that I wasn’t expecting to hear: he said if nothing happens in their relationship, he will let her go – Ramadan.

I think I got too focused on hearing the ‘let her go’ part that I missed hearing the ‘if’ part. And that was supposed to be the deciding factor. What is actually going on between them is unknown to me. Sometimes he tells me they fight a lot, but all I see is him calling and texting her thoughtfully a hundred times a day. Other times he tells me he misses me so much already but he still scurries off thoughtlessly when he knows she’s there then forgets about coming home even when he knows I am waiting. Most of the time he tells me I am the one he wants to grow old with but bears leaving me even when I am crying. He tells something and does another.

But he said it. And I want to hope that he will keep it. Ramadan. This would go out to be my best or worst one. Will he really do as he says? I know how fond he is of her and I pray that he would have, if not love, at least mercy to not break my heart again. May Allah guide him.

Just another day

I was brave today. WAS. Only for a short while, but please give me some credit for it.

 

After our big fight last week he promised he would come home on time. That was ‘on time’ in his terms because mine would be 12mn. Fajr it was. He was consistent for about 2 days in a row, overslept on the third and blamed it on his mobile alarm on the fourth. That’s fine, I guess, because after 3 months of sleeping alone, I have already gotten used to having all the space on my bed. Now I get a bit irritated when he comes in at Fajr, because then I have to move aside with only a tiny space left for me and it makes going back to sleep difficult. I guess some things have already changed somehow.

 

This morning was yet another episode of inconsistency. He came home with only enough time to dress up for work. When he tried to hug and kiss me goodbye before leaving, I whispered to his ear that I do not give a damn about him anymore. I told him to leave. About an hour later I sent this message:

 

                You are the only man I loved this much and you know that. But instead of cherishing what I have given, you chose to hurt me just so you could do what you want. You are selfish. You only care about your own happiness. How could you bear to hurt someone who has done nothing but love you? YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF ME. You wasted everything. I don’t give a damn about you anymore.

 

I think a normal, loving person would defensively respond to that. I did not get any response. Well he did try to call me in the office several times. Then again, when someone refuses to talk to you and you badly need to say something to that person, you send a message, right? Nothing. Again I planned to pack my stuff up when I get home but I let go of the thought remembering I only had coins in my purse. Where could he be hiding my ATM?

 

I do not know what it is in him that makes me forgive him all the time. It makes me feel really stupid. I guess I really love him that much. Or maybe it’s because I always go back to how we used to be and who he was before all this. I still hope that he would find his way back to me, to us. I must be really stupid.

 

While I continue to forgive him, I unconsciously make a tab on every pain he gives. My fear is that one day, I will blow up, big time. That’s how I am, and I know this will happen unless things go my way – soon.  So before that happens, Inshallah, things have already changed for the better.

 

My Other Half

Today I am writing about my other pair of arms, my extra soul, my spare heart – my mom.

She came from an affluent clan in our city. My grandparents owned a lot of properties and ran a good business. But after 3 kids and a little past mid-life, my grandfather died and their world took a painful turn to hardship. My grandmother had to sell all they owned little by little to keep her family from starving. She took her hand at the family business, raised the kids on her own and, despite her youth and beauty, opted not to marry again.

With little resources and a frail, often ill-sticken older sister to care for, my mom stayed at home if she was not working in the market. She was on and off from school but somehow, with God’s grace, still managed to finish a degree. By the time she was working, she vowed never to marry – she promised to take care of my grandmother and to stay by her side through old age. But God had a different plan. Soon she met my dad, fell in love for the first time, and settled down. But like my grandfather, he left us early too.

Contrary to what my older brothers say, my dad was among the best of men in my mom’s eyes. Being the youngest and only rose, I grew up a daddy’s girl. He was my teacher, my hero, my rock and number 1 fan. I was still young when he passed away and perhaps I wasn’t really old enough to understand but my brothers told a different story. As much as they loved our dad, they said he was verbally abusive and cruel to my mom. I do not recall hearing them argue, not once, to be honest, but what was an innocent girl to know anyway?

Nonetheless, my mom loved him dearly and taking from my grandmother, opted not to marry again when he died. I take it as a really big sacrifice to put aside her own happiness to raise us. Even with my marriage failing, I still could not imagine being in her shoes. Painful as this love has been, I still would like to grow old with another hand to hold. If my relationship ends, I would be dead hurt; I would shout, curse and swear but after all that I know I would try finding love again.

My mom took a good number of years to get over my dad’s death. In high school I remember coming home and hearing her wail over nothing. In college she was still hyper sensitive and would often cry saying that nobody loves her anymore. I had no idea where that was coming from then, but now being in a debilitating heartache myself, I know what she meant.

A few more years later and she was back to her ice-cold, aloof self. Lest that loss, I never saw my mom get emotional. She was often calm and composed. While it was normal to soften up after overcoming a demise, (I think normal people would be more ‘feeling’ after an experience like that) her less affectionate self surfaced. She was a real toughie, I guess and I admire her so much for that.

As a student I tried to make her proud by bringing home school recognitions. She did not show nor say how proud she was of me but I knew deep inside that she was. Perhaps it was because she experienced hardship so early in life that she learned to always make it look like she doesn’t give a damn about things. She was distant yet in her own ways stood beside each one of us. I thought it was magical how she did that. She showed her affections very subtly but in a way that you would feel in silence.

I took it from her how to bottle up emotions. Our difference was, she has learned to make her pains die down. I couldn’t. I explode. Every bit of heartache that I went through ended with sky-high wrath. My mom stood by each one of them, never tiring to give me advice on how I should learn to forgive.

I have always thought of myself as a good daughter and I often said that my mom had it easy raising us because we have been really obedient kids. I never imagined I would break her heart now that I have grown up when I have supposedly become wiser.

She was an exceptionally kind woman but still a woman, with strong intuition at that. She did not like my husband the first instant they met and advised me to stay away from him. He was previously married, with a child from the first marriage, and my family disapproved of me getting involved with someone with an unclean slate. She said he will only cause trouble for me but I did not listen. My brothers also disapproved. Since then it was one defiance after another until I became a master at disobeying her. This was my life. Even if my whole family was against it.

When I got pregnant with my second, she fired away, at every chance she got, with telling me how much I am hurting them. I cried at night but still stood by my decision. I knew that he was the one, and one day we will prove them wrong. It was when my brother decided to move out that my mom told me that I broke my family apart because of my stubbornness. I was hurt but I denied it was my fault. My mom was heartbroken at the sight of me trying to stand it out against my brothers. And after a very long time, I saw her cry again. That broke my heart. Her tears show that she has reached her limit. And I caused it.

I knew she wanted me to learn a lesson but she never left my side. When I gave birth without a husband beside me, she was there. She is old now, at 74, but she was the one who took care of me at the hospital. She was the one who spoke with the doctors, who stayed up all night while I was half-dead at the recovery room, who cried at the first sight of my son.

When I decided to go back to working overseas, my mom was there to look after my kids. Now her hands soothe their aches away in my absence; her heart lovingly caring for them while I am away.

God is really wise. Who would have thought that the guy who has given me the happiness that I thought would last forever, the guy I so struggled to fight for, who was the very reason I hurt my family, my mom, most importantly, is now causing me pain. My mom was right. I regret a lot of things about loving my husband but the one I regret the most is loving him at the expense of hurting someone who has shown nothing but love for me.

I have not told her how much I love her and I hope writing this will send the word out to the world. I love you, mom. And I am sorry…

Try and Try…

It was Thursday night again – so not looking forward to another weekend alone. Well at least I get to sleep in late, so okay, I guess there’s one thing to look forward to. I just realized I have not gone to the majlis for a while. I miss going, but see, I don’t want to go alone. Alone is becoming a favorite word. If I had a facebook account, you guessed it right, it would be my status for the next…errr….arrggghhhh!

 

While on my way home I rang my husband and asked what he would like for dinner. Normally I don’t cook on Thursdays but I would if he wanted me to. Thankfully he said I shouldn’t cook anymore but when I asked what cooked food to buy he couldn’t make up his mind. He finally decided that I cook noodles to which I said okay, but having had noodles for lunch I was sure I wouldn’t be eating much that night.

 

At the time I was in the supermarket he called and asked where I was. Thinking he would come and help me carry the groceries (you know, like what I saw him doing the other day with her), I excitedly told him where and he said he will just grab a cup of chai and meet me at home. What the &%$#*!@ did he call me for? Sigh. I’m such a hopeless case, I never learn to never hope.

 

When I got home he gave a weird look at the bags I carried. Miscommunication. When he said noodles, he meant instant noodles. For dinner. Are you kidding me? He told me to just cook what I bought the following day so we just contented ourselves with the croissants I had left from lunch. As we sat I glanced at the now withering bouquet he gave me half a month ago (this was the second bouquet after the other month’s and it was the best one I got from him so far) and asked if he ever brought her flowers too. He told me before that I was the only girl he ever gave flowers to but with his silence I realized that was no longer true. And that made me sad again. If it is true what he says that he loves me more deeply than her, why is he treating us the same way? Wait, there’s something wrong with that statement. He is not treating us the same way, he treats her better. I just felt I was no longer special, that’s all, and that’s a sad thing. I think all the wives in the world would like their husbands to treat them like a princess in a fairy tale, rescuing them from danger and showering them with flowers and romantic whatnots. I was his only princess up until she came and I can’t take that.

 

By the time he was getting ready to go (to her, of course) I was already crying. He could not understand what I was crying about but he kissed me on the forehead and repeated what he said before that he doesn’t like to see me crying. Huh? Stop doing what you’re doing and I will stop crying. Don’t you get it? He left anyways. I don’t think I can take this anymore.

 

At around 1am I sent him a message that I would no longer be at home when he comes in the morning. I packed my clothes in huge plastic bags (I did not want to unearth my luggage, that would be tedious) and placed them next to the bed. I prayed for guidance while I hoped he would come home early so that we could talk. It was his day off which meant he would come home 10:30 a.m. He arrived 12:10 p.m., just in time to change clothes for jumaa. It’s just unbelievable. Send me that same message and I would probably be running back home. He saw my bags and asked what I was trying to pull up again. I said I’m moving out. I have already arranged to stay with a friend but I told him I would be transferring to a bedspace somewhere in the area. He said I wasn’t going anywhere. Ha! I don’t think you can’t stop me this time, mister. I have had it. He reached for my wallet and when I realized what he wanted to take I struggled to get it back from him but he pushed me back. He took my residence ID and all my ATM’s and left. I curled up the bed and cried.

 

After jumaa he went straight to her house for lunch. It has not occurred to him that I haven’t had anything to eat since morning. He came back home at 2:30 pm and just stared while I lay in bed. I said I’m going whether he likes it or not. And the next 30 minutes was a like scene from WWF. We wrestled for my clothes which, he wanted to put back in the closet, and I to keep in the bags. We were both physically tired after 30 or so minutes and at that point he hugged me and pleaded me to stay. There is no use to this, I said. I can’t go on letting you hurt me. He said he can’t live without me (and her, too, I suppose). He promised he will let her go eventually but how long this will take, I could not imagine. Ya Allah, please grant me the strength to bear this.

 

Maybe next time I should just go without telling him. But first, how will I get those ATM’s back?

It Doesn’t Get Better

                Yesterday, my world crumbled a second time.

 

                The day started quite slow. I woke up late and had to spend on a cab instead of my usual bus ride. I shared the taxi with a girl who, like myself, snoozed five minutes longer to miss the bus.

               

It was a 30-minute train ride from the bus stop to work and in between, I had to call my husband to let him know where I was. That’s a hypocritical gesture we both have to make to conceal the elephant in the room.

 

The past week I had a hormonal rush of sensitivity, being that it was the time of the month. For several nights I had bouts of crying spells which were quite hard to manage. Most nights, he shared my pain, but on some, he expressed displeasure. Now with my period already gone, I wondered why I was feeling indifference towards him. Even saying “I love you,” which was never difficult for me to say even when I was hurting real bad, now seemed awkward. No worries, I did not dwell so much on the feeling and went on my usual routines at work.

 

By midday, I was in good spirits. I felt excited about ending the workday and cooking something really nice for dinner. Through the rest of the day I thought about nothing but what would be nice to eat. I felt great. Fifteen minutes before office hours ended, my mood almost got spoiled when I realized how much tidying up I had to do in the pantry. I have gotten very busy preparing tea and coffee for our clients in between answering phone calls and when I saw the cups and saucers piled up in the sink I nearly threw them all out. But there seemed to be something in the air that day so I still managed to smile even while I was mopping the leak in the lavatory.  

 

We left 35 minutes late but that was fine. I just had to come up with something easy to cook. Shrimp it is. I took the bus which stops in front of a supermarket a little farther from our flat. I normally go to another supermarket which was nearer to our place but since I was already there I might as well do my shopping than walk to the other one.

 

Garlic, onions, check. Shrimps, check. I was looking for a 7-up in can when two kids went running to the fridge where I was standing. I looked at them and almost fainted when I realized who they were. Even without knowing her, I have known her kids as I often see them playing in the parking lot of our building. Ya Allah! What do you want with me? Darn, it was Tuesday. They must be with their mom – it was her day off, remember? I did not know what to do or where to go next. Knowing she was just around made my heart race. Should I see her? Should I just go? I was still trying to decide what to do when…there she was, just a few meters away, her kids trailing behind her as she pulled a red grocery basket. How pretty and thin she looked in her plain black shirt and printed hijab. This is the girl my husband loves. I felt a pang in my chest. I was still reeling from the pain when I heard a familiar voice calling out her name. It was my husband. They were together – with her kids. I died again.

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