Back in Focus


Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

“Don’t do that,” I said, getting irritated. I felt like I was always getting irritated with him, for some silly reason, and I couldn’t shake the feeling off.

I didn’t make eye contact. I wasn’t in the mood for his rattling on about my insecurities.

“Do what?” He asked, even though he knew what I was saying.

I sighed, wiped my hands, and looked up.

“Look at me,” I replied. “Stop. Please.”

He shifted uneasily on his feet, and I watched him shake his head at me and then turn around to leave.

“Do you even want to do this?” He asked, turning around once more.

I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. If he was talking about this platter I was taking tonight, I wasn’t too sure. It was proving to be more work than anticipated.

“I think you’ve got a problem,” he continued, and I could tell where this was going. His voice was getting louder. “No woman in their right mind says the things that you do. Really, Aasiya. Maybe you should get some help… Sort yourself out. I think you have some serious issues.”

I didn’t reply. I had a great come-back for him but I decided to remain silent. It wasn’t always about having the last say, and I wanted to keep it peaceful for now.

I didn’t want to argue. It was futile starting a fight we wouldn’t get to finish. It was like arguing had become a hobby. And obviously, it always revolved around one thing.

It wasn’t like I didn’t ever want kids. But how could I tell Mo my real fear?

I knew that I could make my reason about everything else.

Mo barely spoke to his father. I was estranged from my family. I was still fixing my spirituality. How could we have a kid with all of that going on?

“It’s not right!” he was saying, his voice louder still. “You can’t do this! I want kids. And if you don’t want to give me any, then… Then…”

He trailed off, exasperated.

It was as if he was broken.

He sat down on the three-seater, head in his hands.
I stopped what I was doing, just watching his behaviour.

He was behaving badly, right? He was wrong. Right?

I wasn’t sure any more.

I could tell what he was thinking, and I felt awful. Right now, after all these years, I had reached a point of no return.

I mean, which woman doesn’t want children? How selfish and inhumane was I?

He looked up, finally. His cheeks were flushed and he hastily wiped his eyes.

I knew I frustrated him to the degree that he actually cried. I could see his face was drawn. I could see the tired creases that framed his eyes.

It was the end of the argument… He would let it go… For now.

I wanted to smile at him, but it was like my face was frozen.

A few weeks ago, all we would do was smile at each other. It felt like we were on honeymoon again. Our love had been palpable. It was thriving.

And of course, with the emotions flying around in the air, the topic of kids had come up, not for the first time. This time, though, he was serious.

And it scared me. Not because I was completely averse and didn’t want them, at the time. It was because I just didn’t want to want them.

I took a deep breath, grabbing the platter from the table, and marched to the car. I glimpsed the mirror as I exited, checking to see if I looked decent.

We drove in silence, and although I tried to make eye contact as I left the car, I could tell that Muhammed was uninterested. I knew what he wanted from me. I was either all in or completely out. There was no halfway. He wouldn’t accept the middle line.

We stopped outside the house, still sitting in silence, waiting for the line of cars to ease off.

It was actually crazy how busy this place was, for a last minute wedding.

Memon people, I thought to myself bitterly.

I instantly berated myself. I was just being moody. I loved functions for all the joy they brought, but right now, I just wanted to be at home.

Besides, to me, it seemed like Ziyaad’s sudden conscience that he had developed last week was probably not going to be the best thing for him. Of course, it was the ‘right’ thing to do, considering Farah’s pregnancy drama, but he didn’t seem certain. I just hoped that my brother-in-law wasn’t getting himself too deep in.

I shook off the negative feelings, greeted Mo with a peck on the cheek, putting the monster of pride aside. I was trying to be better. I just didn’t know how to say what I needed to.

He murmured something about fetching me later, and I nodded, glad that he had at least spoken to me fairly normally.

I stepped into the large room where the ladies were fussing around, placing the platter down, and meeting and greeting a few people I knew. It was all fake smiling and small talk, and although I wasn’t in the mood for it, I knew that it would be better to put my feelings aside.

Besides, the decor was quite something. A bit too much, even for my liking, but it was done really well. I was quite impressed.

“Can you believe this place?” a voice said, just above the noise of the crowd.

I smiled at her. It was probably the first time Zaynah had actually come to a function like this. She actually didn’t look impressed… Just a bit shocked.

“You look stunning, love,” I said to her, expertly air-kissing her, not wanting to risk our make-up.

I wasn’t lying to her. She did look gorgeous, even with barely any make up on.

I could see the looks she was getting from some young girls, and I narrowed my eyes at them. Her dress was slightly out of date, but with this type of function, you could never compete with the outfits they pulled out. Some of them had probably travelled overseas just to get something completely exclusive for the next function. It was just a bit ridiculous.

I spotted my mother in law from over the crowd, and grabbed Zaynah, literally dragging her over with me, not wanting to leave her alone to the wolves. I sat on the nearest seat to the wall, although it was close enough to hear my mother in law speaking to one of her connections.

Zaynah was still standing, and I gestured to her to sit. I knew that she was waiting to greet my mother-in-law, but that’s how it was when you were newly married. You always worried about small things that could potentially seem disrespectful. I knew my mother-in-law wouldn’t mind, so I decided to make myself comfortable until she finished her chat, and then greet.

Taking in my surroundings, I glanced at a few girls chatting next to me, and although I was trying really hard not to eavesdrop, sometimes, people made it a tiny bit difficult. It was possible that they probably had no idea who we were. Zaynah looked at me with wide eyes as she overheard them and they continued to talk, with no regard for anyone around us.

“…I mean, I can’t believe her,” the one was saying. “The pregnancy… How she can lie to him like that…”

My ears pricked up.

Lie to him? A lie? What exactly were they saying? Did Ziyaad know any of this stuff?

I shifted around in my seat, straining my ears.

“Well,” one girl I vaguely recognised, said. “If you can’t get what you want, you do whatever it takes to get it.”

She smirked as she said it, and I could hear faint alarm bells going off in my head.

Something within my conscience was warning me that I should make an escape. Something that was fighting for the better half of me to be overpowered, was making it’s presence felt. Something that I knew I shouldn’t ignore.

A good friend of mine was waving to me from across the room and I knew it was my opportunity to get up. I just couldn’t seem to get off the chair and kill the urgency to know more.

“He must have found out,” the other was saying. “You can’t be so stupid. I mean, if you’re trying to make a fresh start and do the right thing, the least you can do is be honest…”

‘The least you could be is honest.’

The words stung, as if they were meant just for me, who sat two seats away, eagerly hanging on to every word of their pointless conversation.

Within my engaged mind, a scraping of a chair startled my thoughts as I looked up and watched Zaynah walk away. I knew exactly why she had left. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t.

Hearing whatever I had, I knew that it would probably cause such havoc, even if I had to relate it to just Mo. It could be grounds for the wedding to be completely called off. If I was that kind of person, who truly loved to interfere in other people’s business, I knew I could have had lots of fun.

The tongue. It truly was the worst weapon… Why we were so clearly advised to refrain from misusing it.

Abu Moosa al-Asharee – radiAllahu’ anhu – said, “O Messenger of Allah (SAW), which of the Muslims are better?”

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Those who do not harm the Muslims with their tongues and hands.” – Saheeh Bukhari.

Because in a moment, the tongue can cause ripples of destruction that can never be reversed. And so often, we pay no heed to how much of damage this single muscle can do.

I shook my head, ignoring everything else now, because my thoughts were elsewhere. I was completely sidetracked, because the words that had hit me were still running through my mind.

Fresh starts. Another chance. A new beginning.

It’s what I had promised myself for after Ramadhaan. To keep away from vain talks in an attempt to detach myself from the world and all I had let myself love so much about this temporary life.

And for Muhammed… I wanted the same. For us, as a couple, I wanted us to try and give of each other once again. To love unconditionally, with no expectations.

But it wouldn’t work even I couldn’t even fulfil his basic right. If I couldn’t just be the wife that he deserved. If I couldn’t just be honest with him.

Because, just as I had heard, the least I could do for him was be honest.

I wanted to, and I needed to. The urgency was so great right then, that I felt like calling him back right then and letting it all out. I felt like telling him my entire story… About how everything, for me, was never just straight-forward.

I tapped out a message, pausing just momentarily before I tapped on ‘Send’.

Maybe I shouldn’t do it like this, but I knew I would never be able to tell him in person. The doctors had warned me, and though I was first in denial, after ten years, I was now completely certain that it was true.

My thumb stretched out to the highlighted word once again, and I re-read the message, finally offering the final execution.

It glared back at me, almost taunting me. Straight to the point.

I’m sorry. I can’t have kids.



Tweet: @ajourneyjournal

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