Posts Tagged ‘ FlashFiction ’

The Istikhara

“I want you to cover your head when you leave the house.” He told me.

“I don’t want any servants in the house so you will need to do all the housework yourself.” He said and I wondered if he had maybe not heard me when I told him I don’t and can’t cook.

“You can only leave the house with me.” He went on. I asked him if I could at least go out with my mother if she came to pick me. “She will come with a driver, right?” I nodded yes. “Then no. I will take you wherever you want to go when I come home in the evening.”

“When do you come home in the evening?” I asked him. “It varies but I usually come home at around 8 because I go to the gym at around 7:00.”

“Won’t you be too tired to take me out when you come home that late after the gym?” I asked him.

My head was a jumbled mess at everything he was laying down as conditions and I wanted some clarity on what he was expecting from me. “I might be but you can’t go anywhere unless I take you.”

“I can to the gym with you, though right?” I asked him. “No of course not. There are men there.” I was getting a little scared of this man my parents thought I should consider marrying. I shook my head and decided that he is probably joking.

“I don’t want you to have any guy friends either. I know you study with guys and you have family friends that you are close to, but I don’t like the idea of you having any male friends.” He told me and I was getting confused again.

I thought about all my female cousins and none of them had any guy friends so I guess it was doable but then none of them had studied in co-education institutions either. I was trying to rationalize his thoughts and demands and I was feeling over whelmed at his narrow mindedness.

“You can’t meet your best friend anymore. I don’t want you around people who drink.” He told me in the same discussion and it felt unreal. “Why though? They never drink in my presence.” I asked.

“People who drink are unpredictable and you never when they will decide to start drinking and how they will act. I know because I used to drink and I was even a bar tender for a while when I was studying in London.”

“Do you still drink?” I asked him worried. “No, my dad doesn’t even let me touch non-alcoholic beer anymore. I got some home the other day and he made me throw it out.” He replied, sounding frustrated.

I was so stunned at some of the things he had said that I actually asked him if he would also beat me up after he married me. To which he replied. “No of course not. I have a sister too if her husband hit her, I would kill him.” To which I reminded him that I have an elder brother too so he better be careful and he just laughed mockingly in response as though I was joking.

“Can I kiss you?” He asked me suddenly. “No of course not! I shouldn’t even be with you right now and you already told me you like to bite so definitely not.”

“I promise I won’t bite.” He said and I just shook my head no.

My parents never introduced me to a guy and his family unless they really liked them and we had all really hit it off with each other. I was getting worried about the things he had said to me earlier and the things he was telling me now.

I had told my mom the things I had seen as red flags, basic things like how I can’t drive or work and how I had to cover my head and she said those are good things. She said he wasn’t wrong and that I should listen to him because she agreed with him on these three things.

I was worried though, I had been okay with the demands he was making while I was with him but when I thought about them later, they filled me with dread especially since he stopped talking to me after saying everything and telling me that the ball was now in my court to decide what I want.

I spoke to my brother and his wife that night. I told them everything he had mentioned and they panicked and called me. They told me that these were all red flags and I should run away from him as fast as I could. My brother was very liberal and he had a love marriage. They lived abroad so he could be over reacting.

I decided to do an istikhara that night because that is what people tend to do when they are having trouble deciding on something. My belief was very simple when it came to the prayer. I prayed it like I was supposed to and trusted God to do whatever was best for me. I never waited for dreams or signs, I just waited for things to manifest themselves.

That night I had a dream though, I dreamt that I was surrounded by hungry lionesses, they pounced on me and I woke up shocked and scared.

Beautiful Companion

I have been coming to walk here almost daily since a few weeks. My son has been posted to the hospital and we have been given accommodation by the employer. It is a huge hospital and my son stays busy with his shifts and being on call. It gets lonely being alone indoors so I come here for a walk every day.

I have been observing her since I started coming too. She just comes, walks holding a green umbrella which has the initials PIA on it but she hasn’t opened it to date so I have no idea what they stand for. She has really long black hair that that she always ties in a braid which goes down to her hips. She is dark-ish and I would assume that she is of Indian descent.

I have been trying to smile at her in the hope that one day she might consider befriending me. I wonder if she comes because she has a child who is a doctor or if she comes to visit a patient. She is almost always alone and she always seems sad and somewhat scared. There is something about her that makes me want to hold her and tell her that everything will be fine. It is like she is asking to be comforted but will get scared out of her wits if a stranger approaches her especially, an old white guy.

She looks like she has been oppressed, a typical third world country woman who probably wasn’t allowed to go to school. She was probably married off to someone much older who she never even met before the wedding, perhaps a cousin.

She walked past me just then and I asked her if I could join her for a walk since I needed some company. She nodded and I stood up to walk with her. I offered her my hand as I introduced myself and told her my name. “Christopher.”

“Rizwana.” She told me her name and shook my hand.

“Are you Indian?” I asked her.

“No. I am from Pakistan.” She answered.

“So, you’re Muslim then?” I asked her. She nodded in the affirmative.

“Are you married?” I asked her then getting a little confident with her responses.

“Yes, very much so.” She responded.

“My wife died a few years ago otherwise I was married too.” She expressed her sympathy.

“You’re a very good-looking woman you know.” I complimented her then, getting braver with each passing exchange.

“Thank you very much.” She replied with a smile.

“Would it be right for me to assume that Muslim women don’t engage in extra marital affairs?” I asked her then dying to play with her hair as I lay with her in bed.

“It depends. I’m sure Christian women don’t ideally want to either so I’m not sure what it has to do with religion.” She replied and she looked like she wanted to laugh at me but was restraining herself.

“Did you get a chance to meet your husband before you got married to him?” I asked her. She burst out laughing and then apologized if she came across as being rude.

“Yes, I did.” She replied still smiling.

“Is your husband a doctor here or one of your children or are you just visiting someone in the hospital?” I asked her. She smiled again and she had a beautiful, full, genuine smile, one that made you want to smile along.

“You sure have a lot of questions. I work at the hospital. I am a senior consultant and have been working here since over a decade now.” She replied and I felt shocked at her response and ashamed for my presumptions at the same time.

“What brings you here?” She asked me then.

“My son Jason also works here and I am living with him so I just come to walk here everyday for a change in scenery.” I told her.

“Oh, you’re Jason’s father? He’s a really good doctor with a lot of potential. He is on my team actually and I expect good things from him.” She told me and I was shocked. She was my son’s boss, this woman.

“I’m so sorry. I must seem like such an ignorant man, I made so many presumptions about you based on how you look.” I told her genuinely feeling sorry and awkward.

“It’s okay. I come across a lot of people with similar questions and I enjoy learning their perceptions about me every time. Not everyone is as nice about it as you are though so that should make you feel better.” She told me trying to put me at ease.

“Don’t you get annoyed at such people?” I ask her then.

“I find it amusing most of the time and I am happy to address their notions, so that they will be more careful with other people in the future. This one time a man proposed to me knowing I am already married because he thought I was allowed to marry four men at a time.” She told me laughing.

I looked at her sheepishly. “I don’t blame him. I was thinking the same thing. I would have loved to marry someone like you too if you were allowed to marry multiple people.” Then she laughed again. She thought I was joking which was a good thing I guess because she called me a sweetheart for being so nice.

“What does your husband do?” I asked her then.

“He is a doctor too. He’s amazing and we had a love marriage. We studied medicine together and fell in love. We moved to America together and have been living here since.” She told me. Her pager beeped and she took her leave.

“It was nice to meet you Mr. Christopher. I really enjoyed your company.” She told me as she left to attend to her patient.

I asked my son about her that night. I told him how I had met her and how she told me about her husband. I asked him what kind of man her husband was and he looked at me like I was crazy.

“She told you about her husband?” He asked me.

“Yes. She told me how he is a doctor as well and how in love they are.” I told him.

“Dad her husband died a decade ago. He is buried in that small cemetery next to the park. She is not a doctor; she is just a housewife. They came here illegally so she had to let the hospital bury her husband in this cemetery. He was a doctor and he was abusive towards her. He used to beat her and almost killed her a few times.

She lost her mind when he died and she had nowhere to go so that hospital lets her stay in her husband’s accommodation. She spends most of the day at her husband’s grave and then goes home at sunset.”

“I think you are talking about someone else Jason. This woman wasn’t crazy, she was perfectly normal and she told me you work in her department and that you have great potential.” I told him.

“Dad, Rizwana is a psych patient. I work in that department and she has started believing that she is a doctor, she plays the part well. She even carries a pager around that a doctor here gave her as a present instead of discarding when he got a new one. Please don’t get fooled by her and stay away from her. She is dangerous and highly unstable. Please do not engage with her ever again.”

“Why do you people let her walk around if she is that dangerous?” I asked him then feeling a little scared now.

“She is always watched, visiting his grave helps calm her down so we let her go everyday but someone is always keeping an eye on her. Always.” He told me.

I wasn’t sure if I had felt like a bigger fool when I had been talking to her or now when I realized she was actually crazy but saner than most people I had ever talked to in my life.