Sorryyy!

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

Hope everyone is well…

I fully intended to post today…before I went on my break. After coming back however I’ve been so busy that I simply haven’t had time to sit down and write a single word. It’s all the mad rush of the new year lol. School, madrassah, etc etc… it might take me a bit of time to settle down so please have a bit more patience. I will post as soon as I can inshaAllah‚̧

Love and duas

xxx

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Official Break

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

I forgot to add this to the last post so I decided to put this up. I wanted to give you’ll one more post before going on a break but I just couldn’t manage. I’ll be away till next year (sounds so long but it isn’tūüėÜ) so posts will resume on the 14th of January inshaAllah.

Remember me in your duas and forgive me for any shortcomings. Let us end this year on a good note and in a way pleasing to Allah. Sin and vice is all around us. Christmas and New Year has been hyped up so much that even Muslims have been caught up in it. Our new year was in Muharram. This is simply the calender changing. We will be the same on the 31st and on the 1st so no need to get all excited and welcome the new year with a bang lol. Infact we should be trying to better ourselves, to get closer to our Rabb and akhirah inshaAllah. Let our new year resolutions be resolutions on how to gain closeness to our Rabb and change our lives for the better. Let us please our Rabb and not the people. And if we’re going to have FOMO(fear of missing out) about anything then let it be in our a’maal and in getting closer to Allah. On that note, Happy Holy New Year and remember me and the ummah in your esteemed duas‚̧

Much love,

xxx

Part 233-HUMAIRA

WARNING:- CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE AND GRAPHIC SCENES!


It was a wild, stormy night when my dreams, my hopes and my beliefs crumbled around me. The day started off so well, sunny and cheerful like my mood. Mickey had treated me to a spa appointment, which included full body waxing, a facial, manicure, pedicure, haircut and styling, the works. I’d spent a blissful morning at the spa, come home in time to have lunch with Mickey then kissed him goodbye when he left for work again. At seven Mickey phoned to tell me that he was taking some clients out for dinner and drinks and might get home late so I shouldn’t wait up for him. I had just settled infront of the TV with a bowl of popcorn, ready for a night of marathon movie session when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find my brother inlaw, Joe‚Ķhis name was Yusuf but everyone called him Joe‚Ķand his young daughter, Maria standing there. Joe looked at the huge bowl of popcorn in my hands and raised his eyebrows.

“Movie night?”

“Yup,” I laughed, “but all alone. Come in.”

They followed me to the lounge. Joe inclined his head towards Maria.

“She forced me to bring her here. Don’t know what you fed her to make her like you so much,” he joked.

“Oh,” I said, feeling flattered. I didn’t know I had such an influence on kids, especially an unruly wild-child like this one, “ermmm, you can leave her here if you want. She can spend the night with me. I don’t know what time Mickey will be home anyways.”

“Nawh, we’ll watch a movie then head home. What you planning to watch?”

I turned to Maria. “What do you want to watch?”

We settled down to watch Clash of the Titans, which I thought a bit hectic for a child of eight to choose but Joe didn’t object so I left it.

“So where’s Mickey gone?” Joe asked half-way through the film.

“To dinner and drinks with some clients, he said,” I replied.

An odd, knowing look crossed Joe’s face. “Riigghhtt. When will he be back?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. He said he might be late so I shouldn’t wait up for him.”

“How late is ‘late’ usually?”

“I don’t know,” I repeated, “I usually go to sleep so I don’t know what time he gets home.”

Joe raised his eyebrows. “You know what sort of clients he’s got?”

“Business clients, of course!” I retorted, getting annoyed now. What was this, an interrogation??

Joe said nothing for a while after that and I got engrossed in the movie. It was on one of the suspenseful scenes when he suddenly picked up the now empty bowl of popcorn and stood up.

“I feel like having more popcorn. Let’s go make some, Humz.”

“But‚Ķ” I began, frowning at him. Joe gave me a look and jerked his head towards the kitchen. I rolled my eyes and stood up.

“Maria, you carry on watching. We’ll be back just now,” Joe said. I followed him into the kitchen then turned to him.

“What??”

“Humaira, Humaira‚ĶI don’t know whether I should keep my big mouth shut and let you figure things out yourself…if you ever do, that is,” his look made it clear he didn’t think that was likely, “or spill the beans then let you figure things out from there‚Ķ”

“Ag, just tell me man, since you’re bursting with it,” I said irritatedly. I was not worried‚Ķyet. Must be something silly, I thought.

Joe indicated to the empty bowl of popcorn. I got the packet of popcorn seeds from the pantry and put the large pot back on the stove. After pouring the seeds in I closed the lid then turned to him, waiting.

Joe sighed. “Mickey is an idiot. I been telling him that all these months and I’m telling you now. I’ll probably tell him that again a thousand times but he won’t listen. He’s stubborn, that owe, he’ll only do what he wants. I told him from the beginning…come clean, I said. Let her know what she’s getting into. Take me for example. I was dating my wife before I married her. I even had a live-in relationship with her before marrying her. I was upfront with her from the beginning and she was cool with all of it. That’s when I married her. I told Mickey, you do the same. Be honest with her. If she loves you she’ll marry you no matter what. But he didn’t listen. He had fallen in love with you, wanted to marry you no matter what,” Joe snorted disbelievingly, “he said you was different. Well of course you’re different! You’re an Indian!” He snorted again, “Indians are not like us. They are not brought up like us. They’re softies. Like you. Was your lifestyle like this??” He waved his arm to encompass the room, “your popcorn is burning.”

“Huh?” I said stupidly, “oh!” I quickly removed the popcorn into the bowl then turned back to Joe.

“Ya, what was I saying? Oh ya‚Ķyou’re an Indian. What do you know about our lifestyle? How can you adapt when you’ve never been in this environment till you got married? You so dom, even after all this time‚Ķso blind and stupid! The moment I saw you when you first came here I knew. You were starstruck, looking around with stars in your eyes. You didn’t know anything, you just loved who you thought Mickey was. How can you love anyone like that?? How can you claim to love someone you don’t even know?? My Tasha knows me in and out and still loves me. That’s love, not this blind love you have. Will you love Mickey after knowing who he is?? Will you???”

“I don’t know what you’re saying. Can you get to the bloody point??” I snapped. My head was beginning to pound.

Joe leaned forward. “My dear, Mickey hasn’t shown you half of what he is yet. He’s only shown you his tame side, not his wild side. You don’t know him. You don’t know nothing!”

“I know everything!” I snapped in return, “which is more than you do! Now go watch that movie or get out of my house!”

“Oh, you do? What is everything? Huh?”

“That’s none of your business!”

“It is. If you don’t tell me how much you know I won’t be able to tell you the rest. You wanna spend your life blind? You like it there in the dark? It’s kif, huh?” He goaded me‚Ķand got the reaction he wanted.

“He’s shown me his playroom!” I hissed, clenching my hands into tight fists, “he’s introduced me to all his fantasies! He even took me to that swinger party, though I told him I never wanna do that again. And he agreed to stay away from it! The rest we still do! There‚Ķyou happy now??”

Joe threw back his head and laughed loudly. “You stupid fool. That’s all he’s told you? That was just the beginning mos,” he shook his head at me pityingly, “you know where he is tonight? Don’t give me that business kak he told you. You know what his ‘business’ entails??”

I shook my head, my brief spurt of anger gone, leaving me drained.

“How does Mickey earn his money? I’m sure you know that much?”

“He said he does business deals‚ĶI don’t really press him for details‚Ķ”

“We own high-end casinos and nightclubs. Yeah, the ones he takes you to. We‚Ķme, Mickey and Momo (their other brother) own them. Stupid owe couldn’t even tell you that much. We’ve got a rich clientele. Rich shots who pour money into our places. When folks got bucks they expect certain‚Ķperks in return, hmmm. We gotta please them. Happy folks empty their pockets faster. Of course we don’t have to do any of it but we go along sometimes. We enjoy ourselves, they enjoy themselves…got it?”

“What exactly do you do to please these rich shots?” I interrupted, a sour feeling in my mouth.

“We play games with them‚Ķin the casinos. Buy them drinks and dinner, have some late night entertainment‚Ķget down and dirty with them,” he smirked.

“Does Mickey sleep with any of them?” That was my main worry.

“Duh, woman, what have I been trying to tell you all along??” Joe laughed, “where do you think Mickey goes the nights you don’t satisfy him? You think he just sleeps it off?” He saw the embarrassment on my face and laughed even more, “God, you’re even more gullible than I thought. You think you can work Mickey up and think he won’t want satisfaction after that? If you don’t give him what he wants he goes to look for it somewhere else. Simple. Which is your fault in a way so you can’t even blame him. I would have done the same thing,” he looked at me accusingly, “Mickey tried to introduce you to our lifestyle the night he took you to that swinger party but you made such a big deal out of it. He told me you didn’t take it well so he left it, saying you needed more time to get used to it‚Ķto our lifestyle. If you hadn’t freaked out that night he might have told you all of this. I told him he married an uptight bi***,” he shook his head in disgust.

I barely heard that. “But he told me he wouldn’t do that again!! And he agreed when I said we both wouldn’t do that again! Why would he lie to me???”

“He didn’t lie to you, he simply went along to keep the peace. He’s a fu**ing coward! He should have told you long time back man! I don’t know how he can be happy with someone who loves the mask he puts on, not the real him!” Joe banged his fist down on the table.

“I‚ĶI don’t believe you. My Mickey isn’t like that,” I whispered. I wrapped my arms around my middle and rocked myself back and forth, trying to keep the pain at bay.

“I think you need to know why we are like this. Has he told you anything about our parents? Our childhood?”

I shook my head numbly.

“My mother was a prostitute. She was not a Muslim. My pa was. He was married with kids but he was an unfaithful bas****. He kept visiting my ma. He used to visit other whores as well but my ma was his favourite. After a while his first wife found out about him and ma. Credit to her. She didn’t walk out on him. She told him to marry ma instead. Big hearted of her, huh. Should have bliksem him one. Anyways pa married ma and she became a Muslim. You’d think that would stop pa and his whoring ways. It didn’t. That old ballie could have fifty wives and still want fresh meat. Ma realised this and she also realised that he didn’t want to jol on his own. He wanted her to join in. Ironic huh. He removed her from a life of whoring only to give her to other men. Theirs was an open marriage. Nothing was off limits. They went to swinger parties, sex parties, orgies, you name it. They drank, smoked weed, partied. Like a couple of teens who never grew up. And that’s how we grew up. They never hid anything from us. We would see them walk in at all times of the night, drunk or stoned, sometimes with other people. The orgies, group sex, everything was done infront of us. When we were older pa would laugh and invite us to join in. We all lost our virginity early. At the age of twelve infact. Since then we’ve been exploring everything that our parents did. We haven’t been brought up to be monogamous or faithful. It’s not in us. We’ve got our pa in us. That’s why when I met Tasha I told her from the beginning how it would be between us. She agreed to it. She knew how I was and she still agreed to marry me. You knew nothing. Look how shocked you are. You look like you’re gonna faint. This is the life you’ve chosen, babe, like it or not. Mickey isn’t gonna change. He was just gonna introduce you to his way of life slowly, not change his way of life for you. Infact that reminds me. He mentioned he’s holding a party here next month. A swinger party, babe. Nothing innocent gonna happen there. Be ready to go along with whatever Mickey says. He doesn’t like disappointments so make sure you don’t disappoint him. I’ve warned you so you can prepare yourself mentally. You’ll have to adjust to our way of life or you won’t last. Mickey was telling me how you can’t even last through the rough sex. Toughen up, babe. This isn’t some tame Indian playground. This is our playground, and baby, we’re wild!” He mock-roared at me before picking up the popcorn bowl and sauntering away.

Very slowly I straightened from my hunched position, walked over to the sink and threw up. I vomited till my stomach was empty, leaving me with only the sick feeling in my heart. Then I walked back to the lounge and sat down again with a smile, watching the movie till the end credits rolled in.

And still‚Ķeven after watching all my hopes and dreams go up in flames‚ĶI still clung to the hope that I could somehow make my marriage work. After all, it wasn’t like I could just up and leave. Where would I go? My parents had disowned me as thoroughly as I’d disowned them. I had burnt that bridge completely and it could never be rebuilt. Same with all my relatives. I had rubbed my marriage so thoroughly in all their faces that I could never face them again if my marriage failed. How ironic that the same actions I’d used to damn my parents would come back to haunt me. My glory was now my downfall. I knew I had brought this on my head with my own actions. The only family members I was in touch with were Ahmed and Faz, and I couldn’t impose on them. I was stuck in this marriage but I also clung to the hope that all would be right in the end. Mickey did love me and I loved him. Surely that was the main foundation that we could build our marriage on? So I said nothing to Mickey, carried on like nothing had happened even though I died a little more inside each day.

It was almost a month later when two things occurred which changed everything for me.

The first thing was unplanned and shook me up badly as I stared at the slim white stick I held in my shaking hand, the two bright pink lines seared into my head.

My first reaction was panic. What horrible timing! Of all the times to have a baby, now when my marriage was on the rocks and I wasn’t even sure of my own life anymore. What kind of environment would I bring my child in? Was this any way to live for a child?

After the panic wore off, steely resolve set in. I could not bring an innocent child into this messed up environment. I remembered Joe’s words, “that’s how we grew up. They never hid anything from us. We would see them walk in at all times of the night, drunk or stoned‚Ķ” They grew up messed up because their upbringing was like that. I couldn’t let my child grow up like that. The very thought of it made me nauseous. Now I knew that I had to get out of this‚Ķfor my child if not for myself. And soon. It would have to be soon, before Mickey found out about the baby, or else he would never let me leave.

The second thing was planned very carefully. I needed a good reason to leave Mickey or else he would hunt me down and bring me back. I needed evidence, damning evidence that I could use to annul the marriage.

I also needed to act before the party Mickey was planning to hold, which was next week. For the next few days I watched Mickey’s comings and goings closely but there was nothing out of the ordinary. He went to work and came back. No late nights, nothing. The night of the party was looming closer and I was starting to panic. In desperation I squeezed my eyes closed and turned to Allah for the first time in months.

“Oh Allah, help me!”

The plea was wrenched from my heart at the height of my desperation. I’d learned that Allah is closer to a person than his jugular vein, that He always listens to His servant in need. I was such a sinful servant that I didn’t think Allah would listen to me. But He did. The ease with which things finally fell into place continued to amaze me months, even years later.

Two nights before the party Mickey told me he was having a late meeting and would be home late and I shouldn’t wait up for him. His usual speech, except this time I was ecstatic‚Ķand nervous.

“Where you holding it?” I asked innocently.

“At The Boardwalk,” he answered briefly as he knotted his tie and shrugged on his coat. He pressed a brief kiss on my cheek and strode swiftly out the door.

I waited till the door closed behind him then quickly ran to my room, threw on a pair of jeans and top, slipped my feet into soft-soled sneakers then removed a scarf from a corner of the bottom drawer. It was a wide shawl-like scarf. Perfect cover. I grabbed my keys and handbag and left the house, locking up after me.

I spotted Mickey’s car as soon I pulled into the parking lot of The Boardwalk. I parked at a spot where I could watch his car without being spotted then scrolled through my phone aimlessly, trying to control the pounding of my heart. I knew this wasn’t his final destination for the night and I wouldn’t find anything here so I didn’t bother going to look for him, just lay low and waited.

Almost an hour later I finally saw Mickey emerge, accompanied by three women. I instinctively hunched lower and peered at them over the steering wheel. They were laughing and chatting when they got into his car and drove away. I followed at a safe distance. Mickey eventually pulled into the parking lot of a nightclub, one I hadn’t been to before. They disappeared inside. I waited for around ten minutes then slowly came out and locked the car. I wrapped the scarf around my head and lower half of my face to hide my identity then walked to the entrance of the club. The bouncer gave me a weird look but let me enter. I walked in and was immediately assailed by uneasiness, I felt so out of place there. Within a few minutes I knew why Mickey had never brought me here. It was kind of like a swingers party, except this was more public and more uninhibited. I saw people engaging in all sorts of acts everywhere and felt slightly sick. This was where Mickey came? I almost dreaded finding him as I weaved my way slowly through the crowd, trying not to touch or even look at any of them. I saw and heard invitations to join in several times but I ignored it all and carried on slowly, phone in hand. When I finally spotted Mickey, right at the back in the corner, I almost puked. He was there in a state of undress with all three women and the things he was doing made me want to throw up right there. I quietly slipped behind a pillar and recorded the vile acts, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do. I forced myself to record enough to provide damning evidence against him then turned and ran out of there, not caring about how many people I bumped into this time. I ran out the back exit this time and threw up again and again there in the quiet alley till my stomach stopped churning. Then, feeling a blessed numbness steal over me, I drove back home, packed all my belongings into my suitcases and left the house I had called home for nine months for the last time.

It was a cold, rainy night in December when I crushed my dreams under my own foot, threw the broken pieces of my marriage over my shoulder and walked away without looking back.

 

Part 232-HUMAIRA

Things weren’t always like this. My marriage had started out like the usual marriage; rosy, love dovey, mushy, romantic. Mickey was the perfect romantic, caring and attentive husband. I was flying on cloud nine. Escaping from my parents house to this‚Ķit was heaven on earth. Our days were filled with stolen moments between Mickeys work and my chores, stolen kisses, little love notes and suggestive messages‚Ķa slow seduction that built throughout the day, culminating at night, our nights filled with passion and bliss. Our sex life was wow but nothing out of the ordinary for the first month or so. Till I stumbled across his ‘playroom’. I had watched Fifty Shades of Grey, knew exactly what this was. A room done up in red and black, filled with an assortment of ‘toys’, from whips, blindfolds and handcuffs to stuff I wasn’t familiar with. I was still reeling from my findings when Mickey caught me. When I demanded to know what all this was, he smiled and explained it all to me.

“You know how this works?” He asked when he saw me nodding.

“Yeah, I’ve watched Fifty Shades,” I replied.

He looked relieved. “Good then you’re familiar with it. I didn’t know how you’d react so I thought I’ll give you a bit of time before I introduced you to all this.” He swept his arm around to encompass the room.

“You mean…you actually do all this?” I asked, surprised.

Mickey smiled. “I like to experiment. I’ll show you tonight. I’m sure you’ll love it.”

I didn’t ask him how he liked to ‘experiment’. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer to that. I simply nodded and followed him out of the room.

We started off slow. Mickey introduced each new thing to me and made sure I got used to it before he increased the intensity or introduced another new thing. Some of them I liked and adjusted to, other things I straight out disliked or even hated. I told him what I liked and what I disliked and initially he agreed to only use things I liked and was comfortable with. But after a while that created a problem with him. He wanted to use everything, he wanted things way more intense than I liked and he was way more creative in bed than I was comfortable with. I was horrified at some of the things he made me do. Where did he learn such sick stuff from? But deep down I knew. Pornography. Out of curiosity I had watched a few porn videos though I had been sickened by them and had stopped watching after a while. But that and watching Fifty Shades gave me an idea of where Mickey was getting his ideas from. And slowly I discovered another sick truth about him. Mickey was a sex addict. A porn-sex addict. And I bore the brunt of that.

Pornography made dirty sex look exciting, adventurous. It introduced things that a person normally would never think of doing and made it look enticing. People who watched porn started off innocently but before they knew it they were caught in its web. It was addictive. So many people couldn’t stop once they started. And it changed the way they thought about sex. Now normal, decent sex just wasn’t exciting anymore. It’s a fact that watching or reading things had an impact on our thinking and behaviour. Watching porn made people want to copy what they saw, even if what they saw was unnatural and disgusting. And who suffered? The spouses, as I found out first hand.

The thing was, Mickey was a completely different person during the day. We mostly had sex at night so during the day he was decent, caring, attentive, romantic‚Ķeverything a perfect husband was. Maybe that’s why I remained in denial for so long, why I went ahead with whatever he wanted at night just to appease him. My mind argued that he wasn’t a bad person, he’d just been influenced in a bad way. He was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll during the day and Hyde at night. Two completely different personalities residing in one body. I loved daytime. Sunrise was my favourite time of the day, and sunset my worst. My spirits plummeted with the sinking sun, until I was a bundle of nerves by the time night came, not knowing what form of torture awaited me each night. Still, I bore it all‚Ķor tried to bear it till the pain became too much and I protested against my will, much to Mickey’s anger and annoyance. And that started putting a strain on our marriage, despite my frantic struggles to hold on to the good and romantic aspects of it. It started becoming a pattern. Mickey would storm off in anger on the nights I just couldn’t take what he dished out, spend the nights elsewhere and leave for work in the mornings without having breakfast or talking to me. I would take long hot showers to wash away the filth of the night and soothe my bruised body then message and phone him to apologise and promise never to anger him again. I would cook his best dishes for lunch and supper, serve him and pamper him, all the while apologising for my shortcomings till his good mood was restored. Then, desperate to keep the peace between us I would take whatever he dished out at night, giving him all the responses he wanted and trying my hardest to please him‚Ķtill my body was again pushed to it’s limit and I unwillingly stopped him again, which in turn caused his wrath to descend on my head again. And so it continued.

To the outside world I put on a good face, dressed to kill and pretended that my marriage was awesome. The only person who suspected that something was up was Faz. After she saw those marks on my neck she kept asking me if everything was okay but I always said yes. This was my marriage and no one else’s business. Besides, Mickey was a good guy and I didn’t want anyone to think that he wasn’t…

My breaking point almost came the night we went to the swinger party. I could not believe‚Ķdid not want to believe‚Ķthat my loving, possessive husband would betray me in such a way. That he would sleep with another woman in front of me and watch another man sleep with his own wife and not feel an ounce of remorse‚Ķwould actually cheer him on. I’d heard of swinger parties before. I’d always found them sickening and wondered how couples could bear to share their spouses with other people. I didn’t know how a marriage could ever survive such infidelity. I had no clue that it could and would happen to me. I was in shock that night, actually falling asleep right there on the floor, so paralysed was I with shock and disbelief. But the next morning Mickey was back to normal. He didn’t apologise but he was extra sweet to make up for it. Even when I tearfully informed him that I would never do that again and would never tolerate him cheating on me like that again he nodded and didn’t say a word. He bought me roses that day and a box of chocolates, sweetened a hundred times with his charm and attentiveness. I did not forget what had happened but, lulled by this sweet side of him, I fell into the deception that all was right again.

Months passed. The nights were the same. I continued taking it all and quickly smoothing things over whenever I felt that we had hit a rocky patch in our marriage. The nights Mickey stormed off in anger before we could finish what we had started I simply went to sleep thinking that he was sleeping in the next room. I never questioned him about it and he didn’t mention anything either.

All in all Mickey was a good guy and a wonderful husband. He gave me whatever I wanted, took me wherever I wanted to go. He didn’t sleep around or abuse me‚Ķwhat we did at night was not abuse. He was simply trying to fulfill his desires and I was too weak to satisfy him. In his anger he called me all sorts of things. I was a stupid weakling, I had no spine, I didn’t know how to please a man, I was so bloody uptight and frigid‚Ķ I believed all of it. It was my fault he didn’t get satisfied. If I didn’t satisfy him who would? I was his wife, it was my duty to satisfy my husband. He was right, I was too weak. In my desperation I actually started working out to strengthen my body. I took on strenuous training routines to toughen up my body to withstand his ‘play’ and ‘games’. It was difficult. I ended up getting battered day and night instead of just at night. My trainer also got worried about me and suggested doing something less strenuous till my body got used to the training. But I refused. I didn’t want to spend months becoming strong, I wanted to reach my goal in a few weeks. I wanted to please my husband. For him it was worth it. Never mind that I cried silently in pain at odd times of the day and night. That was due to my weakness. I deserved to cry, to feel pain. I wasn’t good enough. I had to become good enough!

Part 231-HUMAIRA

WARNING: SENSITIVE/GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD!!!

This post was very difficult for me to write and I’m sure it will be just as difficult to read. I tried to put in as less details as possible but know that the amount I’ve written was unavoidable, to enable me to paint the scene for you’ll. The content, sickening as it may be, is a sad reality in the ummah in today’s times, so I felt it was necessary for me to write about it for educational purposes.

xxx


 

Cold metal hugged my throat, encasing it snugly. Thin leather strips bound my wrists and ankles, biting into my skin. Darkness enveloped me, from my lack of vision, obscured by black silk, to the one deep within me, spreading tentacles of fear throughout my body. Fear. The one emotion I hated. I cursed my weakness even as I was powerless to subdue it…as powerless as being able to stop what was happening to me, what was going to happen, despite knowing exactly what was coming.

I heard the whip whistle through the air before it connected with my skin again. I jumped, biting my lip hard to keep from screaming as flames of fire licked through my body. Again and again it connected with my skin, on different parts of my body as he got creative, till I thought I would go mad with the pain. In spite of myself a whimper escaped me. I strained against my bonds in a bid to escape the pain, finally uttering the dreaded word; red!

I yelled it out as the pain got worse; this word that was supposed to be my safe word but had become my curse instead. Abruptly the torture stopped. I felt a momentary sense of relief before my hair was gripped tightly and I was yanked around, coming face to face with my abuser, whom I was supposed to call master, but who looked more like a monster at the moment as he ripped off my blindfold. Anger had turned his eyes red, made a muscle tick in his tightly clamped jaw. This close he looked terrifying. The fear got worse.

“What the f*** is wrong with you???” He hissed, “I haven’t even gotten to the good part and you’ve already started screaming. You’re such a sissy it’s sickening! How are we supposed to have fun if you can’t take a bit of pain, huh???” He shook me angrily which made me feel like my hair was going to come out from it’s roots. I yelped in pain, my eyes wide with fear. With a disgusted grunt he threw me down on the bed again and stormed out, slamming the door loudly behind him. I crawled to my pillow and sank down on it, too tired and sore to even attempt to break free of my bonds. My tears mingled with my sweat and blood as I fell into a restless sleep.

I was awakened by Mickey untying my bonds in the morning then slowly rubbing my chafed wrists and ankles. He was the perfect, caring husband again in the light of the day. Stumbling out of bed I winced in pain as my sore body protested, steadied myself against the arm he held out then turned to him.

“Mickey, we need to talk.”

I’d put it off for as long as I could but instead of things improving, as I’d hoped, they’d gotten worse. I had to speak up now, even at the risk of angering him again.

“About?” He smiled down at me, carefully averting his eyes from my battered, naked body.

“This!” I waved a hand down my body, trying to force him to look, to acknowledge the damage he’d wrought. He didn’t. Instead he gave me a light push towards the bathroom.

“Go bath and freshen up first, baby.”

“No, Mickey, we have to talk about this now! By the time I come out you’ll be gone, then I won’t see you again till night,” in desperation I clutched the lapels of his shirt, “I‚ĶI can’t do this anymore. Maybe we can work out another way to‚Ķto get pleasure and satisfaction for both of us, without all this pain. This hurts so much I don’t even get satisfied anymore‚ĶI don’t know if you’ve noticed.”

Mickey was nodding, though it was more the nod of someone who wanted to end the conversation than one who was really listening. “Okay, we’ll see what we can do, baby. Go bath now. I’m going, I’m late again today.” He pressed a quick kiss to my cheek and was gone. I stared after him, hoping I hadn’t made things worse‚Ķ

I had showered and was sitting on the bed, combing my hair when my phone rang. It was Mickey.

“Get dressed by seven tonight, baby. We’re going out. And wear something sexy.”

I agreed instantly, so relieved was I from this brief reprieve I had received. For Mickey, going out meant to a party and the parties we went to never ended before midnight. Usually by the time we got home we were too tired to do anything more than change and crash into bed‚Ķto sleep. Besides, it was Friday today and Friday night parties were usually even more wild. Wilder than I liked but this time I didn’t even mind that because it was going to be my life saver. Or so I thought.

Mickey and I left promptly at seven. We went out to eat first, at a nice, cozy restaurant. Mickey was courteous and attentive and I enjoyed it fully, my own mood buoyant. I felt happy and carefree for the first time in weeks…so happy that I willingly followed Mickey wherever he led me.

This wasn’t our usual night club, was my first thought when we entered the house. Infact it wasn’t a night club at all, but someone’s house. I looked at Mickey to ask him about it but he was already ushering me along, smiling at someone ahead of us. I turned back to see us stepping into a large, open space. There was the kitchen on one side, the dining room in the middle and a big recessed lounge on the other side. It was dimly lit with music playing in the background. People were mingling together, drinking and chatting, some swaying slowly to the music. A house party, I realised. Someone immediately recognised Mickey and waved us forward. He greeted Mickey with a fist bump then turned to me, his eyes widening appreciatively.

“Looking hot, babe! Mickey’s a lucky owe!” He said with a slow whistle, his eyes wandering down my body. I blushed slightly at his open appraisal and thanked him. I was wearing my tight, fire-engine red tube dress with six-inch high stilettos which showed off my long, well toned legs. I’d had to apply makeup carefully all over my body to conceal my bruises but I looked as flawless as always and I knew it.

“This is Jim,” Mickey said, finally introducing me to the tall, muscled guy, “and this is his girlfriend, Brenda.” That’s when I saw the petite woman standing behind Jim. We smiled and greeted each other.

We didn’t really mix in with the other people there. I didn’t recognise anyone anyways and I didn’t know if Mickey did. We mostly hung out with Jim and Brenda, drinking…though I turned down alcoholic drinks like always, opting for a coke instead‚Ķchatting and dancing. Jim and I danced a couple of times. He was a good dancer. I spotted Mickey dancing with Brenda, holding her close to him‚Ķcloser than I thought necessary but I pushed the thought away and focused on enjoying myself instead.

After a while people began pairing off and disappearing into other rooms. There was a small passageway with several doors opening out from it. I did wonder what they were doing behind closed doors, even had an idea of what they might be doing, but I didn’t pay much heed to it…till Mickey was leading me into one of those rooms, with Jim and Brenda following.

“Wha‚Ķ?” I began in confusion, my eyes wandering around the room. There was a huge bed in the middle of the room and a couple of mattresses tossed down on one end. My confusion and alarm escalated rapidly when I saw Mickey and Jim shrugging out of their clothes, leaving just their boxers on, and Brenda similarly wriggling out of her clothes, leaving just her skimpy underwear on. I backed up quickly but was brought short by Mickey who had reached me.

“Relax. Just relax and go with the flow. You’ll love this, I promise,” he whispered in my ear before I heard the sound of a zipper. Before I could react my own dress was sliding to the floor. I gasped and wrapped my arms around my exposed body, my eyes flying wildly around the room.

“No!” I burst out, seeing Jim walk purposefully towards me, “Mickey‚Ķ!”

“Relax, babe, we discussed all this, right? You said you were willing to give it a go. Just relax and you’ll see how much you’ll enjoy it,” Mickey said, grinning encouragingly before he nodded at Jim.

The next few hours were a blur of panic, confusion, fear and dread as a strange man who was not my husband put his hands all over my body and did unspeakable, intimate things to me that only my husband was supposed to do…and my husband cheered him on while doing the same unspeakable, intimate things to another woman. At one point all four of us were on the bed and there were more than one pair of hands on my body. But the ultimate betrayal came when Jim started to consummate the act with me.

“No!” I yelled, pushing ineffectively at his shoulders. He could not, could not, join with me so intimately. I frantically looked for my husband but the sight of what he was doing with another woman made bile rise in my throat. He only looked up long enough to say, “give it to her hard, Jimmy! She’ll love it!” before carrying on with what he was doing.

“Shhh…he’s right, you’ll love this. Just relax,” Jim whispered, smiling.

I zoned out. I was so tense, so miserable and confused and rigid that it was painful instead of pleasurable. I didn’t care. I zoned out so much that I didn’t remember the next couple of hours much. I went through the motions of dressing again, speaking to and even smiling occasionally with the other couple as we parted ways and went back home but it was all mechanic. Mentally I had shut down. I replied to Mickey as well when he spoke but I had no idea what exactly we both said. Till we reached our bedroom and he turned to me with an excited smile.

“Wasn’t that just lekker? What an awesome night! We definitely have to do it again!”

That was when my composure broke. “Lekker??? Awesome???” I screamed, “you think another man touching me and raping me while you go at it with another woman is awesome??? You’re so sick Mickey and you make me sick‚Ķ!!!”

The blow knocked me to the ground. Through my hair which had fallen over my eyes I saw Mickey looming over me, his face twisted with anger.

“Don’t‚Ķyou…dare‚Ķcall me‚Ķsick! It’s you who’s sick and so damn uptight and frigid! You’re the one who makes me sick! If I knew what a boring bi*** you were I’d never have married you!” His booted foot landed in my ribs, sending pain shooting through me before he stormed off.

I curled my ravaged body on the cold, hard floor and sobbed out my disillusionment and heartbreak, the pain of betrayal far worse than any physical pain I’d experienced.

Part 230

NOTE: SENSITIVE/GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD…

Deep red marks, stark and vivid against her fair skin. Several of them, long and symmetrical…as though something had been pressed repeatedly and brutally into her skin. No, not just something. Fingers! The pieces of the puzzle clicked into place in my mind with sickening clarity. They were deep imprints of fingers…caused, most likely, by large hands closing around her throat and squeezing…throttling the life out of her. I felt sick as the images flashed through my mind as vividly as a film reel, brought about by the stark evidence staring me in the eyes. Swallowing hard I raised my eyes to hers and saw the guilty confirmation there.

“It’s not what you think,” she began hastily, reaching for her scarf. I tucked it away under my legs so she couldn’t get it. There was no point in hiding anything at this point.

“When? How?” I whispered, looking into her eyes searchingly.

Humi shook her head, changing before my eyes. The mask slipped into place again, hiding her true thoughts. A sardonic smile touched her lips.

“Chill, Faz. It’s not what you think.”

“What do you mean?” I frowned.

“Ever heard of BDSM?” She asked lightly.

The name gave me a jolt. I had heard of it of course…who hadn’t, these days?

“Yeah‚Ķ” I replied cautiously.

Humi shrugged and gave me a bright smile. “Can I have my scarf back now?”

I didn’t budge. “What about it? You haven’t told me what happened.”

Humi rolled her eyes. “Really, Faz? You want me to spell things out for you?”

“Yes,” I replied bluntly.

Humi sighed, a long, drawn out sound. “Fiiinnnee! If you insist,” she looked away for a few moments as though gathering her thoughts then looked at me again, “how much do you know about it?”

“A bit. I skimmed through fifty shades after all that hoo-haa about it. It was so sick,” I shuddered, “I didn’t bother looking through the other two books. I know it’s inflicting pain to increase pleasure‚Ķthough how that’s possible, I don’t know. How can anyone enjoy pain?”

Humi laughed. “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And it’s not only pain. There’s loads of different aspects to it. It definitely spices up our sex life,” she grinned.

“Explain the different aspects to me,” I said, “then explain how you got those marks.”

“Well, B and D is bondage and discipline. That’s like using handcuffs or ropes to restrain the sub. D and S means dominance and submission…which is the dominant partner who has control over the submissive partner. And S and M is sadism and masochism‚Ķwhich is the dom inflicting pain on the sub. That’s the gist of it. You can get creative and do whatever you wish of course. Maybe you must buy some handcuffs and blindfolds and give give Ahmed the time of his life. It will definitely spice up your sex life,” she said with a leer.

I ignored that, refusing to let her divert the attention from herself. “So what’s that?” I pointed to her neck.

“Nothing. Throttling. Mickey applies pressure and pain while pleasuring me. It heightens the pleasure, makes it so much better,” she said enthusiastically.

Besides the fact that I was extremely sceptical about the fact that pain could give pleasure, I didn’t buy Humi’s story. She looked too enthusiastic‚Ķtoo bright and cheerful and offhand about it all. But I couldn’t forget the flash of pain I had glimpsed in her eyes earlier on.

“This is abuse, Humi,” I said bluntly, “he has no right‚Ķ”

“Nonsense!” Humi interrupted, “BDSM isn’t abuse. It’s done with the consent of both parties. I told you why it’s done.”

“Then why are you hiding your ‘marks of pleasure’ behind a scarf which you hate wearing?” I asked her, raising my eyebrows at her, “I don’t see people hiding their love bites.”

“Because prudish people like you and Ahmed start thinking it’s abuse!” Humi shot back, “don’t tell him anything. I don’t want him to get all angry over nothing and come out in his haraam police suit and ten pages of bayan notes!”

“Well, if I’m going to try out the things you told me to, I have to give you credit for the idea,” I tried to tease.

Humi rolled her eyes. “You definitely have to try it out, then you won’t scream abuse at every little thing. But don’t tell Ahmed anything about me. This is between me and you, okay?”

Reluctantly I agreed, even though I wanted nothing better than to vent to Ahmed and hear his opinion on this. Was BDSM really so harmless?

That question kept me up till late that night. I made an excuse of having work to do and stayed up after Ahmed went to bed, laptop open infront of me. I read up everything I could on BDSM and the more I read the more horrified I became. How sick, how twisted had the world become that it regarded such acts as normal and actually glorified them??? I remembered the craze when Fifty Shades of Grey had come out. People, young and old alike had gone crazy over the ‘handsome hunk’, Christian Grey. Muslims had been equally caught up in the fervour. I remembered clearly the girls I had been teaching in madrassah discussing the book avidly, said book lying on the carpet between them. They had been startled when I had suddenly appeared behind them, quickly trying to conceal the offensive book under their legs. I had confiscated the book with a strict warning about bringing such material to madrassah, then gone home and skimmed through the book to see what lovely romance it contained to make teenage girls rave over it and drool over the hero. I had been sickened by the reality. The book‚Ķor books rather‚Ķthere were actually three of them, I’d discovered with the help of Google‚Ķwere about a millionaire sadist who enslaved young girls under a ‚Äúmutual agreement‚ÄĚ and inflicted physical pain on them for his sexual pleasure and in return he offered them generous amount of money and cosseted them with lavish cars, extravagant clothes and jewelry. Abused as a teenager, he partnered with his abuser in a business and didn’t see anything wrong with what his abuser did to him. Moreover, since his own mother was a prostitute who committed suicide, he chose girls who looked like his mother so he could inflict pain on them, to satisfy his anger towards her! A young, ambitious, educated, innocent girl, who was not only a virgin but very na√Įve about sex, fell in love with him, even though he stalked her, traced her calls, convinced her to sign the submissive-contract so he could use her for his sexual enjoyment. Then‚Ķ. they got married and after marriage he gave up his addiction and they lived happily ever after. Yeah, right!

As if the books weren’t bad enough, after some time the movies were released‚Ķwhich made Muslims go crazy over them and obsess over them and over the hero even more. I had seen or heard of so many Muslims going to watch the movies, despite the fact that the content of these movies was actually soft porn!

Teenage girls are hopelessly naive. Reading or watching such content made them develop a skewed image of what sex and intimacy was supposed to be like. Same with the guys. Reading or watching such content, which was basically soft porn, and additionally watching proper porn videos made them develop a very skewed image of intimacy. It made them develop fantasies, which they tried to satisfy with their spouses in the bedroom; and when their fantasies were too sick for their spouses to ever fulfill, they resorted to cheating in their quest to find someone who would fulfil such fantasies…even if that someone happened to be prostitutes. I had heard of countless such cases in our own Muslim community. And the reason? Such immoral content that Muslims themselves had normalised. Pornography was a vice that had ensnared our people in its relentless grasp…and to further ensnare people it used books and movies like Fifty Shades of Grey to normalise it to people who wouldn’t normally watch porn. I had made sure I read enough of the book that night to get the gist of what it contained, then gone to madrassah the following day with a lecture on the harms of exposing oneself to such content. This was not an ordinary love story, I’d emphasised repeatedly to them, this was abuse!

This was why islam emphasised haya (modesty) so much. Muslims are required to keep their eyes chaste, which means not only lowering their eyes from strange men or women but also refraining from reading books or magazines or watching movies with immoral content…to keep their ears chaste, which means not listening to any music or talks or movies filled with immoral content‚Ķto keep their tongues chaste which means not talking about any immoral things…to keep our hands and feet chaste, which means not going towards anything or to any place which has immoral activities going on. In todays times such stuff was everywhere, in the palms of our hands (our phones). It was extremely difficult to stay away but all this was detrimental to our imaan‚Ķand if we kept away Allah would place such sweetness of imaan in our hearts that we would be able to experience the sweetness thereof. Many a times I had seen that couples who kept themselves chaste and observed proper purdah had the happiest and most content of marriages. If we don’t look at any man or woman except our spouses then how would we ever find them lacking? Allah would place all our happiness and contentment in them alone, and fill such marriages with blessings that lasted a lifetime. And the rewards in the hereafter would be more abundant and everlasting. Then isn’t the sacrifice worth it?

As for BDSM being allowed in islam, between husband and wife, it was permitted to an extent‚Ķso long as no harm was caused by either spouse to their spouse, and no humiliation, degradation etc was carried out. From what I’d read of BDSM, a lot of it did include pain and humiliation, which made it difficult for couples to draw the line. But that was not my concern. Each couple could ask their mufti and draw their own lines. My concern was for Humi, who definitely was being harmed from what I’d seen. I couldn’t help her for as long as she denied any form of abuse taking place, and forbade me to tell anyone including her own brother. With a heavy heart I made a silent dua for Allah to protect her from all harm, then slowly made my way to bed.

Part 229

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

Hope everyone’s well. Shukran for the patience in waiting for posts… since I have no fixed schedule at the moment and you’ll have waited for so long I thought I’ll give you’ll the post today instead of waiting for Monday…posts might be a little erratic for now but I’ll try to post as much as I can…

Enjoy xxx


“Why??” I burst out, charging into the washroom at full speed. The door banged against the wall before swinging back towards me. I nimbly jumped out of the way and it crashed back into its place. Humi had whirled around at my sudden appearance, a tube of lipstick arrested midway to her mouth. She raised her eyebrows at me sardonically.

“Why what?”

A swift glance around the washroom ascertained that it was empty besides us. I sighed with relief then turned back to Humi.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked her more calmly.

Humi shrugged and turned back to the mirror. “What exactly am I doing?” She ran the crimson tube slowly over her lips, her eyebrows raised at me in the mirror.

“You know what you’re doing, Humaira,” I folded my arms and stared back at her, leaning against the closed door, “going around town, flaunting your new self and your husband, rubbing yourselves in the faces of every rich or gossipy person in this town, deliberately humiliating your parents, speaking ill of your mother,” I paused to take a breath and to see how Humi was taking my not-so-flattering summary of her behaviour so far. Not so well, I thought with a mental cringe, seeing her stormy, mutinous face.

“Has the goody-two-shoes apa come to preach now??” She jammed the lipstick into its cover and turned to face me again.

“I haven’t come to preach. I’m worried about your behaviour. At first it was obvious you’re taking revenge on your parents for whatever wrongs they’ve done to you. But now‚Ķnow I don’t know why you’re still doing it. Is it to get some sort of petty satisfaction at the scandalous gasps and stares you get? Do you enjoy the attention? Or do you think your parents names haven’t been blackened enough and you want to drag them through the mud even more?”

“No!” Humi yelled suddenly, making me start, “you don’t understand anything! And it’s none of your business anyways! Move out of the way, I want to pass!”

I did not budge. “Then make me understand. I’m not one of those gossipy aunties. I’m not clucking my tongue at you and offering empty words of sympathy but all the while looking down at you and thinking as low of you as I do of your mother. You’re not only blackening your parents names, Humi. You’re blackening your own name as well. You also used to be a respected, dignified girl before. But now‚Ķ” I took a deep breath, deciding to be blunt, “now you’re thought of as a cheap strumpet,” I could not say whore no matter how many times I’d heard that word in reference to her. I ignored her enraged gasp and ploughed on, “please stop all this. The damage is done, far more than you know. Your parents are former shells of themselves. They’re still your parents, Humi. No matter how you think of them, they did bring you into this world and bring you up. And yes you suffered at the hands of your mother but you still had a luxurious life, which is more than I can say about thousands of people out there. Islamically and morally you should respect them. Keep your distance if you want but please don’t break ties with them and don’t disrespect them, either in private or public. You’ve gotten the freedom you’ve wanted. They won’t stand in your way any more. Bury the hatchet and move on. Please.” I looked pleadingly into her eyes and felt a flare of hope when the stormy anger in them slowly died.

“Fine. I was getting tired of it anyways.”

I almost cheered out loud. Instead I grabbed her in a hug and squeezed her until she grunted and pushed me away. I grinned at her, feeling ecstatic. I hadn’t expected her to give in so fast; I’d expected a much longer battle. The fact that she did give in this fast and graciously meant the old Humi was still hidden somewhere in there and that made me as happy as winning this mini battle. I linked my arm in hers and pulled the door open.

“Come for lunch next Sunday?”

Humi nodded. “Ya, no problem. I’ll tell Mickey.”

“Cool. I’ll meet you then. Toodles,” I waved at her and rejoined my family at the table.

***

“Wake up! Humi and Mikaeel will be here soon,” I said, shaking Ahmed awake. He groaned and turned away, pulling the covers over himself again. I looked with narrowed eyes at his form then grinned as a thought struck me. I quickly went into the bathroom, filled an empty spray bottle with water then came back. Leaning over Ahmed I sprayed water in his face, chuckling at his muffled groans of protest.

“Come on‚Ķwakey wakey‚Ķwhy you such a sleepyhead today anyways? Usually you’re up by ten at least. Come on‚Ķaaaa!” I ended in a yell as Ahmed flipped over onto his back and in a swift motion pulled me down on top of him and began tickling me with one hand, the other arm clamped tightly around my back, “ugh! Leggo!” I squealed, squirming to get away from him. It didn’t work. Bent on having his revenge and other bonuses on top of it he flipped me around then proceeded to subdue me in other, more pleasant ways. With a laugh I finally managed to wriggle free of his grasp and jumped to my feet at the foot of the bed. “Go take a shower quickly then I’ll go.”

He obeyed but with a condition of his own. “Come, we’ll go together. It will save us time,” he said with a grin.

I laughed. “Uh uh. We won’t save any time that way, we’ll end up wasting time. Go!”

Ahmed shook his head and caught my wrist, dragging me towards the bathroom with him. “Time spent together is not wasted, babe! And I’m sure Humi will understand. She’s a newly wed herself,” he said with a wicked smile.

I opened my mouth to argue, caught the determined look on his face and equally beguiling look in his eyes and my defenses crumbled. “Fine. But if we’re late you’ll do all the explaining!”

We were late…but Ahmed didn’t have to explain anything. Humi demanded to know why we kept them waiting for so long and didn’t answer the hundred knocks on our door, then looked at my pink cheeks and Ahmed’s complacent smirk and rolled her eyes. “You’ll always have the worst timings!” She complained.

“You mean there’s a time and place for such?” Ahmed widened his eyes innocently at her then laughed and ducked out of the way when she threw a punch his way. He picked up the salad bowl and walked out of the kitchen, humming under his breath. Humi looked at his retreating back and shook her head.

“Who would have thought uptight, prim and proper Ahmed would have a naughty side!”

I burst out laughing. “Ahmed?? Uptight and prim and proper?? Yeah right!”

“He seems that way with the rest of us. I almost expect him to start a bayan at any moment! So to see him like this, relaxed and teasing‚Ķit’s weird.”

I shrugged and smiled, placing the salad and drinks on the mat. “Maybe because you’ve never been that close to him? Though I’m sure he’s opened up to you now. He’s very talkative and all when he opens up.”

“He had opened up more after getting married‚Ķbut since I got married he got all closed off again. I know he hates Mickey‚Ķand maybe me too,” she smiled sadly. Her attitude was so different to her usual don’t-care attitude that I grasped the opening immediately.

“He doesn’t hate you, Humi. And he doesn’t hate Mikaeel. He just doesn’t know him well enough yet to relax around him. And yes, he was angry with your behaviour, how you were humiliating your parents publicly but I told him you’ve stopped all that. You’ve stopped, neh?” I searched her eyes for affirmation and I got it. After a moment she jerked her head in a nod.

“Ya, I told Mickey it’s enough now. We’ll keep to our side of town from now on. We were only coming this side to put on public displays like you said. But it’s enough now.”

I smiled at her. “I’m glad to hear that.” I wanted to mention a truce with her parents but I knew it was too soon for that…on both sides. Baby steps‚Ķ

“Come, let’s eat,” I said when everything had been dished out for the men and for us, “you can remove your scarf if you want. It’s hot today,” I said, seeing the thick shawl-like scarf wrapped around her neck.

“No, it’s fine. I’m fine,” Humi said quickly, her hand lifting unconsciously to her throat. An odd look flashed across her eyes, gone before I could interpret it. She flashed me a bright smile and moved to sit down on the mat.

After eating we relaxed in my room, chatting about random things. When asr time set in I got up to make wudhu and told Humi to make after me. She nodded and went in the bathroom after I was done. I laid down two musallas and prayed on the one infront so Humi could pray on the one behind mine without interrupting me. When I was done I made a brief dua then turned around to see if Humi was done. She was, pulling off her burkha just as I turned to look at her. The scarf, still wrapped tightly around her neck, loosened slightly with her movement. She leaned forward to fold the burkha nicely and my eyes riveted on the small patch of her throat exposed by the loosened scarf. Alarm bells began clanging in my head. Humi never wore a scarf, around her head or neck. Not even in winter when it was bitterly cold. Today it wasn’t only warm, it was hot but she had wrapped a thick, warm scarf around her neck and refused to remove it even when we were alone. I had told her twice, once in the kitchen and again in the room when I felt like I was suffocating on her behalf. Both times she had refused adamantly‚Ķboth times she’d had that odd look in her eyes when she did so. Even when she came out of the bathroom and wore the burkha to pray salah she didn’t remove it. And now I was seeing a glimpse of something on her exposed skin that was making me extremely uneasy. Humi looked up at that moment and caught the expression on my face.

“What??”

With mounting alarm I leaned forward and in one swift move yanked the scarf from her neck. Humi gasped, her hands flying automatically to her throat. I pulled her hands down and it was my turn to gasp. With eyes wide with shock and horror I stared at her neck then her face.

“Humi, what the hell?????”

No post…

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh…

Hope everyone is well…

Unfortunately,due to certain personal circumstances I won’t be able to post today or during this week. If I can manage I might post but this is to let you’ll know incase there aren’t any posts this week.

Please keep me in all your duas…

xxx

Part 228

“Assalamu alaykum!” I called loudly as I entered the house‚Ķmum’s house. Han and Sumi were probably already there, judging by the amount of chatter coming from the kitchen. I stopped in the doorway and grinned. “You’ll are so loud I’m sure the whole street can hear you!”

“Faz! Guess what!” Han exclaimed, jumping up and running towards me. She caught me up in a tight hug, making me wince and eye her curiously.

“What? Whatever it is, it’s big. I can just tell by your smile.”

“I told you to guess,” Han folded her arms and raised her eyebrows at me expectantly.

“You’re pregnant?” I said the first thing that came to mind.

“Yes!” Han jumped up and down, her smile stretching from ear to ear, “how did you guess? Do I look different?”

“You’re kidding me!” I stared at her open mouthed, “already??”

“Dude, it’s been three months,” Han replied, rolling her eyes, “other people get pregnant on their wedding night!”

“I know, I know but still‚Ķalready? Wow!” Then the news sank in and my smile stretched till it matched hers, “I’m gonna be a khala! Yaayy!!” It was my turn to crush her in a hug, hard enough to make her wince and to make mummy admonish me that I’d crush the baby. As if!

***

“So when did you find out?” I asked Han later on as we were chilling in the lounge.

“Yesterday…though I’ve had my suspicions for about a week, since my periods got delayed,” Han replied.

“Hamza must be so happy,” mummy said with a smile.

“Oh, he’s over the moon. You should have seen him, mum! He carried me proper bollywood style then went running like that to where mummy and them were to yell out the news at the top of his voice! Then he started hugging me and whirling me around right infront of them! I was sooo embarrassed!” Han’s cheeks turned pink even now.

We burst out laughing. “Well, that’s one excited daddy. Make the most of it and ask for whatever you want right now,” I leaned forward with a wicked smile.

“Ay, stop teaching her such things now. And why don’t you also make the most of it and bring me a grandchild, huh? When you going to get ready?” Mummy asked, turning to me determinedly.

I groaned. “Mummy, can we not concentrate on me for once and lavish all the attention on Han instead? I’ll get when Allah wants me to get, inshaAllah.”

“Just imagine, Han pregnant before you! Who knew that Haneefa would be the one bringing the first grandchild into this house, before you and Adnaan also,” mummy commented.

I nudged her sharply and hissed, “shhhh!” as I spotted Sumi in the doorway, about to come on. It was too late though. I knew she had heard what mummy said. Her smile remained in place as she came and sat with us but her eyes had darkened in pain.

Unlike me Sumi had wanted to get pregnant immediately after marriage, and she’d been married for several years now. Initially we thought nothing of it when no news came forth from the happy couple but after a couple of years mummy had discreetly asked Adnaan if they had trouble conceiving or did they just not want children. Adnaan being Adnaan had briefly replied that they were trying but hadn’t managed so far and mummy should make dua. That’s it. None of us had had the courage to come out and ask Sumi about it. Mummy had wanted to, once, but I had stopped her. Sumaya’s personal struggles were none of our business and she herself had never mentioned anything or even let on that she was disappointed in not being able to conceive yet. Infront of us she was always the happy, smiley, happy-go-lucky girl. How could we ask her something she wasn’t comfortable sharing with us?

The only time I had realised, truly realised the reality and depth of her pain and grief was when I had gone over to her house one day last year. I’d met Adnaan as he was leaving for work and he had waved me in then rushed off. I called out Sumi’s name as I walked in but got no response. I was passing her bedroom on my way to the kitchen when I heard something like a scream. Alarmed I automatically turned that way, peering into her bedroom through the open door. It was empty but the sound had definitely come from inside. I knocked on the door even though it was open.

“Sumi? You okay?” I called out.

There was no response, which I had expected since she was most likely in the bathroom. I was just about to turn around and go into the kitchen to wait for her when the bathroom door burst open and Sumi emerged, her hair wild and her eyes red.

“Dammit!” She screamed and hurled something against the opposite wall with all her might before collapsing in a flood of tears. I rushed to her side in panic.

“Sumi? Sumi? What’s wrong? What happened?”

Sumaya sobbed in my arms for a long time without speaking. I had an idea of what it was about now, after spotting the slim white stick lying on the floor with yet another single line. When she composed herself she finally opened up to me about her struggles with falling pregnant. She longed desperately to be a mother even though Adnaan kept telling her to relax and trust in Allah’s plan. It will happen when it’s meant to happen and not a moment sooner. But his patience and calm understanding‚Ķwhich she saw as obtuseness‚Ķand her desperation were driving a wedge between them.

“He doesn’t understand,” she kept saying, “how can he understand? Men only become fathers when they hold the baby in their arms. How would he know what I’m going through?? I feel like smacking that silly smile off his face sometimes!”

I spent the next half an hour listening to her and sympathising with her. I also tried to tell her gently that it wasn’t her husband’s fault or her fault that she wasn’t falling pregnant so she should stop blaming either herself or him. He was her rock and support at this time, the only one who truly saw what she was going through and was there for her so she should turn to him, not against him. I spoke to her about trusting in Allah’s plan as well; she would only fall pregnant when she was meant to, not any sooner or later so she must make sabr and lots of dua, even though I felt so inadequate speaking to her. She might be thinking that what do I know what it’s like being in her shoes, the entire time. She did seem calmer when I left though and even thanked me for the support so I hoped I had somehow helped and not made things worse. Since she had opened up to me only I kept her confidence and didn’t mention anything to anyone but I did tell Han and mummy to not mention pregnancy or babies around her and to never ask her anything about falling pregnant. And we had done so, until now, when there was a baby coming in our family. I knew the pain it must be causing her even though she didn’t say a word and showed nothing but support. Silently I made dua for her‚Ķand for Han‚Ķand for me‚Ķthen made a suggestion that would take Sumi’s mind off her pain and entertain us all as well.

“Why don’t we go shopping??”

Nothing like some retail therapy with family to get your mind off things, right??

***

We were sitting down to have coffee or ice creams after our little shopping spree when I saw a familiar figure‚Ķor rather, two familiar figures enter. I sighed mentally. Sunday afternoon, packed place…typical. I wondered when their little games would end. When would they tire of these petty mind games? I had tired of them long ago and I wasn’t even the one going to such lengths to embarrass her own parents.

“Faz! Surprise! Nice seeing you here!”

I grimaced under my niqaab and turned to greet her.

“Assalamu alaykum, Humi. Nice to see you too.”

“Not going to greet your brother inlaw, are you?” A deep voice spoke from beside her. I glanced at Mikaeel and mumbled a quick salaam before switching my gaze to Humi again.

“Here for some coffee?” I asked her.

“Coffee‚Ķand some entertainment of course.” They both laughed like she had cracked a hilarious joke. I didn’t bother to even pretend to join in their laughter.

“Oh, Aunt Rabia. How rude of me not to greet you!” Humi exclaimed suddenly, “and Haneefa, Sumaya. How you’ll? You’ll have met my husband Mickey, right?”

“I think the whole town has met him by now,” I remarked drily. Han snorted with laughter which she hastily turned into a cough. Mum and Sumi politely nodded at Humi while greeting her.

“Anyways, we’ll see you around. Maybe you’ll can join us later on,” Humi said with a little wave and sauntered away, hips swaying under her skin-tight mini-skirt.

“Shewh, that’s one hectic couple you got there,” Han remarked, shaking her head.

I rolled my eyes. “Tell me about it. I can’t recognise my sister inlaw anymore.”

“What does Ahmed have to say about that?”

“He tolerates them‚Ķbarely. I’ve had to stop him from telling her off many times though. He’s as tired as I am by this whole drama. Like why can’t they get tired of all this and go back to leading their own lives?” I blew out a sigh and banged my hands down on the table.

“Maybe this is part of their lives,” Sumi said, shrugging, “I mean, some people do this all the time. They thrive on causing drama and making tongues wag.”

“I hope not!” I exclaimed in horror, “otherwise forget Ahmed, I’ll wring her neck myself.”

Han laughed. “Chill, dude. You’re not her mother or even her sister. Do that and she’ll never speak to you again.”

“I know, of course I won’t go to that extreme…but I’ll have to speak to her if she doesn’t stop all this,” I said, my eyes on where Humi and Mikaeel sat‚Ķbang in the middle, on the bar stools before the counter‚Ķwhere everyone could see them. As I watched Mikaeel whispered in Humi’s ear. She laughed in response and rested her head briefly on his shoulder. I shook my head and turned back to my family.

The second time I looked the two were feeding each other ice creams and giggling away. As I watched Mikaeel leaned over and licked a spot of ice cream from the corner of Humi’s mouth. Ewwwwwww! I quickly turned back and resolved never to look that way again.

The third time I looked‚ĶI couldn’t resist and it was as I was walking their way to go to the washrooms at the other end‚Ķthe two were engaged in a conversation with another couple. I looked closer and mentally groaned. Aunt Yasmin, one of those hoity-toity ladies who was supposedly mummy’s friend, and her husband. What could Humi be talking about with her? I wasn’t left guessing for long. As I drew closer to them I could hear Humi’s voice, raised slightly.

“Oh, Aunt Yasmin, you have no idea! Mickey is the best husband ever! He lets me do whatever I want. Look at my clothes‚Ķdon’t you just love them? I feel so free‚Ķfree as a bird now!” She giggled and covered her mouth with her hand. I slowed down, my mental eyebrows shooting so high they almost merged with my hairline.

“Ya, of course your mother wouldn’t have let you wear such clothes,” Aunt Yasmin giggled in response, “but then I never used to see you around much before you got married, you know. Did you only like going out after getting married?”

“No, there was nowhere to really go before I was married,” Humi replied, “I didn’t really have friends thanks to my controlling mother. She would have kept me chained to her doorpost if she’d had her way! I’m telling you, if this was England I would have filed a case of abuse against her!”

“Abuse?? Really??” Aunt Yasmin gasped, her eyes widening.

“Ya, you have no idea how she treated me. Kept me chained to her house like a slave. Worked me like a slave. No motherly love or affection towards me. She was just using me as much as she could. She didn’t even let me get married because she didn’t want to lose her slave! No wonder I ran at the first opportunity. She has no one to blame but herself!”

Aunt Yasmin tutted and expressed fake words of sympathy which Humi lapped up eagerly. I was rooted in place, a sense of deja vu and anger coursing through me. Deja vu because this brought back vivid memories of mummy humiliating me with similar exaggerated, false words to her crowd of friends‚Ķone of whom was Aunt Yasmin. Anger because despite those memories I felt angry on behalf of a woman whose own daughter thought nothing of humiliating her in public…and with words that weren’t even true! This was it! I saw Humi finally ending the conversation and going in the direction of the washroom and marched determinedly after her. This time she had gone too far‚Ķand I was not going keep quiet!

Part 227

“She what???”

I winced. Only mummy could sound so terrifying without even screaming.

“She got married,” Ahmed repeated calmly.

Mummy’s face whitened further, her hands clenched so tightly that her knuckles stood out in sharp relief. She visibly struggled for control while we watched, not without sympathy. “To who?”

“His name is Mikaeel,” Ahmed replied carefully.

“What’s his surname?”

Ahmed and I exchanged a glance. “I‚Ķwe don’t know.”

“You don’t know him??”

“No. I saw him for the first time when they came home.”

“Why didn’t they come here?” Daddy spoke for the first time since we had convened in the lounge for this little meeting.

Now we step onto shaky ground. “She said she couldn’t. She said you’d never accept him,” Ahmed replied guardedly.

Daddy frowned. “Why not? What’s wrong with him?”

“He‚Ķ” Ahmed trailed off, clearly floundering. I jabbed him discreetly. Say it, I told him with my eyes. Just spit it out. Rip off the band-aid. “He’s black.” I could almost hear Ahmed sigh in relief now that it was finally out. A relief that was short lived.

I could not remember exactly what was said after that…and who said what. It was a scene of total, unmitigated chaos. Everyone was standing and shouting over each other and at one point daddy…daddy!…almost hit Ahmed as well. My ears were ringing yet somehow I was also standing, trying to lend a voice of reason to the chaos…not that it made a jot of difference. By the time we finally left the house only one sentence stood out in my mind over all the rest. One sentence that was repeated over and over again and hurled at our heads even in farewell. One clear, final sentence.

“She is dead to us!”

***

“Faz!” Amira nudged me so hard she jolted my arm as well, making me spill a bit of coffee on the table, “look! Isn’t that your sister inlaw?”

I turned as did everyone else on the table. Sure enough it was Humi, sauntering in on the arm of her husband. They did make a striking couple, her milky-white skin contrasting beautifully with the rich, dark tones of his. As usual Humi had dressed to shock, in a red tank top, black leather mini-skirt which exposed her long, bare legs and killer boots with three-inch heels. The kind of outfit my in-laws, as modern as they were, would never allow her to wear. Mikaeel was dressed his usual way, in baggy jeans and a tight t-shirt, the tattoos on his forearms, rings on his fingers, chains around his neck and a single hoop earring adding to his gangster look. They walked in like they owned the place, her hand curled possessively around his upper arm, heads held high. He said something to her and she laughed, the warm sound all the more conspicuous in the suddenly silent room. Every head in the place had turned as they entered; they knew it and they revelled in the attention, the small, smug smiles on their faces saying they knew exactly what everyone was thinking. Oh, she had picked the perfect place and time to make an entrance, I thought. Sunday afternoon, when all the charous gathered at this coffee shop like no man’s business; tables filled with families and friends, long benches at each end filled with lounging youths. A lot of the town gossips were here, faces stamped with glee as they eagerly checked the couple out from head to toe, some discreetly whipping out their phones to snap a picture or two. I knew a few of them personally; they were my mother inlaw’s friends, the ones she’d invited over for the famous tea party where she’d aired my dirty laundry in all their faces. The irony smacked me in the face now. Yesterday she had been sitting on her high horse, trying to degrade and humiliate me; today she was the fallen queen, the one getting degraded and humiliated by her very own daughter. Respect, dignity, status is all from Allah, as is disgrace and humiliation. Allah can drop a person from high to low in a second and can raise a person from low to high in a second. Then why do we get proud at our success and look down at people supposedly below us? Why not make shukr at whichever level Allah has placed us and know it’s for the best? I silently prayed, “Allahummah fazna minhu (oh Allah, save us from this situation)” as I watched the scene unfold before me.

I knew exactly what Humi was doing. The war between the prestigious Cassims and their miscreant daughter had been raging for about two weeks now. The more the Cassims tried to hide their daughter’s wrong doings, the more their daughter flaunted them infront of her parents and the whole town. All the Cassims efforts of getting Humi home and burying this affair as quietly as possible were flushed down the drain. And they had certainly tried. Despite their furious words that Humi was dead to them the night we went to inform them, they had tried to contact her repeatedly to come home. When that didn’t work and Humi either refused point blank or stopped answering their calls after a while they had tried to use extortion. Daddy had actually gone to Humi’s house with some other men who worked for him to try and force Humi to come back. That didn’t work either, with Mikaeel’s whole clan banding around her and threatening Daddy that if he didn’t leave they would shoot the lot of them. Luckily daddy had been wise enough to leave before it turned into a full scale battle. As a last resort the Cassims had gotten in touch with their daughter and given her two choices; either she came home and they would bury this whole matter quietly without further fuss or they would hire a hit-man to take down Mikaeel and force her home as a widow. It was her choice. If she loved him enough she would think of his safety first and leave him rather than watch him die. It was a plan that would scare the strongest of people. Imtiaz Cassim had enough contacts to make it happen. But it was also a plan which smacked of desperation and rash words, the sort of plan that rarely saw itself through. Mikaeel was smart enough to see that. He grabbed the phone from Humi and laughed down Imtiaz Cassim’s ear, then warned him that the day he went down his clan would take Imtiaz and his whole family down without sparing a single one of them. If Imtiaz Cassim wanted war then he should make the first move; if he didn’t he should accept that his daughter was no longer his and move on. After which Humi had taken the phone back and laughed that since the Cassims wanted war, war was what they would get! A threat the Cassims would soon experience the painful reality of because just a few days later Humi and Mikaeel made their first move. Humaira picked her battles wisely but when she did go to war she went all out. I mentally winced when I remembered that first incident.

Mummy and Daddy had guests from out of town; important guests, Daddy’s business partners and some family friends as well. They had decided to host dinner for all of them at a prestigious restaurant in town and had invited family and friends from within P.E as well. All in all, it had been the cr√®me de la cr√®me of society gathered there that night. Ahmed and I had also gone at Daddy’s insistence, since Ahmed was part of the business. We were all sitting there in the hushed, dimly lit interior, men on one table, women on the next, talking in low, cultured tones. I had conveniently chosen a seat that turned my back to the men so I could remove my niqaab, which also placed me in a position where I could see the entrance clearly, so I could quickly slip on my niqaab again if any man walked in. So I was the first one to see Humi and Mikaeel enter. My eyes almost popped out of my head, my mouth dropping open ungainly till I recalled myself and snapped it shut again. I quickly glanced around to see if anyone else had noticed them; no one had, everyone busy in their own conversations. I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe she would see who’s here and leave before anyone saw her. Little did I know exactly what her plan was.

My relief was short lived when I spotted Humi walking directly towards us, Mikaeel’s arm resting possessively around her shoulders. From my vantage point I could now see exactly what she was wearing; a long, skin-tight, blood-red dress which hugged every curve of hers, but made bolder by the thigh-high slit on one side. Seeing flashes of her bare leg as she walked I realised that she hadn’t worn any tights underneath. Three-inch high stilettos covered her feet, their rhythmic click signalling her approach. Her hair was loose and curled around her shoulders, her face heavily and boldly made up, with thick, dark eyeliner and blood-red lips. Yikes! I had no doubt that she had dressed this way deliberately, to add to the shock factor. Mikaeel too was decked out in his usual gaudy way, no doubt to attract more attention. Seeing them draw closer I quickly wore my purdah, a move which drew the attention of the woman sitting next to me.

“Why wearing that again, dear? There’s no one‚Ķaround…” the woman trailed off, her mouth hanging open like a fish as she saw what I had seen. One by one the other women followed her gaze till the occupants of the table were reduced from elegant, sophisticated women to gawking country bumpkins. All except mummy. She went perfectly still, her face frozen and stiff as she too watched her daughter approach.

“This is a nice surprise! Why did no one tell me there’s a family reunion going on? I could also have joined you’ll!” Humi exclaimed. In the hushed, muted interior her voice seemed unnaturally loud and drew the attention of the men as well as all the other diners in the restaurant.

“Humaira? Errr‚Ķnice to see you‚Ķ” mummy’s cousin stammered, confusion clearly stamped on her face.

“Nice to see you too, Fati khala!” Humi replied with a wide smile, “let me introduce my husband to you. Everyone, this is Mikaeel. Mickey, my family as well as my parents friends‚Ķand of course my dear sister inlaw!” She beamed at us all.

“Husband…how‚Ķnice‚Ķ” Fati khala said faintly. Humi should have left then, she really should have…she’d caused enough damage as it is‚Ķbut she obviously didn’t think it was enough because she actually drew up a couple of chairs for herself and Mikaeel and they both sat down with us.

“Well‚Ķwhat’s the menu?” She asked, the wide smile still plastered to her face.

“Humaira, I think you should leave,” mummy said finally through stiff lips.

“Leave?? Why should I leave, mummy? The fun has only started,” Humi said, widening her eyes exaggeratedly.

“So Humaira, when you got married? I never even knew. Nilofar, you didn’t mention your daughter got married! When did this happen?” Another lady pitched up. One of those hoity-toity ladies.

“Almost a month now, Aunty Yasmin. I’m surprised mummy never told you,” Humi said, looking innocently at mummy.

“Ya, she never told me also. How did you manage to keep the wedding so hush-hush, Nilofar?” Another lady put in.

“She’s not going to go around announcing such a wedding, is she?” The fourth lady said snarkily.

“Of course not. Shame, Humaira, could you not find someone better? You such a nice girl, why you went and married such a‚Ķ” at this point the lady stopped, eyeing Mikaeel contemptuously as though he was not there listening to every word.

“Obviously because she didn’t want someone as fake and plastic as you are,” Mikaeel boomed in response. I cringed and wished the earth would swallow me up before this got any worse.

“Aunty Naseeha, that was rude and uncalled for,” Humi jumped in before the aunt could reply, “you’ll are racist and biased. You think the earth revolves around Indians. Well, guess what! It doesn’t! I’m glad I married Mikaeel who has more substance than plastic creatures like you, like he said!” With that Humaira stood up and stormed off with Mikaeel. I risked a glance at mummy and found her looking pale and ill. She mumbled an excuse and quickly left the table, hurrying towards the bathrooms at the end. I found my heart aching for her despite the way she was and almost followed her to offer her my support‚Ķif she accepted any‚Ķwhen I saw daddy get up and follow her. Sinking back into my seat I pressed back into the cushioned back and tried to become invisible, even leaving my niqaab on, as the table erupted in a flurry of chatter and exclamations. Most of it was malicious, making me wonder what sort of people these were, who claimed to be friends and family of someone yet spoke of her in such contemptuous terms in her absence. I felt a pang of sympathy for my mother inlaw in that instant. All those years of carefully constructing an image to show the world, of climbing their way to the top of society, only to have their own daughter shred their image to bits in mere minutes. Was this Allah’s way of showing them that it was He who gave respect and He who took it away? Was this their test in this world? I didn’t know. All I knew was that Imtiaz and Nilofar Cassim were never going to be the same people again.

Living life cloaked in modesty and islamic principles…