Chapter 12 – Deception

When you become an addict you really don’t care about anyone else but your habit. Fati has seen herself as a functioning drug addict even though many people didn’t even notice that she had an issue. Everyone thought I was moody which is common in teens my age at this point in life.

Exams came and went and I have no idea how I got through it. Frankly I don’t even remember what I wrote and how it went. One Monday morning we got a call from Aneesa’s father to inform us that his sister Layha was in hospital and it was serious. Being very close family friends my parents decided to take a quick trip to Joburg to show support and offer any help they needed.

These past few weeks  were mainly a blur. I have been experimenting all type of stuff. I was currently on a  high on Prozac. Faheem has become indispensable to me.  Although I was emotionless, I was loving the high even though it lasted in short bursts. Aslam and I have been secretly meeting almost weekly! He drives all the way to Kempville.  He spoils me with lavish gifts from LV bags to Prada sunglasses. He’s been a real gentleman, not pushing me into sleeping with him.

After what seemed like a lifetime of driving we  finally arrived at the hospital. As we ran in we spotted uncle Adam, Aneesa’s father in the foyer. My dad took Uncle Adam outside and were in deep discussion.   Aunty Ray, Aneesa’s mum, looked at my mum and started weeping,

“Bibi, Aslam hit Layha and this time it’s not just a few fractured bones, this time she has broken ribs, internal bleeding and a broken jaw.”

I sat there in shock! My Aslam. It could never be. These people didn’t know Aslam like I do. The moment Aneesa’s dadi, Layha’s mum walked in. My mother confronted her not holding back. “Are you happy now? You always blame her like she deserves this and is the bad one.

“Well if Layha learns to keep her mouth shut this won’t happen, spoilt brat she is always questioning a man about his whereabouts,” counterattacked Layha’s dadi.  My mother looked at her with disgust. I was on dadi’s side. I thought Layha was lying and in her self pitying state did this to herself to get some sympathy.

Aslam walked into the room with cops. I started to panic.  My Aslam with cops! He looked at Layha’s mother and said

“Mummy tell them I would never do this, that your daughter is mentally unstable”. Aneesa’s dadi verified his version of the story. Uncle Adam was ravaged with rage.

“Calm down Adam,” said my father.

Uncle Adam started sobbing unconsolably,

“What has that bastard done to my sister?”

“I did nothing! Maybe if your bloody sister learnt to be sane most days then she wouldn’t do this, stop blaming me you idiot, she is mentally unstable and needs help. Adam how many times must I tell you this?” yelled Aslam.

Aunty Ray asked my parents to take Aneesa and myself to Layha’s house to rest.  As soon as more news comes in they will call. She thanked my parents for being there and that their support meant alot. I was annoyed at them for blaming my poor, poor Aslam for nothing. As we left the hospital late that evening all I felt like running away with Aslam so that he could forget all this drama.  When we reached Layha’s house I rushed up to Layha’s room and took whatever pills I could find. I took a whole lot to try and help me sleep.

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Chapter 11 – Anger

Aslam vents and talks

Aslam left the house in a hurry. Layha was on the floor unconscious. As he started the car for a split second he felt that he should go back to see if she was breathing. He didn’t think twice and  just drove off in a speed.

Aslam suddenly started yelling to himself in the car,

“I didn’t mean to hit her but she drives me crazy to the point where I feel like I have no place to go but bash he face in. Why the fuck should I feel guilty when the bitch won’t learn that you never question your husband about his dealings.Women of today need to be put in there place. Honestly who gave her the fucking right to touch my phone? After all she is the wife I provide for her.  Who I fuck does not concern her. Just to show that bitch I’m going to make Fatima my second wife. That will put her in her place and teach her how to be a real good wife.”

Aslam picked up the phone and called Layha’s mother frantically,

“You must teach your daughter to be a good wife. I give her the best in clothes and everything but that fucking bitch wants to question me! I am furious. She needs a good bashing to show her who is boss. Layha is a pretty women but a man needs to have fun.” Surprisingly my mother in law concurred and agreed that Layha should mind her own business and what I did was no concern of hers.

As Aslam  cooled down after spending most of the night at a club drinking himself into oblivion, he returned home. From a distance he saw the ambulance and cops at the house and drove pass. His heart started racing. Was she dead? Did I take it too far this time. The regret was short lived as fury overtook him as he started shouting to himself again,

“Why the fuck did she call the cops? This is so over.  I’m going to get a second wife and show this bitch a point.  Layha must wish if she thinks I’ll let her go just like that. I am going to punish her. She is fucking crazy. At the end of the day it is my rules and she has no say. I have an image to uphold of an upright man and  now people will label me!  Cops. Why are the cops there? What will I do about the cops? She’s a whack job. That’s it. I will just tell them she has mental issues and book her into a nut house for few days just to teach this bitch a lesson.”

Chapter 10 – Betrayal

Layha speaks out

Weeks after Aneesa’s engagement, before midday,  Layha was still  in bed, contemplating if she should confront Aslam about his little fling with Fatima.  How many times is he going to look for things elsewhere and expect me not to know, I mean really how dumb does he really think I am.I found his phone last night and went through it and Fatima was the least of my problems. From sexting to naked women to other erotic stuff that I was so horrified I actually had to close my eyes when I opened it! What was going on in this man’s head. I  was troubled by what I saw and lost all my sleep.   I decided to investigate further and went through his browser history. What? An online dating profile. I  sat there in shock, almost frozen. I dealt with his occasional drinking, his party issues and but I can’t come to terms with the fact he finds comfort in other women.  This was the ultimate betrayal. I was grief stricken and felt like dying must be easier than this humiliation.  Was I nothing, a doormat he can trample on.

Later that afternoon when we were finally alone I decided to confront him with all the proof I had gathered. Like any cheat he denied everything. He couldn’t understand how all that rubbish mysteriously appeared on his phone.  As we approached the computer and I opened the dating site, Aslam started laughting quickly and retorted mockingly

“Oh goodness Layha, those are donkey’s years things. I have even forgotten about it.”

Finally I tackled him about Fatima.

“What is the deal with Fatima. She is so young. Are you a cradle robber? I saw that you shared a kiss with her on ‘our’ bed. How dare you?”

“A kiss, that’s all” he hurled back. Those words went through me like a knife. I got so angry I slapped him. I regretted hitting him even before my hand reached his cheek. He charged at me like a wild animal and started beating me  uncontrollably. Hitting, kicking, spitting. He continued bashing me. At first it hurt. Eventually I became numb and just took it. I finally fell to the floor. All  I could hear was muffled screaming and shouting. In my concussed state I had no idea what he was ranting about like a mad man. I finally blacked out. When I woke up still disorientated ,Anna, my maid, was by my side hysterical with the phone in her hand.

“Madam, there is too much blood, we must call the ambulance.” Anna insisted and yelled,

“No! no one must know” I shouted feeling pain in my ribs as I spoke.

“Layha you need a hospital!” and Anna started dialing .

It felt like eternity waiting for the ambulance. The pain was now unbearable. Finally  I could finally hear sirens approaching the house. As the paramedics were wheeling me out,  I heard one of them started radioing the police.I quickly tried to stop him and started pleading not to call them as it was my fault. They just ignored me and continued on the walkie talkie,

“Looks like she was moered by her husband, we are taking her to the hospital she is loosing lots of blood,  over and out.”  They must have given me something for the pain because before I was in the ambulance I passed out.

I woke up in the hospital feeling very croggy. The nurse brought the police into the room to interrogate me before any family arrived. They asked me all sorts of questions. All I kept on replying like a broken record,

“it wasn’t his fault,  I  hit him first and so he got angry. I’m a good wife.” I was naive trying to save face. I must have sounded pathetic. There I lay, broken ribs and fractured arms, still defending the dog  that used me as his  punching bag.

My mother walked into the room. Her face was filled with contempt. Without even saying a word I knew she blamed me for being in this sorry state. After sitting there in silence for a long time my mother finally started talking.

“A good wife is a subservient wife that takes the bad without question.  Enjoy the good without complaining. Your whole life you get whatever you want. I hope you learnt your lesson.” That was the moment hate for my mother entered my heart.  Was she blind? Could she not see what was happening. How could she still make this my fault. I can’t describe this hurt. It felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest.  This was the pinnacle of betrayal. I have never felt so alone in my whole life.  a I finally realized the problem with our society, that women are expected to just bare all this crap to save face, sit there, look pretty and hope for a better day.

My emotional state was like a yo yo. I started doubting myself again. Maybe my mother was right. Aslam is good to me, so why be ungrateful and complain.  My mind started racing. I need some time to sort all this out. I requested no visitors. I was now alone and abused.

 

Chapter 8 – Hangover

I was disorientated and did not know where I was when I woke up. I still have no clue how I got home from the club but what scares me the most is how I got changed in to my pjs.

I woke up at two that afternoon and looked at Aneesa. She was still sound asleep. I thought back and the night was unforgettable.  Getting ready is such a mission when you have a killer hangover. I felt like every thing took twice the amount of effort even just batting my eyelids was exhausting.

Looking at my phone I saw a reminder for my zuhr prayer, guilt suddenly rushed over me, not wanting to dwell on this pessimistic emotion, I lit up a joint and let the feeling pass. There is enough time to catch up on prayers I thought to myself. I’m finally living life now and finally a rebel.

The high didn’t last long. Suddenly I felt the calm and soothing feeling slip through my fingers. Annoyed my euphoric state escaped so quickly, I decided to text Aslam, to distract my mind from all these feelings.

“hey last night was amazing, thank you.” I texted in attempts to start a conversation.
“Baby face I want more, u’ve seen that I can get any women I want, but now you need to realize what you have.” He responded. What I have? What is he going on about?

meaning?” I responded curiously.
“You will see baby face….”  A thousand thoughts filled my mind with his response.

I went inside feeling overwhelmed by my emotions. Layha was on the phone planning Aneesa’s engagement.  I dreaded the thought of us returning to that  droog farm place after the engagement. I decided to offer my help. Suddenly looking at Layha a sense of guilt over took me.I was kissing this woman’s husband. Panic set in and my emotions started racing as realization dawned upon me. I decided that I needed an immediate “calm me downer.”

Knowing Layha, she probably has some sleeping pills lying around somewhere. I managed to sneak away unnoticed and raided her bathroom cabinet.  “Happy” pills. What a find ! I decided to keep a few for my self and took one right away. The feeling was exhilarating, so I thought.

Shaheen came later that afternoon to see if I reached home safely.
“Yoh, you are a real party animal, so what happened once you and Aslam left the club.” The nerve, I thought. He suddently took my hand and looked deeply into my eyes.

“I have always been attracted to the goodie two shoes, I want to get to know you more. If everything goes well before I start university next semester I want to make it official.”
Yeah right who died and made him a saint? I thought to myself.Thank goodness Aslam walked in when he did, wearing a look I had never seen before. Shaheen, sensing the tension, left. Not even two seconds had gone by before I received a text from Aslam.
What does he want? There’s no way I’m sharing my women. I don’t like u talking to him, so next time? Tell him to get lost. By the way I have a gift for you.” The text read.
“Are you jealous? Omg u are! Sweet! I love gifts, can’t wait.” I responded with a smirk plastered across my face.

I waited till every one was asleep. The nerves overtook my body, a tight knot forming in my tummy. In an attempt to relieve all my tension I popped another happy pill. I sat at the pool side and suddenly felt a hand around me. As I turned around Aslam pulled me up pushed me against the wall, kissing me with pure passion, it was heavenly.

“I missed you doll face.” Aslam whispered in my ear. I didn’t know how to answer as I tried to come out of his grip.

Aslam smiled at me and handed me a pink box wrapped with bright bow on it. I clutched the beautifully decorated box tightly excited to unravel what was inside.  I was surprised to find a provocative set of underwear. I sat there emotionless as if all happiness had just been drained from the earth.

“Baby face, I was your first kiss, I plan to be your first of many things to come.” smirked Aslam with a naughty look on his face.

I became enraged,

“I am not a slut, if it is sex you want. Go and have sex with your wife.” He held my hand tightly and pushed my hair behind my ear and suddenly all the anger dissolved into thin air. He looked at me passionately,

” I am going to have you because I am in love with you.”

Before he could say another word I took the box and ran. I ran into my room and I took a deep breath and whispered to my self ” I love you too.”

Chapter 6 -Guilt

I had no idea what was up with Layha but recently she’s been acting crazy and no one knew why? During one of those restless nights Aslam came down while I was sitting in the kitchen having a cup of tea. He looked at me and smiled and for the first time I looked at him in a whole new light. I had never ever taken notice of Aslam before. He was tall,fair with jet black hair. He exuded class in everything that he did from his words to his gestures even to the way that he looked at you. We started talking about random stuff and we got chatting in a way that felt amazing. I never knew that he was so easy to talk to. As the evening progressed I tried to imagine how life would be with a man like Aslam.  How would life be if I were Layha?

Aslam and I talked till the early hours of the morning.

“Won’t Layha mind we talking till so late and be wondering where you are?” I asked worriedly.

“Layha wont mind trust me” he said with a coy smile topped up with a wink. I had told him about the weed that Faheem had given me and he suggested that I bring it

“LIGHT IT UP” exclaimed Aslam excitedly.  The nagging voice in my head  told me to stop,  but I told myself that this would be the last time I would smoke weed. I put my lips on the joint and inhaled as I exhaled. I was infatuated with the feeling and it made me feel alive. It made me feel like this is what life should feel like. It was a whole new level.  I was convinced that this happy feeling it gave me was surreal.

Sitting next to a sparking blue pool on a cool summer night next to a handsome man this is what life is all about.

Aslam inhaled the joint and then slowly he moved towards me. He came to my lips and it felt as though he was about to kiss me. I watched it happen in slow motion and just when I parted my lips, he put his lips on mine and exhaled. The feeling, the rush, the excitement,it was on another level. As I looked into the depths of his eyes, he whispered

“Farm girl you make me feel alive. There is something about you that a man cannot forget so easily.”

I didn’t know what to make of this, I didn’t know what he meant but at that moment I didn’t even care.The brain is an odd thing really. It stops working when you need it to work the most! I went to bed way past a farm girl’s bedtime. As I lay in bed all  I could think of was his lips on mine. The feeling of his breath against my lips. Just then my phone starts beeping with a text message disturbing my fantasy.

“Farm girl thanks for tonight, you have what it takes to make me live again, baby girl you made me feel like a million bucks tonight thank you… Aslam”

Do I reply? Don’t I  reply ? That is the question?

I could feel that I was coming down from my high and instead of ecstasy I felt nothing but guilt.

Aslam was a married man how could I!  Even if I was a bit high I shouldn’t have done it , the guilt over took me. But at that moment it felt so right and he knew what he was doing .

I finally decided to reply to his text message

“ last night or should I say this morning was amazing, thank you for showing me what I am missing out on. Xoxo”

I was in a drunken daze and even though I knew that was time for fajr, It didn’t bother me, I was good until now and finally I got to feel what it’s like to be careless. I loved the feeling of letting go. I knew that what I was doing was wrong but the sooner you get over the guilt and tell yourself that it’s ok to do what you are doing the quicker you begin thinking that it is perfectly fine.

While guilt riddled me, I felt something that I did not feel before. I had an urge to smoke weed again.

I brushed the need to have a joint till it affected my moods. Aneesa came to tell me something and all I did was yell at her. How could I have such a bad craving for this when I only had it three times! This need became real. I finally gave in to my desires and gave my body what it was yearning for. Trust me this time the high did not last, the calm feeling escaped me and it did not last as long! To my surprise it wore off quicker than the last time.

Once it wore off I was back to feeling guilty about flirting with another woman’s husband! I kept telling my self that no one will get hurt if no one finds out about what was going on. This little sin drove me mad all day.

What is ironic about living a life of sin is that society glamourises it. You don’t realise that in fact you are selling your soul to the devil. The simple sin may be the one that you brag about and see as nothing may make you lose your faith.  Today I have sinned and even though I feel guilty I am fooled to think that I feel that I have finally  lived

 

Chapter 4 – Small Steps

I went down to the kitchen where Layha was sipping  her morning coffee. Every part of the kitchen was covered in flower arrangements and ‘I’m sorry’ teddy bears. Even though she was surrounded with such beautiful flowers she sat and sipped her coffee in a daze.

“Layha, is there something wrong?” I asked.  

“You wouldn’t understand, you are not married.”she sighed.  

I could see something was drastically wrong. The ever so dolled up Layha who is always lecturing us about dressing to kill was now sitting in her pj’s having a very bad hair day. This was proof that all was not well in the fairytale castle.   Her usually immaculately made up face looked like she had been crying all night long.

Concerned I rushed to tell Aneesa  how miserable Layha was looking.

“Who cares, she has the perfect life and whatever the problem is, clearly Aslam is really sorry about it.” replied Aneesa.

Not offering Layha a shoulder to cry on would come to haunt me later.

Layha came upstairs to where we were sleeping and blonked herself on the bed.

“Aneesa, Faheem is much older than you, he is doing very well for himself driving that fancy car. His family are very well off. You really need to wake up and shake up. Your dressing needs to change. You can’t be  social diva and rich man’s daughter in law dressing like a poor ninja all the time. You need to show some skin, shorten that dress a bit” scolded Layha

“I desperately need a new wardrobe and a makeover, so Faheem can agree to have the wedding before final exams.” admitted Aneesa.

I couldn’t believe she agreed, I felt like I had no idea who my best friend was anymore. Nothing  she said anymore made any sense to me.

Faheem arrived after Maghrib.

“Well oh well, someone’s been shopping” he growled as he looked at Aneesa like a hungry wolf. Aneesa felt like a million bucks dressed in a her very very short sleeveless shimmering gold Selena Gomezish type party dress with shimmering gold laced up gladiator sandals.

“Well let’s go have some fun girls!”  he said as we drove off to Fordsburg.

“I need to make a quick stop in Newtown and drop off some cash and collect some stock.” said Faheem casually. He stopped the car in very dingy part of town. The building was old an dilapidated.

“He is taking ages, I am hungry now, how long does it take to just pick up stock and pay someone” I moaned

Almost an hour later he emerged carrying a black bag. “1 hour for that small black bag, I am really curious to know what is inside there that he left us in dark alley for so long.” I whispered as he approached the car.

“At least he is earning his own money” retorted Aneesa

Supper was great, we went to some lardy dah prawn place. My grumpiness vanished once Shaheen joined us.  He was looking as handsome as ever with those big brown adorable eyes, and perfect smile. Life was perfect! Shaheen and I spoke a lot more at supper and I could finally find my words calmly. Who would have thought that  behind all that perfection Shaheen was also a dreamer.

“Let’s do something fun tonight.” said Shaheen excitedly.  Faheem’s face lit up. No warning bells were ringing. All I could see was a chance to live a little for a change.

We went to Melrose Arch to some hyped about restaurant for coffee. Faheem came to sit next to me. He opened my hand gave me something.

“Doll, learn to live a little and stop being such a holy moly.” he said sarcastically.

  I looked at Aneesa horrified. 

“Oh Fati if yesterday you thought you were high,  this you will love Fati, this is exactly what we need to calm us before finals.” she said convincingly. 

Naively,  I slipped the little pill in my mouth and waited.  You wait for something as if it’s about to be an epic journey straight into a matrix movie type scene or something. When things started  I felt like I had no care in the world. That small high tricks you to believe you are queen of the jungle and you are ultimately drawn to the feeling of calm.   I was truly deceived at the overconfidence it made me feel that I could do anything, be anyone and I had the future in the palm of my hands.   

We stopped at Faheem’s friend’s house and he mumbled something to me but I was too high to care.  It was getting very late.  Amazingly  I demanded we go back home to Layha’s castle. At least  I still had some common sense left even in that zonked state.  I fell in the deepest sleep I had ever had as soon as  I hit the bed.  I slept till late in the morning deluded to think it was the best sleep I ever had.

 

 

Chapter 3 – Things fall apart

Sipping her morning coffee,  Layha was not looking her elegant self.

Layha was going through a whirlwind of emotions. The why and the how could not come to her mind. As she thought about what had happened last night, tears began to roll down her cheeks. Yes, she had the dream home, the fancy car and the untold riches but what happened was unexplainable. How was she to deal with this situation? How was she supposed to move forward? She felt so lonely at that point despite having a lot of friends. She especially felt lonely because her friends always thought she led a perfect life. Maybe she should just forget about it since it only happened once. Maybe she was to be blamed for what happened. Maybe she was not good enough for him. She whispered to her self “not good enough? Look at me I AM good looking, maybe he’s trying to ruin my image so that he can cure his jealousy.”

“Hello mummy it’s me Layha.” Tears gushing down as she began to sob.

“Bethi calm down and talk to me” her mother tried to console her.
“Mummy he hit me…. I don’t know what or why he came home late last night and I asked him why so late. That’s all. He went on screaming and yelling so I told him maybe if he was home more we could have children because all he does is work late, come home odd hours and sleep. Mummy he looked at me with so much hate and so much rage. He told me he took me from a middle class home to live like a queen in his house and now I have the nerve to question him about his going and coming, who the f#*k did I think I was. I told him I’m his wife and when we got married he was working in car sales and together we sacrificed life and saved so he could open up something and make his own money. That when he looked at me and slapped me saying “you want gratitude from me, you did nothing. You are no one I made this myself.” Mummy he continued to hit me as I fell to the floor he started kicking me calling me all despicable names. Mummy how could he?”

“Bethi, he provides well for you. Every function you never have to wear the same dress over. You have a cook and a maid. He has provided you so well that you don’t have to do anything except look good for him. Bethi what he did was in anger, forgive and forget and go do something nice for him to show him how much you appreciate him. Marriage is not easy but you have to remember that he is the man of the house, his coming and going should not be your issue. Don’t go opening a box that you don’t want to know what’s inside. All man have extra hobbies outside of home, only a few don’t so don’t mention the hitting again to anyone. Aslam is well known in the community and should be respected so don’t go be a spoilt brat and mention this to anyone. Remember that you caused this, you only have yourself to blame.Have I taught you nothing my child? I’ve told you a thousand times, spend his money, dress up for him and let him do as he pleases. Tomorrow if you leave where will you go to? You are so used to the lifestyle you have now that nobody will take in a spoilt brat. Tonight let the cook take the evening off, prepare something yourself for your husband and be quiet about this whole thing. In any case what does that cook know about Indian food? Maybe your husband just misses good home cooking. I’ll send you some easy recipes that even you can’t flop. Ok my child. I have to go now, daddy’s up for breakfast.”

With the phone still in her hand, Layha sat there in disbelief, shocked about what her mother had just said to her, wondering what’s wrong with her mother. That was the worse advise any mother could give a child.  She was now more confused as ever. Her world was turned upside down, about to crumble and fall apart. The question is was she about to let that happen? Was she supposed to just look pretty and bow down to this man and never know anything about his life just so that she can have her every materialistic desire?  Surrounded with so many possessions she felt as if the world was now an empty black hole. This was the start to her addiction of hell.