Chapter 9 – Caught

Aneesa’s engagement day finally arrived. Both our parents came from Kempville to Joburg. Layha was organised and  sorted out every thing from the decadent food that was to be served to the most elaborate yet elegant table settings. The engagement was small and only about 35 close relatives  were invited. It was not your typical function where the whole dunya (world)  and  five generations of far cousins are invited.

The best  hair stylists and make up artists Joburg had to offer were called in to make sure  Aneesa, an ordinary farm girl became extra ordinary. A local hot shot couture designer was called in to give Aneesa an outfit of her dreams.  Aneesa wanted a cerise pink and silver panelled corset combined with a cerise pink cowl skirt with silver pleating at the bottom, embellished with antique silver embroidery.

As I was putting final touches to my scarf and couldn’t get it to sit right. I have not worn a scarf for the past few days now and I was definitely having a bad scarf day. It was starting to work on my last nerve. I still had to do make up and wear my outfit which was a simple and rust coloured churidar suit.

Finally the time arrived and we all sat in the lounge waiting anxiously. We were all tense and tjoep still incase we missed the door bell ring.

“Ding dong” The ringing door bell echoed throughout the house.   Finally, they here, I thought. Layha and few of Aneesa’s cousins welcomed Faheem’s family at the door. Everyone was  escorted to the garden lounge where we were sitting for the ” formal talk”.

Faheem introduced his parent’s to Aneesa. Faheem’s mother greeted Aneesa very coldly with a handshake and before she let go she said,

“look Aneesa me I am very straighforward, I am going to tell you we are very rich and I want no gold digging wife.”

The room suddenly went completely silent. We were all flabbergasted. My mouth actually dropped to the ground.

Aneesa’s father, uncle Adam,  immediately retaliated,
“what are you saying that Mr money bags here is to good for our daughter.  So why waste our time and agree to meet? He can marry a family girl and you can keep the money  in the family!”

I was a bit high. I found all this very hilarious. I suddenly let out a giggle. Every one turned and stared at me like I was going mad. Once I got back my composure I started to speak,

“Aunty look, Aneesa may not be well off but who cares, she loves your son a lot, so much so, that if tomorrow he looses his money and charm she will still be there”.

Faheem’s father then put his two cents worth
” argh this is such a waste of my time. Time is money. There is so much money to be made and here we are sitting arguing? They are in love!  If they not meant to be they will divorce or separate and  he will find another wife and she will be taken care of so what’s the deal? ”

Every one in Aneesa’s family could not believe what they heard and they all had a look of disgust on their faces.

Aneesa immediately interrupted before Faheem’s father could continue.
” I love Faheem. I suppose you are right. I accept the proposal with what ever contract you want me to sign even if you stipulate I’m not getting a single cent”.

Faheem’s family were all smiles now and looked very relieved. Immediately Faheem’s mother took out the chain from her hand bag and placed it around Aneesa’s neck and gave her a hug. Aneesa was now officially engaged. This is not your typical engagement we see in the movies where the couple go somewhere  private and romantic. The man goes on  one knee  and opens up a box and proposes while the lady starts screaming yes and jump’s into his arms. No,  in our community the entire ghaam (village)  has to be present to witness negotiations and proposal in action until officially the chain is noosed around your neck.

The three course meal was fit to dine royalty. The starter was a prawn cocktail served on a bed of lettuce. There was not a samoosa or soji in sight. The main meal was a rack of lamb with a mint sauce, some potatoes, peas and carrots. It was cooked to perfection.   There was an assortment of desserts to choose from. There was a pastry chef there ready to make you any dessert you wanted while you waited.  I was in a chocolate heaven. My favourite was the fried ice cream smothered in chocolate. It looked like phyllo pastry with ice cream inside deep fried served immediately. It was hot but cold at the same time.  Hats off to Layha. She knows how to entertain and this was the perfect dream engagement.

As my high was wearing off from the joint I had earlier in the evening, I saw Aslam signal to me to meet him. I excused myself telling people who I was having menial conversation with,  I needed to freshen up. I went into the house. I followed Aslam into his bedroom. As soon as I entered he pounced on me, pushed me down on the bed and kissed me.
“I want you so much, when are you going to give into me?” he said passionately.
Trying to push him off me I started giggling again and responded jokingly “when you marry me !”.
He got off me  immediately and looked at me horrified,

“who the hell do you think you are that your body is so special? I can have any damn girl I want, you wait one day I’ll show you when you pregnant with my child then you will see.” He stormed out in a rage. The door opened and I was about to apologise when I saw Layha enter the room. Panic set in. The feeling in my stomach was so intense I thought I was going to throw up. My head was spinning and I couldn’t think straight. I frantically started searching for my “help me” pill in my clutch bag to calm my mood.

Layha was not flustered at all. I was surprised. She didn’t seemed perturbed at all. She nonchalantly rebuked me,

“Fati you think that you the only one he has cheated on me with? Girl don’t flatter yourself! The moment he gets you he is going to use you, mentally, emotionally, physically abuse you the way he tortures me! Trust me, all these things I have is nothing. My life is empty.  I officially hate him. Next time you all over him ask him how he traumatises me and forces himself on me after a wild night partying, totally pissed drunk.  I can’t wait for this dog to die”.

Looking at her morbidly I popped the happy pill. She’s just jealous. I am younger and these days  she is looking like a old hag especially without  her make up. Who wants to wake up to that glum face every morning.  It is not my problem if she can’t make her man happy and feel alive. Layha laughed it off  and shrugged it off,  walked out of the room like nothing happened.

The pangs of guilt started  hounding me. I was restless and  I needed a quick fix. This is when Faheem introduced me to cocaine.

Chapter 7 – Sins

As Friday night arrived. Shaheen called saying we should join him as he’s going to this “hang out” spot in New Town.

“Please doll face loose the scarf. Where we’re going? People will look at you oddly.” he pleaded. I have been wearing scarf  for eight years. I  never took it off regardless of the situation. Not for even for weddings and mendhi nights.
For the first time in eight years, I would be leaving home without a scarf. I felt so lost, as if a limb of mine was missing. Shaheen was gushing  with compliments,

“Wow, you  look gorgeous,  I would have never knew such beauty is hiding behind that scarf.” he commented.  Aneesa was so happy that I had allowed Layha to dress me up, with make up and the whole nine yards. I wore a skinny black jeans, with a platinum grey off the shoulder top underneath a silver platinum greyish sequins shimmering type cropped jacket with silver cinderella style stiletto shoes.
We arrived to this so called “trendy place” in Joburg. As you step foot into the dimly lit building with nothing but blinking lights and subtle music your eyes struggle to adjust to the new scenery but the rhythm in your chest quivers with expectation. I have never been inside a club before.

“What would you ladies like to drink?” asked Faheem
“Make is a cooler for me, ” answered Aneesa.

“My bro a cola for me, we need to get home some how.” said Shaheen swiftly.

“Uhm” I said while thinking to myself I have never drank alcohol before but I can’t seem like the slow one. My head and heart at war again. My head saying, taste a little it won’t hurt you. My heart screaming please girl you know better.

“I’m fine” I said to Faheem. I still have values and this isn’t how I act.

“Dammit girl, live a little, stop being the ‘dadima’ no one wants around.” said Faheem frustratingly. 

Quickly thinking of all the movies I’ve watched trying to recall a well-known drink. Thoughts of a martini, cocktail and Cooler came to mind. After a while of contemplating I finally said,

“ A bloody Marry.”
Faheem gave a quirky smile and left to get the drinks.
Shaheen came closer whispering in my ear “Have you ever kissed a boy?”

“No ,I haven’t. I will save that for marriage.” I retorted.  He just smiled in his cute way. “This is my song, come on Fati, let’s go and dance,” he swiftly said while rocking back and forth to the constant beat.

“No” I say, meaning it. I have no idea how to dance. I’ve never danced before in my life. Ok girl! I think to myself whilst trying to recall any “moves” from movies I’ve watched and before I knew it I was there, standing like a cactus doing nothing.

“Oh my, the haari poiri ( good girl) doesn’t even dance at home.” he mocked.
Who would’ve thought that Aneesa and Faheem would be so intimate? They were all over each other. I couldn’t help but sit there and feel jealous, of what she had, every girl dreams of a prince charming. Suddenly I saw Aslam walk in. Shaheen and I started to make our way back to the table where Aslam was only to find him alone. I wonder where Layha is? I thought to myself. Aslam had said, that good wives stay at home and bad girls go and party. I drank another drink. We had shots, and loads of it. Without thinking, unaware of what I was doing, I made my way to the dance floor and started dancing with Shaheen but strangely, found myself looking at Aslam.
Later, Aslam and I sat next to each other. He had ditched the girl he was with earlier, and we began dancing having a blast. He took me where no one could see us and held me. His warm embrace feeling so wrong yet exactly like home. As I looked up at him he kissed me, ”

“Farm girl lets get back before any one notices that we were gone.” he said huskily.
As I returned to the table Faheem rushed toward me saying that in order to have real fun I had to try this out.

“Ecstasy, only take half of it!” he yelled over the now blaring music. So that’s exactly what I did.

WHOA I thought to myself. Now watching the rush of the world passing by extra fast and I felt like I was invincible once again. After dancing a little more, we drank and drank , until I felt so sick that the bathroom floor at the back of the club had become my soul mate for the evening.
All I remember from that night was the feeling of death dawning upon me and as for the rest of that night is a blur. Till today I still have no idea how I made it home, up the stairs and into bed. From the hang-over feeling I experienced the next day. I was certain it must have been one wild night.

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