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.

 

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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.