Turmoil- Chapter Four
The weekend was turning out to be the best I had ever experienced in my five-year marriage. Gaffar and I made the decision to take time away from our busy schedules and spend the whole Saturday together. No work-related stuff whatsoever – just us.
To begin the day, we took an early morning drive to the white sand beach along Kolabi Creek. Our target was to have the place to ourselves before fun-loving beach enthusiasts thronged in. Aim achieved, we took a walk along the bank, hand in hand and waited for the sun to rise, while listening to the calm music of waves crashing against the seashore. Watching the mellow blues, pinks and gold blur together and fill the sky with light, reminded me of Allah’s words in the Qur’an:
Verily after every hardship comes ease.
At that very moment, every single worry I ever entertained about the predicament we faced, faded into the background. I likened our situation to that of the dark night, which gives way to the light of the sun, whether it wanted to or not. In those few minutes, hope was rekindled in my heart and I knew Gaffar felt the same way too. Biithnillah, we would become parents.
All we had to do was wait.
When the sun reached its zenith, Gaffar and I left the beach and drove home chit-chatting away about everything in general. Back at home, we cooked breakfast together and ate the meal of fried plantains and eggs from the same plate. Now we lounged on a couch in the sitting room, content with just being in each other’s arms. I felt at peace and was glad I listened to Gaffar about not doing any work today. If not, I would have missed out on this bonding time with him.
“I love you, husband mine.” I lifted my head from his chest and craned my neck a little, so I could look directly into his eyes. His eyelids were already drooping shut but he opened them and answered me.
“I love you more, A’ish.”
He kissed my forehead, closed his eyes and settled deeper into the soft cushions, pulling me closer as he did. I leaned into his chest, savouring the feel of his heartbeat against my back, his breath hot against my neck. Satisfied, I sighed, wishing I could remain in this position forever.
I was almost drifting off to sleep too when I heard my phone vibrate on the coffee table. I groaned and willed it to stop. I didn’t want anything to disturb or break the ‘spell’ we had woven around each other. The caller had other plans though because my phone continued to vibrate. Reluctantly I opened my eyes and picked up the phone. All traces of sleep immediately left my body as soon as I saw the caller ID. It was HIM. My heart leapt into my throat. I gently pushed myself out of Gaffar’s embrace and stole a glance at him. He didn’t stir.
Swiftly, and on tiptoes, I entered the kitchen, making sure to shut the door quietly behind me.
“Hello? I told you not to call me on this line!” I whispered urgently.
I’m sorry but I had to talk to you. You’ve not called me in a long while.
Guilt gnawed at me, ripping my insides to shreds. What did I expect when I totally abandoned HIM for days at a stretch?
“I am very sorry. I have been busy. I promise to make it up to you.”
I’ve missed you so much. I want to see you. Today.
My heart skipped a beat. I had told Gaffar that we’d be together all day today. What reason would I tell him I had to leave.?
“That won’t be possible.”
“Because I can’t get out.” I racked my mind for a solution. “Tell you what, I will come around next week, say Tuesday. Deal?”
There was a short pause at the other end of the line.
It’s not fair for you to treat me this way because of your husband. He’s the one who came between us not…
“Don’t say such things about my husband, please. I will come next week in shaa Allah. I give you my word”
There was another pause, longer this time. Finally, HE spoke.
Okay. I will be expecting you. Remember a promise is a debt.
I let out the breath I hadn’t realised I was holding. Alhamdulillah.
“Jazaakallahu khayran. Thank you for understanding.”
I love you.
“I love you too sweetheart. I must go now. Assalamu alaykum.”
I ended the call and settled into the nearest chair I could find. My whole body trembled, and my face was wet with tears. I didn’t know how long I could go on lying and deceiving Gaffar. He didn’t deserve it. Not one bit. But I was in too deep, and was at a loss at this juncture, of the right step to take.
Ya, Allah, help me. Guide me to do right by my husband and HIM.
When I felt I had a reign in on my emotions, I left the kitchen and almost bumped into Gaffar just outside the door.
“Subhanallah, I’m sorry, I wasn’t looking.”
“It’s fine.” Gaffar put his arm around me. “I’ve been looking all over for you.”
I tried to come up with an explanation for my absence.
“I was in the kitchen, to erm…”
My phone vibrated again, and this time it was Hadiza calling. I whispered a quick Alhamdulillah and took the call. Hadiza was crying. What could have gone wrong?
“Hadiza please calm down and tell me what has happened.”
I gestured for Gaffar to excuse me, then I sat down at the dining table and listened to my friend bare her soul.
Enough is enough. Whatever this was… it had to come to an end today.
I had been pleasantly surprised when Basheer announced on Friday night that he would be spending the weekend at home. I was elated and thought that meant a family outing probably, or at least a day spent at home in each other’s company. My victory was short-lived, however, because all through the weekend Basheer ignored me completely. It was like I didn’t even exist. When he wasn’t sleeping, he was on the phone chatting HER up. The weekend would end in a few hours and I could count at the back of my hands, the number of times we had spoken to each other.
What had happened to make my husband so enamoured of HER? What was she doing that I hadn’t done? Was his love for me fickle enough to be swept aside so easily?
Of course, I had no answers to any of these questions because I never voiced them. Frustration tore at me and I was slowly and surely losing my mind. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I called A’isha on Saturday and cried my heart out, asking for help. She told me the same thing as usual:
“Talk to him Hadiza. That’s the only way to go.”
I was truly pumped after that call and resolved there and then to put an end to what was going on. I even prayed solatul istikhaara. My whole being itched to know where I stood with him. So, I bid my time and decided to confront him now. Mas’ud was down for a nap in his room so we wouldn’t be interrupted.
I made my way to the private sitting room upstairs and found Basheer, phone in hand, typing furiously away. I steeled myself and entered the room before I lost my nerve. It was now or never. I didn’t stop walking until I reached the couch where he reclined.
“Basheer. I-I want to talk to you.”
He barely took his eyes off the screen. “Hmm…”
I wanted to take his phone and smash it into a million pieces. I wanted to scream at him and make him listen to every word I had to say. But that would only escalate things, so I kept my cool. Instead, I bent and gently touched his arm.
“I said I want to have a word with you.”
He looked up this time. “Okay. What’s up.?”
He was still smiling but I knew it was meant for HER, not me. Anger and jealousy bubbled inside me, threatening to erupt.
“Who is she.?”
Basheer looked confused. “Who? I don’t know what you mean.” His phone beeped continuously, and he continued to type responses.
I whispered a prayer to Allah to grant me patience then I spoke as calmly as I could.
“You heard me. Who. Is. She.?”
He chuckled lightly, still typing. “Hadiza, what are you talking about?”
“What is her name? What does she have that I don’t? Why is she making you do this to me… to us.?!”
I had his full attention now. He squinted and shook his head at me and I could see he was still confused.
“Babe, I don’t…?”
“You know exactly what I am talking about.” I paused then continued quietly. “We live like strangers, Basheer. You’re barely present at home and on the few occasions that you are, you don’t speak to me or Mas’ud. Subhanallah, you don’t even touch me anymore.”
“But I am home, aren’t I? And we are speaking now!”
He didn’t just say that to me. I rose to my full height and stared down at him. “Really? You think this is us communicating like we used to?”
Basheer’s attention was diverted again by his phone beeping. He made to type again, and something snapped inside of me. I snatched his phone away from him and flung it at nowhere in particular. It landed at the far end of the couch. Thankfully.
“What is the matter with you today?” He asked, surprised.
My emotions were in turmoil. Rage. Jealousy. Frustration. Sadness. All of them bubbled together, threatening to erupt at any moment. But I took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. I could only make headway if I remained patient.
“I am trying to engage in an important conversation with you. The least you can do is make the effort to concentrate.”
“But I have no idea what you are talking about!”
I reminded myself of the three C’s; Cool, Calm, Collected. I closed my eyes. “Okay let’s start again. Why have you been distant these days?”
He sighed and said in the tone he used whenever he scolded Mas’ud. “I am sorry. I told you. It’s work. And I took the weekend off just be here with you.” He eyed me sceptically “But it seems that’s not enough for you is it?”
“But that’s the point: you are here and at the same time not here!” I gestured wildly. “You are always on your phone with… with HER.! You come alive when you are chatting with her and it’s like she’s the only person you care about now. If you behave like this when I’m present, I wonder how you do behave when I’m not there”
He gave me a warning look and said quietly. “Hadiza what exactly are you accusing me of?”
“Nothing. I am just saying: You don’t have to shut me out completely to practice a sunnah!”
He nodded as if he now understood me. “Are you suggesting that I want to marry Shaakirah.?”
“Oh, that’s her name? And you didn’t even bother to deny it.”
“That’s because there’s NOTHING to deny! She’s just a junior colleague at work.”
“A junior colleague that you text all day and night? A junior colleague that makes your eyes and smile light up? A colleague that is making you push your family to the background.” I choked back tears. “Basheer we both know she’s more than that. Just admit it, if not to anybody but yourself. Maybe then you’ll be able to see what your actions are causing this family!”
My outburst obviously irked him because he looked really angry. I just couldn’t get why he would be angry though- I hadn’t said anything false. Granted I wasn’t sure initially that a woman was involved but he confirmed it himself moments ago.
“Hadiza, I don’t know why you are being like this, but I am going to leave before I say or do anything I’ll regret. Maybe some time alone will allow you to get the notion that I’m planning to take a second wife out of your mind.”
I watched Basheer pick his phone and car keys, and stride purposefully towards the door. I rushed to him and took hold of his hand.
“Wait! Don’t leave.”
He turned and removed his hand from my grip. “I must.”
There was anger in his eyes along with some other emotion. It was disgust. Basheer couldn’t bear to be in the same room as me. That look scared me more than his leaving did, and it proved to me that I had lost my husband… to HER.
I hastened down the stairs and out of the house, eager to put some space between Hadiza and me. I didn’t want to do anything rash. I tried as hard as I could to control my temper, but it was futile. Where had Hadiza come up with all those ludicrous accusations? How had she even found out about Shaakirah? A second wife indeed. If only she knew how far that was from my mind.
And all that talk about me pushing my family to the background couldn’t be further from the truth. Was it not because of the time I had spent away from them that I made sure to cancel all my weekend appointments? I wanted to spend some time at home, so I could relax before the start of another work week, but apparently, I couldn’t do that in peace. My wife had to start nagging and throwing baseless accusations around.
Wallahi, women could be so ungrateful.
Outside now, I got into my car and thought of where to go. Yes! Shaakirah had invited me for a public lecture earlier but I had declined, because of my earlier plans to stay indoors. Since that was off the table, I might as well attend and earn some rewards. I texted her.
Am I still in time for the lecture?
She texted back a few seconds later.
Yaay! You changed your mind. What happened to you lounging at home all weekend?
Something came up. So, can I still make it?
Yes, it begins in an hour.
Okay, send me the address.
She did. UniPort Central Mosque. It would take me roughly 45minutes to get there from our home at Chinda. I looked up at the house and thought I glimpsed Hadiza by the sitting room window. I didn’t pay her any mind, but instead started the ignition and drove out of the house.
What do you think? Should Hadiza have confronted Basheer? And what is A’isha up to?🤔 Let me know in the comments!😊
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