TURMOIL- CHAPTER FIFTEEN
I was done with Abdul the moment he walked into this house with his ‘wife’. Although I knew her name, I couldn’t bring myself to think about it, much less say it out. So, I settled with referring to her as amarya, or the new wife.
The new ‘wife’ didn’t seem to be able to keep her hands off my husband, and as far as I could tell, the feeling was mutual.
Their near-constant and very public displays of affection infuriated me. What pained me the most was that Abdul seemed to be doing very well without me. In fact, I’d never seen him happier.
A part of me died whenever I saw or heard them together.
I felt like an outcast, excluded from their circle of happiness and joy.
It didn’t matter that Abdul tried his best to make me feel included. He would invite to outings with them, ask me to sit and have a meal or engage in conversation with them. I ignored him when he did.
It didn’t matter that Abdul would come to our bedroom night after night and I would reject his advances and yell for him to leave.
It didn’t matter that the new wife extended the olive branch more than once, and more than once, I almost scratched her eyes out for trying.
All of these and more didn’t matter because I was hurting. I was so angry at Abdul. He never deemed it fit to apologise for his actions. Not for once. Every day that passed by, I yearned to hear him say the magic words.
I already had the scene played out in my mind. Abdul would take my hands in his, and with tears streaming down his face he’d say: “Forgive me, Jemima. I regret my actions. I want you back if you’ll have me.”
To which I’d reply: “What about amarya? I can only take you back if you promise to cut all ties with your new wife… permanently.”
Abdul would then hasten to carry out my wishes. He’d divorce the new wife and throw her out. And we’d live happily ever after.
So far, my fantasy’s still just that. A fantasy.
One month into Abdul’s second marriage and I realised I couldn’t live like this anymore. Seeing him happy with someone else, broke me. Not to mention the fact that he still refused to apologise for his wrongdoings.
They had both stopped talking to me altogether, except to give salaams which I never replied to. Even Abdul didn’t bother showing up in our room anymore. If he had I would have sent him out of course, but it still hurt that he didn’t come.
The day before yesterday, I overheard Abdul and his wife planning a vacation. Without me. That was when the decision hit me. My life with Abdul was officially over. I had to leave. Maybe when I did, he’d miss me, realise how much he loved me and come looking for me.
Yesterday, I laid out my plans to Muslimah and asked if I could stay at her place for a while. She refused and told me to stop punishing myself. In her words: “Stop fighting your co-wife, Jemima. Accept her overtures of friendship. Do right by Abdul too. Above all, turn a new leaf. Remember you have a baby on the way. Don’t jeopardise his life because of your stubbornness.”
Apart from being disappointed in Muslimah for not being there for me, her words also angered me. How did she expect me to become friends with that woman? And I didn’t understand what she meant by ‘turning a new leaf.’ I kept quiet though and instead swore her to secrecy. I didn’t have to worry about the others finding out. Especially Hadiza. I hated that my life wasn’t turning out as perfect as hers was.
I left Muslimah’s yesterday with the intention of taking her advice. I would stop ‘punishing myself’, just not in the way she hoped.
I shut and zipped the suitcase I just finished packing. My stomach growled, and I felt my baby kick. Satisfying my hunger would have to wait. Abdul and his wife were out, and I wanted to be gone long before they returned. So, I lugged my suitcases, one after the other down the stairs, out the front door and into my car. When I finished, I wrote a short note and left it for Abdul to find. Now all that was left was the finishing touch. Jemima’s signature.
Armed with a pair of scissors, I made my way into the new wife’s room. Then I got to work, snipping and tearing and slashing and cutting. I spared nothing; her clothes, her bags, her shoes, everything in her room. I even ripped up her mattress for good measure.
It felt good, letting out all the pain, anger and frustration.
When I was spent, I stepped out of the messy room and walked out of the house.