Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Reflections of past.
She pressed her face against the cool window, leaving fog circles and hand smears, hoping for just one more glimpse of it; and couldn’t see through the darkness of the night. But she remembered everything about it. She remembered, “Because it was her past”, she told herself as a tear slide down the side of her face. She shook her head and reminded herself again that she will not think of it anymore because it bought her nothing but pain. However, regardless of how hard she tried, her past kept haunting her. She wanted to forget. She was on her way to making her dreams come true and didn’t want ghosts of past stopping her in anyway. She was making the right move.
She opened her bag to retrieve her diary, in an attempt to forget everything by writing it down. In the background, Caroline, the flight attendant spoke into the microphone, “Etihad Airways flight 501 is now ready for departure to Toronto. Please fasten…..”
June 15, 2006
I am finally leaving for my destiny Toronto. In fact the flight attendant is just making this announcement. I am so excited. I can finally live the life that I have always wanted. I can finally be, the real me in front of people and have them accept me for who I am. The world is my horizon and I can achieve anything that I want to.
But why do I feel this pain in me? Why do I feel guilty for leaving my parents and the life that they had planned for me? Oh.. Did I say leaving with out telling you the whole story? Let be step back then.
The last time I wrote to you, my fears were confirmed. I was right that my parents are talking about getting me married and are serious about it. The next day they told me to come home early from college because we will have some guests over. Except that they were the Mohammad, his mother, sister and aunt. They had come over to see me. Or should I say to test me if I really was the type of person they had heard about. I didn’t realize that until after 3 days when they came to our house again, only this time with an engagement ring. Without even asking me for my opinion about the guy, my parents fixed my marriage with him.
The world stopped when his mother took my hand and put the ring on my finger. I couldn’t believe that it was my hand. I of all the people, who had always believed that marriage was based on love rather than arrangement from parents, was getting engaged right then with this guy I hardly knew. I couldn’t breathe. My world was just snatched from my hand and I was put into a prison the first sentence of which was this engagement.
I didn’t sleep that night. I couldn’t sleep. The tears that I had controlled so hard the whole time I was surrounded with people, started flowing uncontrollably. I kept telling myself that this was not happening to me. I didn’t want to believe. And in that moment, a lifetime of memories flashed my eyes.
…. I was up one night during my sixth grade, when my parents had changed my school, and I was failing in most of the subjects which were taught in my national language. The disappointed look of my parents couldn’t make me sleep and that night I made a commitment to myself that no matter what I do in life I will always make my parents feel proud of me. I also made another commitment that one day I will leave my mark in the world…
…. My last 4 years of high school were filled with hard work so much so that I topped in my class during those 4 years. But not even for once did I receive a single praise or appreciation or congratulation from my parents. Their praises were reserved only for my brothers….
…. The curses of my mother when my brother had his first accident because she believed that it was my entire fault since I was sitting in the car…
…. The day when I was declared an ill omen for my family when my parents heard the news that my grandmother passed away; and my mother blamed it all on me since that year I had visited her back home….
…. The time when I had to tell my parents that I want to study further and told them that I had already been accepted to a university, their disappointed look rather than any sign of happiness or being proud; bought more tears to my eyes…
…. All those times filled with taunting comments of my brothers, my parents, my relatives, that I am just wasting my time studying when I am good for nothing....
…. And my father’s comment just a week before Mohammad’s family came to see me, “…because of you I am getting bankrupt. You have no consideration for anyone. You love no one but yourself. You think that by going to university you are smarter than others when in fact you are dumb then I curse you and your studies. God knows what you do when you leave home and with whom do you roam around with. You have been nothing but shame for the family. I wished I never had a daughter…” All because I wanted to spend some time alone in my room and not with my family because I was tired…
Those memories bought nothing but pain to me. My chest tightened as if my whole body would fall into pieces if it didn’t tightened. My tears kept flowing as if my heart to hold on to no more pain and wanted to get rid of it all. I cried out silent screams asking, the same questions that I have now: Why can’t they love me? Have I been nothing but a burden on my parents since the day I was born? All my efforts to make them be proud of me, meant nothing to them? My love, my respect for them was all useless? Am I a curse for them? A curse, which they want to get rid of on the first opportunity that they get? What is my crime? My being a daughter, is a crime? Can they not see that I want be someone special in my life?
The next day at college I could think of nothing but what will happen to me. I saw myself five years from then, being a housewife, with kids living a life and doing all that my husband or his family wanted me to do. The sight stopped my breath and I felt the world slipping from under my feet again. The little girl in me who made the commitment with me at 10, that I would make my life special, was crying with me. She was crying because she saw herself dead in future and I was crying because I saw myself as being fully poisoned.
But then a part of me stopped me and asked me what I crying over. Parents, who never love me for who I am? For being treated as someone who is a burden and a curse for the family? Or for being forced to give up my dreams and get married? That part of me told me that if I was crying over any of the above then I am just wasting my time and will be crying over these things and more for the rest of my life. So what if any of those things are true. They really don’t matter because I love myself for who I am. And I know what I am capable of. I cannot let the little girl die in me or break the commitment that I made to her.
The only was out was to run away. I had always wanted to go to Toronto so if I can run away there then they will never find me because first of it will be very far away and second they will never believe that I would run away outside this country.
But how? How could I just run away like that? I was going to get married in 1 month and just getting the visa would take more than that. And I only had 30,000 Dhs saved up. I would need more money than that. But that part of me was not ready to give up so easily. It fought back with all it had against my negative side. We will ask my best friend for a loan and since her father has great connections surely he would be able to help.
With trembling hands I dialed the number of my best friend and told her everything and then asked her for help. Lucky for me, her father was to meet her that day and she wanted me to talk to him directly. Two O’clock in the afternoon was when I was to see him. I had no idea what I would tell him. For me this meeting was the most important for my life and I had to convince him to help me. Time flew that day, and even my talk seem with my friend’s father seemed to get over in a rush. But I guess that day even destiny had to change itself for me, and he agreed to help me. Here was his plan: Within four days he would get a visit visa for me in Canada on the basis of urgency, and he would arrange for my departure from here, he would make all the necessary arrangement I Toronto for me; while I had to act being happy about my marriage and keep up that act till the day I could run away.
The divine power was determined to help me. My mother used to spend a lot of time either with my relatives planning the wedding or going shopping with them or planning details with Mohammad’s mother. Those four days went by quickly, but were the longest of my life because I wanted them to end as soon as possible.
On the sixth day, it being a Saturday was the day of my escape. I left for university as always and I met my best friend’s father (let’s call him Mr. X for convenience) there. I knew that at 10 the house would be empty. My brothers would be in their colleges, my father at work, and my mother at my relatives. I called my house at 10, while waiting at a distance watching it, to double-check that no one was at home. The phone rang till I got the convincing reply from that that no one is at home. I was to go inside and pack my things while Mr. X would be waiting for me in the car in front of the entrance gate. With a pounding heart I opened the front door, listening to every sound from the house. It was dead silent, and my body was still in a fearful state. Not wasting any time I ran up the stairs and to my room. I pulled the suitcase and stated opening the closet doors in a hurried way. My heart was beating even faster now, my hands were trembling, my keens kept going weak; but I managed to throw all my books, my clothes, my extremely important stuff in the suitcase. I closed it, went back to the stairs and pushed it down it; without waiting to see what happened to it, I ran back to the room. I pulled my trolley hand bag and dumped my camera, my laptop, my teddy bear, my diary, all my beauty items, bank account papers, and my piggy bank in it. I had one last look at the room, making sure that I didn’t forget anything important and also because this would be the last time I would be seeing it, and ran to the stairs. The suitcase survived my horrible push, and I had to first drag it to the car, and with Mr. X’s help we had it in the trunk of the car. I went back to the house and got my trolley bag and ran to the car. I locked the house and we were off to the airport.
I don’t remember how long it took to reach there because my body was still scared and I kept expecting someone from my family to meet me during that drive. But nothing happened. I didn’t meet anyone from my family. I would never be meeting any of my family.
We entered the airport and got my luggage booked. Mr. X gave my all the necessary document and my ticket and told me about all the arrangements that he had made for me. with tears in my eyes, some out of gratitude for his help, some out of fear, and some out of the loss that I was experiencing at the moment, I turned to him and asked him how should I repay him for all that he has done for me. His only reply was, “be someone great in life and make good use of your life. That will be your payment to me”.
My dearest diary, that is what happened so far. A part of me that had great hope of being accepted for who I am by my parents if feeling bad right now for escaping like that. But I had no choice. I couldn’t let my dreams die in me.
- - -
She closed her diary and kept it back in her bag; and heard her strongest self talk to her. It was tell her that she is moving on in life. She didn’t need the horrible reminders of past to haunt her for the rest of her life. Her escape today took real guts, which shows that she can do anything in the world. She didn’t need the reminders from the past…she is moving on. She has to let go of it… let go… just let go. All you need is yourself and nothing more…
With a determined look, she took her diary for her bag and went to the washroom. She was angry at her past for making her weak. But now she was ready to start her life even though she had no idea what it will be like. Page after page she tore from the diary telling them that she didn’t need them in her life any more, and threw them in the toilet. When all the pages were torn, she flushed them all down, with no regret in her heart.
She went back to her seat, and smiled for the first time in what seemed like ages, and went to sleep; for she had a long way ahead! But before going to sleep, she told herself:
I was a bird in captive, I am taking flight,
Forgetting all relations I am reaching for the heights.
I maybe a loner making no difference to anyone,
But someday I will be the one for someone.
* This is not an end but a start because this is a story of every girl wanting to live her life.
freedom independence escape reflection of past girl