The nightmare that is my life

Published: May 25, 2014

I could hear the laughter, our wedding day, a new beginning… ha! What a joke!

Confusion seemed to be everywhere. I shuffled out of bed, reassuring myself, blocking the sound of his voice from my head. Sprawled across the cold floor, shattered, I lay –
for what seemed like hours, maybe even days.

Uncomfortable in my own skin, I tossed and turned, desperate for comfort. I could hear the laughter, our wedding day, a new beginning… ha! What a joke! It’s a nightmare now; one that I relive every night and hide every day.

Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother; nights like these are always sleepless. The cold bites into me as I lay alone, his voice in my head, taunting me again. I fight it. I refuse to let something so small take over me.

That was the first lie – but it wasn’t a small one.

I can fake how it makes me feel, I can be the happy wife but I can’t stop myself from feeling this way, from realising how big this is, how wrong this is. Yet, it is nothing to him. I am his wife and that makes it okay.

It is not okay. It never should have been.

But tonight, I can breathe again; I can believe something wrong has happened – I can almost say it out loud. There has to be a way to stop you, to point out that this is not right; neither for a woman nor a girl. And definitely not for your wife.

I stifle a laugh; another lie.

I feel my blood rushing as these thoughts fill my mind. I hear mama’s distressed voice, telling me about Shareen aunty’s daughter.

“The poor parents can no longer show their faces in public. A newlywed bride but who knew she would bring such shame, accusing her husband of beating and rape. Silly girl sacrificed her whole life, her reputation, for something so small.”

I felt my throat get hot. Something so small?

What more could she have sacrificed?

Am I the only one who could see what she had been sacrificing?

Mama may not have understood it but I did.

A scorching pain shot through me and I wondered pointlessly if it was the stiffening bruise on my neck or the shattered remains of my soul that he left. I kept thinking; I like thinking, it helps me. Even though it opens up old wounds, it also helps me get through each day. But not today; today was different. I came across something, one thought, a possibility, a maybe that was never allowed before, a taboo…

“Maybe I could speak up?”

Impossible.

I would be shunned for life, a stain left on my parent’s life. I shivered as I got into bed, tracing the freshly-painted bruises along my leg, watching them tell their story.

I waited, still.

But nothing changed, no one came.

Why, why does this happen? Where did it go wrong? Why can no one see?

Or is it just me? Did I do this? I must have, it had to have been me.

No.

I wrapped my blanket tighter, hiding these deadly thoughts within. I turned to see his peaceful face, sleeping, satisfied and fearless as always. I lay there completely still, going back, remembering what mama said,

“You belong to him now; do as he says and don’t ever do anything that will bring us shame”.

If only she could see this, if only she had taught me to speak up, to fight back instead of sacrifice; if only she understood.

I looked at him, my muscles clenched, and just like every night, I turned away, closed my eyes and lay confused, hoping that tomorrow I would change.

SS Muzaffar

SS Muzaffar

An amateur writer who takes a keen interest in literature, human rights and the socio-political dynamics of Pakistani society. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate law degree. She tweets @SSMuzaffar (twitter.com/SSMuzaffar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Iftikhar Ali

    To All Men:
    1. Before you start a relationship with a
    lady, you must think carefully about what
    you are about to do. A relationship is not
    something you should rush into or handle
    lightly.
    2.Are you ready for a relationship with
    her? Are you emotionally, mentally and
    spiritually mature to meet her needs?
    3. Being sexually attracted to her means
    absolutely nothing. It isn’t a sign of
    likeness, love or any other thing your mind
    may come up with. It may just be your
    hormones messing with your mind. A
    woman is more than her body and her
    sexuality. She has a life which you should
    be able to blend with. Can you do that?
    4. This lady has a history. Can you handle
    it? She has a past. Can you handle it? Can
    you handle her mistakes, failures and
    weaknesses? Can you handle her dreams
    without being intimidated and becoming
    jealous?
    5. She already had a life before she met
    you. Can you fit into and help improve her
    life?
    6. Love is commitment. Are you ready to
    commit your life to helping her grow and
    become all that she can be, by God’s grace?
    7. Is she valuable enough for you to devote
    a large portion of your life towards the
    accomplishment of HER dream? Are you
    ready to pour your resources into making
    her all the Lord plans for her to be? If you
    are not ready, don’t just bother.
    8. Before you open your mouth to say ‘I
    love you’, ask yourself if this is not just a
    moment of ‘emotional madness’. A lady
    needs much more than ‘I love you’. She
    needs your commitment. If you are not
    ready to make that commitment that will
    lead to marriage, please leave her alone in
    peace and stop wasting her time! Be that
    man your woman would want you to be!Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Nothing will change until the character speaks up. Whatever her husband does to her, his father must have done to his wife. She did not speak up or fight for her rights, so he never knew that beating a woman is wrong. She must speak while she has time and by the looks of it, no children. Her standing up against him, despite what the society thinks, can prevent more men growing up with this stigma in their minds. Recommend

  • Maximus Decimus Meridius

    Literature wise, great piece, very well done. # applause
    Personal opinion : this is gonna cause me uneasiness for quite some time. even though I know that this sort of thing is all too common in our society. I wish you had ended by saying that she shot/stabbed him.
    Anyways, hats off to you.Recommend

  • Syeda Jafri

    Loved every bit of it. But ending should be stronger. Girls have to stand up for themselves. Speak up! Fight!Your life is not as useless as wasting on a stone hearted, insensitive creatureRecommend

  • Mona

    very good attempt,i just hope it is not based on a real tragedy.May Allah save us all,after all marriage is a very sacred bond.Recommend

  • Mubashir Ziauddin

    Well written and so vividly described…Recommend

  • Hamza

    Mard buray hain unsay dus haath agay auratain hain. Everyones been given brains to choose wisely, may it be a man or a women. Im sick of such articles being posted. Recommend

  • Ahmed Abdulllah

    This is really sad. These things have to stop,but our ignorant population does nothing!Recommend

  • Sshery

    Sigh,,paraphrenial episode,Recommend

  • Aruj

    Amazing, I agree because I feel the same wayRecommend

  • Mehreen

    May Allah give you the strength to stand up for yourself Recommend

  • Tisme

    Amateur with a capital A. Recommend

  • Ali

    I hate the desi melodramatic act. Oh look at me, I have feelings, poor victim, Societies backlash, blah, blah. Women are more emancipated now than ever, if you’re that frustrated get a divorce.Recommend

  • iffat

    Good piece of writing… Please also rise something from the male point of view who are victimized through the hands of mischievous and bossy wife’s..Recommend

  • Supriya Arcot

    Sad … Unfortunately . all too common ..Recommend

  • Syeda KAzmi

    nice piece…Recommend

  • Ali Abbas

    Great work.Recommend

  • Guy’s View

    Problem- when its time for light chit chat, physical intimacy and to relax, women start throwing tantrums, headaches, tiredness, not today, hunger, he said that, she said that, u dont care for me and what not!! – only to make it a point that after a long days work, now he should start a new battle, Men are not designed to process these. Mature women handle relationships much better. Why would guy be physical with his wife without a reason, the only person he can trust with everything, there’s an implicit assumption in the article that men are beasts – its v unfair, it doesnt appreciate the difference between men and women!! Speak up by all means but also be less insecure and more confident in your demeanour and throw less tantrums and be a partner and not sissy all the time. Having said that, guys, if you cant handle such women, tell them straight and still if it persists, just quit, dont make a mess of your own and their lives.Recommend

  • Malik Abdul Rehman

    wake up women!!! men these days are given run of their life soon after marriage the “neek parveens” you are talking about have gone extinct ,these days you can’t walk straight without bumping into feminist or a soccermomRecommend

  • Sid

    Culture plays most important role in females life. In country born violently in name of religion and where people are still confused in understanding what it means to be a good Muslim, such crimes will continue to go un notice and the ignorants will keep on dreaming that everything is well and shiny in their kingdom of beliefs.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Before you get married, please let your views be known to the poor soul who is potentially going to be your wife. Please, don’t hold back.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    This should be a blog.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Yes, Every women should stand up for their rights. No chores in the house, servants to do the bidding, Free to come & go, Only one child . The hubby must come home early to take her around the town, if getting bored take up a job. We must have Pre-Nuptial contracts. The best solution is follow no marriage vows. You can go your way whenever you choose. Well, just a suggestion Syeda Jafri. How do you live your life. Are u married.Recommend

  • SamSal

    What world are you living in?
    A woman was stoned to death yesterday for marrying the man of her choice. and you talk of emancipation. Wake up dude.Recommend

  • SamSal

    Thumbs up for point 5! :)Recommend

  • https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8559594100366660134#allposts Supriya Arcot

    Hmmm practical thoughts , indeed. Unfortunately , circumstances are stronger than man . I mean , sometimes emotions get the better of people – men and women alike.Recommend

  • http://futurecmo.org/ Babar Khan

    Noman you are a sexy beast.Recommend

  • Batool

    :) Appreciated!Recommend

  • Rabbiya

    Too Good !Recommend

  • Munazza Khan

    Great words Mr Iftikhar! Get these points publish, they must be spread out! Great thought appreciated!Recommend

  • Nobody

    And just what is wrong with having only one child? Or coming and going as you please? Or working outside the house? Or a pre-nup? Here in the states many young Pakistani couples are taking measures to prepare for anything. They are also willing to put in equal work in a marriage to make it work, unlike old school marriages where women did too much of the work and had too many expectations attached to them.
    Times have changed. Being rigid and holding on to antiquated traditions is a common problem among Muslim societies and one of the reasons they are becoming obsolete and finding themselves isolated and unable to keep up.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Get a divorce? Gee, I wonder why those women never thought of that……
    And women are more emancipated now than ever before? In a place like Pakistan (or any Muslim majority society), that means they are still barely emancipated. They are barely granted more rights than a child and are often treated as such.
    I myself find the victim mentality distasteful, but I won’t pretend to know what those women go through or what they’re up against. Maybe you shouldn’t either.

    P.S. Please take Noman’s advice and tell your future partner all that you’ve said here.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Nobody

    This may be over stepping, but if a woman always makes an excuse when it’s time for intimacy, that could be an indication of an underlying problem. I’ve never known any girl/woman to NOT want physical intimacy or to avoid it so much unless something really serious is wrong.
    And mature men can handle relationships as well as mature women. Throwing the responsibility on the woman isn’t going to make the relationship better for either person involved.
    I agree with your closing piece of advice.
    Cheers.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    Bully for you. Have a nice day. Just one pointer. Please read Sura Ahzab ,Nisa & Bakra & all the Hadith regarding women. Then the choice is yours.Recommend

  • Nobody

    I stand by my previous comment.
    Cheers!Recommend