The nightmare that is my life

Published: May 25, 2014
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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)

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