It was my fault

Published: July 24, 2014
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Her body and her heart, both broken and crippled, tried to take the beatings, first for the sake of her love for him, then for the sake of saving face for what would people say if she left him, and eventually and irrevocably for her children.

The first time he hit her was on the 17th morning of her wedding ceremony. She had just walked out of the bathroom after a shower, her hair still dripping little droplets of water as she tried to rub them dry with a towel.

He was standing in front of the armoire picking out a tie for himself, his back to her. She saw his handsome profile, all sharp lines and edges, and she had smiled to herself blissfully. In that moment she had thought, she was the luckiest girl on earth. This beautiful man, who had the ability to attract people into his halo, with his magnetic charm and that twinkle in his eyes, had chosen her over all the other girls he could have.

“I am the one,” she had thought to herself, still watching him, still rubbing her hair with the towel, “I am the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with…”

Before she could complete her thought though, he had suddenly whipped around and slapped her straight in the face. Her head had rolled back as she spun around with the sheer force of his assault. Stunned, she had fallen backwards on the bed, still unsure what had happened or why. The next thing she knew he was on the bed with her, holding her face in both his hands, caressing her cheek where just a second ago his long, strong fingers had left a mark.

“I am so sorry”, he had almost whimpered, “I just got startled.”

“I didn’t realise you were standing behind me.”

He was like a little child, pleading to be forgiven,

“I am so sorry,” he kept sobbing softly.

And she, who had never seen a man in her life raise his hand at anyone, forgot her fear and shock and confusion, and pulled his head into her lap, consoling him.

“I am sorry… I am fine… it’s my fault…”she whispered into his hair, her voice still shaking.

Her body, unlike her heart, unable to recover so quickly from the chilling fear and raw pain it had borne just a second ago. They made love then, or she made love to him, even though her heart beat like a thousand horses galloping wildly through a dark forest and her lips cringed every time he touched them. And this is how she would remember the first time he laid his hands on her.

They had married for love. She thought she knew him. He had been quite the catch; so many women, in the bank they worked at together, had their eyes on him. But he had eyes only for her, and slowly, she had fallen for him too.

After the first time, she tried to shake off that sliver of fear that would run down her spine sometimes when he was too close to her. She convinced herself he had made an honest mistake, an involuntary reaction. But somehow the fear quietly seeped into her veins and haunted her in her sleep.

The next time it happened, he was angry. He kicked her from behind as she bowed down to pick up his dirty tea cup, but she was blocking his view as he watched his favourite news show. It was her fault.

The third time it happened, it was when they were in bed. He climbed on top of her and pillaged her body with a brutal force so ferocious, so violent that she thought her heart would surely explode and someone would hear it shatter. But it was her fault; she had not performed her wifely duty of satisfying him in bed for the last three days.

And so it continued. Her body and her heart, both broken and crippled, tried to take the beatings, first for the sake of her love for him, then for the sake of saving face for what would people say if she left him, and eventually and irrevocably for her children.

Often, in the throes of despair, after a particularly brutal day, when her heart whispered to her it was time to make this stop… walk away… she would convince herself her love could change him. Other days, she would reassure her broken heart that her children could change him… and yet on most days, she would wonder how she could change herself so he would not feel compelled to hit her. In reality, it was always her fault…

She told herself lie after lie after lie, for that was her only salvation.

Until one day.

That night, she heard her daughter’s scared whimpers as she peeked into her children’s bed room. What she saw stopped her in her tracks. Her five-year-old daughter was on the cold marble floor, facedown, as her eight-year-old son sat on top of her. His fists pulled her long brown hair and then he smacked her. But even as she cringed with pain and tears flew down her ashen cheeks, she bit her lips so no one could hear her.

“ALI!!!”

She screamed and pulled him off. Her hand flew up in the air and then came down resounding on Ali’s round cheek, still warm from all the excitement.

He gave out a loud cry and started howling in anger.

Zoya, her daughter, just clung to her leg, still whimpering, like a lamb that had just escaped slaughter. She had never seen a more frightened human being in her life. Zoya’s eyes looked both wild and aloof at the same time. Like a part of her had accepted this was to be her fate, while another part of her, the part that still had the spark of life, had become crazed at the knowledge of what she had just been through. Ali’s bawling had subsided into a steady whimpering cry of his own. She held him close to her heart. How could she blame her eight-year-old child for something she should have protected him from a long time ago? And then between her little hiccups and her tears, Zoya spoke,

“It’s okay mama, it was my fault.”

She struggled to breathe,

“I coughed and Bhai was trying to sleep… it was my fault.”

T Hassan

T Hassan

The author is a writer, dreamer, social activist and a Communications Major at California State University. She does Social Media and Marketing for various non-profit organizations and blogs at tabzy.wordpress.com/

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

  • ptr

    What…. :-Recommend

  • No more a Victim!

    Stop victimizing us women in every headline and now in fiction too. Writing should seriously evolve now. Let us hear and read about strong and empowered women. As a woman I’m tired of having my gender victimized. Please write on motivational and determined stories too! Recommend

  • Fahad

    well written… pretty crazy to know what our culture has made us…Recommend

  • Malik Abdul Rehman

    what is wrong with women with these days they are preoccupied with the fact that men consider them inferior creatures and along with marketing of their inferiority complex they whine about strong and top of the world they are whilst being feminists.
    what world do you people live in I mean urban men these days are no less then slaves of their wives and you people can’t get out of the box
    P.S: I am way too afraid of women in general let alone having ever touching any with malicious intent( in case anyone here thinks i am a misogynist)Recommend

  • nishantsirohi123

    if it exists, why denyRecommend

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

    Cliched subject .Recommend

  • ahmed

    do not like the flow of sentence although idea was goodRecommend

  • Necromancer

    Well apparently it was her fault………..she should have divorced her ages agoRecommend

  • Usman Arshad

    Well, this is really sad… A woman never leaves his man… We should know the value of women!Recommend

  • Feroz

    Only a moron will go on to have kids when the husband starts beatings on the 17th day after marriage. There is a difference between being literate and educated. When God has given all of us brains, only a few want to use it. That the husband suffers from mental issues and needs counseling is secondary. It took me three years of marriage before I was sure that physical and mental compatibility existed to plan a family. No one seems to understand that parenting means responsibility,needs money as well as a conducive environment. God should not be faulted for human mistakes, those compounding their problems may not deserve sympathy. Having children is not akin to eating Halwa, the more the better and fast.Recommend

  • fatima

    This is what ISRAELIs are saying what is wrong is wrong with palestine and ghaza ? why they are crying and seeking sympathies of the worldRecommend

  • Malik Abdul Rehman

    are you implying that Pakistani women are suppressed to a level equal to that of an average Palestinise….. there is a lot of difference Palestinise are crying because Israel is doing war crimes and is killing innocent people on the other hand pakistani women are crying because they are fatRecommend

  • Ayesha

    The subject is obsolete and the story is poorly written. I lost my interest instantly. I’m wondering what sort of a calibre of writers tribune is offering to its readers. Its a thousand words story while it is against the blogs’ policy stated while submitting one. Isn’t Biased?Recommend

  • Belkimwar

    This is Not Your fault you stay cool

    black magic to him backRecommend