So it all began with this aching pain, this flood of emotion that was looking for an escape, a way out.. the thought kept pressing but it seemed much, just too much of an effort to put the feelings in words to give it its freedom, letting it erupt engulfing all that came its way.
The heart and mind seemed at war, tugging back and forth at what must be, should be or would be. Right now, in this moment theres an anxious screaming from deep within, a plead for relief for all that has overtaken the calm, the peace, the content of a wrecked heart.
Gloom had consumed every corner of a heart that seemed ok, that seemed fine in its being. The staggering pain penetrated the soul with this continuous ache, like the flow of hot lava erupting from within and pouring out moistening cheeks that were pressed firmly on the ground. I could not hold back in this moment and gave in to the long awaited escape and let it rip from within me and pour to the fore.
I ly there not understanding where to begin, or how to.. i felt stumped, as if my mind numb from all the thoughts that once pressed soo profusely for answers. But it felt ok, it felt alright to let go and loose myself in a moment i thought i was too strong to experience. It was than in that moment that i was gripped and pulled back, way back.
The past as we say can never escape us, no matter how many years have past since then or how hard we try to erase certain experiences, it lingers on in the back of our minds never completely forgotten as the scars, the joys remain imprinted in our hearts for all of time.
In the mind of every kid the perfect family picture existed, atleast thats what i always thought of it to be despite all that occurred behind closed doors. Upholding this glorified image of a great happy family, yes it was that fairytale family i romanticised and dreamt off. But it was my family, and it was the only family i ever wanted to be a part of.
The occassional outbursts of anger ending up in words being strewn across the room before we were quickly summoned to the room before hearing the fierce hits and a pleading for it to please stop and consider that we yes ‘we’ the little kids were home and awake, aware of everything that was transpiring. It didnt seem to hold much, actually not at all, the rage continued so did the swearing and the beating.
It would be the same sounds that would escape the night air while asleep and you would wake in fright hoping for it to be just another bad dream, ‘just a bad dream, close your eyes and sleep’ i would convince myself while trying hard to bellow out the sounds through my inner voice and taking cover underneath my pillow and covers.
Would you ever get used to it? I wondered… could 1 ever? As i got older, not that much older but it was the tender age of 8 i would come out of hiding and run to intervene hoping my words my presence would make a difference. That it would stop the swearing, the shouting and most of all the beating. A beating?! Really? The fierceness of the word and the sound it resonated was surely what it was, as sometimes you would hear the sound of the body hit the floor, the wall or anything that was around that it could land on. As i stood and watched with a failed attempt with a face drenched in tears and a heart pounding as though it was faced with death itself, i drop to my knees and crawl to the body grasping it with tiny hands to comfort and console.
Sitting there not knowing what to say or do, words escape with a stammering fear ‘im sorry mummy’. As im looked at through eyes that seemed to be drowning in an ocean of despair, a response escapes the bruised lips ‘why did you not stay in the room?’ Almost anonoyed but one could tell it was out of concern, not wanting an innocent child have to witness such brutality. What was worse i stopped to think? Having to sit back and block out all the noise and try not visualising what was going on? Or being there atleast trying with what little might i had to stop what should have never happened, but did plenty times over and over… again!
It made me wonder why i cringed having to witness violence of any kind as i grew up, how it would send that disturbing shiver through me making my tummy turn into a knot. A moment one felt helpless in, felt like one needed to do something, but no motion no words escaped you but the painful stare wishing you were never there to witness any of it.
Until the sounds resonate in your mind reminding you of all those painful moments you lived through. Yes you did! You made it this far, you survived! Ofcourse you did, they would tell you as you were not the 1 being beaten. But did that mean none of it affected you, affected me?!
My eyes open and i stare blankly as the silence is deafening and I quite enjoy that moment. But it is all shortlived when you recall, as you laid in bed lastnight tugging tightly to the pillow over your head you heard the slamming car door before the car took off. Is he going to come back? Did he return home? Lost in a moment of calm and fear what was it I wondered, what did my heart want?
The calm was way tooo consuming like that drug you sooo craved to satisfy every part of you. Until reality strikes and you are reminded of the pretty family image created in the mind and held in the heart, a silent whisper escapes my lips; “Dear Allah please keep my family together and make us happy.” My plea with the Merciful Lord, hanging onto hope knowing He would answer my prayer.
I sit and reflect after all these years as to how innocently naive one is as a kid, overseeing the bad and continuously just wishing for good. It hurts, it really does as the memories flood back as if it were all just yesterday. Thats life right? Made up of all the good, the bad and the ugly? Or was it and is it just my life? I wondered i always did when i sat around friends in class when the teacher asked you to present your family image and you awkwardly stare at yours wishing it was even a little as good as what you thought it to be. But time, it would all get better with time.
The same thing i had told myself when putting my signature to the talaaq paper “It would all get better with time” as a bitter sweet happiness engulfed the heart leaving me confused and wondering if it was right. I felt the earth below me tremble and it would all make sense, sooner or later. Time, all it needed was time.
So i sat and reflected, could i relate to the moments I was drawn back to. Did it finally make sense, that a home that was not happy was better off a part?!? I mean it was what i opted for, who wanted the uneasiness and fighting when little children stood their aloof and confused. How would you explain such events everyday to them?!? My face in my hands and there I was crying almost unctrollably, questioning “why mummy why??” The reality was all to clear I witnessed it ever too often to know the answer to my whining question, but the perfect family image could not be shattered – not now!