“It’s our anniversary,” she says so softly over the phone that I can barely hear her.
“That’s amazing! Are you gonna celebrate?” I ask trying to sound gleeful even though it’s 4 am in the morning, and I’m sleepy.
She doesn’t say anything and all I hear is her uneven breathing. “I’ve wasted eighteen years of my life.” There’s remorse in her voice, the kind you get when someone close to you passes away. She’s been married for eighteen years. Time passes by so fast when you’re not the one suffering.
“Huh.” I try to act oblivious even though I know what she’s talking about. She’s never mentioned it to me, but I’ve eased dropped enough to figure out things that I’m not supposed to know.
“Nothing child,” she steers away from the conversation and asks me about college, and when I’m getting married. I laugh it off and brush the conversation to something more convenient, like the weather. We can talk about things that are unimportant for hours, but when it comes to important things, we either have no words or we lose our voices.
Why is it so hard to say what’s on my mind? I want to press her, ask her for the details but I’m terrified of her answer. Sometimes the words I want to spit out are lingering on the tip of my tongue but no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to say them. It’s like they’re caged behind these metal bars that won’t let my words pass.
I know her because I love her like a second mother, but I haven’t exactly been the perfect daughter. I know the torture she’s been through and it gets me angry every time I hear her hopeless voice. I wish I could do more for her then just listen. But how can I help someone else win their war when I’m losing my own battles.
She seems perfect from the outside. We all do, but no one knows what’s happening behind closed doors. Some smiles are etched with knives of pain. Sometimes devils don’t wear horns, they come to you wearing divine wings. And the worst part is that these devils don’t even know they’re devils because they’re hiding beneath culture, sex, ego and power.
What I don’t get is why we become so afraid to speak? Maybe because we’re afraid no one will listen or understand. Maybe we’re afraid of the gossip. Maybe it’s easier to hide beneath veils then to be exposed.
I don’t know why she stayed. She says it’s because of the culture we grew up in and because she had children and there was no way she could fend for herself in a world where divorced women are considered taboo.
I remember hearing once that her husband beat her up because she left the house without covering her face. I do blame the husband but also the mentality he grew up in and sadly we’re still living in that same time frame.
People around me still have that mindset and no matter how loud I scream or speak, my voice falls on deaf ears. People think it’s better to endure abuse than to unveil that curtain. I don’t blame them because I am not in that position and I have no idea what they’re going through. But not speaking up ruin’s future generations. It creates abusers and victims. I’ve seen way too many women around me suffer in silence and their silence screams in my ears.
She- whose name I can’t mention is still in that position. Her children are a mess and it breaks my heart every time I talk to her or see her. I wish I could do more for her and other women like her.