In a dark room with thick curtains with no light, in there laid Dunia. It smelled like heat and sweat. Dunia did not want a window to be open or any ray of sunshine to enter her bedroom. She had been locked in her bedroom for over two weeks. She didn’t care to take a shower, eat or drink. All she wanted was to lay in bed every day. she hoped that she would seize to exist. Life was too much of a burden, life was asking too much of her. She knew the bed she laid in, was soon going to be taken from her just like everything was taken from her. But for once she did not care one bit.
Riyaq came back carrying a tray of food. spaghetti and sauce with half a banana on the side, and a glass of freshly pressed lemonade. She put down the tray on the floor and reached out to the bedside table. There laid the breakfast tray untouched and cold. “Dunia, you can’t starve yourself to death sister, you have to eat something.” Dunia tossed and turned in bed turning her back to Riyaq. Why? what do I have to live for? Dunia stared at the wall with dry eyes. She had been crying every day since her estranged husband came uninvited and unwanted.
They had an agreement. He was going to take a second wife and live far from Dunia. He was not going to bother her and her two daughters. Or else Dunia was going to tell her father that Khalid was the one who burned her. Dunia had not told anyone that the burn marks all over her body were the doing of her husband. Or that he had attempted to take her life. Although she was forced into marrying Khalid, a widower that was twice her age, she knew that her father still loved her. She knew that in his way her father had good intentions by giving her away to Khalid. “he is a man with good job and income, he will take care of you.” those were the words her father said to her.
Dunia knew that her father did not know about Khalid’s temper or abusive and violent ways. She hoped that there would be consequences for Khalid’s actions towards her. However, Dunia had doubts about her brothers. She doubted if they would fight for her. In their eyes, Dunia had disgraced their family’s name by falling in love with Ali-Asbro many years ago. Ali was boy born outside of wedlock and who was beneath her, according to her family. Not only did Dunia fall in love she also attempted to elope with Ali. That it self was unforgivable.
But now laying in bed, Ali was the least of her worries. In fact Dunia blamed him for everything. Just as she blamed herself.
“Dunia please get up, salada tuko if not anything else just pray” Riyaq stood over Dunia’s shrinking body. She looked much older than she was.
“I don’t have a reason to get up” Dunia shocked herself by how husky and weak her voice sounded.
“Where are my babies? Where is Shamsa? Where is Asiya?” Shamsaa Asiyaa Dunia chanted the names of her daughters until she slowly fell asleep again.
“No, I don’t want to buy bananas now please move aside you are blocking my view” Madka-Kher was impatient and annoyed by the boy who kept on lowering the prices of bananas he was carrying in a basket on his head-top. The boy didn’t look a day older than twelve, but he was a good salesman already. “only a shilling sir, only a shilling for a whole bunch of bananas for the wife and kids sir.” Madka-kher realized the boy wasn’t going anywhere unless he bought something. “fine, give me a bunch of the ones in the basket” Madka said reaching for his hand pocket while keeping an eye at the restaurant he parked in-front. Kimina had taught him that the sellers often kept the best fruit in the basket they carried on their heads. He gave two shillings to the boy and told him to keep the change.
Kimina was looking for her brother. She heard that he was back in the city and worked as a waiter in a restaurant. Madka thought if he only got to be the one who brought Fitah to Kimina and all would be forgiven. Kimina was grateful and joyful but she wasn’t his Kimina anymore. She was distant from him. Madka remembered how she got tensed and her body froze every time he touched her shoulders and tried to tickle her playfully. She would have fallen to the ground laughing if she was herself, but Kimina was no longer who she used to be.
They had now a son and two daughters, but it felt as if they had two sons. Kimina was caring more for her baby brother than she did Madka. Why am I envious of a little kid? Makda asked himself, taking a bite of a banana. But she does care for her kids and her brother just no love or time for me her husband. Madka assured himself that he was correct to go to the restaurant owner and tell them the whereabouts of Fitah. Yeah, the boy grew up just fine without his big sister, besides he is sent to work in the restaurant by his uncle Madka said to himself taking another bite of the banana. Kimina practically kidnapped her brother and she is no longer his guardian for his uncle is.
He started to peel another banana while mumbling with his mouth full of the first one. Besides Kimina is a family woman now, she is my wife.
Madka remembered how easy laughter used to come to Kimina. Nowadays he was lucky if she managed to smile a bit. The only time she smiled was when she stood Outside their hut and watched her brother and her children play hide and seek.
How many times do I have to apologize for suspecting her of Madka-Kher could not bring himself to say out loud even to himself. He had suspected his wife of committing ugly deeds. That stupid big-headed brother of mine is to blame. When how could he swear that there was a man sleeping in our hut where my wife and kids laid?
Madka opened the car window and threw out the banana skin. He rubbed his hands on his jeans. Aah, Kimina what will it take to get your real self back to me?
It downed to him that Kimina would be devastated if she loses her brother again. Madka-Kher looked at the restaurant one last time, he put both his hands on the steering wheel bowed his head for a while then drove away.
Ali-Asbro heard what had happened to Dunia. The news was like a prayer answered but the effect it left on was something he wasn’t prepared for. “Dunia is divorced” Riyaq was jumping up and down when she came running to his office. Ali was certain that his mind was doing the usual. After all, daydreaming was his favorite hobby. Ali got up from his desk and adjusted his trousers. “Aslamu aleikum Riyaq is everything well?” He asked clearly worried by the sudden and intense visit of Riyaq.
“Dunia is divorced, but he also took the girls,” Riyaq said with tears filling her eyes.
Ali got to Dunia as fast as he could, but he couldn’t get past the gate. The house was packed. People were standing around the house and they all had something to say. “sure he took the kids why would he not? Who wants to leave their kids to an unfaithful woman?”
Ali-Asbro felt like a coward but he knew that by entering Dunia’s house alone he was going to worsen the already heated situation.
“Riyaq tell Dunia I will come with my father and ask for her hand in marriage. We will end this madness once and for all”
Ali walked back to his car and people noticed him.
Ali thought his prayer was answered, by Dunia becoming a divorcee, but Dunia was no longer a divorcee only she was a woman who had lost her children. I could compete with any man, and any love to win you over and over Ya Dunia, but who am I to compete with the heart of a grieving mother?
To be continued…
Hey beautiful soul, thank you for taking the time to read this. Life is happening and takes no breaks. I am delighted to write this series. It is hard sometimes to process the story, knowing what comes next and hearing about their struggles and traumas. While I too work through my own.
but the beauty of it all is it has to be written and shared. Our stories are part of us. Some we keep some parts we just must write them out of our system. Stay tuned.
With Love, Muni_mar