The nightfall came and the darker it got outside the more Amira grew anxious. She knew Farid was still mad at her. She was never one to fear the dark at night, not until she knew that the dark did not only bring the stars out at night but also that’s when Farid’s demons came to haunt her.
Amira was a single mother of one, newly divorced when she met Farid. He was everything her ex-husband was not. Or so she thought. Her ex-husband the cheater and liar who used give her one week long silent treatments, never laid hands on her. Farid was charming and quiet. His quiet manner she thought was the act of introvert and shyness. Her extraverted bubbly personality attracted all sorts of people. But Farid drew her near the silent watchful way he paid attention to her. He is a kind soul she thought to herself when she got to know him at a friend’s family party. He was good with kids, most of the time he would play with the children at the party, chase them around, or build Legos while other grown-ups ate cake and drank coffee as they chit-chatted.
Farid would play with her six months old baby as if she was his own daughter. Watching him play with children would melt any mother’s heart.
Be it destiny or a curse, Amira fell for him, and before she knew it she was his wife. Soon she saw sides to him only she had seen in thriller films
. His attentive ways become stalker skills. He knew where she was and which one amongst her two female friends she was drinking coffee with. He knew where she stopped by to get a bite. He knew about her movement when he was supposed to be at work. And when he came home he would ask her what she had done for the day. At first, she would tell him everything and if she happened to forget to mention a detail, he would ask her “are you sure, that is all you did today?” making her rethink her movements.
Farid was obsessive and possessive something she first thought was his way of showing love. but then he was angry and threatening. If Amira had been home and played the housewife role perfectly, Farid had always a way to upset her. He would ask her about her past. And in a way that was judgmental. “how did you marry your ex? what did you see in him?” things that did not concern him. He would ask and ask and ask until Amira broke down feeling as if her entire life was one big mistake after another.
Soon he had access to all her social media, things, and messages from years before they met. Suddenly he was her personal hell and judge, and she had to explain every bump and fall in her life to him.
Amira fell far from herself, she was no longer the bubbly social girl she used to be. She looked twice her age with black bags under her eyes, her posture changed from a tall and proud girl into a crumbling house. She cut ties with her only two friends and allowed no one to know the hell she lived in.
Since he had access to her phone and everything she googled Amira’s home become an eggshell.
This night she had already seen Farid lose his temper, and instead of slamming doors, he started to slap and spit on her. Amira could fight back but for some reason, she didn’t seem to do just that. For some reason, this skinny little man appeared to her in the form of a gigantic monster. He was slick too. The first time he hit her, they just argued about her going back to work, he pretended to walk past her but instead, as he was passing her by, he slid his leg under her knees making her fall hard, and while she was still in shock by the sudden physical attack, he sat on her chest and punched her in the head many times while he pulled her hair out.
This nightfall was the worst, Farid had said that the only reason he was angry all the time was that Amira’s ex lived in a city near to theirs, and as long as that man was nearby he would feel unhappy with their marriage. We shall move then Amira had suggested, which Farid had agreed to, but he had a condition. That was Amira had to give her child to her ex. Which was an unthinkable thing to ask a mother to do. “if you truly love me and want to save this marriage you have to give your daughter to her father.” to which Amira replied, “you came into our lives if anyone is leaving it’s you” She was prepared that if he wanted to throw hands she was going to fight back and show him! she too was mad. What she did not foresee was how ugly his demons could get.
As soon as she put her daughter to sleep as she feared Farid stood in front of the TV and looked at her with wide wild eyes. She sat on the sofa and tried to calm herself, When he starred at her, she stood up and stared back. “I want to kill you,” Farid said without blinking once. Amira had heard people say that only in movies and thriller films. “huh, what are you saying” she asked calmly hoping that she heard wrong. “I want to kill you and your daughter, and I will start with her” Farid replied. Still staring at her the way a lion stares at its prey right before it jumps on it.
In the tiny living room, there was only a glass table between them. She was closer to the door, while he stood right between her and her blissful daughter who was deep asleep.
“if you scream I will start with you,” Farid said.
Amira looked at his face, his eyes were two black holes unmoved and unbothered by the words that came out of his mouth. Something shiny caught her attention. there, in his right hand, he held the bread knife. The biggest knife they had in the house. Amira’s heart stopped. She gasped and automatically put her hands on her mouth in shock. As a response to her sudden movement, he swung the knife towards her to which she jumped backward and fell on her back landing on the sofa.
“if you scream I will jump over this table and cut your throat,” Farid said glaring at her. He hated her with every fiber in his body and it showed.
He paced back and forth still looking at her without blinking.
“Please Farid, don’t do this, don’t do this” Amira begged. This was it! this was it, this was the end of me oh my baby what did I invite to our lives? She thought to herself while she tried to layout an escape plan. if we survive this. “please, why Farid why?” She asked which seemed to anger him even more. He stopped in the middle right before her. He was still standing between her and her daughter, if she tried to run past him, he had the upper hand. He was the one with the knife. If she pushed him hard enough to make him fall, it wouldn’t take him time to get right back up on his feet. And imagine what he would do then? she would have to run into the bedroom and pick up her daughter, but the bedroom had neither window nor a door for them to jump out of. She regretted agreeing into moving into a studio apartment. At the time it seemed wise, to save up money and live as simple as possible. tiny see-through curtains were what separated the living room from the bedroom.
And if she had succeeded in picking her daughter up she would still need to run back to the living room to reach the door and out to freedom.
“why? you want to know why I must kill you?” he asked staring at her. “coz you don’t get me! you don’t understand me and how much I love you.” he said hitting the knife on his left palm as if it was nothing but a ruler.
“I do get you, Farid, I do,” Amira said trying to stand up but she remained seated when he lifted the knife as if he was going to hit her with it. “no you don’t get me, why else would you choose your daughter over me? that means you still love her father more than you love me.” Farid shouted.
Amira started crying and that made him nervous. “shhh, shhh” he said walking towards the bedroom as a warning. “shhh, shh or I swear I will kill her. and you can’t yell enough to get help. by the time people hear your screams and get the help, you both will be dead, and I, long gone! hahaha” his laughter was not a cruel laugh, it was more of a nervous break. Amira saw that he was torn and indecisive. He might have wanted to scare her but now things had gone too far. “let’s talk about this babe, put away the knife, and let’s talk” she attempted to sound as sincere as possible. All the crime shows she had watched over the years ought to help her now. “oh no, if I let you go, you will leave and report me to the police.” he said and sounded scared, yet firm. “so now, now I most definitely must kill you because I will go to jail either way.” He said and Amira knew it in her heart that he meant every word that came out of his mouth.
Amira saw no other way, the only way she was going to get her baby and herself out alive was to convince him that she thought he was playing.
She laughed and stood up, Farid seemed confused. She walked slowly towards him and he held the knife up ready to strike. Instead of attacking him, she fell to her knees. “babe, really? is this how you want us to spend our night? fighting? come on now we both know you would never do such thing my love.” she said looking up at his face her arms around his waist. He looked down at her still confused and calculative. He studied her eyes to see fear. But Amira had buried fear deep within her. She remembered how calm she laid under a bed when the civil war broke in her home country. Her mother told her to lay still and breathe slowly and not be afraid. “hyenas can smell fear, do not be afraid my child” her mother had said to her. And little Amira laid under the bed still and quiet. Her mother laid clothes and empty water bottles on top of her to disguise her from the robbers and rebels who went into houses, killed, raped, and robbed whomever they came across. Amira knew how to burry her fear deep inside her. How to hide it so no hyena would smell it. And she knew that Farid was now not a man, but a hyena lusting for blood.
He sat down on the corner of the sofa she walked on her knees and sat on the floor in front of him right under his feet. He felt big and powerful and highly respected at that moment, and she could see it. “babe are you done playing now eh? can we just go to sleep now please I’m tired.” she said leaning towards his lap. He put the knife on the back of her neck. She didn’t move but looked into his eyes in the most loving way she could. “what will you do now if I slaughter you?” he asked calmly. “I know you love me just as much as I love you and you wouldn’t harm me,” she said and tilted her head to the side.
“aargh,” he exhaled and threw the knife on the table. He put his hands around her neck and shook her. “aargh, you know you drive me crazy when you show me that you don’t need me.” He said and kissed her.
They went to bed he didn’t ask for her affection that night but he had his arm over her waist, he was exhausted. Amira’s heart was pacing as she laid next to him close to her daughter’s crib. The hours went she was thinking. She sat up, before she got out of bed she looked at his side, his eyes were wide open looking straight at her. He lifted his head up “where are you going?” He asked grabbing her “babe, you scared me” she smiled, and kissed him on the lip, he was still staring at her. “I need to pee,” she said and went to the toilet. She stood still for a while to hear if he got out of bed. She heard nothing. Slowly she walked towards the door.
She unlocked it as quietly as possible. She went back to the bedroom. And laid on the bed. She heard him snore. That’s was it. She slowly lifted her daughter and walked calmly out of the room.
If I run I can’t run far without him coming after us. If I scream he will hear me before the neighbors do. He has my phone if I would call for a taxi. It’s 4 am, there are no busses that drive to these outskirts of the city neighborhood.
She hugged her sleepy daughter tight and kisses her cheeks.
Amira put her daughter back in her crib and laid next to her hyena of a husband. “you were gone for long he said” grabbing her waist he pulled her closer to him. “diapers” she said and tried to swallow her tears. She was far from her family and friends isolated and alone. I want to walk out of this house and relationship and not be carried out in a plastic bag.
She had to think of a better way out ALIVE.