16. Picture Perfect

Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah to all our lovely readers. Hope you guys are all well and we sincerely apologise for our terrible inconsistencies in posting lately. In order to make it up to y’all, we have a surprise in store! The first ever COARIN posting marathon! So here you have it, your first post for tonight.

Climbing the stairs into the attic, I stepped onto the wooden floorboard and stiffened as it creaked. It would not do to get caught. Luckily Apa Aaisha’s room was at the other end of the house,  so moving slowly I surveyed the room,  a small wooden box lay in one corner.

A baby crib, an old fan, a ball and a few packets lay around the room. Opening one of the packets, the only thing I found was material pieces, and reels of cotton. Not bothering with the remaining packets I headed to the wooden box.

I lifted out an old dusty book and curiously opened it. It was quite thick but only a few pages were filled. I read the first few lines and my conscience warned me that I should put it down but I somehow couldn’t.
‘I married Hasan when I was twenty two.  And I was happy. He was divorced but he seemed soo nice. He was always so considerate when he came home.
The one thing that I wasn’t too happy about was that he was not a aalim. Daddy insisted that it was fine and that I can’t turn away a good man just because he wasn’t deeni inclined. I was upset that he didn’t have a beard. Everything else about him I was happy.’

I paused reading to scrutinise the tiny scrawl in the margin. I laughed aloud when I figured it out. ‘This is silly. I’m talking to a book!’ it read in an untidy writing.

It was clear that someone wasn’t into journal-ling. Continuing from where I stopped, I read on,

‘..The first few months were perfect. He was a divorcee and had children but I had no problem with that. I was little bit worried about the children liking me and I like them, but they were so lovely that I just loved them. Isma’eel was quite big already and was independent. Sumeera was only 6 months. Hasan looked after her. He didn’t ask me to do a thing but I loved to help with the kids. Soon we settled in a routine and life was so so so happy. I took on looking after the kids after much insisting but gladly left diaper duty to him when he was present. It was bliss. Daddy always checked up on me to see if I was happy and I assured him that I was. 3 grievances were all that I had: 1: that Hasan had no beard, 2: his son who was already 11 seemed to hate me and 3: that Hasan had a bad temper.

But Alhamdulillah, life was nice and I made dua to Allah to resolve my three problems. And The truth is, my problems were small things and I knew I was extremely lucky. Even though Hasan was older than me and divorced, we bonded really well. And I was happy. His son never hurt me or was rude at anytime neither did he cause any problems between us. He just scowled every time he saw me and he never spoke to me unless he really needed to. But I tried and I wanted him to like me. And as for his temper, it didn’t happen often and I had only been on the receiving side of it once, when I’d accidentally burnt his favourite shirt but it was scary how angry it got. But at the end of the day, I brushed all of this off coz they were just little faults and I was happy.”

I grimaced as the phrase ‘I was happy‘ came yet again. I have no idea who this diary belongs to but whoever it was, wasn’t a very talented author. My brow furrowed as I wondered if it belonged to Apa Aaisha or if it was someone else’s. “Whoever’s it was, it was weird. It wasn’t very well-written grammatically but it drew me in and I could feel her emotions. The uncertainty of a new bride, the happiness at most of her life going perfectly and the underlying sense of trepidation that something bad happened later on.

I flipped through the rest of the book and hoped fervently that her story finished and It wasn’t some incomplete rambles. I had no idea why, perhaps it was because it was handwritten, perhaps because of the clear innocence captured in this writing that not even a bestselling author could portray, or perhaps because of some other reason but this drew me in and riveted me like no bestselling novel ever had…

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