WRITTEN BY: Nabila Waqar
“I will join from tomorrow then. Thank you so much.” Alisa ended the call with a smile on her face. She was drowned in her own thoughts which were detracted by the salesgirl, attired in a black, formal dress which seemed to be the uniform of one of the most expensive boutiques of the city. “May I pack this red one for you Ma’am?” Her tone was so polite, even if Alisa weren’t interested in buying that dress, she would have said yes.
She headed towards home after she was done with shopping. She entered the house and greeted her mother with a soft smile. It was a part of her routine to have a cup of tea with her mother every evening. That day, Alisa’s mother had something really important to talk to her about. Alisa detected the uneasiness in her mother’s eyes and shrugged, “You know I can read your eyes, yet you hide things from me.” Her mother kept the cup of tea on the table and began speaking, “Would it even matter to you Alisa; Your old mother’s solicitude for you?” Alisa took a deep breath. “Mom we’re in the same boat. I know you’re old, this is why I cannot let you row it alone.” Having said that and avoiding an eye contact with her mother, Alisa stood up.
“Alisa, shut up! You’re not in my boat! I am drowned already.” Alisa’s mother fired her words at Alisa’s back, hoping to commence a full-fledged war at home and achieve victory, but her shot seemed to miss the target. She was so angry, she was gasping for breath. Alisa, who was an epitome of serenity walked towards the kitchen and filled the glass with some cold water which she handed to her mom. “I am sorry; I always choose to ignore the topic you consider to be extremely important. I won’t let you explode anymore. Let us talk about it.” Such a peaceful soul Alisa was, it was inevitable for her mom to lose her anger within flicker of seconds. Alisa held her mom’s hand gently and sat down with her. Her mother took a few sips of water. “Why are you living this forlorn life my child? Is it because of your existing job and the new one you are considering? Is it because you think you are sufficient enough for yourself? Why don’t you understand my concern for you? You know a woman without a man is nothing. Why don’t you give Gary another chance? He has changed now? He will take care of you. He will fulfill your wishes. He will protect you.”
Alisa listened to her mom patiently. Not even one word about Gary was being welcomed by her heart, but her ears were bound to welcome them just for the sake of her worried mother. Not being impacted by her mother’s speech, Alisa stood up. “Mom, the statement, ‘A woman without a man is nothing’ is a stereotypical one; many people are its victims and unfortunately, you’re one of them.” She kissed her mom’s forehead and went to her bedroom. Her mother remained quiet, disappointed.
Alisa came inside her room and locked the door. She reached for her study table and pulled out the chair for herself. She loosened her chignon as she rested her back against the chair. She was dead on her feet and this was the only place where she let her exasperation breathe. She opened her diary which was kept on the table. On the very first page was a picture of her perfect family; Alisa, her husband and their two old daughter. The smiles on their faces put a fainting smile on Alisa’s lips. She moved her fingers across the picture, tears rolling down her cheeks. She rubbed her eyes like a child, so as to clear her vision. It was the time to pour her heart out. She began:
The lava inside me is boiling but I never let the volcano erupt. I am known for my peaceful nature but there are wars waged inside me. I am seen as a strong woman but only I know how I mend myself every day. Your death took away my life too. You are in your grave, my dear Adam and this world has become my grave.
Alisa dropped her pen. She was in tears again. She was gathering courage to begin again.
Alisa was a widow, aged twenty-eight. She was married at the age of twenty four to Adam, an engineer, a freelancer and a social worker. Adam was a couple of years older than her. He was as ambitious as Alisa, to bring a change in the society. Their marriage was an arranged one, which lasted for only three years. A terrible car accident took away his and their daughter Emily’s life. After this tragic incident, it was extremely difficult for Alisa to restart her life. She decided to remain strong, as she wasn’t the type of a woman who would collect sympathy from people only to make her feel how miserable her life had become. Before her marriage, she was engaged to her cousin, Gary at the age of nineteen. She hated him, of course, for he was such a useless person who would only fill his pockets with his rich father’s money, to spend it extravagantly. Alisa remained quiet in the beginning but soon, she realized she couldn’t submit herself to such an impetuous decision. Her engagement with him broke only within a month. After a year, Alisa’s father was diagnosed with a lung cancer at its last stage when the doctors didn’t even have a pinch of hope. Alisa was only twenty when he passed away. She was broken yet she remained strong, only to support her mother and her younger brother. She had to do a low-paid job at a store to bear the expenses of her education at least. After getting a Master’s Degree in English Literature, she instantly got a job as a literary agent. Shortly after her marriage, she was offered to teach at a very reputed university at a very handsome salary. She quitted her job at the Literary Agency because she wanted to support Adam in establishing an orphanage. They both were spending beautiful life which became even more beautiful after Emily.
Alisa picked up the pen again:
Adam! That stupid Gary sent a proposal and mom wants me to accept it. Little does she know that the doors to my heart are locked and only you have the keys? I will wait for you to open them and enter with our Emily when God would reunite us in heaven. I want to start as a literary agent again because reading people’s stories make me realize that almost everyone is wrecked in one way or the other. You know Adam; mom’s constant pressure is killing me slowly. Have I failed to portray myself as a woman of strength? Why should I marry Gary or anyone? I am complete, Adam. My soul is tainted but it is complete. No woman is incomplete without a man and vice versa. Why are we made to feel this way Adam? Why has stereotypical statements contaminated the true essence of marriage Adam? I’d rather say that a man and a woman are incomplete in a marriage where they do not support each other. I miss us Adam, I miss doing things together, from laundry to kitchen, from home to office, everything. I love you Adam for supporting me and for letting me support you. Thank you for being my right man, for making me complete. I hope too, I have done justice to our relationship. God has made the relation of marriage for beautiful reasons and I think we have fulfilled all of those.
Alisa closed her diary, turned the lights off and went to bed. She tossed and turned, until she fell asleep.