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What Was My Fault?


Jena S Alam


She stood beside the window ledge with her fingers wrapped around a cup of tea. Staring into the blank sky, never could she have known that her life would be so different. Not even when she would pretend to be the mother while playing grown up with other kids. Not even while she daydreamed about having a loving husband and a perfect family.

“Life isn’t always as easy, my darlings,” she would often tell us. She would continue, “I never thought out of all the people in the world, I would end up as a divorcee. Or, never did I ever think my husband, the man of my dreams, could be physically abusive. Or that I would stay silent about the violence, cry over the man almost every night, and yet he would still file me a divorce.” Then she would gasp and give us a hug and whisper, “I am sorry you were deprived of a father.”

We, being little and concerned, would tell her to remarry, but she would always refuse.

Growing up, I have always seen my mother as the strongest woman in my life, but it took her years to become this role model that she is today. While our family lacked a crucial member, it is the greatest thing life has given me. 

It was difficult for her to cut connections with the man she had loved the most dearly, and society loved adding spice to it. Sometimes, this nauseating stigma came from places you would least expect. Sometimes, it came from the people you sought warmth and comfort from. Sometimes, it came from the  people you believe to be the most understanding, but they failed to keep your trust.

She was just like any other relative. She had a blood relation with the bride’s mother, they grew up like sisters. The bride was like her own child. She was very delighted about the wedding and while the holud celebration was taking place, everyone was enjoying and applying turmeric to the bride, and she had her heart broken. The small bowl of turmeric was hastily snatched from my mother’s palm with a sense of worry from the bride’s mom. While she pretended to be busy into the celebration, the panic was clearly visible on her face. She pulled my mother to the other corner trying to engage her into the food and dancing of the celebration. 

That day my mother didn’t make a second attempt to apply turmeric to the bride. She was hurt, but she understood personal space. It is easy to ignore society, not your own family. People don’t want a widow or a divorcee to bless their guarded flower who is about to start a new life. They don’t want her to be blessed of a cursed life. 

But what was her fault that day? Even if it came from a place of protectiveness, these stigmas and superstitions leave a non-removable mark. We are scared of our loved ones having the life of a curse. But it’s only a curse when you make it one.

 


Jena loves getting messy with her paint when it comes to leisure time.

3 Comments

  1. I have no words to express other than “touched the core of my heart.”
    Really heart-touching!

  2. A story that seemed just the mirror to thousand true stories. Most often the Bangladeshi culture throws these hard stones to numerous young women who get dipped into the ocean of sadness and confusion.

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