Dear World

He would fall silent, his face crumpling in consternation as he realizes his idea of what I am is fast disappearing along with my drink. How did a girl with parents like mine get her toe cut off?

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Dear World-

I’m sitting on my bed with my old friends of the week- anti bacterial ointment and a bandage- and examining the ugly cut on my toe. I wasn’t exactly being smart when I got it, not unless you call running across the hay meadow at dusk in foam soled shoes smart. (Old hay stalks are sharper than you think!) To be honest, I have no real idea what I stepped on,and what if it was metal or something like that? And I get gangrene? Darn!

I picture my toe falling off. Carefully putting on the bandage, I imagine me in five years sitting across from a suitor and lifting a nonchalant shoe under the table.

“I thought I’d better tell you before we get too serious- I’m missing a big toe.”

 He would fall silent, his face crumpling in consternation as he realizes his idea of what I am is fast disappearing along with my drink. How did a girl with parents like mine get her toe cut off?

 “Oh- uh- how did that happen?”

It makes me laugh, but it brought to mind how little Muslim couples actually know each other sometimes. I’d heard way too many stories of people getting married in a flush of nuptial bliss, only to face nasty reality when their dowry never shows up- or the Perfect Dude suddenly won’t let them out of the house- or he already has a wife he didn’t mention- or a toe missing! And chances are a kid is on the way.

I like to think I’m far too suspicious for this to happen, and definitely not the trusting type. I tell my sister that a definite clause in my contract is the No Second Wife Rule….i.e.’if you get a second wife I get a divorce’.

“Maybe you shouldn’t put it in the contract, just get it across that you trust him to understand that it isn’t okay with you.”

“He’d probably do it anyhow. This way it’s crystal clear that if he wants a second wife she won’t be my second.”

Misery is what comes to mind when I think of that scenario. Freaking messy misery. And I wonder if I’m being too distrustful.

But honestly, I think that as women we should avail ourselves of all the Islamic rights we have in marriage and be sure to follow up on them. We hear a lot about the women we should be, the wives and sisters we should be like, our husband’s rights, but not so much about our own rights. In the end, our parents and friends can’t always protect us. I have to look out for myself in some things, and that’s where dictating the terms of the contract come in. If he refuses to fulfill them I’d have to seriously think about whether I wanted this to be the rest of my life with him- and I feel like I’d probably decide not to.

But then, I reason, there’s love, which is messy. What if he disregards the rules and does what he likes but I love him too much to leave him? The idea leaves me feeling rather helpless.

“You know, I don’t plan on having kids for at least three years so I can be really sure he’s the father I want for my kids.”

My sister just looks at me.

Stealing Candy

“Guys, don’t mention it, okay?”

I’m smuggling a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups back to my room, hidden under a towel. As soon as they’re hidden I sit innocently down at my desk, trying to look like a person who would never steal a bag of Reese’s, under any circumstances.

I’m not on an enforced diet. I’m not a cruel older sister, torturing my younger siblings by stealing their treats. No, I’m an over-indulgent aunt, and am trying to smuggle some of my purchases back to my room out of sight of my three- year-old niece Yasmin.

She’s too sharp, however, and a moment later a shrill cry rises from the living room.

“THEY’RE GONE! WHO STOLED THEM! SOMEBOLLY STOLED THEM!!!”

I sit tight and wonder how on earth I am reduced to smuggling my own sweets through the house to my room- as I’m sure you who are reading this do also.

This morning, we took her shopping. She was brushed up and ready to go- but before she leaves she has to have her Bath and Body Works ‘otion’ all over- her hair included. Her dress must obviously be the one she likes best, and we are fortunate that it’s not something silly like a party dress. Her earrings, of course, and now that she’s ready to go she has misplaced her shoes. By the time we get her in the car she’s exhausted, and falls asleep.

Which may not be a good thing. When we reach the store she is awake and bouncing.

“Let’s buy this! We need some sour ones, Juwayliyah!!”

So the sour ones go into the cart.

“And we should get some for everybolly too!”

So the infamous Reese’s go into the cart- although  I have to confess my intentions are far less altruistic than hers are, and I intend to eat them myself.

She also purchases a little blue nightie with pink Hello Kitty dotted all over it. It was on sale. She is fine after that- until we get into the toy section. Then, because I am not going to spend any more money- but also don’t want to fall out of her good graces- I abandon her to her father and listen innocently from the next aisle.

“But Baba, I need this one! And her clothes……..here are her clothes!”

I hear my brother try to offer her something, then Yasmin says decidedly-

“No.”

Well so much for that, Dad.

When I see her next, she’s clutching a big basket of toy food under her arm, but still racing around pointing out the best of this and that. Other shoppers watch with a smile- she’s red-headed and adorable and clearly in charge of her father.

She also manages to coerce me into buying a big bag of tortilla chips and dip. I furtively count my babysitting money and agree- just to keep her hyperactivity confined to the cart. (I told her to hold them so they wouldn’t get crushed.)

When we got home, she sequestered all of these things onto her little table and started playing with them- including the Reese’s intended for me;I sit forlornly contemplating the consequences of taking them away- and then she ran into the kitchen and started asking someone for water.

I saw my opportunity. I snuck past the kitchen door, snatched the bag of peanut butter cups, and fled.

“SOMEBOLLY STOLED THEM……………….”

P.S: She forgot in approximately three minutes.

P.S.S: I feel kind of sorry for her future husband. Only kind of, of course.

Sunset

One of our beautiful Missouri sunsets….shot on my phone. Next to writing, I love photography………….translation, walking around shooting picture on my mini Galaxy Samsung phone. I’ve actually found I like it better then my mother’s camera, partly because I can get on my stomach and climb up onto things without worrying about breaking it too much!20151025_182513

(Funny Incident of the Day: When my eleven year-old sister opened my door a crack and peered crossly in. ME: “What?” HER: “I don’t think everyone has brothers like this. One of them is lying on his stomach yelling at fake German soldiers under the couch.”)