Rashed had agreed to a trial reconciliation, where although we would both continue to sleep in separate houses, we would spend all of our waking hours together as a couple and as a family. Dinnertime with the kids, herbal tea and chitchat on the terrace, early morning walks, planning vacations to places we were too busy to visit in the past, hearing Rashed’s old stories and watching him laugh at them, everything was how it should be.
My in laws come over for Friday lunch and gracefully pick up where they left off a year ago, I sit with auntie and my daughter, Rashed and his father sit by the pool and watch our son jump into the water, giving him an enthusiastic bravo! with every dive. There is not a single mentioning of what, or why, or what’s next.
At night, when it’s just the two of us, Rashed tries to make me smile. He brings me ice cream and sits down next to me. He tries to resist falling asleep but is unsuccessful. I gaze at his peaceful face as he naps on the couch. I lean in just a tiny bit closer to admire his handsome face. It’s hard to believe that this person ever hurt me. I feel sad that I have to go back home and leave him here all alone.
I make up my mind. Tomorrow I will tell him that we should go through with the katb ktab. This time things will be different, I just know that they will.
The following evening, I deliver the good news to Rashed, my parents, and of course the kids. We are all besides ourselves with joy. Rashed gives me a big hug as he walks me and the kids to the car.
“Soon, there will be no more house hopping,” he whispers and kisses my hand. He used that same line the first time we married. Ah, what can I say? It never gets old.
At home, my daughter screams that she forgot her laptop at Baba’s house and that I have to go back and fetch it for her.
I drive back to Rashed’s, slide my key into the kitchen door, and walk-in.
It was dark.
In the distance, I hear footsteps. I follow the sound and make out the silhouette of a woman with a ponytail running out the main door.
I turn and run the other way.
And continue to run until my lungs, just like my heart, can no longer take it.
To catch up on Chapter 6, click here.