Rashed and I had met at university in Boston. He was smart and funny, confident and wild. I was the studious brunette who came from a more traditional background. After our first encounter he was smitten, and I, well, he took my breath away.
We returned to Jordan to start a life and a family together. Our wedding was not unlike one of those obnoxiously elaborate ceremonies you see on Instagram. I wore Zuhair Murad, a dress so massive it required the assistance of three tailors to get into.
Still, that dress, with its frills and layers, would set a precedent for the rest of our marriage, where no matter how hard I tried to pull Rashed closer to me, we were always at arm’s length.
Like most women in the Middle East I was taught to persevere, to look the other way, to try and try to please him. I was told that at 35 I had the perfect husband, family, job, and house. What more could I want? “Dallik 7awli!” My mother would say. My father would also try to reason with me, having spent half of his wealth on my education and the other half on my wedding, funds were tight, and my place was with my husband and children, “There’s no place for you with us Baba,” he pleaded. Knowing that I had no other option, I resolved to stay.
This year, Rashed had decided to step up him game, where instead of finding pleasure in freezing me out he took to hurling insults at me whenever he could. I was told I was not pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough. “Mabsoutah haik, dallik kulee.” I cannot remember when exactly I decided to shout back, and for the life of me, I cannot remember what I had said. The only words I do recall were his, “get out of my house.”
I left that night and never returned. The divorce happened quickly, a few papers later the whole ordeal was finished and I was granted my newest title: Divorcee with two children. My mother was mortified, what would she tell her friends? “You know it’s just a matter of time before he remarries, and you, what will happen to you?” She asked. I didn’t know, I honestly didn’t know.
I retreated to my bedroom. It was pink and crowded by the boxes sent over by my ex with a note saying, “This is everything. Good luck. ” I try to push them into the corner and step on something coarse. I look down and that’s when I see it, my wedding dress’ train sticking out from one of the boxes.
Just for now, I cannot deal. I leave the boxes, switch on the television, and start to watch.
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