Adda B Say So: Remember Remember
By Fatima Zahra Umar
There are few things more heart wrenching than watching the man you married put his hands on you, on your neck. It is absolutely the worst. When he tightens his hands around your neck expelling the oxygen from your lungs as he squeezes harder and harder… When you factor in the yelling and the threats to kill you and discard your body in a suitcase, it becomes worse.
When you remember the walking around in constant fear; the way your heart sinks when you hear his car drive into the compound; the way you shiver when his voice booms.
When you conjure up the fake smile you plaster on your face, with your sunny disposition to hide the chaos in your mind, when you meet family and friends. The careful manner you hide your scars from everyone except him.
Remember that sigh of relief every time he left the house. The sound of the tyres on the gravel relieving you of the torture temporarily before he comes home again and it is another episode. Remember the way you prayed and prayed and prayed for Allah to take away the sorrow from your heart. Remember you started to fast and fast and fast so that Allah would have mercy on you and make your burdens lighter. Remember the different malams that scammed you telling you that they could cure his hatred for you; remember they said it was a jealous lover that had done aiki and tied his love for you in a bottle. They said they needed money to untie his love for you and you believed them. You believed them because they gave you hope. Hope that you knew deep down would not amount to much progress. But you believed them and you matched your belief with all the money you ever had in the world. Every single kobo of yours went to them.
Remember how the hope died and your frustration was born? Remember the depression that made you scream out loud. They said you had completely lost your mind to evil spirits and they took you to Zaitun Centre for healing and ruqiya. Remember the smell of urine and the chains you were tied up in, the terror in your heart when they left you in that room with the insane girls. Do you remember the whipping in the morning they said would exorcise the evil spirit from your body? The terror in your heart when he calls your name. The tears on your face when you hide in the darkness. The painful hole in your soul when your baby bled out of you. The scars on your once perfect skin when you endured and stifled the screams from within. All makings of you. Markings of him. The piercing pain in your heart, that you are not enough for him. The helplessness of your anger towards everyone and everything. The hurt of betrayal. All makings of you, all markings of you.
Never forget the lump in your throat when that voice in your mind whispered to you that if you didn’t leave him, he would kill you
Remember the way you looked at your wedding pictures, seeing the happiness on your face. Remember his joyous smiles on that day you became man and wife. Remember he promised to take care of you, Allah and the people witnessing it all and you believed him. Remember how happy you both were on that day. Then you remember that now you cannot understand who he has become. You struggle to accept that that joyful sweet man is the man that is the beast you are married to. The same man that pummels you till you can smell the blood before its starts trickling or gushing depending on the offence you committed.
Remember the way your friends answered your calls because of the fear they had that he hurt you again? Remember the stitches, the blood in your mouth, the blood and hair on the kitchen floor, the tears on your face? Remember the headaches from the blows? Remember your baby’s cries. Remember the silence.
Remember the heaviness in your heart when everyone said it was your fault for provoking his anger, the nails on your tongue as you nodded in agreement. The thorns in your head pinched tighter every time someone asked you to think about what people will say; they pinched nerves when everyone asked you to consider what your daughter would think of you if you left her father.
Remember the silent, slow and painful death that happened to you when you accepted to endure it all, when you accepted to yourself that there was no way out and this was your trial from Allah. They said enduring it all would illuminate you in death and you agreed. Death was better. So you prepared to die.
But remember that you had fight yourself. Remember the battle between you and that voice that kept telling you to escape. Do not forget the battles of the pills and syringes, the Great War for your sanity that was lost.
Remember that you could have fought valiantly for yourself, for your daughter who hits you too because she imitates daddy. Remember your daughter deserved more from you. You remember that you want to live well just as the truck slams into your skull, splattering contents of what used to be you on the gleaming tarred road.
Remember the darkness. Remember their silence as you rest in peace in Jannah. Remember my prayers for your soul to find mercy and peace in the great beyond.
This is for all the sisters that are/were victims of domestic violence.