“The Day that The Darkness Ensued” by Hana J. Rush
Two summers ago. A deaf British/Pakistani girl suffers the fate of an arranged marriage. Observations from the perspective of a Coward.
The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl approached The Mother in the morning and unwittingly entreated that she agreed, for her to organise it…get it over and done with.
The Mother didn’t react. She was in a state because of the self torture she had put herself through the night before about not being able to convince her daughter to get married to her husband’s cousin. She had been at a funeral all through the night, and earlier she had screamed frantically at Me, The Coward, in her frustration of not being able to convince The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl to marry The Handsome Future Husband and Family. Then she calmly stated she wished that the funeral had been for me.
She did in fact, unbeknownst to us, quite rapidly inform The Future Husband and Family. She was terrified it wouldn’t happen. The short 24 hours it took in ‘getting it organised’ would prove fatal to both her and The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl. They both knew if it was left too long, The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl would back out, and she did try…Because being stuck in one room and hounded by Her Future Husband and Family served as catalysts to her unsuccessful attempts to back out. The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl came to me later in heart rendering tears.
I was powerless. Immutable. Distressed. In pain from The Mother telling me she wished I was dead. I was just fucking tired. I think I needed it to be over one way or the other.
The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl confirmed the signing was tomorrow morning. The Mother did not inform me of any plans of this kind whatsoever. The silence equated to her guilt and probably fear of what I would say. The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl was mortified. I told her not to worry, but I was downhearted all day and unsure how to help her. I got stuck and barely moved from the spot I was sitting in for hours, not even to look up.
I was a Coward.
It began to rain, and the enclosed space we were in mentally and physically seemed to tighten the grip around my neck.
The darkness was all the more profound because we were performing the religious ceremony for grandad’s funeral anniversary. After a failed attempt at isolation, I was forced to join a perfect circle of equal numbers of men and women sitting equally, and equal numbers of British and Fuckistani people. I was in a prime position, the light from the doors falling on my face, the rain behind me, and all eyes perfectly placed to watch me with ease. And watch me they did.
….As we read du’a (prayer) over the food, I cracked. The light allowed their steady gazes to illuminate my useless tears. I had thought crying on a funeral day would have been perfectly acceptable and understandable, but I think in the minds of the Fuckistanis there was doubt about the cause of my grief. Truthfully, it was caused by despair at The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl’s plight, coupled with the hideous sight of The Beautiful Future Husband’s face.
The Deaf British/Pakistani Girl struggled all day, and the electricity failures were no longer welcome. All were frustrated and the thickness of the night exacerbated an already murderous environment.