Faith in Fate

I was talking to my aunt a while ago and she said in an outburst,

“It’s like you’re talking about another life not ours.”

“Excuse me; I am not getting you from where I’m standing.”

“Stand somewhere else,” my aunt said sticking her tongue out.

 “Come on. I’m serious.”

“The way I’ve been brought up, women doesn’t get more than one man. Period”, she went on,

“Here you are talking about first, second, and third relationships. And you just don’t get it, we are in an Eastern society darling, it doesn’t work like that around here.”

Now I am not going to argue my way out of that, because whatever I would say wouldn’t change her mind one bit. So I took the words, ended the conversation, and thought about that long and hard.

The next day, I asked her over breakfast, “You got married at seventeen, divorced at twenty nine, he was your one and only. Don’t you regret that?”

She seemed to have gone astray for just a second, and then she said, “Well after I got divorced I couldn’t bear the idea of bringing a husband into the house, who would be a stepfather for my children. Maybe if I didn’t have kids, I would have married again.”

“But that’s not what I meant; didn’t you regret not having any prior relationships to your marriage? Aren’t you lonely now after both your kids are married and off living their own lives?”

“Well to answer your second question first of course I am lonely. I never was able to sleep alone. Now I have to every single night. I ache for company, for a voice in the dark. God I fall ill for weeks and no one gives me a mere phone call. Most days I feel like I am all alone but then my kids and grand kids come to visit me on a Friday and the world looks this much brighter.”

When she stopped, I asked, “Why don’t you ask for help for company?”

She screamed at the top of her voice, “I didn’t ask for help bringing up two toddlers all alone, I ain’t asking for help now.”

“I apologize, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay really; it’s not your fault. I made many mistakes bringing up those kids, things that probably if given a second chance I would have done differently. But there is no second chances, anyway I overcame a lot of my struggles and dilemmas. But I never could get around not being able to ask for help even when I was drowning in bills and children’s needs and desires.”

“It’s okay; it’s something we have in common.”

“These nasty genes”, she laughed. 

Then she went on, “I never had the option of having other relationships, it wasn’t like these days back then. Back in the day if a girl did have a relationship outside marriage most probably no one would marry her. We got sent off so young anyhow. My husband cheating on me was the first time anyone ever broke my heart. Yes, not having prior relationships gave me an opportunity to love him with all my heart. Not have someone to compare him to and just love and give unconditionally. But it’s really God’s fate some of my friends married real men and they were their one and only. They never loved another and they never needed to. But when God’s fate leaves you a single mother at twenty nine, you start having second thoughts about everything.”

I did not want to pressure her further, but I thought about that. I thought about myself and most of my friends and how we are left heartbroken time after time. I envied my aunt she only was hurt once. Then she never knew any other kind of love. Never been kissed out of the blue, never thrown a surprise birthday party, or hugged when she needed to be. Then weighing the pros and cons, I think both of us are not better than one another, not one bit. If I do get my one and only, a certain part of me will always judge according to prior relationships. Then she was never kissed and she did not get hers either. 

In the end, it is not about us having more freedom or being right or even wrong. It is about God’s fate and faith. You have to believe in God knowing best and deal with what comes as it comes, that is faith in fate.

Marwa Arafa


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