So, today we have Gbemisola, with the sequel of her short-story.
If you missed out on the yesterday’s post, you should read it here: I just want to be normal. by @Gbemisola_A before continuing with today’s post.
Pakistani weddings are so different. It all went so fast yet I went through it all in slow motion. First there was the proposal party which held at my ‘rented family’s’ house with my rented parents and siblings. Then came the engagement, I can’t even remember what happened or how it happened. After that was the Dholki, I liked this one, I got Henna all over my hands and legs and I thought it was pretty. After that was the Mehndi which I got even more Henna. Finally came the Shaadi, the wedding itself. Here I was, a young girl in her second year marrying a man who had overnight become a stranger to her and of course £500,000 richer than I was before it all. I guess this is pretty normal. I am now Mrs Vanessa Tauseef, my names don’t complement each other.
Now I spend most days just talking to myself in my room. ‘My husband’ hardly comes home. Spends most of his time with his true bride. The power of a British passport. Shahid Tauseef never loved me, he never even liked me, but he needed me, he needed me so desperately, I was the gateway to a better British life. I thought I was more to him but I was merely a pawn in his large game of chess. I was the ticket for his family and bride to come into the UK and be citizens as well. I would never forget the day he texted me to come out, I never should have gone, I remember clearly the words he said to me as we sat on the bench just outside my apartment building. “Vanessa, I know you care for me, and I need a favour. My student visa would run out and I have not been using it, I have been working, I need you to marry me so I can stay in the country, I know you’re a citizen and I know you care for me that much, you can’t afford to see me go, do you really want to lose me?’. I was so naive, so gullible, I saw the pain in his eyes and I was so utterly in love with this normal man that I agreed to do it. I didn’t want the money but his father insisted. It is a lot of money, I just couldn’t say no.
It’s been almost a year now, sadly the rules have changed in the UK, not only do you have to have proof of the whole marriage shenanigans, you also have to remain married for at least 10 years, remaining in the UK. ‘My husband’ wasn’t aware of all the rules but now that he knows he is terribly bitter. He carries out his anger on me, he blames me for all of it, he beats me, insults me, deprives me of dignity and altogether demeans me. The one person in my life I thought was normal was one of the most abnormal people I had ever met in my life, this was why I knew I had to do something.
It felt good returning all the money to Shahid’s father. It felt even better turning myself in to the police and telling them all I had done, I knew deep down somewhere in me that purchasing a gun and doing what I had in mind wouldn’t have helped me,I felt liberated and at peace this way and I could move on with my life. What I didn’t expect was ending up in the same mental clinic with my mother for severe bipolar disorder and Major depression disorder.
Well here I am now, again on a search for normalcy, but what exactly is normal? Is it perfection or is it a word made up in our minds that makes us somehow part of a wider vast system, and gives us a feeling of involvement? Is it that thing that differentiates a functional family from one that isn’t? What exactly is it? I ask myself everyday. All I wanted was a mother to love, a father to look up to and a life to look forward to.
Well I guess I’ll never know what ‘normal’ is.