The Three Words I Couldn’t Say

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I do not exist. I am no one.
I do not matter.
I am a shadow, a silent whisper, an entity that must never be seen, never be heard.
I am the embodiment of abandoned dreams, killed in the line of duty.
I am merely a compromise.. nothing more.


I am a woman.

If I think about it now, there really was no other option. I admit it was selfish of me, I do. But do not look down upon me, do not turn me into this cruel monster that left her kids behind just because life got a little’hard’. You must understand the depths of my suffering before you start pointing fingers and consoling the man who stands near my corpse.


Ironic isn’t it? He’s still looking down on me.

He’s crying. And if you look closely enough, you can see that his eyes aren’t sad.. they almost have this ecstatic gleam to them. He’s free, he hasn’t been free for a long time.

But you won’t see that. You’re too busy blaming me..
Horrible woman. Poor kids. Poor husband.


My name is.. or was Sana, the kind of name that spells mediocrity.I won’t mention my last name, because for once it really doesn’t matter.I was born to a small family in Karachi, and lived a quiet life.. I had dreams and no means to make them come true.I remember I wanted to be a doctor and my father told me we couldn’t afford it.. He had this sad look in his eyes back then.A look that crushed me and I placed my dreams at his feet with a smile.
Two years later, my brother was admitted to a medical University.


And me? Well I was told that I was to marry a man I had never met. That if I let go of this ‘perfect Rishta’ I might die alone..
I was scared. But they made not having a man to support me sound even scarier.

I was nineteen at the time.. He was thirty.

I remember seeing him for the first time, slouched back, drowsy eyed and sporting a smile that could swallow a person whole. His eyes were his only redeeming feature, they, even after everything about him wasn’t, seemed to be saying that he’d protect me.

I agreed to marry him. I never expected a fairy tale happy ending, but I was stupid enough to expect him to love me.
And before you look at my corpse and even try to judge me, let me tell you.. I did love him.
I did.

The first year of our marriage went smoother than I’d ever imagined, we got to know each other and after a while I let down my walls. I was never a closed off person and he had a way of getting under my skin.So by the end of our first year, I had unknowingly broken the only rule I had set before entering this marriage.
To not expect anything.


I remember the smile he gave me when I had told him I was pregnant, I had never felt so loved before.For the first time it felt like I was wanted, that I meant something to somebody.
It’s all one wants in life, right? To feel wanted. To have a place to call home.. My home sadly, had two eyes and a heartbeat.. and nobody ever warns you about these things.. about how you shouldn’t make houses out of people..Because when they come crashing down, you’re left with nothing.
Nothing at all.

My life took an unexpected turn when I gave birth to my eldest daughter, she was the smallest creature I had ever seen, I could see that she had her father’s illuminating eyes. I fell in love instantly.
He never even held her, it felt like she was trash and he was disgusted to even be in the same vicinity as her. I tried to get him to hold her once, when she was just a few days old and he gave me this look, a look that I can’t forget to this day.

A look of betrayal. He didn’t need to say a word.. I understood.
‘I wanted a son’ ‘You promised me a son’

That’s when all hell broke loose.. If you were to ask me when he stopped loving me, I could give you three specific dates, and if you ask me why he’d stopped, I’d give you three names.
Three small names, with glittering smiles and puffy cheeks. Three names that asked for nothing; nothing except to be loved.

After my first daughter, my husband refused to look me in the eyes. By the time I gave birth to my third daughter, he could not stand to be in the same room as me.He would although set aside this repulsion for a few minutes everyday, just to inflict pain upon either me or my daughters.The abuse being usually physical in nature, but on rare occasions when it was of the emotional sort.. it hurt more.. it hurt way more..

He in the midst of his little’fits’, has broken my arm, my leg at one occasion, some of my teeth, a few of my ribs but none of it.. none of it, hurt more than when he broke my heart.

I remember it was a winter morning when he came into my room , and I can’t describe what I felt back then but I knew ..somehow I knew what was going to happen. He looked me straight in the eye, no remorse, no shame.. just a blank expression and a mouth that never once faltered.. never once hesitated. He told me he was going to marry another woman that day, of course I knew about his infidelity long before I had accidentally read the intimate messages he had sent her, telling her secrets, secrets that he had never dared to tell me. I looked up and him , and for once I felt no love for the man that stood in front of me..


That man was a stranger.

I didn’t say anything to him..Didn’t voice the millions of questions that spread their fingers around my neck and began choking whatever semblance of life I had left within me. I knew what this new marriage meant for me, or more importantly for my kids.

After a month, his mother decided to move in with us.She was a small woman, with a smaller mind.I tried to be the best daughter-in-law I could manage to be, spent my nights beside her bed.. desperately trying to gain an ally.I just wanted someone on my side, someone to hold me and tell me that it was going to be alright.Later, she told me that she had asked my husband to marry another woman and that I was a burden on her precious son and so were my daughters.

That night I went into his room, and sat on his bed.. we sat in silence, until I put my hand gently on his face.
For my daughters. I told myself.

He shoved me and did what he needed to do, it hurt. It always hurt. I tried not to cry, but just the sensation of his rough angry hands on my body was enough to break me. He liked it when I cried.
Suddenly he stopped.
The pain stopped.

He just stood up and left the room, leaving the broken teary-eyed me sprayed out on the bed.I don’t know what I felt back then, but I do remember thinking how easily I could reach the ceiling fan.
A few days later she came, a pretty little thing.She was the kind of woman that liked to mark her territory.
My kitchen. My bedroom.My husband.My life.

My daughters faded further into the back ground after she entered our lives. Soon he even refused to pay their school fees .And when I asked him to allow me to get a job so that I could support myself and my daughters.. he gave me a simple no.. along with a not so simple thrashing.
After an year of living like a servant and an outcast, I broke …


I told him that I wanted a divorce.Begged him to let me go, but he refused.
I still remember how he went out of the room and came back with a large pair of scissors. He gave me a warning look, and for the first time I refused to back down.
He cut off all of my hair.

Just three words. And I would be free. Just three words. But I as a woman, could not speak them.

After that he never allowed me to leave my room, Every night was a battle. Every second was a war. He refused to let me see my daughters, at night I thought I heard them cry.. I heard their whimpering footsteps outside of my door.. I laid awake for days.
Just like everyone else, sleep had also left me.

Then one day my mother-in-law came and showed me the grandson she had been blessed with. I didn’t hold it against her.. that’s what she’d always wanted.. what everyone had expected her to want.
Just looking at the bright eyed boy made my soul ache.. it reminded me of my own daughters.. of all the love they had been robbed of.
I asked her to let me meet my daughters, even for just a second.. That I wanted nothing else but to hold them and make sure they’re alright.
She looked at me square in the eye and laughed.

She had sent my babies away.
I didn’t know where.. no one would tell me.
All I know is that I couldn’t breathe after that… Everything else is still just a blur.
I don’t regret dying.. I really don’t.

What I do regret, is not even getting a chance to live.
My fate had been decided the day I was born.. By the hands of the nurse, that checked the box next to female on my birth certificate. That day, I was cursed to live a life among whispers.. among forgotten dreams and broken smiles.


I was a woman.That was my mistake.

I was supposed to exist for the sake of my husband..he apparently had a right on my very existence.
That’s why people that were supposed to protect me told me to stay with him, while I cried in front of them with a broken, bruised up face.. You must never leave him, they said.
The saddest part is that I ‘couldn’t’ , even if I wanted to..even when it killed me.
Why?
Because I was a woman.

It’s funny though, how when the soul is about to leave.. all you want from life or more accurately, death, is more time. As I hung my self from the ceiling fan, and felt my body go limp.. I just wished for a few more seconds.. for just a solitary chance to hug my daughters for the last time.

As I look over to him now.. I can’t help but wonder if he ever loved me.
As I look over to him, I can’t help but smile.

I’m free.

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