“Akram!” It is said that when a person is dying, his life flashes before his eyes, and only then is he able to see his true purpose in this world. My life? It flashed in front of me with a single word and that was “Akram”. My whole universe summed up into this 5 letter word. I could feel the blood pouring down my legs and now soaking the end of my shalwar, the pain travelling from my vertebrae and spreading through my whole body. Excruciating; like a thousand needles poking in me and making there way to the other side. I wish death would embrace me by now but I guess fate has something else in plan like it always does. Akram still stood there smoking his local Dunhill with a sinful grin on his face just like the first day I saw him in the lucky Irani circus of our village. The same grace of an unfaithful bastard which, at that time, I didn’t really know now did I? And as a hormonally rushed teen, barely 16 and never having stepped out of her village, the butterflies in my stomach were a new feeling which I had never gotten before, and now those memories come back. Like shooting cannonballs, they exploded, and with each explosion the grip on my stomach hardened and my heart died.
I was 16 when I saw him in the village. We were 7 sisters and had no brother, which made my father resent us all very much and we became constant objects of his disdain. Having a male in the family does make a difference, but where I am today, giving birth to a female was more acceptable. I saw him in the circus and there, I instantly knew from the way he looked that I was head over heels in love with him. The circus stayed for 2 months and in those two months, I fell more and more deeply in love with him, until it was time for him to leave. Do you really know how it’s like to love someone with all your heart and soul and then let them go all of a sudden? Do you know how painful it gets? Like someone placed burning coal on your throat and with each breath, you find yourself nearer to death? That was me when I found out he had to leave in a week. Then he proposed me and my apparently crumbling world was up in the air again. Of course I said YES! Why wouldn’t I? And since I knew my parents wouldn’t agree, we planned to run away! Run away to the city and make our future. That night, I still remember not sleeping with excitement, dreaming hopelessly about the future we will have; two kids (didn’t matter what gender since I knew Akram was very open-minded compared to the men in our village), a small house, and at day he would go to work and I will wait for my beloved to come home, and at night when he’ll be home from a tiring day, I’ll make him dinner and watch him eat and then talk. Then, we’ll watch some television and I will later sleep in his arms. But life isn’t what you dream it out to be, and I was too naive to know that.
“Please help me!” I could feel then the end of my shirt getting wet too now, the blood oozing out and making its way to my skin, sticking to my clothes. The surrounding seemed blurry but I could see him standing there and cursing me, abusing me and my family. “Die already. I have business to take care off”. This is what I made out he said as I slowly felt my feet going numb.
……We came to the city with the money he had borrowed from the circus manager, and managed to get a small apartment in Lahore in the area Mughalpura. It was a one room apartment with a small opening and smelled of chicken because of the butcher’s shop downstairs. The apartment had a small kitchen with a cement shelf and a cabinet. The stove was on the ground. In the bedroom was a big window that looked out into the wall of the next apartment, and a small bed. But I felt like we could make it work and sure enough, the next two weeks were the happiest of my life. I was his queen and he was my king. We went out to Anarkali bazar and he bought me the same bangles I was wearing now and I was happier than I’d ever been until what started a few months ago.
The charm of love wears out eventually, you know? It’s a flame that eventually gives up and dies and then you are forced to make it work. This happened to us too and within 3 weeks it all died away and his behavior took a turn. From being my ever-loving Akram, he turned into a bastard who would get drunk, beat me up and abuse me. I used to think during that time that maybe, just maybe, I did things too fast and should’ve thought them over. When the beatings and the abuse got more brutal I wished I could go home but you do know what they do to girls that run away from home now don’t you?
TO BE CONTINUED