Updated: Jul 2, 2020
I have always been a good girl, worked hard, studied hard and prayed as I should. Why has The Prophet given this heavy burden to my family? My poor father ruined through no fault of his own.
Father has chosen me a husband he hopes will look after me and care for me as he would. I can see into the man’s heart and I do not believe he is a bad man. He will care for me and protect me. But is that enough? Should life offer something more?
Mother is only a memory to me, a smile and a caress. I’m glad she did not live to see us brought low.
To begin my own family? Am I ready? Is it what i want? Father wanted an education for me. The more I learn, the more I want to know.
I believe I have a path that is mine alone. Can I really turn my back on a good husband and dishonour my family for a dream? A dream that may not even exist. A whisp of smoke which may disappear as I reach to grab it? Would my Father’s love allow the risk? The family honour is in tatters, surely one more fault can be forgiven? If the dice roll for me I could regain my family's honour and restore my father through my education.
I could travel to the University, they have given me a place. If I can return with my certificate in just a few short years I can care for my father in his old age. I would write of course, but without saying where I am or what I am doing.
As i gaze at the passing fields, bamboo poles and irrigation windmills, my thoughts solidify. I must go. How I will pay for my study, is a riddle yet solved.
I hurriedly write a note while my husband dozes. He has made his position clear. He expects a home maker. He is a good man, I wish him no ill, but my freedom must be mine.
‘Kind Husband, I must go. I feel a destiny beyond the jupati stove. I will never be happy if I do not follow my dream and you will grow to hate me. If you are the man I believe you to be please forgive me.’ I slip the note into his hanging jacket and then wake him to say I must use the toilet.
“Well hurry back, Sparrow, I want you to see the temple ruins that will appear on our left shortly.”
Moving through the carriage corridor, I whisper…
“‘It will all be all right in the end. And, if it is not all right, it is not yet the end.” Only to hear the same words repeated aloud. I turn to see Aziz my childhood friend and guardian before me, bowing low. Surely The Prophet has sent him as messenger of my fate?
He says only “Sister… With me?” But it is enough… my future awaits.
I gaze out, letting the fresh air wash across my face and catch in my headscarf, which blows behind me like a giant ribbon. The train slows as it approaches a river bridge.
I released the door handle and we are gone.