Monday, March 30, 2009

Why I'm a Hermit Crab


Eating my yummy spiced beef that I just broiled.

Mr. Boo is asleep.

Tears are dried. Mine...not his.

On the way back home, I just burst out in this sadness. I keep thinking that I'm done being sad over everything, but then I find out that I'm not.

There was this sweet little old lady at the market. I taught two of her grandchildren. I stopped to talk to her. It was Arabic.

ME: Asalamu Alaykom!

HER: Wa alaykom asalam

ME: Enti geddu ma _________ wa _________, na'am?

HER: Na'am. Enti madarissa?

ME: Na'am. Izaek? Wa binteen?

HER: Alhumdulillah.

ME: Binteen helluwa. Ma hejab?

HER: Na'am.

US TOGETHER: Alhumdulillah.

ME: Helluwa. Geddu helluwa.

HER: Zowgek min misr?

ME: AbuBoo min misr.

HER: Zowgee min misr.

ME: Abu ma Boo min misr. Khalas ma anna.

HER: Khalas?! OH! Khalas?! Egyptians are no good!

And she started to talk to the men behind the deli counter. I walked away shaken up a bit. Yes, it hurts to have that conversation. Somehow, the word hasn't reached all over this city that he left me for his ex-wife. I bet that will get easier when she actually lands here with the two kids.

I don't know what I dread more in the future: no longer having a place to live or no longer having this continent to myself.

I began to look around, but was interrupted by one of the men who had overheard the conversation. He wanted to say something to me. He asked how my son was and he called him by name. The man said that he always asks AbuBoo about him.

I stopped lowering my gaze to look him in the face.

"I'm sorry. How do I know you?" I asked.

"There was the time when AbuBoo and his friend went to Egypt. You gave me a ride."

Well, you know those dams in Fargo? The same thing happened to my cebreal cortex. It was flooded in a sudden deluge of frozen memories now melted and rushing through my mind. Damn is right. Damn. Damn. Damn.

I didn't want to remember that. Not now. Not today. Not ever again.

That was November, 2006. I had made love to my husband that morning and sent him off to his ex that night. I drove him to the airport but we were in that crazy rush of doing too much in too little time. Somehow we needed two cars going to the airport and this man got involved.

He was there.

He saw the last day of my marriage.

That's what it was. The last kiss. I never kissed my husband again. He stopped being my husband on that trip. Oh, sure, the divorce would happen once he returned, but he never returned to me.

And there we were in the store, right next to the cheese display, and I was looking at a person I couldn't remember from anyone. Why not? Because, back then I loved my husband so much and trusted in Allah so much that I truly never took a second glance at a man's face. I truly never placed any interest in any man's features. I never memorized eyes, or nose, or mouth. Years of men never made it into my brain. He was one of them.

I had my mind, my heart, my body and soul for only one man. I never loved anyone more. Never. And I mean that includes my mother, father and children. Right or wrong. Right....or wrong.

"How are you doing?" He asks like he cares; like he knows. And I look downward and say the only thing that really I'm allowed to say in public.

"Alhumdulillah."

"If you need anything. I am here." He says like he cares.

"Thank you." And I walk away from a man offering kindness.

He appears again at the check-out to offer chocolate to Mr. Boo, who was a cranky customer. I declined because I keep forgetting that I'm supposed to take offerings from Middle-easterners. I get too American and say, "Oh, no thanks. He'll be on the ceiling if he eats that."

The cashier had to have him verify my ID for my school employee discount, which of course I'm not any more, but I use it nonetheless. He holds my ID picture in his hand and I wonder.

Somewhere there is a kind man for me. Somewhere. There just has to be.

I pay my money and we leave. I think to thank him and say goobye but I don't. It isn't right.

Turns out he's married to a woman in Egypt. No need for that replay.

Found out from AbuBoo.

He remembers this man too. My former beloved husband remembers that time. He remembers.

This is why I don't leave the house. It hurts.

4 comments:

dramamama said...

Salam dearest sis. I can feel your pain and am crying with you. I don't know what else to say, except I am keeping you and Mr Boo in my du'a.

xx

Anonymous said...

I feel for you yosra, Im sure you have done this already but just in case, you should try and ask Allah to take all of the love you still feel for him away. I was once in a situation where my emotions overpowered me and had me loving someone I should of let go of and I begged allah during sujood to take away this deep love and alhamdullilah it was gone and never came back. Just keep asking sister

Colleen said...

Asalaam Alakium sis

I am so sorry you went through that. I can feel the deep hurt in your words. It will get better in time and Insha'Allah if you take a job somewhere else, it will really help with the healing process. Sometimes it is best when you are living somewhere that nobody knows you. You need a clean fresh start.

I will keep you in my prayers always.

Salaams!

Umm Omar said...

oh, honey, I felt your pain while reading this. I know it's easy for me to say, but it will get better, insha'Allah. It is the promise of Allah.