Thursday, September 23, 2010


Asalamu Alaykom,

Before I left the States, I needed to meet someone who had been in my brain for eight years. 

Can you imagine? 

For eight years I was speaking about her;

making plans around her;

pleading with God about her;

arguing over her; 

analyzing her photos and emails;

calling her;

texting her;

trying to make peace with her;

forgiving her; 

pitying her.

and finally...

well, there couldn't be a "finally" because...

I had done so much with her over those years,

yet I had never met the first and curent wife.

But before I could meet her, I would be meeting her children. 

Her children are, of course, also the half-brother and half-sister to my boy.  Though, I never use that term with any of his brothers or sisters.

In many ways, his father's kids are the biggest losers in this drama.  They spent most of their life without him.  AbuBoo was determined to rectify that and spent many months and thousands of dollars to bring them to the U.S. 

Ironically, his family arrived in my hometown just two weeks before I left.  As I was packing for my hijrah, they were settling in as new immigrants.  Remember the show, "Wife Swap"?  Basically, we were swapping lives (once again).  She was becoming the wife and mother in the States and I was becoming the single mom in Egypt.

If I had been simply fleeing the scene of my miserable life, I would have avoided the whole mess.  It is very, very messy to mix up the past and the present.  But, there's a literal clean-up I do before I leave town where I don't leave any trace.  Maybe this meeting was some pyschological house cleaning.  Those people had acheived mythical status and I wanted them to be rescaled to actual size once again.

We met at the playground.  It was the dad with his two older kids meeting up with their brother.  Their mom wasn't there.  And in a way, I wasn't there.  I was never introduced.  They awkwardly met their sibling for the first time.  No kisses or hugs.  Strange---especially for Egyptians. 

I did what I do best.  I hid behind the camera and took photos.  This broke the ice, thank God.  I took many, many photos.  If you look at the pictures, you will see a smiling dad with one charming goofball of a son and two very stiff children.  In picture after picture, I love my little guy for being that lively soul.  Alhumdulillah. 

The older kids didn't really play with their younger brother.  They wanted their dad's attention only.  He gave it to them.  It confirmed another another reason to leave; if we stayed, my son wouldn't be as needy as them for years and years (if ever).  I was not pulling my son away from his father.  His father had pulled away from him years ago.

The time came and went.  Alhumdulillah.  Nothing difficult lasts forever. 

Yet, the hardest meeting was yet to come.

I arranged it so that I could handle it.  I suggested a McDonald's with a playground.  We could have an ice cream together (that's a short visit, right?) and the kids could play.  And they don't have any real silverware at Mickey D.'s (so no sharp objects).

I dressed down.  I dressed so as not NOT to impress.  I don't even think I wore make-up.  I dressed to lay her fears to rest.  YES!  She was prettier!  YES!  She was younger!  YES!  She was the big winner.

I drove to the McDonad's with that pre-audition, clammy-hand, lump-in-your-throat feeling.  I parked and the group descended on us before I barely got out of the car. 

I said, "Asalamu Alaykom".

She offered her hand and I took it.  It was a weak hand connected to a smaller frame than I had imagined.  She was not perfect and was not impeccably dressed.  She was only OK.

She went to kiss my son.

That was not OK.

I tensed up.

She goo-goo'd over him like a doting auntie instead of ...instead of who she is.

We went inside and got our cones--and one Coke.  My son was talkative as usual and his big sister rolled her eyes at his conversation.  Yes, she did.

She was not nice.

Still no kisses and no hugs from his sister and brother.  This might seem like nothing, but I assure you that in Egyptian culture, kids hug and kiss all the time in greeting each other.

The children went out to the playground after that and I realized that it was only a slide---a slide does not a playground make!  Up and down and up and down they went.  Yes, they were together but they actually weren't.

There was some whining for another Coke and I told my former husband that it wasn't good for children to have even one Coke---let alone two.  More whining and then crying from the girl and then whining from the mom.  I couldn't handle it. 

I jumped up and left quickly.

Look, we'd met.  It had been real.  It was time to boogie. 

And it wasn't just time to leave the playground and the parking lot.  It was time to leave all those people behind.


They really weren't needed for the next chapter.

Chapter 3


ellen557 said...

Allahu akbar ^_^ can't wait to read more sis.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Ellen,

Thanks for reading :)

I'll keep my story coming!

Shabana said...

wow! you know, i think it's really good that you met her. and it's really nice to read about your life going in a positive direction, masha Allah. Can't wait to keep reading :-)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Shabana,

Sorry it took this long to respond! Yes, agreed---it was a positive to be face-to-face. She is a real person and I needed to get real. I had to know who had been that person in our life...not HIS life; OUR LIFE. She had been there the whole time, Subhanallah.

Now, sitting in my apartment in Giza, I am not in her life and she is not in mine. We finally separated and she can have her husband and I can have mine. Alhumdulillah for the ability to move on.