She watched the rain pouring down outside the window of the dingy-one bed roomed apartment while curled up in the window seat, watching the swollen drops fallen with a soft “plonk” against the glass and inching their way down until they were slowly swallowed up by the gap between the window and the frame.
She saw her own face, the heavy set almond shaped eyes, the oval shaped face, and the cupid brow lips- reflected in the glass back at her. Suddenly she realized with a kind of detached surprise the trail of moisture tricking down her cheek wasn’t a raindrop on the reflection but a tear running down her face.
Drawing her knees up to her chest, she allowed her thoughts to wander and as though of their own accord they stalled on the day she felt was the day that everything had begun. The day she met Paul. A faint smile crossed her lips as she remembered how she hadn’t even noticed him at first; he had been just another student sitting across from her in the university library reading tables. She had glanced up from her book to find him staring at her with the most fascinated expression, his book lying forgotten in one hand and his chin resting on the other. Annoyed when he dint look away even when she caught his eye, she had arched one eyebrow. He started, and flushed under her irritated, questioning gaze.
“I’m so sorry” he had said, “its just you’ve got the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen”.
She hadn’t said a word, and her face has registered no change in expression; save for the fact that her arched eyebrow had returned to its original place, and she commenced reading her book. But inside she found herself recalling his sleepy, half-crooked smile, and the way his eye had a kind of glint. She caught a smile that was beginning to spread across her face and bit her lip guiltily like a small child caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Firmly forcing herself back to Hemmingway, she didn’t allow herself to notice his presence again until an hour or so later when the sound of a chair being scraped backwards told her that he had just vacated his seat.
The next day, as she walked along the pathways of the campus she had all but forgotten abut her encounter with him. As she walked enjoying the feeling of the cool breeze against her face, she suddenly felt something or someone tug on the duppatta of her shalwar kameez. Whirling around she found herself face-to-face with the admirer of her eyes from the previous day. He flashed a bright, mischievous grin.
“Hey beautiful” he said “Do you know what was on my mind almost the entire day yesterday?”
She maintained a cool façade but inside her heart was pounding.
“No, what?” she replied keeping a vaguely amused smile lingering on her face.
“Your beauty” he said, “and I was wondering if you would like to have coffee with me this afternoon? My name is Paul by the way”
And that had been the start of four months of what could only be described as a whirlwind romance. That one date had been what she considered the opening wedge of what had split the life as she knew it in two halves that had become unrecognizable from each other. In the first month of her relationship with Paul she realized exactly how different their lives were. Paul was the only child of parents whom from what she could gather seemed so wrapped up in their own lives that they had failed to build any real relationship with their son. So from a young age Paul had surrounded himself with other young rich kids and begun spending his years partying through the night with friends, women and the expensive lifestyle. But coming from such sheltered home, she barley understood this kind of lifestyle and looking back she realized that was the power that he had held over her and that was the cause of how quickly everything had spun out of control.
It began when he would make fun of her traditional style of dressing which her parents had made clear to her was the only acceptable way she could dress. So to please Paul she would purchase clothes she would otherwise never, even in her wildest dreams think of wearing and began changing secretly at his or his friends places before they would go out. Staying out late became less of an issue for her as she became more accustomed to lying to her parents. She told them she was staying with friends, and relatives. She sneaked out of the house at all times of the day and night; she claimed that due to the demands of her degree she was expected to take (fake) trips constantly.
It was about two months into her relationship when her parents first informed her of the proposal that they had received. Amir sounded like the typical “good catch”. He was two years older than she was, studying for his medical degree in one of the leading universities, his father was a well-known doctor and his son would be joining his prosperous practice as soon as he graduated.
The first meeting required a great deal of skilful lying and planning on her part. Knowing that she had no choice in this matter she had agreed to the meeting and had hastily told Paul that her parents were taking her out of town ensuring that he wouldn’t impose on the meeting. Then she had slipped into the character of the “good daughter” and dressed carefully for the meeting.
Amir had seemed nice enough, but several times during their conversation she found herself mentally measuring him up to Paul. She was unable to see the genuine kindness in Amir’s eyes, as she was too busy noticing how the lacked the mischievous sparkle of Paul’s that she found so sexy.
From then on her life began to spiral out of control. Her parents and Amir’s parents formally agreed to the union of their families and preparations were being made on one side for the wedding. Terrified that her relationship with Paul would have to end she only became more splitting her life and began to give more and more of herself to the man who would later throw her away like a rag.
When the thunderbolt struck 5 months later, a month before her wedding, it stuck with maximum impact and destroyed her life as she knew it. The second she found out she ran to Paul's flat in the hope that he would stand by her. As she entered his bedroom she switched on the lights to find that Paul wasn’t spending the night alone. Her mind whirling with the way her life was quickly spinning out of control, she left in a sate of shock, his last words still echoing in her head.
“Well you dint actually think you were the only one did you?”
Telling her parents the next morning was worse. Her mother broke into waling sobs while her father simply left the room to return ten minutes later. He told her that he no longer would consider her a child of his and that she was to leave the house within a week. He said that he would pay the rent of a flat for her to live in and also provide her an allowance on which she would be expected to live and that she was not to communicate them in any way, and if she did he would withdraw the funding he was providing immediately. She left that night.
Four months later she led what could only be described as a dismal life. She worked as a Sales girl in a department store as she has never finished her degree. The flat in which she lived was in one of the more run-down areas in town a far cry from what she had been brought up in and was used to.
Gazing at the rain falling faster, she struggled to choke back a sob when suddenly she felt her breath whoosh through her and her hands flew down. The baby had just kicked for the first time.