Night Shifts & Night Meeting

I had an educator once, in high school, she said that you should always:

  • Date your writing
  • write about what you know
  • write honestly


03:00am, 19 October ’16 

My shift ended at 4am.

I was

the dim lights on the ceiling

the curly cord attached to my computer

the ninth cup of cheap coffee on my desk

the tick of the clock that didn’t move every second like it was supposed to, rather it moved like microwave minutes. I was tired, anxious. I was trying extraordinarily hard not to think about what I would be doing in the next 16 or so hours.

two weeks earlier

I knelt at the door of my mother’s bedroom,  the way all kids do when they think their parents are talking about them. She was on the phone, talking to Mystery Man’s father. I caught the conversation in mid-sentence and worried that I missed the vital part.

I distinctly remember hearing

“So is your son serious about getting married?”

I caught the muffled response: they were in Hong Kong, on business but were keen to meet us when they got back.

I quickly tip-toed back to my bedroom so I could be lying on my bed with a book in hand when my mom came to tell me the news.

For the next few days I scoured the internet, looking for a picture of him, a school photo, an old Facebook account,

s o m e t h i n g.

surely he had a digital footprint? a fingerprint even?

But there was nothing.


The Hour

Many people ask me how I knew I was ready for marriage. The truth is I didn’t feel ready for marriage.

They pulled up in a car that was the colour of an island ocean. I started to re-think my outfit choice: black leather straight cuts and a black pearl shirt, topped with a floral hijab. I started to re-think everything. What was I doing? I’m not ready for marriage. And my mom called first. THAT MAKES YOU LOOK SO DESPERATE. This is a mistake this is a mistake this is a 

We sat in the lounge reserved for guests. I sort of laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation- looking back I know I giggled because I was trying not to squirm.

It was suggested that he and I move over to the other lounge, I wore those kind of half inch heels and peeped over at him to check that he was taller than me. In a class on nikkah I had learnt that in this kind of situation, you’re encouraged to look at the other person’s face, as deeply and as long as you want to. They also say that looking at someone’s hands is a good indication of how thin or not thin that person is. It crossed my mind to hide my hands. 

We spoke for exactly an hour. He literally started with “Tell me about yourself” But like in a “no pressure” way. I think the thing I liked best about our first meeting was that there were no feelings involved. There was no trying to impress, or flirt. We understood that the premise of our meeting was potential marriage. We knew that we were there to please Allah SWT by doing such things in a halal (permissible) manner. 

The conversation flowed like a river, easier than I expected. It was not awkward, or strange. Halfway through there was a natural chemistry that made me feel rather blushy. (although if you know me, you’d know how casual that is) I took in little detail about his appearance, (he was undeniably beautiful, with the right amount of facial hair and clean fingernails) focusing instead on his vocabulary, his diction, his ability to hold an intelligent conversation. I concentrated on the way he answered the questions I asked, and his capacity to put his thoughts across. I liked the way he closed his eyes when he said something he regarded important. 

He took my cell number before he left.


Bali 2016

The heat greets you at the door, caresses your skin as you walk through the busy streets. It’s like a tiny, squashed New York City, this part is covered in sweat, and littered corners. The sky is dark, too heavy to make you feel lightheaded.

It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I am dripping as we walk, I find it aggressively  unpretty but he barely notices. He holds my damp hands and runs circles on my hand with his thumbs. I wipe sweat from my lip before he kisses me. I learn that all my favourite authors are blatant liars, I learn that I love how real everything is, I love how it’s nothing like any book I’ve read: I never know what to expect.

 

 

 

 

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Nine Hour Smiles & Ocean Drives

“So how long were you guys dating for? You know, before you got married?”

Me: we didn’t date at all.

“So was it arranged?”

Me: I guess you could say that.


September 2016 

There’s this… collection of women that I have been friends with since I was 13 years old. We are different, but very much the same. I see all of them at once, at least once a year. We are not close unless we are all together. We are beads on a necklace that only look good in one particular order. I had just turned 20; the host of the dinner party had just had a baby. (he’s precious) There was a cacophony of laughter and food and conversation and my friend, the hostess of this soiree (I asked Siri how to spell that, pathetic, I know) sat down next to me sans baby-on-hip.

“There’s this friend of my husband who I think would be a good match for you”

I looked up and wondered what quality of mine she matched up with this nameless, faceless, stranger.

“You guys come from the same sort of family and he’s handsome”

oh

an interjection was thrown across the table, apparently a few of the ladies knew him. I learnt then that he was interested in getting married for a while but no one had tickled his fancy.

There was no photo. There was no trace of him on social media. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO OPERATE LIKE THIS? DO I FEEL IMPRESSED OR AFRAID THAT GOOGLE DOESN’T KNOW WHO HE IS???

Three Days Later

She sent me his father’s number.

(do pardon my use of colloquial language at this juncture) Maaf? what exactly am I supposed to do with his father’s number? “Salaam Uncle-Possible-Future-Father-In-Law I hear you have a son looking to get married I think we should arrange a samoosa run.”

no, no, no, no, no.

And so it slipped my mind.

until my mom asked me about it.

Her reaction to my not wanting to contact the guy first: So let me phone his father, It’s my duty as a muslim mother to find you a good muslim spouse.

And so I gave her the number.


February 2017

23:26pm

We slid into the car with no destination in mind, it was chilly and shadowy but my husband has one distinct quality of a furnace and he took my hand. He bites my fingers when we’re alone. In a way that makes me not want to be without him. (I’m so glad we’re married and I have a reason to wake up next to him everyday: the reason being I’m his wife, alhamdulillah)

I rolled my window right down as he drove along a lightless road to Hout Bay, salt air filled the car and I smiled at him, remembering all the moments I spent wishing for this moment. It started drizzling, He continued down to  Camps Bay. I watched city lights flash across our skin. I wanted to blink my eyes and cause a brief hiatus in time, just to memorise the shape of his nose, lips and lashes. I wanted to make sure I remembered this forever. He sped down through Greenpoint, because he knows how much I love the view. I saw a ray of moonlight dance across the black ocean, felt shapeless rain drops on my face and my heart

melted

grew

skipped 50 000 beats

and all I felt was utter gratitude.


Yes I’m going to make you wait a bit more to read about how our first meeting went. 

xo Effzed

Torn T-shirts & Long Skirts

Some things change, some things stay the same.


PACKING CUPBOARDS: 

I haven’t been married long enough to write about how hard it is. It seems effortless and exciting and brilliant and he’s crazy and I’m crazy about him.  I’m sure I could have worded  that with a touch more eloquence. #soz  (dear future self when you see that hashtag, forgive me.)

Something I have noticed though, is that, I’ve changed. I’ve seen it in my eyes. In my reflection, in photos. I can hear it in my laugh.

I

can

feel

it

in my interaction with people- my friends and family. It’s a subtle underlying ting beneath my conversation.  A week ago my aunt leaned in to me – in the way that old people do when they want to impart wisdom – and whispered that I look much more mature now. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It’s one thing for me to feel different and a wholly other thing for people close to me to tell me I look, talk and act differently.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable with it. Did I change in a bad way or in a good way?

The epiphany I had: I had changed in an inevitable way. Everyone told me before I got married that things would change. They laughed and smiled that secret adult smile when they said

“Your husband becomes your best friend”

“You won’t be able to shit in the first week”

“Your whole life changes”

It seemed ludicrous at the time. It seemed a gross hyperbole. I mean my parents seemed pretty normal. Granted  I didn’t know them before as separate entities BUT STILL.

Now I can see it.

I’m growing, and changing. And that’s not a bad thing. It merely takes an adjustment period, I’m still trying to find a balance between being a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I have to actively try to be a good person in all those aspects of my life now. I’ll never stop trying.

You know it would be easy to achieve self-actualisation in a month if I could eradicate laziness from my life?


TO LOVE – Verb:

After you say things aloud, you begin to feel those things harder than you did before.  I kissed his arm, and tried to explain to him the extent of my love. I tried to verbalise the way I could feel my heart expanding to contain all of it. I’m still not sure I could show him how much I appreciate him and care for him. He’s like this

this miracle.

TO SLEEP: 

one very good reason to get married is for the cuddles.

TO SET GOALS AND ACHIEVE THEM: 

I absolutely have to include in this post that I am starting with Rushtush this month in order to get my rushtush tush. Here’s to the beginning of my fitness journey

*chews pasta*

*swallows coke*

*looks for dessert*

xo Effzed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scintilla 

10:30am

In my mother’s house, my room is half full of things I left behind. There’s no space in my  new cupboards for all the jeans I was keeping for when I one day was a size 0. There’s no room for sentimental paraphernalia from 2000 and late. It smells musty and un-lived in. I grew up in this place, so why does it feel so

so

far away? like another lifetime I can barely recall. Even with standing in my room, it felt as if I was looking at it through a tunnel.

My bathroom however, feels exactly the same. That might be due to the fact that I’ve hardly gone to the bathroom since I got married. I had never experienced constipation before. Now I’m constipated all the time. My body would only find its way to the bathroom if my husband was nowhere near the vicinity and wouldn’t be for a few hours. I hope that goes away soon. I can’t live like this: Driving to my mom’s house every time I need to go.

23:45pm


One of the first questions I asked my husband before we got married was “Are you an affectionate person?” He said yes, he thinks so. Anyone who knows me, knows that a negative answer to that question would have been a total deal breaker for me. I can’t have my husband telling me not to hug him or touch him. I had already learned that not only was I generally an affectionate person, Physical Touch is my love language. It’s how I show people that I care for them. Similarly, simple gestures (like kissing my forehead) makes me feel loved.

He holds my hand while he drives. He opens the windows because he knows I get carsick. We drive around aimlessly at night. It’s my favourite pastime. We enter the house quietly, leaving all the lights off. I turned to kiss him-

you know sometimes when you touch a balloon and you touch someone else you feel a sort of spark? or when you touch the handle of a trolley and you get a shock? –

Sparks ignited when our lips met. literally. There was a beat of silence before I started whooping, laughing, jumping.

He thought it was hilarious. I thought it was magical. I am endlessly, hopelessly romantic. He asseverates all his love for me with his actions. I try and memorise the way he says my name. The way his tongue caresses the vowels in a way that makes my heart tremble.

I keep waiting for married life to “settle” to come into a routine. I find that each day with is different and filled with more.

more.

That night was actually hysterical. It was 3 and a half weeks into being a wife. I really hope you guys are enjoying this as much as I am. 

xo Effzed

 

 

Foreign Furniture & Old Slippers

Things that I am most grateful for:

  1. the obvious things that everyone puts on these lists, specifically my health.
  2. my in-laws. 

When people tell you that you’re not just marrying the person, you’re marrying the whole family, they’re not kidding. You’re acquiring a WHOLE set of people and they’re suddenly your family.

24 days. I knew him for 24 days before we got engaged. If you want to get technical – that is, count the hours I spent in his physical presence before we got married – I knew him for 9 hours before he was My Husband.
There’s this universal truth: you only get to know someone when you

  1. live,
  2. travel,
  3.  and do business them.


Our home is a beautiful vista, bedaubed with rose gold colored ornaments. I marvel at all the tiny details put into making this place my new home. My eyes feast on everything I’ve been liking on Pinterest. 


Here, I try to convince myself that this couch is mine, that this cupboard full of crockery is mine. I’ve never owned crockery before. And Tupperwares? Should I be returning these to my mother? And what do I with all these pots? 

The furniture feels alien. Foreign. Even after I had lived here for a few days, it felt more like a weekend trip away. My clothing fit strangely. My belongings have acquired a different scent. I smell like my husband and this house. Every square inch speaks to me with soft, coaxing murmurs. But it can’t be rushed: the Feeling-At-Home process. 

My husband begins to feel like the only familiar thing. I’ve known him longer than I’ve known the curtains and scatter cushions.

I walk around barefoot, my toes learning the pattern on the tiles, and the creak of my wooden floors. 

I feel comfortable, yet uncomfortable. I soon realized that the discomfort was just me being homesick. Missing people, although an emotion, affects you physically. (Like most powerful abstract nouns, it could bring you to your knees. Funny how it’s the intangible things that have the tightest grip) we learn to enjoy companionable silences, and stay up all night talking. We swim at 2am and have snacks in the dark. 

It feels like home. 

This post depicts my first week living away from home. 

xo Effzed  

 

 

Broken Fingers & Quiet Dinners

Between 4pm and 5pm I develop a case of clinical anticipation. I glance at the clock every 3 and a half minutes, I fidget and fiddle with anything in my reach. I get positively antsy. He only leaves work past 5. Suddenly the wait is stretched out and crawling.
I

I’m too dramatic to admit that the wait was not as long as I expected. I’m too full of hyperbole and pedanticism to say that it was only 25 minutes.

My favourite part of every week day is the Mini Reunion between myself and my husband: I’m running across our little cottage but obviously in my head I’m running across a field of sunflowers. (the edges of my brain drip different flavoured cheeses; I know) I’ve been married for just over a month? I suppose it’s perfectly natural that I get excited (understatement) when he gets home.

Today his left pinkie is broken (no, it wasn’t my fault) his smile is bright, and as always, his arms are wide open.

22:40pm

Later, we’re folded into chairs under a marble table, our plates emptying slowly, the eating process delayed due to whispered conversations. One paragraph at a time, I can feel every nerve ending in my body sewing itself to his. This is how we become closer, with words that cause shiny eyes and fast beating hearts. This is  how we fall deeper in love.

cropped-tulip-fields-flowers-wallpaper-768x480-1.jpg

I’ll be continuing a series of posts like these, trailing back to my engagement and how I came to meet him, there will be other themes involved, It’s mostly about how much my life has changed and how much I’ve learnt in the past few weeks. 

xo Effzed