Two years ago.
If a person could be named according to their personality, I would probably name her Bubbly. Bubbly, for her loud laugh and extra big smile whenever we meet. For her great sense of humor and unconditional love for anything colorful. Maybe I would even nickname her as Bubbles. That would be cute, wouldn’t it?
Today however, I can’t hear her laughter. Sitting in front of me with her heads down, I felt an urge to change her name to Troubled, or maybe even Disturbed. Her makeup was far too white for her complexion, lips too red. I noticed her attempt to cover her swollen eyes beneath a thick layer of eyeliner.
“We’re getting married soon,” she said abruptly with a forced smile.
“Pretty soon. It has to be in a month or two, before my tummy starts to get noticable, you know.”
I nodded. Not in a way to agree with her, just a gesture of understanding what she just said.
“Do your parents know?”
“Well, it’s quite complicated. We got into a fight last night after I mentioned the baby. Kak Kina, they just don’t understand me. They never had and they never will.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’re suggesting an abortion,”
“What? You can’t. They can’t!”
“I know, I want to keep it too.”
It. A tiny form of human being in her womb still unidentified as a ‘her’ or a ‘he’, therefore called ‘it’. We went into a long silence.
I sat there thinking how all of this could have happened to her. How she, a girl with a bright shining future ahead of her, could fall helplessly into the arms of a guy and lose herself. She wasn’t always like this.
After primary school, we parted to our own separate lives and studied in different high schools. Every now and then, we kept in touch via e-mail and exchanged news. She mentioned being accepted into a boarding school in another state. She was at the top of her class and was on the debate team. Teachers praised her for scoring in most subjects, active in co-curricular activites, stuff like that. No guys dared to talk to her, let alone touch her. She was a gem.
I was a freshman in UTM when she was offered a scholarship in medicine. She was juggling a decision to choose between United Kingdom and Egypt. She chose Egypt. She sent me a photo of herself at the Mount of Sinai while quoting the events of Prophet Musa climbing the very mountain to see God. Back then, I didn’t know the story. I envied her for what she had become. I wish I could step into her world, her shoes.
“Kak Kina..” she broke the silence.
“We are actually planning to marry in Thailand next month, insyaAllah.”
I lost my words hearing what she said. Did I hear it wrongly or did she really use the phrase insyaAllah? InsyaAllah as in, if Allah is willing, they shall make a run for it and marry without the consent of her parents? Is that so?
My expression must have been obvious as she noticed my reaction to what she had said.
“It’s for the best. He is a great guy, trust me. He’s caring, understanding and most of all, he’s willing to marry me and take care of the baby. That makes him a responsible person.”
“If he’s really responsible, he would have thought twice before getting you pregnant. ”
“Ohhkay..” She was hurt by my words, I could see.
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
She shook her head, “No, no. You’re right.”
“Really, I shouldn’t have said that. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay. Anyway, you have a point there. I should have seen where our relationship was going and how it would end up. I love him so much. So much that I lost myself and I forgot everything else. It’s too late now for regrets. I want to build a new life, starting with this baby.”
She caressed her flat tummy which wasn't noticeable yet.
“I want to be a good mom, I want to repent.”
I was just thinking how easy it was for her to say it all. When she uttered those last few words, it really hit me, astaghfirullah, how I have doubted her intentions and judged her wrongly . At the end of the day, Allah will look at one with mercy if one sincerely repents. Only Allah knows what’s deep in one’s heart.
“If you really want to change and repent, please don’t run away. It will only make things worse. Talk to your mum. She’ll understand eventually.”
Last week, a familiar e-mail address dropped by my Gmail inbox. It was her. She sent a photo of herself and her husband in front of Kaabah with a baby in hand. Standing by her side was her mum, hugging her shoulders and her dad, smiling wide. Alhamdulillah, all praise to Allah.
She was particularly worried how other people would perceive her now for all that had happened. What should I tell her? That the world out there is really cruel and unforgiving? Or the fact that she should be ready to hear people mocking her actions in the past? Instead, I wrote this entry. I’ll let you think about what you would say to her if you meet her.
p/s: Who do we think we are to judge a person?