Fez - The weather was terribly cold and snow shrouded in white all the surrounding mountains and bare hills. Abruptly, Hicham showed up in the café where he usually meets his colleagues and plays cards till midnight leaving his newly married wife alone at home.
Fez – The weather was terribly cold and snow shrouded in white all the surrounding mountains and bare hills. Abruptly, Hicham showed up in the café where he usually meets his colleagues and plays cards till midnight leaving his newly married wife alone at home.
His countenance evinced something unusual about him this time, something really vague to unravel in spite of his fake pale smile. Jamal, his intimate childhood friend, didn’t want to intrude; thus, he kept quiet for a while glancing at him with many questions turning in mind.
As he sat down, Hicham heaved a long sigh; a strange sigh, a very vague sigh! Was it a sigh of suppressed deep sorrow and melancholy or simply a normal sigh of relief? Hicham, who looked profoundly unhappy, didn’t utter a single word. He sat calmly and wistfully fixing his eyes on the TV, or thus he appeared while actually looking far beyond the TV set. Jamal, finally, thought it was a duty to ask and know what has lapsed his friend into such a case of apparent sorrow. He interrogated:
– What’s up, Hicham? What’s wrong?
Sunk in silence, Hicham didn’t respond to his friend’s questions. Thus, Jamal got increasingly worried and thought it must be something serious. He took Hicham from the arm and dragged him to the car, then fast took the direction of the beach leaving a swirl wind and a cloud of dust behind.
The car slowly rolled on the cliffs until they stopped on the edge. The drizzle from the waves violently colliding against the cliffs fell gently on their faces and moistened their hair. Hicham started breathing deeply as if he were stifling and in need of much of fresh air. The gusts of wind coming from the sea were warmer than the dry cold wind in the city. They remained silent for a while standing side by side and stretching their sights far away at sea. Then Jamal said:
– We occasionally feel overwhelmed by dejection and sadness sometimes even without any specific reason. This is human nature and it’s normal as long as the gloomy case doesn’t last for good. Both happiness and sadness are innate in us. Forgetfulness is a real blessing from God.
– The matter is more serious than that, Jamal. I divorced her!” said Hicham unexpectedly.
Confounded and deeply surprised, Jamal smiled shortly like a madman then arched his eyebrows and looked deeply inquisitive and fretful. He couldn’t grasp his friend’s words because the couple was married only for a year and they loved each other.
Moreover, Hicham had never complained about his wife, rather he praised her frequently to his friends who sometimes felt jealous of his luck! So, what might be the reason of divorce? Jamal thought it was infidelity because no other reason could have pushed Hicham to divorce the woman he loved and dreamed of years before their marriage. The question was direct: “She betrayed you, right?!” asked Jamal.
– Heaven forbid!! She is the chastest woman I have ever known. I divorced her because I was not happy with her. She failed to be a happiness-giver. She is impassive and emotionally cold. I find real love in all the love stories I read and in all the ones I write but there isn’t a bit of love in my house. It’s tedious and full of duties and “do” and “don’ts.”
May be I was idealistic when I married her and thought our life will be identical to one of those fantasy love stories I read and my wife will be like a woman from a fairy tale; tender, emotional, caring, ever beautiful….She is not to blame, I know the same would have happened if I had married another one! It’s me who is not mature enough to be a husband with the conventional meaning of the word! Therefore, I entered the bedroom to find her standing coldly like a statue before her vanity table. I pronounced the words immediately: “you are divorced, divorced, divorced.”
Jamal kept following the words and the actions of his friend who seemed uprooted from reality and taken aback by what he heard. Jamal had warned him against his hypersensitivity but he never thought it would affect his marital life. Some ideas, if assimilated, can spoil people’s lives and relationships. After grasping and analyzing every word and every action, Jamal understood that his friend didn’t love his wife. He addressed him:
– Do you know, Hicham? You don’t love your wife! A man like you is so difficult to understand and I’m sure she is suffering in silence. You are too intellectual and well-educated. She has just got her baccalaureate and still doesn’t know the complex things you put on her. You expected her to understand you while you made no attempt to understand her, and the easiest solution for you was divorce. If you really love her, you should have taken this into account, you should have helped her. Only God knows how much she suffers now.
– Now it’s too late! Said Hicham who looked touched by his friend’s words.
Sometimes, we jump into quick responses and judgments to be convinced later that what seemed to be the truth is but an elusive illusion. Also, sometimes we destroy and obliterate while, in fact, we are trying to build! Hicham felt tormented by self repulsion, remorse and regret and tears appeared trickling down his cheeks. Jamal held his friend from the hand and took him to the car and said:
– Drive home as fast as you can. Fix your problem before it’s too late. I know my way to the café.
As he arrived home, Hicham rushed to the bedroom where his decision exploded like thunder. When he opened the door his eyes were stuck at her standing motionlessly and the streaming tears making ways through her beautiful cheeks. She was looking at him directly, speechless, shocked and terrified as if looking at a scarecrow. Time has stopped for her and that crystal glass they shared has been broken into pieces! He couldn’t look straight at her face and his eyes evaded hers. His sight moved slowly down to be struck by the scene of a big lovely doll holding a paper that reads “Congratulations, you will become a father!!!!”
Photo by Paolo Moundir
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