A is for Amalia #atozchallenge

ADear Amalia,

When I close my eyes, I can still see your sparkly brown eyes, unruly black curls with a touch of grey, rosy cheeks and a smile dancing on your thin lips revealing a few golden teeth. I don’t know whether you were aware of it or not, but I listened in into your conversations with grandma a lot. You asked her advice about everything – from how to cook to how to survive an abusive husband. She knew a lot about those topics and shared generously.

As a child, I thought your life was better than my mum’s. After all, you had a husband, and you seemed to do well. Except, sometimes I had my doubts.

I remember a summer day when you came to our garden, sipped a glass of tea we offered to you and sighed with satisfaction.

‘Ah, I’m so happy,’ you said.

I was livid with curiosity. I wanted to know what made you happy that day.

‘Well,’ you answered my question, ‘I fed my boys and sent them off to school, Mirza is at work, I’ve done the washing, cooked lunch, tidied up the house and even have time to have some tea with you.’

I was shocked. Was that the cause for happiness? Surely, there was more to life than cooking and housework? From looking up to you, I started fearing your plight. I didn’t want to end up with life like that. At some level, I knew it was my predicament. That was what the girls were for, right? The fact that you were deeply unhappy with a husband who cheated on you and beat you up when you were seven months pregnant to kill your baby were none of anyone’s business. My heart broke every time when I realised how stuck you were. You had no one to turn to. Nowhere to go. No home. No money. No career. No allies. No family to take you back – after all, you and your child would become a burden on them. If you went to police, your husband would spend your last savings (if you had any) to bribe an official and you would end up worse off. Neighbours would blame you for being a bad wife, for telling on your husband, for bringing shame on all of your family.

So, all you could do is to come and cry your eyes out in front of my grandma. I was a silent witness of your suffering. Perhaps, at some level seeing your pain motivated me to take a different path in life. I wasn’t willing to live what you lived through. I had my own pain and I don’t know which one was greater… I realise now there wasn’t an easy way out.

At any rate, I’m writing this to say thank you. Thank you for showing me how my life could have turned out. When I write my books I always dedicate them to you. This dedication may not find its way onto the front pages of my books, but in my heart, the purpose of my books is to give you a voice.

Our last encounter still haunts me sometimes. I was visiting my grandma in April 2014. You were walking down the road, well actually, limping because you could barely shuffle your feet. Your head was covered with a shawl. We embraced and tears trickled down your face.

‘Damn that man. My mother was right. I wish I listened to her,’ you said.

‘What’s happened to you,’ I asked without wanting an answer.

‘My breasts… They cut them…’

I had no idea you had cancer. Seeing you overweight and in pain broke my heart.

You’ve been calling me on skype in the last few months. I never answer. Please, forgive me. Perhaps I’m a wimp, but I don’t know whether I can handle so much pain. Every time I speak to you, I think – this could have been me. And it hurts, it really does.

I still love you, Amalia. Perhaps, I’m running away because I want to treasure that image of you with curly hair and a smile dancing on your lips, sipping tea in the shade of Sharon fruit trees in our front garden.

Much love

Gulara

Thank you for reading. This post is a part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is ‘love letters’. And while you are here, let’s connect on Facebook and Twitter too.

 

48 thoughts on “A is for Amalia #atozchallenge

    • She doesn’t read in English, so no, but I will definitely get in touch with her. I didn’t realise how anguished I felt about her until I’ve written this post. Thank you for reading, Susan.

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    • thank you, Solveig. She did, and I’ll get in touch with her soon to see how she is. She is always on the back of my mind, even when I don’t think of her. And I care deeply about her, so it’s only right to let her know that. Big hug.xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Soma, I really appreciate your comment. I think many adults think that children don’t understand much of their conversations but I’ve absorbed a lot when they thought I wasn’t paying attention… Lovely to meet you here.

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  1. Gulara, Amalia’s anguish sounds like a cancer in itself but she is strong. She has survived so much. I encourage you to respond to her attempts at contact without falling into her grief. Maybe sending a card or something would be a less confronting approach.
    I am writing letters to dead poets who have inspired me for the A-Z Challenge. I kicked off today with AA Milne.
    Take care of yourself.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rowena. After writing this post I realised that I wanted to reach out too, so I will.
      Your theme sounds fascinating! I’m coming over in a minute. Enjoy the challenge.
      Take a good care, G xx

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  2. Gulara, You might feel guilty over decisions you’ve made, but don’t. They were self-protective decisions and that is why you made them. I offer understanding and empathy and no judgement. Concentrate only on you, at this point. Give yourself everything you haven’t had in the past, and good things will flow from that. xx

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    • Thank you, Louise, I really appreciate your understanding and empathy. I think the reason I get triggered is because I feel so utterly helpless. I wish I could change her life, rescue her somehow, and I can’t. And it’s a horrible feeling. It’s as if I get in touch I have to accept what is, and it’s hard. Anyway, it was good to name all of this. Thank you for reading, Louise, I needed your support today.xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot think of a comment that isn’t insensitive. I don’t think commending your writing skills is appropriate, so Ill settle for a thank you.
    Thank you for writing something beautiful. Good luck with your challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I can only agree with the lovely responses above.
    Just look in your hart and you know what the best way is to contact Amalia (in person, Skype, letter…) without creating an uncomfortable feeling again for either one of you 😉 I wish you a joyful weekend. Kind regards, Patty

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A very heartbreaking story – I’m glad you’ve found some release, in writing it, and perhaps now, the journey to courageously reach out again, to her. Sometimes we need to overcome our fears because in the end, the other person, despite what they have lived, in the here and now, they need to just hear a familiar and comforting voice.

    Good luck to you in the A-Z challenge 🙂

    my theme: outlined here: https://wildinthefields.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/hemingway-expanded/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are times when I read things about your childhood and I feel like our cultures share so much. I had relatives just like your Amalia, women holding on to marriages to awful, hateful men because they had nothing else to fall back on. A fabulous start to your love letters.

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    • I’m sad to hear those stories. It’s hard to realise that things like this happen somewhere else until we speak up. Thank you for reading and sharing, Robin. Enjoy the challenge!

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  7. Boy, your story is powerful as it is such a reminder of our past generations mindset toward women. Some stories, fortunately, are not so severe, but it does make me think of the various cultures around the world. I hope other women strive to be different as you have. My heart goes out to Amelia!

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  8. Blimey that’s a bit of a brutal truth there, Gulara. Such a ‘can’t take my eyes’ away post too. The last section about skype made me yelp with a similar situation of my own around a cousin. It is so difficult to embrace a pain you cannot help but you know will absorb you. Such an interesting take on the prompt.

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  9. Well I do believe no one can rescue us, but ourselves. So I wouldn’t want you to feel helpless about not being able to rescue Amalia. Only she can do it. Also, there is some light even in our darkest moments, so I’d like to believe that Amalia has her own deep source of peace and joy somewhere. Please don’t let yourself be sucked into her grief. Maybe she was really very happy that afternoon with her cup of tea…a special happiness denied to us, because we have many such moments and take them for granted.

    It is rare to come across beautiful writing such as yours!

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    • Thank you for your wise words. You are absolutely right, of course. This post taught me a lot about love. Loving doesn’t mean absorbing the other person’s pain. That desire comes because there’s some unresolved pain in me and I can’t bear it seeing it in her. I’m sure Amalia had many happy moments in life too, despite hardship and challenges. Those small moments of happiness is what counts in the end. I’m so grateful our paths crossed. I’m loving our connection!

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