Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Day I May Have Caused a Divorce

It all started with a lunar eclipse. If the moon had chosen another day to walk behind our planet, none of this would have happened.

There I was, savouring a deep-dish, sizzling-hot pizza slice in the company of some of my favourite people. We bit into our heavenly meals, not saying anything besides necessary 'Pass me that ketchup' or 'Give me tissue', because there were things more important than conversation to be taken care of. The soft clink of forks and knives. The smell of ripe tomato sauce and melting mozzarella. Small smiles and happy tummies.

Then came distraction in the form of a ringtone. Everyone looked my way in annoyance. How can something as mundane as a phone ringing be allowed in this heavenly setting?

It was my mother. ''There's a lunar eclipse happening, and it's only going to last a few minutes". Eclipses are not just astronomical events for Muslims. They mean a special prayer. Thankfully, I've already done my ablution at home, and a prayer room is within walking distance in any shopping mall in Dubai, so off I go. The prayer room is empty except for another lady. I stand next to her, and once I'm done and in sitting position, she turns to look at me.

She is wearing a black abaya and sheila, has a plain face with small features, probably in her late-thirties. When she speaks, her dialect gives away that she's Emirati.
'Do you know English?' she asks in Arabic. Her accent is strong and un-urban-like.
'Yeah,' I smile at her. Serious expression in return.
A leather bag sits propped before her. She searches inside, finally extracting a mobile phone, and busies herself with its buttons for a while.

I look around, wondering who she will make me speak to.
'Read this message for me, please'
I look at the screen. The message is transliterated. It is Arabic in English letters.
'This is Arabic'
'I know, I can't read the English letters'
'Uh..okay' I clear my throat:

'Hey habibi' I recite. I pause and quickly read the message in my head, feeling myself turning crimson.
Swallowing the lump in my throat, I look up at her. Her eyes are on me, and there is a fire lighting in there.
'Go on,' she barks at me.
The next few seconds are possibly the most awkward in my life. The message is clearly from a woman addressed to her lover, saying she missed him, asking why he hadn't called her, and recounting very intimate moments from their last meeting. I stop after every sentence hoping she'd tell me that was enough, but each time she urges me on, something in the order and fierce tone that tells me I have no other option.

'What's her name?' she whispers, after I have finished reading it and showed her there was no more.
'It doesn't say...it's just a number'
'Okay, thank you, darling,' she says. Her face expression has softened and she looks like she is going to have a breakdown any minute.

I don't move. Neither does she. We just sit there in our praying positions, until a small voice says, 'It's my husband's phone.'

The immensity of what I have just done sinks in.
'It must be a wrong number. I got a very creepy text message once like that!' Which is a lie, I have never read anything like that before but I am in a desperate position.
She snorts. 'No, I've been suspicious for long. This is just confirmation.'
I don't know what to say so I just sit there wishing I can take back time.
'You know, some people aren't made of flesh and blood like you and I.'

And with that, she grabs her bag and rises, leaving me alone with my guilt in the room.


  1. Thats terrible... But don't be too harsh on yourself if you hadn't read it to her someone else would I mean thats the way destiny works right.
    I feel so sorry for the women may Allah give her patience

  2. Wow. How heartbreaking must it have been for that poor woman to pull up the courage to ask you. Don't feel bad, for all you know you could be the reason she won't be spending her entire life with a man as ugly and mean as him. And Allah swt knows best.

    Just pray we all have faithful men in our lives.

  3. You did the right thing. I am sure that the wronged woman knew for a long time. I think that what one sends out in the Universe, comes back -- Karma, after all.

  4. :O
    I... wow. Well, like others have said, you needn't feel bad. She doesn't deserve to have a creep like that for a husband. You did her a favour (:

    ... boys stink -_-'

  5. I agree with the previous commenters: don't feel badly. Everything is as it should be. She would have had someone else translate it for her, and YOU were the compassionate person she needed to hear it from. You were heaven sent.

  6. I'm with the others, be glad you were there for her. as embarrassing as it may have been for you, think of the courage it took for her to ask for your help.

  7. You shouldn't feel guilty for this, the guilt lies fully at the husbands door. I agree with the others, you helped in her in a kind and honest way. She can at least move on without any doubts.

  8. I dont think u had any other option

  9. Aw maaan. That really sucks.

    But you did the right thing, without a doubt. The poor woman had a right to know. Hope she's okay, wherever she is.

  10. I feel my heart break to see a woman/marriage ripped apart by another woman/extramarital affair... =((

    Men... *sighs*

    P.S. It's not your fault.

  11. masha Allah.. so saddening.
    But yes, don't feel guilty. She will finally find out the truth, sooner or later.. No matter how.

  12. my heart shattered and my stomach did flip flops. this is so sad. but dont feel guilty - you arent the cause of the text message. sigh

  13. This post is really saddening :(.When you know your intentions were clear so don't be sad or guilty :)

  14. That is so sad. Both for you and for her. I wonder what she did with her new found knowledge. If she divorced her husband, it wasn't because of something you did, it was because of what he'd already done.

  15. That's a sad story. But whatever happened afterwards, you didn't cause it.

  16. Ugh, Ghadeer, you blow me away with your word choices. Seriously, it's like I was with you in that prayer room.

  17. WOW and what an awkward moment in time.

  18. You saved the woman from a cheating husband! Good on you, seriously.


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