Emerald Eyes

My feet trekked along the smooth marble flooring as my heart and eyes sang with the sight of the Holy Kaaba and on that momentous day I forgave you.  I forgave you from the bottom of my heart because every ounce of pain that you caused me wouldn't add up to a nanosecond of the joy that I felt in that moment.

When you first left I used to pray against you.  I would lay paralyzed on the floor looking up at the ceiling and playing Three Day's Grace in the background of my bleeding recollection:

"...Still can't believe you're gone
So I'll stay up all night
With these bloodshot eyes
While these walls surround me
With the story of our lives."

After everything was finalized and the harsh reality of being a divorced woman in the Muslim community hit me, my spiritual tactics somehow evolved.  Instead of asking Him to take my revenge, I was content simply praying for your guidance.  But then you moved on so quickly; you cleaned up your life again so fast.  I felt like I had been running before I met you and you somehow cheated to catch up only to yank me down, scramble over my broken body on the ground, and stumble on ahead of me--carelessly leaving me behind to bite the dust.  Sometimes I wonder, did you save yourself at my expense?

I didn't ask for you to enter my life.  But I guess He has a plan.  And God knows that despite my efforts to be forbearing, I stayed angry at you for the longest time.  I was always so angry, and so many years have ticked by since that first fateful stab in the heart.

I never forgot about the time when you first attempted to convince me that God doesn't love me.  You pointed at my trials in life--my mom's death, my health woes, my shattered life dreams, battles and struggles that I hide from the world, and even my hurting relationship with you--as proof that He abandoned me.  And you gloated about how you could (theoretically) break every rule in the book but still find yourself healthy and wealthy and beautiful.  

But on my blessed day, during my 'umrah in Mecca, I had an enlightening epiphany.  I realized that God gives everyone what we truly want in the end.  I wept for so many nights and so many hours that my tears probably could have filled a creek and quenched the thirst of the wildlife around it.  And the supplications of the oppressed are answered.  But you know, for some reason I didn't wind up praying for this world in my worst moments, and God replaced it for me with something better.

I may have failed in life on so many counts according to your standards of success, but the moment He gifted me to set my beaten feet in front of His House and to reach my filthy hands onto that glorious stone, I knew that I had been given more than the world.  

But years later, you see, the pain: it's still here.  It doesn't go away--merely subdues until something strikes a chord within and revives the old hurt inside.  The heartache still eats away at me sometimes in the dark.  I can't even remember your voice; it's like someone who died a very long time ago and slowly, your essence fades away.

I can still remember your eyes, though.  Green as the emeralds my mother bought me before she died.  She left me with so many life lessons.  And you left me with so many life lessons.  

I still can't, at times, pull my head back above the water.  

I entered into our marriage with the naivety and idealism of a sinless child, and I now remain emotionally paralyzed.  The inability to allow emotions to flow, you see, is what protects me from the unbearable pain of trying to wrap my mind around it all.  I didn't ask for this; I never asked for this.  I wonder, sometimes, if there will ever be respite in this life from those tears.

I hope you have found yours.

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Dena AtassiComment