She thought about dying. Thought about it everyday. From the moment her head hit the pillow to the moment her eyes fluttered open, she obsessed about leaving this world and seeing what lay beyond.
She toyed with the idea of taking her own life, just to spite her parents and all the people who thought that she should live a virtuous life just because of her namesake.
It had been months since she lost her right hand and for months Fatimah had fallen into a pit of melancholy and despair because of her actions. The guilt and embarrassment that came with the obvious pain of losing a limb was too overwhelming for her.
For months afterward, Fatimah had lost her identity. Instead of being the defiant and blasphemous teenager that she used to be, she became pliable. Compliant.
Her parents took possession of her phone and computer and now required her to wear a niqab whenever she set foot outside their home.
“It is for your protection as well as ours,” he father had insisted. “Besides, you’ve disgraced this family enough.”
“You are lucky,” her mother reminded her. “Lucky that your uncles haven’t heard of your crimes. They would be the ones who would kill you for something like that.”
She stared blankly at everything and everyone and just did whatever everyone else wanted her to do. Feeling betrayed by her family who supported the judge’s decision to pass her sentence, it seemed that her entire world had been turned upside down.
Fatimah was in a cycle of depression whose end was unforeseeable. It would have gone on until the end of her life if it were not for Ali.
Passing by her room and taking a curious look through the crack in the door, he saw her one night sitting on her bed dressed in her niqab. She didn’t move or cry. She just sat there in the dark, breathing. He knocked, walked in and sat with her for a few moments.
At first, he didn’t say anything. He sat with her and soaked up the quiet before he placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder and squeezed.
“I’m right here, you know?” he said.
She turned to face him and looked into his eyes through the slit in her niqab, tears rolling silently down her face.
He leaned in and hugged her. She collapsed into his arms, sobbing and shaking.