Fatima was having lunch with Salar. It was then at that moment, Salar took Fatima’s hand in his, caressed her palm with his finger, looked into her eyes and whispered hoarsely, “Would you like to spend the rest of your life with me, because. I am pretty sure .I just can’t live without you.” Fatima was taken a back and blushed at his bluntness. She smiled at him and said, “Yes”, as she felt the same for him.
Fatima was the fourth daughter of Mansoor and Yasmin. When Mansoor came to know about Yasmin’s fourth pregnancy, he was almost sure that this time Yasmin would borne him an heir, but to his utter disbelief, even this time Allah had blessed him with a daughter. Mansoor was stricken with pain upon hearing the news of a baby girl, that he didn’t so much as bothered to glance at her. The In laws of Yasmin too were disappointed with her for giving birth to a daughter for the fourth time. They refused to pay visit to the newly born baby, nobody even attended her ‘Aqiqa’ ceremony including Mansoor, and so Yasmin was left alone to take care of everything.
Yasmin named her Fatima. Fatima didn’t know how it felt to be loved by anyone. For since her childhood, she never received any kind of love or affection from her family. She would only wear clothes that been previously worn by her sisters, with ill-fitting, hanging loose off her small frame, sometimes too short or too long. She never possessed any toys of her own, the only toys she had were mostly broken, and that too had been passed on to her from her cousins. She had never been bought a new uniform or any brand new course books, whatever was to be discarded would be passed on to poor Fatima.
Fatima had hardly finished her 10th standard when she was married to Shah Nawaz. Fatima was more like a burden for her father that he wanted to take off his shoulders as soon as possible. Shah Nawaz was double of her age, a widower. He was a kind-hearted man. He loved his wife very much, but unfortunately, she died of cancer. Soon he realized that though Fatima was married to him, but physically as well as mentally she was still a child, who needed a lot of love and nurturing .Often he noticed when he passed by the toy shops, the sudden glee that appeared in her eyes, as if she had been greatly deprived in her childhood. It was easy to make her happy, so instead of becoming her traditional husband, he almost acted like her father, a guardian. He persuaded Fatima to complete her education. He always made sure that he helped Fatima with her studies too.
Shah Nawaz was a mature man who had physical as well as emotional needs. But he was too afraid to hurt Fatima in anyway. He wanted Fatima to be mature enough before accepting the responsibilities of a married life. He was waiting for the right time when Fatima herself would approach him. He didn’t want to take advantage of her age in anyway. He was quite reluctant to get married for the second time as he loved his wife very much, but he was constantly pressurized by his family, so he had to give up, little did he know that he would end up getting married to a child.
As time passed by, Fatima grew into a beautiful woman, who was more confident, well versed as compared to the scary fragile little thing she was, when she got married to Shah Nawaz. Fatima was now an MBA, a degree, she acquired after a lot of struggle and hard work, but of course it would not have been possible without Shah Nawaz’s support. But as far as specifically the husband/wife relationship was concerned, it was still where it was the on the first night of their wedding. Often shah Nawaz’s family would probe him about when would he plan his family, after all that’s what the institution of marriage was all about. But he always laughed it off.
As soon as Fatima completed her MBA, she was offered a job in a Multinational company. She asked for Shah Nawaz’s advice.Shah nawaz, always being her supporter, advised her to accept the golden opportunity. She started working for a man called Salar, who owned the company. Salar was an extremely handsome, filthy rich, Brilliant, powerful, dangerous man, that could make any woman fall for him. As Fatima got busy with her job, Shah Nawaz and Fatima became distant. They would only meet each other at dinner.
Fatima was putting all her effort in her very first job, she made sure that she met all her deadlines on time, prepared her presentations in a way which left everyone impressed by her hard work. She was very punctual, always gave her best, always making sure that her boss didn’t have any complaints from her, no wonder; Salar was getting impressed by her flawless work day by day. He never met someone who was as passionate about work as she was. Salar felt drawn to Fatima ever since he laid eyes on her, even though he knew that she was married, but he still couldn’t help feeling attracted to her. There was something about her innocence that made her even more irresistible to him.
It was 9 pm when Salar was leaving the office, when all of a sudden he noticed Fatima still working in her office. “So why are you still in the office Miss Fatima, don’t you want to leave for home??” Fatima suddenly glanced at her watch, “Oh, I didn’t realize it was that late, I’ll leave shortly.” “I will drop you, no problem,” said Salar .Fatima wasn’t ready to take any favors from her new boss, she tried saying no politely many times, but he wouldn’t listen to her, so she reluctantly gave in.
She sat uncomfortably in his car. It was the first time that she ever sat with any man in his car, other than Shah Nawaz .She was feeling somewhat nervous, when she realized that they weren’t going to her home but somewhere else. The car stopped at a juice shop. “So Miss Fatima what would you like to have?” “That won’t be necessary; I am not really in a mood to have anything right now” “Please I insist”. Once again Fatima had to give in, as she didn’t want to offend him.
She quietly sipped the orange juice, thinking that Shah Nawaz must be worried sick as she was still not home, when suddenly her phone rang, It was Shah Nawaz. She told him that she was on her way. As soon as the car stopped in front of her gate, she quickly thanked him and entered the gate.
Then it became a routine for Salar to drop her off to her home every time she was late from work or had to attend a late meeting, initially she protested against it but later on accepted his offer to drop her.She gradually started enjoying Salar’s company herself. He made her laugh all the time. She felt good in his company and even started looking forward to it.She liked the way he made her feel important, as all her life she was made to believe that she wasn’t worthy of love,her confidence was badly shattered until she got married to Shah Nawaz.Gradually she started opening to Salar, and they would often go for lunch or coffee together, where they would talk to each other hand in hand for hours. Fatima felt as if she finally found her soul mate.
It was almost 10 pm when Fatima returned home from office, as she entered the house, she noticed Shah Nawaz waiting for her impatiently, and she suddenly felt a sharp pang of guilt. “I am sorry; I got caught up in work again.” “It’s all right Fatima, but you should at least call me if you are expected to be late from office.”Chalo, let’s eat now, I was waiting for you to come, so that we can at least eat together.” But Fatima wasn’t really hungry as she just ate snacks with Salar on her way to home…”Umm, I am not really hungry, Shah Nawaz, but I shall sit with you.” said Fatima feeling guilty again. Shah Nawaz was a little disappointed as they always ate together in past, no matter how hungry he was himself, he always made sure that he ate with Fatima.
Things were falling apart between them, and Fatima felt guilty like hell, as she hadn’t even disclosed about Salar,normally she would share everything with him, but not about Salar,after all what could she possibly tell her husband, that she is seeing another man.?..It wasn’t as if she didn’t care for Shah Nawaz, but she always saw a friend in him, but with Salar it was different. He made her heart beat faster…he had the ability to ignite fire in her which Shah Nawaz failed to arouse.
Fatima’s love for Salar made her literally blind….and one day, she finally demanded a divorce from Shah Nawaz “You want what…??” Asked shah Nawaz as if he couldn’t believe his own ears…and then she repeated the same words “I want a divorce, I love Salar and I want to spend the rest of my life with him” “Ok…if that’s what you want,” that’s all he said and left.
Shah Nawaz was in a state of shock, he was badly broken and hurt….all these years he waited for Fatima to come to him, confess her love….He gave her everything….he was always there to support her…never once in life he reminded her of her past… he accepted her with all her insecurities. He always made sure that she never felt lonely and found a friend in him. All these years he loved her selflessly, unconditionally…he always put her happiness before his own…he always felt that making her happy was his ultimate goal. He still remembered how terribly she was shaking on the night of their wedding, how scared she looked. It was then he decided that he would win her confidence first; he would always protect her no matter what. He wouldn’t take her forcefully until she was ready…and here she was confessing her love for another man. How much did he trust her? And she broke that trust.
Fatima was happy and wanted to break the news to Salar, as she hadn’t expected Shah Nawaz would let her off the hook that easily. As soon as she reached the office, she went straight to Salar’s room. She was about to enter his room, when she heard her name, which made her stop in her tracks. “Oh, Fatima was just a piece of cake, It didn’t take more than few meetings to finally lure her, it was more easy than I expected it to be, all these middle class girls are the same.”.She heard him roared with laughter as she turned to leave never to return again.
It was two weeks since Fatima had eaten anything .Fatima lay in dark. Her eyes were red and swollen. She was not going to the office, she looked disheveled. There was a knock on the door, which made her sit up. It was Shah Nawaz, who came to her room carrying a tray of food in his hand. The thought of food made her sick. She wanted to be left alone, all by herself as she didn’t want to face Shah Nawaz after all she had done. How could she, oh how could she do this to a man who had done so much for her. “Fatima, please have few bites”, said Shah Nawaz…and was about to leave the room…when Fatima quickly got up and wrapped her arms around him, “Please forgive me Shah Nawaz, I have no one in the world except you. Please, please forgive my sins.” As Shah Nawaz tried to free himself, she went to his feet, begging him to forgive her. Tears rolled down her cheeks.He couldn’t take any longer, he took her in his arms and kissed her. He realized that very moment that no matter what, when it came to Fatima, his heart would always soften for her. He could not continue living as if she didn’t exist, when she was very much a part of himself, his better half.
Next morning, as Fatima lay next to Shah Nawaz, she looked at his face and realized that what she felt for this man was more than love, only she didn’t realize it all this time. On the other hand what she felt for Salar was mere infatuation, which even if they were united, would not have last long.She snuggled close to him and suddenly found peace seeping deep inside her heart.