Happily Ever After – Chapter 11


The wedding was wonderful filled with everyone we loved there were Palestinian dancers who came to entertain us, a cultural dance to remind us of our heritage. MJ was persistent that the whole wedding has his Arabic songs, and I wanted to have English songs long arguments lead to having a bit of both but to my surprise the DJ was playing all Arabic songs. I ignored the fact that the DJ chose to do what the man wants and I danced and danced and danced. Half way through the night MJ comes to me and begs me to let the DJ play my English songs for he was worried that no one was really dancing to his Arabic songs as he imagined. The night built up with English delights and everyone got up to dance to things that they have been waiting to hear.

The honeymoon was wonderful except for Samael who was there with us regardless of where we went in the world. He was in all our conversations, he was the delight of MJ’s thoughts and stories. He kept asking me the whole time “Am I being good, are you happy?” and I would say yes I am and I really was. There were strange times where he would just sleep in all day and tell me to go do my own thing if I cant just sleep, and I would but it was boring on a beach resort with no one but couples. When I would come back to the room he would be on the phone with Samael which would hurt inside cause he couldn’t survive for ten days without Samael. I didn’t care I was gonna have fun on my vacation, for that is how I started to see it, a vacation and i got my diving license thanks to MJ.

All we had in our apartment was a couch, the L-shaped couch my dad got us with a few other items I bought with the money he gave us. As for the rest of the things were we gonna get with all the vouchers we received from all the guests that came to our wedding. Upon our return we went immediately to his parents house to say hello, and I decided to make amends with them within my heart cause I had no one else I town and I needed to feel like they could replace my parents as I was living so far away from them. The evening went well but lasted too long. I wanted to go back to our new home for the first time together. On our way there he asked me “Samael is a bit sad today, would you be mad if I left you at home and went over to his house for a while?” I said that makes no sense we haven’t even gotten to our home yet, we were at his parents forever and then he wanted to go see Samael?! We went home then it was already dark and we were exhausted. Naturally I got punished for not agreeing to him seeing Samael when he wanted to so when we were about to sleep on the couch, the only soft item in the house, he didn’t want me to sleep next to him, he wanted us to take the opposite ends of the couch. And that was how my first day into marriage began.

Later on that side of the couch became my space that I cherished and always wanted to sit it as he was designated to his side of the couch, the rare occasions where we would cuddle on the couch always came with him wanted to break the cuddle cause his body was sweating or he wanted to think or he needed space or something or another. The days MJ wanted to cuddle according to his need at the time he would cuddle and it would last all night if need be with words of love and tender caresses. What I wanted or needed at any time was not as relevant as what he wanted to do. There were times when we would cuddle and then he would tell me “are you happy now? Is this what you want baby girl?” and I would naturally say yes assuming he was being romantic cause of his loving tone of voice, but then he would tell me “ Ok, so now you can move.”

I had a bunch of fears that were well developed in me by then; I was not comfortable with voicing my opinion about anything. And I always had a fear of rejection when I needed for anything I wanted. I was all alone in Abu Dhabi, I had old family friends there that I had not seen in 18 years but they were not my security blanket, in reality he was the only one I had there. It was tough at work, yet I loved it with all my heart. I had no idea what the job I was doing all about and day and night I was put in situations to make decisions about things I had never heard before, I was teaching myself about the new world of construction. MJ had been in that world for all his life, so when he would go on forever and ever about his job and his accomplishments, I would listen attentively cause there was so much for me to learn about their terms and what that work field was all about. I googled everything, I taught myself from scratch and never made work feel that I didn’t know what I was doing. I became a prominent figure at work and they started to depend on me for other things seeing that I finished the work on time. It was the only thing I felt confident about at the time, cause I would be praised for a job well done, and with that appraisal I got more responsibilities. A Month into my marriage, MJ had already broken so many things inside me as Samael was over all the time (which I didn’t mind at all cause me and him had so much to always talk about) I remember going up to MJ once and asking to help me with something from work cause I needed to understand what I had to do. We sit outside in the balcony, our smoking area (since I was forbidden to smoke in the house, cause MJ decided to make it a rule to live by, these caused us crazy amount of  fights between us) and I tart to ask him about this thing at work I needed to understand, mid way through his explanation he decides that I was not worthy to explain to telling me “When you make as much money as I do and have the position I have then I will explain this to you. As for now you make peanuts in comparison to me” he gets up and walks back into the apartment to watch his tv. The next day I call Samael for his help, and naturally Samael helps me in every way possible. That day Samael comes over and I take him out to the balcony so we can smoke and I ask him to explain it to me. MJ walks out and sees that I am getting tutored by Samael. He looks unhappy that I found another means to get the information and to top it off from HIS Samael.

My aggression started to grow fast, I was unable to breath, I was starting to get angry a lot and my tone of voice was starting to get used to using all its aggressive strength when I used it. The second day of our return from our honeymoon MJ wanted to go shave at the barber, we were both on our way back from work and I was so sad not to have any of my family or friends around me to turn to. I hated the apartment cause there was nothing in it but the couch (not even a tv to feel that there was something there with me) I was a person who was always afraid to be at home alone, especially this new home with no furniture, so I would make sure to leave work at the same time MJ as he made a promise to me that he wont stay longer than 5 or 6 pm so that I am not home alone. Of course that went to hell, as every single promise went to hell. He wanted to go shave although he knew all this about me, I asked him to shave at home for now at least the first day going home. A fight started, I was suffocating him I have to be able to sit without him, and a large lecture came flooding my way. I knew he was right but I could not help the tears and the sadness I was in, I just didn’t want to be in the house alone, I was afraid. He asked me to cruise around until he is done, then he told me to drive him there and wait in the car for him till he was done. Nothing ever would dodge his plan, later on I found out that he was to meet Tamer at the barber, that was the main reason he couldn’t shave at home.

His parents definitely didn’t become my parents, they were very unwelcoming especially his father. The mother on the other hand was wonderful when we would go over but never once called to check up on me knowing how home sick I was for my parents. I wanted to drive down to Dubai to see my sister a week after we arrived, MJ didn’t want to go so he would start saying that there are other things to do, like go to the beach with his friends. So I stayed wanting to be a good wife as I thought was what all good wives did, as MJ always used to compare me to the perfect Palestinian wives who were just there for their husbands.

Weekends later we still didn’t go down to Dubai cause there was always his friends that he wanted us to do things with. Samael was always the main guy he wanted us to do things with all the time, of course Tamer too, but Tamer unlike Samael understood that we had just gotten married and was able to give us some space together. I was married to MJ and Samael.

We went down to Dubai one weekend in his car after he found me going through a break down, needing to feel security. Naturally this all was done through fights, him telling me how much he hates Dubai and doesn’t want to do it and I should go on my own, what is wrong with me as a person am I unable to do anything without him. At the end after weeks of fights we went down and I felt alive again except for the nights when we would return to our room to sleep and his ugly self would come out, blaming me for ruining his weekend by making him be here in Dubai. I would always sleep crying in those nights, the rare Dubai nights, after telling him that I go over to his parents house three to four times a week whenever he wanted us to go cause that is what he likes, so why can’t he do that in return especially that his parents were not that nice to me yet I still went for him.

He started to put me down physically, poking at my stomach, pinching my waist and always making a horrible comment about my body after a lot of tenderness prior to the criticism.

I look Pilipino that is why I am spoken to in English

I was criticized by him so often about my looks, so one day as we went to have breakfast at Spinnies Mug and Beans some of his work friends see us and come to say hello. They ask me if I speak Arabic to make sure to speak in a language I understood. After they left, I told MJ how strange it is that even when I go to the mall to shop, the people ask me if I am Spanish or American. He then laughs and coolly looks at me and tells me that I am confused cause I don’t look like anything but a Pilipino maid.

I when I laugh hard I was told to stop cause I get a double chin and it turns him off

As I am best known for my laugh all over the world and people will always stop to say hi to me if they hear my laugh, there was never a moment I doubted my looks during my laugh. So many times when I would laugh from my heart when he would be in a good mood and we would be play fighting and laughing really loud, he would stop, crunch his nose and look at me, get up, and tell me “what a turn off, you get a double chin when you laugh like that, don’t ever laugh like that again its ugly”

Squeezes my stomach and makes a nauseated face

Most of the time, in the middle of our passionate moments, he would grab my stomach or thighs and make fun of how they look, that I am fat and it’s disgusting that I have to lose weight. Then I would point out his huge belly telling him to look at himself first and he would laugh and say he knows he has to lose weight, at least he is not in denial the way I am. That he loves me so much and wants me always to look my best

Wobbles my calves and says “who the hell has calves that wobble when they sit down?”

I am fat and I walk like a duck

On our weekends we I would wait till he got back from his fathers place. After we got married he would go every Friday morning to his parents house to sit with his father and then make plans with Samael to see what the day plan was then call and tell me what we were going to do. Naturally I hated it all, cause whenever I wanted to do something he had to call his friends to see if it was ok with them first and if not he would not even take my opinion and just go ahead and tell me what the plan is. So one of those blessed weekends he called to tell me he is heading to the gas station across the street from our house. I told him I will meet him there (I really had no one else to do things with and I am a people person) he refused to make me go to the gas station as he wanted to wash his car. At the gas station there is baskin robins and a large supermarket, so it was a place that people hung out in. He said he will get me ice cream and for me not to go down, he wants me to listen to his word as he dictates what I should and should not do, he wants to feel like a man. So I go down, my heart in my chest knowing there will be a fight, yet there was always a little fight in me left to do what I wanted regardless. Upon my arrival his face turns red, he smiles (cause we are infront of others) and he says “I told you not to come down, you never listen to me.” I smile and ignore him as I am so worried inside for an outburst of hurt. He says nothing, we choose our ice cream flavors and he is just so sweet. He turns around to me and tells me “baby girl can I tell you something, but please don’t be upset with me” I say sure with a smile on my face thinking that the pay back was actually not going to happen this time. “ I was looking at you as you were walking towards me, and I noticed how fat you are, don’t wear those jeans cause you look like a walking duck”. My face gets flushed with pain, he tenderly touches me “I asked you first if I could say something and you said yes. I would have never said that if I knew it would hurt you, I love you and I am doing this for you haboob.” And I am crushed yet again, with a tone of love yet words of poison.

-My tattoos would turn him off

I had two tattoos, and he hated them with a passion, there would not come a day where he would not make fun of them. His favorite times to say his poison were when we were in an extra passionate moment. Other times if he would walk on me changing he would point out how horrible it is that his angel of a woman has a tattoo, crunch his face with disgust and walk out.

If we would go shopping together Samael was always there, and MJ would be all fun and talk sharing everything Samael wanted to buy and giving his opinions. When it would happen that only me and him would go shopping, MJ would just shop for himself wanting my opinion in everything he bought yet he would never go into a store with me when I wanted to buy something, saying it was boring.

I started to dislike Samael, yet I liked him too cause he bought sanity into my life. I was confused about so many things in life. MJ would come and thank me so much if I allowed him to see his boys or go see his parents, as though I was the terror in his life. I started to hate everyone he would see cause I was blaming everyone for this drastic change in him. So I hated him going out without me to see his boys, it was something I fought him everyday. Once Samael got a girlfriend and started to include her in all our outings MJ started to not fight me anymore to spend time with the boys without me, to leave me alone. The minute Samael girlfriend would travel, MJ would start the fights all over again. If I wanted to go out for coffee with him he would refuse, and after I would cry out with frustration at my life he would take me and punish me with a brick load of criticism. If I wanted to go out for dinner he would also say no to that, and tell me lies for excuses that he was too tired or we didn’t have enough money, or that we need to eat at home like a proper couple, but then the second Samael would call to make dinner plans, he would rush me to get dressed and we would be out of the house in a blink of an eye.

–        I drank my coffee too slow that is why he hated to go out for coffee with me

–        I ate too much unhealthy food therefore I am gaining weight

–        I am not a good wife cause I don’t go grocery shopping I don’t know what to buy

I should be able to make him feel at home. So I should try to cook something

He daily hated that I don’t cook, it was not a surprise to him that I don’t, he knew this all along. so one day, in hopes that my lack of cooking was the reason for all his cruelty I spend half my work day asking from recipes from my colleagues at work (all men). I also called my married friends back in Cairo so I can get some feedback on how to make a husband happy, and they told me to dress sexy as I serve the dinner with music in the house and candles. I left work early, went home, took a shower, put on a sexy outfit I bought as per his request of sexiness and started to cook with music blaring in the house. A note to all, I LOVE music my whole soul is a song, but I was hardly ever allowed to have music in the house cause he wanted to watch TV and I was acting like a child by listening to music. So anyway I made a nice past dish with basil and garlic, something simple since I was also at work and didn’t have time to try other things out. The door opens, and all my hopes are alive for a brand new life cause I started to cook. The main entrance door was facing the kitchen, so he saw me, said “hi baby girl” and walked in to the room to change his clothes. I had prepared our dining table for our romantic dinner, I ran out and put some budah bar for a better atmosphere and ran back in the kitchen to serve the meal. I walk out into the living room and he is sitting there on the couch, not a word about how I look, about to switch on the tv as he was switching off the music. I turn to him “stop, leave the music alone, keep the tv switched off , I cooked for you” I smile so broadly in anticipation of a complement. He walks towards me, looks at my outfit “so you dressed in sexy outfit for me hmmmmm, but I am not in the mood baby girl” he then tells me that we should eat in front of the TV as always, he is tired from work. I am extremely mad at that point, what was wrong with this man? I put the food on the center table of our tv room, I switch of the music and I am bursting with anger inside, yet still determined to make this a good evening. He starts to blame me for wanting to control him all the time, even when he wants to eat I have to make him eat the way I want him to eat, that I am selfish only thinking of myself not understanding that he is a person that needs to eat the way he wants to in front of the tv. I blame myself again for being selfish, and put the past on his plate with the basil sauce I did. He then gets off the couch, goes into the kitchen and I hear plates and things moving around. I follow him, and find him opening a tuna can, pouring it into a bowl as he cut up a lemon and squeezed it on top of it. He walks out, caresses my cheeks, kisses my lips and moves towards the couch. All this I am walking behind him watching not understanding yet what he was doing. He takes the fork I placed on the center table and starts to eat his tuna.

For unknown reasons and unexpected occasions, especially fun ones such as us heading out to dinner with friends, or in the middle of a night out where i am dancing and he is watching me, he would always tell me “baby girl, if you ever want to leave me, then I want you to know that you can. The longest it ever took me to get over a girl was a day” and he would click his fingers together to show me the speed in which he would forget about hose other girls “ but with you my one and only It would take me a week to get over you cause you are the love of my life. I had never fallen in love this way before, so you would get a whole week”. I would never understand what he was talking about, and so I would get so emotional after that statement assuming he feel so insure with me cause I was so unhappy for reasons he didn’t know. In addition, those words would make me feel so undesirable, in a way he was trying to make me feel that the impact I had in his life was only worth of a week of pain for loosing me. MJ was good at that, at saying all the wrong things with all the right moves and tone of voice. So I thought I was going mad most of the time.

Not long after all that was happening I broke down and left to Cairo to see my family and friends. He begged me to stay and not leave, but there was nothing he could have said and done I was burnt out and I was confused.

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About Rana Zaben
I help people feel their best and create a solid second income to enjoy the best things in life.

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