ZULAIHAT__ THE MISTRESS OF MY SOUL | By: BARR JAAFAR IBRAHIM | | Category: Short Story - Lost Love Bookmark and Share



1978 was a year that will change my life forever, sitting outside on one summer's day a flash of beauty just passed me by her name was Zulaihat, now this was love at first sight, gasping for breath I tried to get control of myself. This moment was going to change my life forever.

From the moment I looked into her eyes, I knew she is the one, the one I would spend the rest of my life with, until my time was done.

I was lucky enough to hear her saying she would attend a symposium at a university collage. I at the time was ecstatic as my only wish is that, she would hopefully be there. I remembered we met at the symposium and I could not stop keeping my eyes off her. I approached her with heavy heart, she smiled at me and listened to me attentively, from that time I knew I was the most successful man in the world.

The evening is the most romantic as I start talking to her and hold her hands. She gives in and we hold hands. This was the beloved and softest hands I have ever held in my life. We walked around holding hands very discreetly, my heart pounding away as I have never felt like this for anyone in my life; I was shocked at the way my heart was pounding. This was the first time I had all these emotions, just new to me.

This was the night where the grass was green; this was the night where the moon lit so bright. This was the night of discovery. The night of recovery... This was the night of a new love the night where we became one. I could not eat, sleep or do anything without thoughts of her on my mind. This was the start of a relationship that would last for eternity.

I got home all flushed, excited, and as if I was walking in the world of dream not knowing what was actually happening to me, I asked is this love? What is this? Oh God help me make sense of what is going on in my heart. My parents asked me if I was sick or were something wrong as I was too occupied with her on my mind and not saying much.

We spent days and nights on the phone even sleeping on the phone, this love far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Within 5 months my parents moved near her family which took me miles away from my sweetheart.

We got to live near some of her family which I got to know very well and spent a lot of time around them. Everything between her family seems perfect as could be. We by now have been going out for 3 years the love just got stronger with every day.

Our long distance relationship went on for years with me visiting her on every opportunity I received. The feeling of being loved and giving her every attention I could give from my body, heart and soul, makes us one to the extent that being apart anytime was something neither she nor I could handle anymore. Well she and I both decided that it was time we spoke to the family as they knew me so well over the years and there really should be no problems if my parents asked for her hand in marriage. I was lucky as my parents were very liberal so it was much easier for me to talk to them.

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We have a family meeting with my parents and my sister made my intentions known and I confess my love for the girl I love and I asked them to please ask her parents for her hand in marriage. Her dad passed away so her uncles and mother needed to be consulted, this is the cultural way of how things should be done.

My parents set up a meeting with her family and I have been asked to be present at the discussion. The day comes when we go and ask for her hand in marriage. I feel a very uncomfortable and nervous when we entered Zulaihatís house. We took seat and great everyone, as we are all familiar with each other. One of her uncle's is an Accountant and he asks me a few questions. General questions which I answered to the best of my ability.

I start to sense or get the feeling that somehow things have changed overnight; they were asking me questions as if they never knew me. It was a scary feeling.

One of the questions was how I would look after his niece as I have no qualifications because I have left school early to help my dad when he got ill. My dad and I both suggested that he has a business and I would run that business which eventually I would inherit. He did not seem very impressed with that answer. He said to me, he has high hopes for his niece he would prefer someone more professional and with some qualifications someone like a Doctor or Lawyer even an Accountant. What a bad thought of him!Would qualifications become an obstacle to my ultimate desire? O God have mercy on me! To him businessman or self-employed was not very professional in his eyes.

At this point being young and naive I was getting very upset. I kept my cool and listen carefully to everything they had to say. By this time I realized that her family did not approve of me. He went on to say to me that without a profession or a degree life would be very difficult for me to marry Zulaihat. I even offered to study thinking this would please him. But how could I go for study now, who could take care of my parent. Am I leaving my parents to go for study so that I can save my love? Oh which one, my parents or my love? Certainly I am not going to have the woman I love more than life.

The normal situation when you ask someone's hand in marriage they have a few days to come back to you. So we were told they will let us know. A few days later they came out with an excuse that his niece was too young. My parents comforted and persuaded me saying they have done the best they could do and can't really do anything more. I could not handle this so we both decide we will not allow the families to break up the love we share.

Zulaihat now lived 700km away from her family with her mum and 3 sisters. We carried on our secret relationship yet again knowing the family won't approve of us, we both could just not let go. Being that far away I had met a friend where I live by the Name Lubna, Lubna and I got very close as she was there for me to talk too. I had many moments where I used to feel so useless and speak to Lubna about my inner feelings.

Zulaihat has a friend who is getting married and she was invited to the wedding. Her friends and I have met at the ceremony as such got opportunity to talk to her and share our thoughts of how to deal with the families. I love her so much yet her family canít see
that. Well shocking to me I heard from her that the following day her family had arranged and allowed someone to come and ask for her hand in marriage. Hearing this just drove me insane, these same people who said she was too young to get married; now all of a sudden she would be engaged and married to someone. This just confirmed to me these people where money hungry, who were looking for their own benefit than cared anything about how Zulaihat and I felt.

Zulaihat cried and said to me if I go home tomorrow they are going to marry me off to someone else. She and I discussed the best thing to do was to elope and get married that way no-one will ever keep us apart. Well we got into the vehicle and we went to a family member of mine and tell them our predicament, they suggested that Zulaihatís calls home and let her mum know she is with me and not coming back home. We also make our intentions known that we intend to get married.

My parents get very upset with me as they told me this is not the right way to do things. My uncles and most of my family by now get involved in this love triangle. Most of them felt I am bringing a very bad name to the family and should not get married like this, they all promise me they will get us married but I need to do it in the correct manner. I asked what the correct manner is, as I have been down that way and they want to marry her off to someone else. After some pressure from my parents I agreed .This was going to be another memorable chapter.

We arrange a meeting with her family to hand her back and arrange an engagement the following week. At this meeting I had my mum's brother representing me and her uncles came there to take her back and discuss things. I noticed the moment I walked into the room my so called uncle was not there to represent me. I sat there in what supposed to be a discussion on our engagement, but I only get blasted at how I kidnapped Zulaihat and being brought down to feel like the worst person, by this time I could not even look at Zulaihat. I remain silent and watch the love of my life being taken away yet again.

I suspected that I have made the mistake of not getting married while I could as now it's going to be even more difficult, still I would not give up hope and said well next week they promised to have us engaged.

Zulaihat gone back to her family all I had was hope so I went back home, when I got home things got even worse, her family had no intentions of ever getting us married. As soon as she got home she was banned from leaving the house or even answering the phone, she was given the hiding of her life. I have failed my love yet again, I would sit up at night talk to Zulaihat in my mind apologizing to her because I have failed her yet again, I am supposed to have protected my love and I canít even do that.

Her family was not done with me on a Friday they get hold of me, they beat, assaulted and bundled me into the booth of the car. I only got left alone when more people came around the car. The next day I had a Policeman come to my house with a charge of kidnapping Zulaihat.††††† I was taken to the police station. Her uncle and the chief police officer threat me and said that that if I don't leave Zulaihat alone they would deal with me harshly.

On my released from the police custody, I received unexpected letter from Zulaihat that I should not give up, and she is ready to die with me, so that we shall be the couple of the heaven. This was a turning point for me. I have failed my love and decided to abandon her for me and my parent to get peace of mind. I could not stand that pressure.

Lubna and I got closer as I would tell her my most inner thoughts and how confused I am in the direction I should take. I told her how much I love Zulaihat and canít stand the pain. Despite the hottest tears coming down from the cheeks of Zulaihat, I turn her down and changed my mind. I went to the extent of creating lies against her, saying now she is in love with the big guy in her school. Shame to me! I did that because I want have peace of mind, and she too may leave me.

Jokingly I say to Lubna, hey Lubna if we hook up maybe Zulaihat would forget me and move on to a better life. Lubna laughs and says yeah why not; feeling totally heartbroken and dying for a hug I put my arms around Lubna for some comfort, well that just lead to Lubna and me kissing. I work up in the morning hating myself, I was going insane, by now I had felt terrible. Lubna and I had a talk the following day where I apologized for my outburst. I told Lubna I love Zulaihat very much and what happened between me and Lubna shouldn't have
happened. I started hating myself as well because I have betrayed Zulaihat. I lie against her.

Lubna and I discussed about Zulaihat and I made it clear to her that I could never love anyone as much as I love Zulaihat also that if Zulaihat ever needed me I would be there for her. Lubna finds out she is pregnant this I read as a sign to let Zulaihat move on with
her life, I explain to Lubna my feelings for Zulaihat and we discussed to handle our situation.

Lubna and I get married on the 1st of April 2000, by now we are expecting our 1st child. I do my best to move forward on a life that will make it easier for Zulaihat to get on with hers, I hoped she would by now hate me so much to at least find someone who would not fail her as much as I did.

Zulaihat was sent away to keep us out of reach of each other; I thought this would also help her make a life. My love for her was so deep being married I would go to bed every night thinking and hoping she was ok, Lubna knew how I felt, I at this time and Lubna was very patient with me. I felt I have hurt so many people around me including Lubna, I was totally lost ,Lubna would hug me every night and say to me time heals old wounds, I got to realize as well that Lubna actually had fallen in love with me.

I was not sure if Zulaihat's life got better as in society she would have to keep the relationship she and I shared a secret, if anyone knew very few with marry her. I still felt although I am trying to help her I have stained her life forever.

Zulaihat gets married I heard about it and with tears in my eyes I break down, I miss her so much I still love her eventually. I get to grips and realize I should be happy for her as I say to myself sweetheart at least your life is going to start, our love we share will be ours forever. Zulaihat's husband is a man not even I could stand up, she truly got the best. Her family allowed this marriage purely as a factor anyone but me is now good enough all their talk of profession went out the window.


Zulaihat__ The Mistress of my soul !

Mistress of my soul,

Are we part,

Give, oh, give me back my heart,

Or since that has left my breast,

Keep it now, and take the rest,

Hear my vow, before I left,

I must come, yes, come I must,

To catch a glimpse that could last,

And once more, glow at your beautiful face,

Before I go out of the door as in race,

The door you opened out for me else to mess,

You must your own story say,

Kiss my hand and fly away,

Your forehead I shall also kiss in case

I bow out in rake

You must hear my story tell,

Can I cease to love you? No!

But yes, you proved me wrong.††††††††††††††††††††

Time has been going and the saying time heals old wounds. I have been trying my best to contact her, I just needed to hear her voice and tell her I am sorry for everything I have put her threw. After some searching I managed to get a phone number. I phone her to check how she is doing.

Hearing her voice gave me goose bumps, trying that she does not hear the frog in my throat and the tears in my eyes I asked her how she is doing and Apologize for my failures. I can hear in her voice, the love we share is burning bright in her heart. She tries to hide her feelings for me and I do the same, we always managed to think for each other so well. She would always know what I was thinking. We started to talk to each other every now and again.

Zulaihat was pregnant now that was great news amazing, you would think I was the father I was so happy for her. Her life for once now is going in the right direction. We have kept contact all this time yet we have been apart for Twenty years. I still feel her love in my heart I guess I only look forward to everyday that comes just in case I get a glimpse of my sweetheart. My love for Zulaihat is unconditional I will love her until my last breath. I do my best to be a good husband to my wife and I also feel guilty for my failures and misgivings.

Lubna and I are still married. I took oaths 100 times that I will only live my matrimonial life under monogamy marriage, that Lubna would only be my wife for better and for worst. I tried to be a good husband for her. By now she and I have 2 kids, my daughter aged 16 and a son aged 12. I have grown to also Love Lubna in a very different way; she has been by my side all this time. I laugh, I joke I put on a front that everyone accepts my life as they see it perfect in others eyes.

The death of Zulaihatís husband and her uncle is the third chapter in my life; would I break my oath to marry Zulaihat? Would Lubna not feel offended? Would Zulaihat forgive me and marry me? I was confused I live my life everyday with pain, agony and live purely as a son to my Parents, Father to my children and a Husband to my wife and a Failure to the one I Love the most. Please what would your advice be?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bar. Jaíafar Ibrahim

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 10th Dec 2009

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