Destination Gauntanamo Bay

Rahim 5

I felt like a school boy having his first crush. The wedding was tomorrow and I couldn’t wait to be holding Salma in my arms. I thanked Allah for sending me an amazing woman. The little we had spoke to were some of the best conversations I’ve ever had. 

Yesterday while I was at her house she brought up the Guantanamo Bay issue and asked me if I think it will it be closed down despite the massive human rights violations that take place there daily. 

Her question turned into a full blown discussion and we spoke about some of the remaining inmates about how they were never charged or found guilty of anything to begin with.  

I disagreed with her about their innocence because the conspiracy theorists were always saying this kind of stuff. Then she showed me a documentary about a journalist who was captured and handed over to the Americans for bounty while covering a story in Pakistan. His family only found out where he was after 3 years and his kids hadn’t seen him in the 14 years it took to get him released. 

Before we knew it the Imam was already telling me it was getting late, hinting that I should get going in his very polite style.  

I decided to walk for a bit, the cold air was crisp and the silence felt good. I replayed Salma’s words and thought about the thousands of men who have been held in underground prisons and black sites the world over and those who had just vanished for years like doctor Aafia Siddique. 

I wondered what goes through a persons mind when they’re treated so inhumanly and tortured in ways humans should never be experimented upon. Yet somehow these brave people find a way to hold on to their faith and I was surprised when Salma told me how many of these prisoners memorised the Quran. 

I guess faith gives you a reason to keep fighting an reminds you that God has a plan beyond anything we can imagine. For a moment I felt like I was being watched but when I turned around, the street was empty and I was all alone. 

After a few more blocks I hailed a cab to the hotel, went to check up on my folks told them everything I had learnt about the prisoners at Guantanamo bay. My mother, who doesn’t have a filter, told me that if I didn’t make time to speak to her before the wedding, I’d wish I was in prison once she was done with me.

So I told her to go ahead, she had my undivided attention. She told me that in a few days I’s be married and my life would change in many ways. I prayed that I wasn’t getting the ‘sex talk’. In the indian community talking about sex is taboo and we get our information from movies, magazines and friends. Luckily she had another topic in mind. She spoke about my duties as a husband and our duties as a family towards Salma and how I would always have their support. She told me how she came to South Africa to marry my father , who she had never met. She told me how my granny ill-treated her and then she asked me to let her know if Salama ever complained about being treated badly by her. My dad was stunned and dropped the remote because it’s common knowledge that mum was quite hard on my brother’s wife when they lived with us.

I couldn’t fall asleep that night, so I sat there staring  at my phone like a love sick puppy, typing and retying a text to Salma.

Me:  I know you wanted to cut all communication until the Nikha but I just want you to know that I’m ecstatic that you agreed to marry me and I can’t wait for us to be one unit inshallah. 

Salma:  lol why aren’t you asleep? Why didn’t you tell me you were part of ISIS? Just heard about the whole restaurant drama. Luqmaan’s wife feels terrible about it. And yes I’m super glad that Allah has entertained our destinies. Somehow, a continent away you had dreamt of me and I of you and our faith has united us.

I sat there thinking how on earth do I reply this! I felt so inadequate , she was so eloquent. So I did what any guy I would and googled ‘romantic quotes’.

Sadly none of them sounded right

So I replied: nice meeting you salaams. 

Wow that was lame, now she’s going to think I am the least romantic man on earth.  I sat there staring at my phone willing it to unsend that text. Apple has a zillion apps but nothing to unsend a disastrous text! 

And then Salma replied…

Salma:  hahaha you funny I like that. Thanks for the chat. I have some serious things to do like choose the right cupcakes for the tea table because the human race depends on it.  Take care my future husband. PS: nice meeting you too. 

I closed my eyes and tried to picture my wedding and hoping that everything would be perfect for my Queen. I closed my eyes and dreamt of Salma. 

by mumtaz saley


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