Apr 28, 2013


By Alawiya Abdalla

Next Chapter



I knew the moment I met Salwa at the charity event last year, that she was the one. As much as it sounds so corny and pathetic, I was instantly attracted to her physically

She was beautiful.
The first thing I noticed about her was her blue eyes, I did not even notice that they were lenses or I did not care to be honest. I just thought that they were very attractive and mesmerizing

She was wearing a sparkly black Abaya clinging to her womanly body and a matching sparkly hijab, with some hair showing at the front. But I did not care about that, all I knew was in that moment I was determined not to let Salwa out of my life

I have dated TONS of ladies before, but none of them were as pretty as Salwa. I keep talking about how pretty Salwa is, because unfortunately that is the ONLY reason I insisted on marrying her
How was I supposed to know what lay ahead? How was I supposed to know that I would pay severely for my stupidity

Like I said before I have dated tons of women, but none of them made me want to commit any kind of haram. In other words. It was just a casual friendship with them, despite what everyone else thinks of me
I know, I know. There is no smoke without fire and all that, but I could not help myself

But everything changed with Salwa, I could not get her off my mind from the minute I met her. You see I was lying on the floor after I twisted my ankle from cashing this other girl
I seem like such an pompous fool right now, but that was how I was I see a girl I like, I go after her and the rest is history

While I was going after this girl, my ankle twisted and pain seared through me like wild fire in a forest
I am CONVINCED it was Ahmed’s Duaa, that brought on this unfortunate incident
I remember the EXACT words

“May Allah curse you if you go after her”

I did not really think much of it, because I am not a religious guy. Hard to admit, but honesty is one of the things I can proudly say I possess__and charm__Not trying to be big headed or anything but people said so.
It kind of got to my head a little bit; the more they say how charming I am the more I act up to the role

Ibrahim____A charming bloke.

Even that lady from Facebook said so Well, we are all assuming she is a lady but she could well turn out to be a man
You just never know these days

I say it just to wind up Ahmed, but as time passes by and no one knowing the identity of the person writing these stuff we are all starting to wonder who she really is
My mind goes back to the day I met Salwa
She was just WOW, and she was there helping me get up from the floor when Habiba/ Khadija just LEFT without even a single word__
Well not really, but she just LEFT me there stranding in the middle of nowhere__

Well not really, but What IF I was stranded in the middle of nowhere? What IF, THAT IS what I am talking about!

Not my Salwa though She offered me her hand and there was fireworks all over the place.
I just KNEW she was the one. After we exchanged numbers, we started texting, BBMING and Facebooking STRAIGHTAWAY.

Well, she was constantly on my mind and the more she seemed hard to get the more I wanted her.
It was pure physical attraction, and I knew that if I started feeling this way then Shaytan will come between us
So I decided to do the right thing and ask her hand in marriage, even though we only knew each other for 3 months back then.

But I really thought I was doing the right thing, even when her family kept making insane demands when me and my family proposed I did not care.
If Salwa’s parents want her to be held on a Morrocan style chair by 4 giant men as she walks down the isle, then she would get it__
I did not care__

I did not care about the cost, I did not care how Ahmed would get the extra money! I JUST wanted to marry Salwa and that was it

At that point, I basically fell head over heals in love with her. If she orders me to jump, I jump
And THAT was the downfall of Ibrahim Abdalla
I was so in love with her that I did not notice the little things she did, which resulted in my downfall as a man.
Yes you heard it, I became a shell of a man__

Ladies and gentlemen, my wife was emailing her ex via Facebook and I pretended I knew nothing about it.
I mean we have only been married for a month, and I am a cool liberal bloke. I was OK with it__
Except, I was totally not OK with it
What is she DOING asking about her ex when I am literally giving her my soul?? What more could a girl want?
I never ask her to cook for me, I actually used to cook my OWN breakfast. Even though my mum spoilt me and my brothers AND sister rotten.

But I did it for her, I__ Ibrahim Abdalla went into the kitchen and cooked breakfast__
FOR HIMSELF PEOPLE!!! And lunch was in my mum’s house everyday, by myself
Was that enough for her? No! She was always moody, and she would drag my rights as her husband for DAYS

I have a headache__
I want to sleep__
I just came from the hairdressers

And the award winner for the best excuse was
I simply cannot be bothered
I do not know why, but THAT stung the most. The fact that she cannot be bothered? WOW, my ego was seriously bruised.

After that, I stopped pestering her hoping that she would come to ME for a change but it never happened
Infact, her messaging on her Blackberry got worse. And I snooped and knew what she was up to, and I did not do anything.
I made excuses for her. Maybe she was not used to me, Maybe we got married so fast and she felt suffocated.

Maybe, maybe and some more maybes

I was truly pathetic really, but I did not wanna face up to the reality that I might have to divorce her when we have only been married for a month
So I stuck with her, and she resented me more and more everyday. My family had started to notice as well, but they did not want to ask.

So they pretended everything was normal as well, until___

One day Mohamed came for a visit with Khadija who was pregnant with the twins at the time, and they seemed giddy.
“Asalamu Alykum everyone, how are you my dear family?” Mohamed greets the whole family, who were gathered around the living room watching some Turkish Soap Opera on MBC
Sometimes I find myself envying Mohamed’s life with Khadija
Mashallah their whole life is based on mutual trust and simplicity, which is the key to their happiness. Their wedding was done in Dada Fawziyah’s house.

Mohamed and my mum Halima kept insisting that they would give Khadija the wedding of her dreams after what she went through, but she refused and insisted on having her wedding day in the house.
She suggested that instead of spending the money on a wedding party that everyone will criticize about anyway, Mohamed should take his wedding money and open a shop selling Somali food and stuff.

Obviously they decided to live with Dada Fawziyah, and they could not be happier Mashallah

I feel so foolish for spending all that money on my wedding day! The hall itself was £9000, and that was only the hall!!
Allah knows how much the other stuff cost?? I feel so so so dumb. And all that for what? A wife who cannot be bothered to be with me??
I just do not understand it, we were OK during the engagement! Where did it all go wrong?

Come to think of it, she always had that little bit of distance with me. I thought it meant that she was nervous, or she was just building a wall until we marry.
I thought that the wall would be gone by now, I mean we are meant to trust each other enough not to have these huge awkwardness between us

I am very confused and heartbroken Wallah, I do not know what to do with myself. I even lost my funny man, I am a totally boring man right now


“Hellooooo? A penny for your thoughts!” Says Mohamed teasingly
“Nothing, just woolgathering that’s all. How are you and Khadija handling the fact that you’re gonna have twins?” I ask him, hoping that hearing how happy he is at the prospect of being a father will make me forget that I might possibly never have kids of my own for a very long time
“Oh it is amazing for me, not so much for her” He whispers it, looking towards Khadija to see if she heard.
“I HEARD THAT” Yells Khadija from across the room.
“Hormones all over the place, isn’t it sweety?” He states it cheerfully, before adding “I miss my old sweet Khadija, this one is a beast I tell ya bro” in a low voice of course

“May Allah protect you both from the evil eye” I say it with a dash of sadness unintentionally
“Ibrahim, can I speak to you in private?” Asks Mohamed suddenly
“Yeah sure” I rise to go to our room, that we shared with Ahmed before we got married.

“I HEARD THAT” Yells Khadija from across the room___________Again

“Of course you did! Your hearing is somewhat phenomenal during this pregnancy isn’t it just” Says Mohamed, rolling his eyes in confusion.
“Are you trying to say I’m fat?” Asks Khadija in frustration, trying to get herself off the sofa.
“Khadija, calm down hunni. We know twins can set off all kinds of emotions right now, but you need to just relax” My mum rescues Mohamed from a near death experience “Now now hunni, No your legs don’t resemble a beached whale” She takes Khadija in a motherly embrace, and we slip out quietly

We go in the room and we close the door behind us
“What’s up? But hang on, that was crazy!! Did Khadija change THAT much after marriage?” I ask him curiously, hoping that it is the same with all women and that this is how they really are.
“Nah man, I allow her these moments. She’s pregnant with twins, of course she’s gonna feel teary and agitated all the time. Especially on her 7th month. She would give her life to me otherwise, just not now. Now, she’ll cook me for breakfast” He replies, and I feel like a dagger went through my heart upon hearing how much they love each other.

And the fact that she LOVES him back

“Ibrahim. I’m not gonna beat around the bush here, I’m just gonna come out with it. I saw your wife kissing someone today” He tells me gravely.
I say nothing, I just manage to let my body fall on my old bed
“She was in Wood Green Shopping centre with some guy, and she was kissing him waiting to enter the cinema. Khadija was gonna see her, but I had to act fast and pull her out of the way. And that’s why she’s in a mood with me” Mohamed continues to twist the dagger deeper into my heart with that information
“Alhamdulilah Ahmed didn’t see her, OR Khadija as a matter of fact. But I had to tell you bro, your wife is cheating on you” He comes closer to put his hands on my shoulder.

I say nothing, what do I say to that???
I knew she was talking to him online, but KISSING him?? Ya Rabbi, what am I gonna do now?
How am I gonna control myself when I see her
I HAVE to see her, and DEMAND answers. I have had ENOUGH of this nonsense___

“Ibrahim. Don’t do anything stupid please bro.” Was the last words I heard, before I dashed like a mad man to my house.

I should have done this AGES ago. I should have confronted her there and then, when I saw those messages between her and her ex
“I miss you very much, even though you’re married I still can’t help my heart from missing you” Was one of the pathetic messages I was faced with everyday
She was very naive to leave her Facebook open one day, I guess she was in a rush or something.

But I saw them___

I saw the incriminating messages, and I did nothing.
Now it is different, she is playing with my honor PUBLICLY. Now I NEED to do something.
I did not even know how I was driving, but I got home. And as usual, she was on Facebook
“Get off” I say it furiously, grabbing her by the arm.

“IBRAHIM! YOU’RE HURTING ME!!!” She panics, yanking her hand away from my grasp.

“WHY??” I bark the question like a mad man.

“Why what?? Have you gone mad finally?” She asks me, visibly scared from my outburst.

“Do you think I don’t know who you talking to online everyday? I let you do that, thinking to myself she’ll have a conscious and stop it at SOME point. But KISSING him publicly, Naaaah allowww that” I say the words, feeling my hands forming a fist

I have never been this angry before, and I pray to Allah that I do not hit her.
“You saw us??” She asks, covering her mouth in shock

“No my BROTHER saw you. Tell me one thing, am I THAT disgusting that you had to go find someone else?? All I ever did was love you!!” I say it, with so much hurt that I feel incredibly surprised that I am still able to restrain myself from ripping her apart.

“WELL I DON’T LOVE YOU. I WAS FORCED BY MUM TO MARRY YOU, All I did was help you off the floor and next thing I know you were HOUNDING me with proposals. My MUM FORCED MEEEE” She throws her hand on her head in despair.

I say nothing___


I seem to have developed some kind of speech problems during this marriage

She was FORCED to marry me?? Now everything slots into place!!!
The fact that she was very distant from me in the beginning. And even further away after marriage!!!
Everything pathetic little detail fits into place

How have I not noticed this? Have I been too confident to notice? Me, Ibrahim Abdalla who has any girl swooning over him did not notice that his wife would rather be anywhere but with him__
If my heart was not literally been ripped apart, I would have found this whole thing HILARIOUS
But it is not, and I am left with the one thing I should have done AGES ago__

“You’re divorced Salwa”

I said it, and I let her go quietly. After all, no one apart from my brother saw her__
So there would no major scandal! Just a very bruised heart in my soul

That was 3 years ago__

I am now a Math teacher at Bell Lane School in Hendon, and I am trying to move on from my life. I have always wanted to be a teacher and now, away from any Barawani woman I can finally concentrate on my ambition.


One word__


I am 28 years old now, and I am DYING to have a baby. And that is why I abandoned my Hair and Beauty course, and did teaching assistant course instead.

I want babies so bad, that I have decided that until I get one of my own I will work with them instead
“Aww look at them chubby cheeks” I swoon every time I see a baby

I HAVE to find a husband, ANY HUSBAND WILL DO__
I just want a baby.

But right now at my first day in Bell Lane School in Hendon, I can look after these kids as if they were my own
I will be THE best assistant teacher EVER there was__
I just know it

But I am kind of petrified :dizzy: I hate the initial awkwardness of “Hi I'm the new girl”
My stomach is actually doing flip flops here :sick:
I make my way to the class I am supposed to be at. I am assigned to work with an autistic child. His name is Saeed Yusuf, and he is Barawani as well. I guess that’s why they chose ME to work with him?
I have no idea what to expect, I mean I read his file last night and now I am feeling anxious

Maskeen the boy does not talk at all, he has severe speech problems so the teacher will give me activities to help him with that. He also has a repetitive pattern, and if by any chance it got disrupted he gets quite agitated and anxious.
I know it is gonna be tough and difficult at first, but I am hoping I can at least help the boy say one word by the end of it.

Inshallah, I am quite hopeful

Actually I am ALWAYS hopeful, if my surname was not Sufi it would have been Hopeful I am sure
Everyone makes fun of me for being very optimistic, I mean the world could DO with a bit of optimism do you not think
My mind jolts back to reality when I arrive at the class, I was greeted by the English teacher and she showed me the boy and I could immediately see what the description meant.

The boy is sitting in a corner quietly talking randomly to himself. I go and approach him, careful not to disturb his tranquil moment
He does not make any eye contact, which is normal for autistic children. And he only acknowledges me by bringing his toy closer to me, which is a good sign

I ask him about what he is doing, and he does not reply. But I am happy that he stopped what he was doing when I asked him the question.
That means he was comprehending what I was saying, Inshallah this should be an easy task__
I mean it is not going to be easy, but how rewarding would it be to see him say SOMETHING at the end of it

The English teacher comes over to check on us at the end of the lesson, and I tell her about how it went.
It was lunch break when I handed Saeed over to another learning support teacher, until I finish eating my food. I was munching away happily, when I remind myself to go over to Asha’s house for our weekly meetings.
I chuckle at the thought of our meetings

You see, Asha and me are 28 years old now and we have regular meetings to encourage each other to stay strong in the face of___
How do I say it without feeling STABS of pain going through me?
Yes I know, we encourage each other to stay strong in the face of SPINSTER HOOD

There I said it, I mean what other word can you use to describe it? Getting older in age? The age where the train is going really fast, you cannot possibly take your time to read a book because apparently it moves at 100 miles per hour?
Or perhaps, the age where the clock is ticking REALLY loudly reminding you that “You have GOT to find someone soon girl! How about that nice young chap who JUST broke his voice?”

It all comes down to that degrading word used to describe what I just said__

Spinster hood

I could KILL whoever came up with the word! And not only that, the age seems to be lowered every ten years? or is it every 100 years?
Nope, it is every year mate

Nowadays you see girls as young as 20 saying “Na ah, I don’t wanna miss the train mate” And you think to yourself, HELLOOOOO WHAT ABOUT ME?? Should I hang myself then
It is bad enough that we do not have proposals, why add salt to injury and remind us about it!!

Alhamdulilah, I look at myself in the mirror and I see someone who is kinda alright looking you know
Yes, I am no snow white but my caramel complexion is nice as far as I am concerned
And my height might be a little bit taller than the norm, but that does not mean that there are NO 5’5 inches tall Barawani men who might be interested in me!!

I do not even want a Barawani man anymore ANYWAY, if they are not interested in my black eyes, AVERAGE height and my love of books then I__Jawahir Sufi do not want THEM

Being one of 4 sisters does not help matters either I loooove my sisters to death, and if they were not so kind I would have found this whole “who’s the prettiest of them all” an intolerable experience.
They all have something unique that makes them stand out in our community. Me on the other hand have always been a question mark to them

Like what is she? Is she the white one? Nope__Is she the pretty one? WELL IN MY OPINION I AM but in their opinion, Nope.
I am the one who is head is stuck in a book, and I am PROUD baby
But to the Barawani mamas, I am just a nerd.

A question mark___

They never take the time to figure me out, and I am as sure as light will not make myself cheap to them
But this need to have a kid of my own is tearing me apart

Everytime I see a woman pushing a buggy, my heart rips. I have decided that I will HAVE to find a husband soon, and if the Barawani mamas do not want a very interestingly funny girl for their sons then I will have to explore my options elsewhere__
In a worst case scenario, I can always go for what my aunty suggested__

Naaaah I do not think so man, I am NOT taking Mr I have just broken my voice______________________Yesterday

Inshallah this plan of mine will roll into motion very soon Actually, it has been rolling for quite sometime now but I am a bit confused about whether it is a safe way to know someone or not
As I was going through all this in my head, a voice brings me back to reality.

“Jawahir??? WHAT are you doing here?” Asks Mr voice
On a closer view, the voice belongs to IBRAHIM???

What is HE doing here?? OH MAAAAN, NOT HIM!!

You see I had this HUGE crush on Ibrahim (Asha’s brother) for as long as I remember. I sooo got over him, when he married though.
I mean watching someone you are infatuated with, marry someone else is like really bad__Really really bad
Talk about brutally stabbing someone in the heart! It is like someone opening your chest and digging a knife in and then twisting some more and then chopping it up to pieces and THEN serving it up as Shurba (Soup)

YUCK I know, but that is exactly how I felt at Ibrahim’s wedding

But I am so over it now, like what was that about? I am like totally cool bruv


If only he was not staring with those long lashes angrily at me, ufff go away__They all have it, them Abdalla brothers__The famous “long lashes”
“I should ask you the same don’t you think?” I reply nonchalantly, like totally cool bruv (I know, so not cool when a 28 year old says it, but I feel cool man)
“You are a teacher now? Or did you apply to work here when you found out I was working here?” Asks arrogant Mr voice__I mean Ibrahim

“You’re kidding right? You still think highly of yourself I see. Well, guess what? I. Do. Not. Care. I'm here as a teaching assistant, and I couldn't care less what you do with your life Ibrahim. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have IMPORTANT stuff to attend to. Good day” I storm out of the room proudly, and in a dignified walk__until
I get to the corridor, and I start skipping happily and sticking my tongue out towards the staff room__Actually I look like a moron but WHO CARES
I totally blew him off, I would have never been able to do that before I would have been a stuttering mess as usual.

But not this time! And who does he think he is? PAH, I applied to work here because I found out HE was working here?

Forget about it (In a New York accent)__
Plus I have a secret__
Come closer because I do not want anyone to know about this OK

You know how I said there is this plan that has been rolling for a while? I kinda lied
I am practically engaged you know

I think?
Or not

I have no clue to be honest___but it IS looking promising INSHALLAH

Ibrahim who


I so cannot wait to introduce you to my___

Oh well you will have to wait until next time to find out WHAT I'm talking about
It is a secret yeah, don’t tell ANYONE

I'd love to hear your views on my short story. Please post in the comments section below! :)


MashaAllah, you have a good story going. I really enjoyed the beginning and can see that the plot has a lot of potential. A couple of suggestions, though, if I may...I'm studying Creative Writing in college and just took a fiction writing class last semester so I thought I'd offer you a few pointers. Firstly, it's great that you introduced the main characters (with names) at the beginning instead of leaving readers guessing as to who they were. Secondly, since this is a short story, you want to make sure that you tell us of Ibrahim's motivation and past a bit more in your next update. If this were a novel, then you could give us tidbits throughout the story, but as this is a short story, the plot should move quickly. Also, don't "tell" readers what's happening, "show" them. For example, near the end of this passage, you wrote "I storm out of the room proudly, and in a dignified walk..." What is a dignified walk? Shoulders back, chest out? Explain.

With the part about Maskeen, you write that Jawahir seems quite hopeful about helping him. How? Why? She seems to really empathize withies situation. Maybe you can somehow include that she had a speech impediment when she was young too.

This is a nice and well-structured story. Looking forward to the next part.

Assalam alaikum wr wb, fascinating story, Mashallah. What does Barawani mean?

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