She embraced the teddy panda bear she had kept next to her pillow for twenty years. She kissed him and in his ear whispered, “You have been my friend since ever. I know you and you know me, you keep all my secrets. I am reassured, not because you do not speak, but the life we lived together made us more than just friends .” My breath tightened in my chest, and I want to confide you something that torments me.”
She looked into his eyes, which were barely visible, sunken in dense white fur, with two black circles surrounding them. She felt him looking at her questioningly. She added, “I am one of a line of women who are called spinsters. Do you know the meaning of that? Of course you do not know. I will tell you… They say she missed the train. To explain more, those who do not get married are unfairly called spinsters. I will tell you a secret now.” I know that you will keep it in your little heart. I am not a spinster as they think.”
She approached him whispering , “I have married .” She smiled and her face lit up. “Yes.. I’ve been married several times. They don’t know, and I don’t care to tell them. I, my friend, go through a marriage experience every week… a failed marriage. I emerge from this experience regretting it, I swear not to do it again… but, despite my will, fall into the trap of marrying ,for the second time, third time, and fourth… the number of times is still endless. One of my marriages was, to tell you, when I was at the university. My British professor, a handsome and elegant young man, who the female students flocked to, I was the only one who caught his attention. His cheeks flushed with embarrassment, feeling the flames of their gazes directed to him. I secretly laugh with joy, knowing that I am the only one whose heart beats for.
I met him at the British Council, we drink coffee together. He was with me in my dreams for nights, and in my wakefulness with him I live every single moment with love and yearning . As he confessed me his love, I flew with joy to the seventh heaven, I wished to throw myself on his chest and drown in the sea of his love. Our story has become word of mouth, which made me more arrogant. Looks of envy and jealousy were almost tearing me apart. I was the only one who was able to seize the heart of that handsome, shy man, coming from the land of fog.
In order to be excel so he would be proud of me, I tried twice as hard in my final year, graduated cum laude that qualifies me to obtain a scholarship. He told me that he wanted to marry me, I knew quite well that my family would refuse, and that they might even harm him. We agreed that I would join him after his work contract expired… and it happened…
A child as beautiful as the sunshine was our first child.. A wish, that I have had since I was a little girl، for a red swing to fly me up to the sky، so I grab the clouds…scatter them, and spread perfume with love on fields full of basils.
I was overwhelmed with happiness being with a husband whom I adore, a child almost match him in shape and features, and a red swing in our small garden, flying with my little angel, he cackles, his cheeks flushes like his father’s; so happiness fills my heart and soul.
A nightmare happened that day. My body still trembles when I remember it, the image of which is still hideous and disgusting, making me vomit when I think of it. In our bedroom, on our shared bed, I was shocked to see him naked in the arms of a giant elderly man. I was outdoors on a morning walk with my child , I came back bringing him a bouquet of roses he loves. I surprised him. He was not expecting me to return. I no longer remember what I did at that time. Did I scream? Did I cry? Did I smash what was in front of me over their heads? ?..Did I faint? Did I…?. and did I…? What I remember is that I took my child and ran down the street… crazy I was, crying, cursing, and then laughing hysterically, holding my child tight until I was about to suffocate him.
My friend hugged me, I cried on her chest while I was hallucinating, “I want to go back home, to my family, I want to go back.”
Her tears wet the bear’s white fur. She saw that his tears were also falling. She hugged him, “I’m sorry, my dear, that I made you sad, but I have to tell you because you are the only one who hears me silently, and believes what I say about every marriage I have among dozens.”
She swallowed her bitterness and hugged her bear warmly, “Another marriage I will tell you about.. I yielded to my family’s pressures, despite my lack of conviction, and married him after lots of bashing and pinching words.. “You will be on the shelf .. You will become a spinster.. Your friends and female relatives have become comrades to their children, and you…”. My mother puckers her lips with painful sarcasm, and my ever-silent father gives me a burning look that penetrates my soul, so I cry.
He is almost destitute, but he is rich in his slogans and principles. His books distributed in every corner of our small house… a routine life, almost miserable, and destination stifle all my ambitions and dreams, the most painful of which is a dream that did not come true until four years later… a child and a small red swing, I saved Its cost from daily expenses barely enough to meet our needs.
Little is my child, like a bud that has not opened yet.. From my soul and blood of my arteries, I fed him with milk that my breasts could not produce. Day after day I contemplate him, urging him to grow up… to fill my eyes, for he was as small as a bird that had just emerged from its egg.
A hope dances in my chest is to see him ,one day, fly happily on the red swing soaring with him, to catch the clouds and with love scatter them on my face.
Alone I dream, and alone I await the day when I carry my little son and put him in his red swing, and a father sits in his office among stacks of books and scattered papers… What is he writing? To whom and with whom is he talking? Many questions raise my eyebrows, but a look at my little child’s face makes me forget all my questions. So I hug him to my chest and kiss his angelic face.
Just as you are electrocuted, we were shocked when the door was madly violently knocked after midnight. I rushed, carrying my little son close to my chest. They were harsh, sullen faces with stares like bullets directed at me and my child. That made my hands become more violent, holding him to my chest.. “Where is he?”.. “Who?”.. “Your husband”… And before I could answer, they broke through the silence and the sanctity of the house. They took him to a car without a license plate number , amidst my astonishment and my little child’s crying . I extended my hand to grab him, but a hard hit with the butt of the rifle at my side threw me to the ground. My son rolled from my hands.
I returned again broken and crying to my family, bearing the burden of a child who is almost an orphan and the loss of a husband whom I always counted as missing. A wrenching pang still weighs heavily on my chest… I left the red swing there, because my family’s home is like a box of matches, they have no place for my child’s swing.”
She embraced her little teddy bear in a hug, whispering in its ear: “My beautiful child, tomorrow I will tell you my story with your father… It seems that you have fallen asleep.”
She kissed him gently and walked slowly, placing him in the red swing. Absentmindedly, she sat fantasizing stories of new husbands…