Short story: Don’t tell anyone
By Samana Syed
“Shhh…you will wake her,” putting finger on her lips, mama warned. I was back from school and wanted to play with my younger sister. “Please mama, just one kiss,” I insisted pressing both palms together, eyes squeezing to butter her. “No, the baby will be disturbed,” her head turned side to side. She put blanket on the baby and said, “Let’s go for lunch, I ‘ve made pasta for you.” “Yahoo…thanks mama,” I jumped with joy as pasta was my favorite food.
We ate lunch and I played with my Barbie before going to Aunt Azka. Aunt Azka was my papa’s sister and my tutor. I never liked going to her though she lived upstairs; while we occupied the basement. There was something I disliked about her. But for my parents I repelled due to homework.
“Amna! Listen, if you don’t study, you wouldn’t be able to become officer,” papa used to say. “Don’t you wanna be…?”He left and sentence incomplete and watched for my reaction. He knew I wanted to follow his suit. “I do, papa,” I said emotionally. “Great, then go upstairs, your aunt would be waiting.”
How come I tell papa the truth. I wanted to grow. I wanted to be an officer and the only way to achieve was to go to the aunt. Sad and happy, I grabbed my bag and got up from my seat. I decided to close my ears sitting near her. I reached her room which was congested and smelly. The walls were damp and its ceiling was low. A single bulb was hanging with thick black cobwebs around it. Toward the center was a small shelf. It had a comb, a cream, and a row of empty bottles of shampoos, perfumes, talcum powders and a meethai (sweets) box full of colorful threads, sequins, buttons and needles etcetera. There was a single bed to one side and a small rug was laid to the other. Aunt Azka along with others was all sitting on it near the embroidery frame. There were cloth pieces, beads and red thread scattered all over the place. And I hated the sewing machine placed to one side of the room. It had an unpleasant sound.
“Asalam-o-Alykum,” I greeted in a loud voice.
“Wasalam,” dadi ammi (grandmother) and other aunts replied altogether.
“How are you my daughter?” Dadi asked pulling me in her lap. She gave her needle to aunt Rukhsia.
“I am good, dadi ammi. How are you?” I smiled embracing her lean body.
“I am also fine. Tell me what you studied today, at school?” she asked curiously. I could feel excitement in her voice.
“No more talk. Let’s study now. Open your bag and leave her lap,” aunt Azka cut us to order me. She frowned at Dadi in a way as if she did not like our conversation.
“Let her be…she is my only granddaughter,” she said kissing my face.
“Yeah, only granddaughter from the son who married a girl against your will,” aunt Rukhshia said with raised eyebrows. There was disgust in her gaze.
“Why are you making face? It’s a fact dear. Your parents married against dadi’s will. And you know it is a very bad thing,” aunt Azka seconded her sister’s opinion shrugging her shoulder. She put her needle back in the box and opened my bag and took out the homework diary. “Ahan, you got a star today. Good. Let’s begin with English lesson.”
“Now leave your dadi’s lap and sit here properly. Don’t know how indecent your mother is. She hasn’t taught you anything,” aunt Azka roared grinding her teeth. “Open the book now,” She ordered again.
“Alright, get done with your studies quickly,” dadi whispered getting up from the rug. She wore her shoes and informed aunts that she was going outside.
“Don’t worry mama, we shall take care,” all four of my aunts said. Rakhsia and Rukhsar were sitting near the embroidery frame.
“Always respect your elders,” aunt Shahzana read putting my finger on the words.
“Always respect your elders,” I repeated.
“Well, this is a great lesson. One must have to respect their elders. See you have to respect me. I am elder than you,” she explained. Hands moving in air, eyebrows raised.
“what is respect?” I asked curiously.
“Respect…” she scratched her hair. “It is when you listen to your elders.”
“But your mama doesn’t respect dadi,” whispered Rukhsia.
“Is it a good thing? Would Allah like her?” Aunt Shahana asked.
“No,” thinking when does mama do that. Why didn’t I spot her?
“Good girl. Very good. You are a good girl. You listen to your aunt. Your mama does not do that.” Aunt gave lesson, touching my lower back. She had sparkle in her eyes. “Repeat this lesson till we finish work.”
I never liked the time when I had to sit with them for memorizing lesson. Usually their subject was to point or mock mama. And it was done especially in my presence. “We need to educate you about the truth,” She had a reason. I still remember the last day when I went upstairs.
“Come on in. Close the door,” she said. I saw sparkle in her eyes. There was no one around her. “How are you, dear,” she clasped me. “Wow nice buttocks,” her hand ran throw my spine to the lower back area, then one of her fingers went inside the hole.
“Akhkk….don’t do this,” Confused and disgusted I jumped back.
“Ha ha ha, don’t be afraid. I am just kidding,” she explained. “It’s just fun to touch this.” She pointed to the place.
“Akh….”I made a bad face.
“Don’t you like it?” she squinted her eyes.
“Yakh…it feels bad,” I said.
“No, it’s just fun,” she said laughing loudly. “Alright, no studies today we shall play hide and seek.”
“Yeah…” I said and rushed to hide behind the embroidery frame.
“1…2…3…get set go….where are you…where are you. Oh yes, I can see you….here you are,” I saw coming near me. I wanted to run. But she grabbed again touching my buttocks and pushed her finger inside.
“Yukh” I cried harder,…”please don’t do this,” A teardrop rolled down as I didn’t like that feel.
“ha..ha…ha” she laughed cruelly, spanking my back.
I dashed downstairs breathing heavily, shivering and angry. It was a different experience for me that was neither like a play nor like studies. So, I became confused and everything around me turned into mere chaos.
“Mama…I would never go upstairs again,” I burst into tears.
“Why sweetie, what happened,” mama put a hand on her chest.
“Aunt touches me here and there,” I said, looking for appropriate words.
“That’s okay, see I also touch you. Because you are our pretty and cute baby girl,” Putting one hand on her forehead, mama clarified.
“No, she touches my buttocks. And today, she put a finger inside.” I had to explain what happened exactly.
“What?” with eyes popping out, she went in a shock.
“I will talk to papa, today!” I said furiously.
“Shhhh don’t tell papa. Your papa wouldn’t like it.” She put her hands on my lips.
“But who will stop her then? She does it often.” I insisted
“Nobody, we can’t talk about it. It’s not nice dear,” mama’s face turned pale.
“I want you to tell her mama.” I clenched my hands.
“No, we are a family dear. We cannot talk about such things. Forget what happened today and let me find someone else to teach you,” mama found the way out.
“But mama,” I reacted.
“Just stop it. I don’t wanna talk about it. Respectable families don’t talk about bad things. Next time, ignore her and that’s it.”
“Fine” I bowed to her and never spoke about the incident again. From now on, whenever I see something bad happening, I ignore it since ‘respectable families’ never talk about bad things!