It was another random day with the sun shining bright, the flowers swaying with the soft breeze and the kids playing around in the park. She was walking over the hard brick pathway surrounded by the wet and green grass. She looked around to find a bench and found an empty one at the other end of the park. And just within that very second she was walking as fast as she can to get to the bench before anyone else does.
Just as she sat, Salma came from behind puffing and panting. Salma was her next door neighbour and a person who will always be on the go to give a helping hand to anyone in the neighbourhood. Salma had her life organized in the most perfect way. Her day would begin with a peaceful breakfast, a healthy morning exercise, and a relaxed evening after a hard day’s work at the office. All in all, Salma thought that her life was complete and for that she highly praised her decision for not getting married.
“Asalam u alaikum! Lubna, how come you are here so early morning?” Salma’s eyes seemed cheerful on finding her best friend joining her at the park. “I wanted to share something with you.”
“Walaikum Assalam. Yes, I took an off from my work today. Tell me what you had to share?”
“Yesterday Samina phopho called. You know the one who keeps nagging me about getting married?” Salma frowned on taking her phopho’s name.
“I’m sure she again got you a proposal,” she laughed at her words.
“Proposal! Hell, no! It was a contract.”
“Hahaha! Why is that?”
“Because my phopho said, Salma that family is so rich that you wouldn’t have to tire yourself going to work, driving the car or handling your home. They have got drivers, maids, cook and a very rich income. You will be like a queen.” Salma imitated her phopho’s voice.
It was not that Salma was against marriage, but she did not approved the society’s method of looking for a husband. She was not interested in getting married to a rich guy or some handsome guy or even someone who truly loved her. She considered herself too sensitive to accept changes in her life and thus she had taken a stand to never get married.
“But Salma, for how long can you stay single? Can you live alone all your life? And your parents, they too must be worried as they are growing old,” Lubna explained.
“Hmm,” Salma replied after a long pause. “But still I’m determined about my decision.”
Lubna just nodded knowing that it was no use trying to explain Salma that marriage wasn’t as bad as she thought. It was just a mixture of sweet and spice. Ever since Salma’s sister had gotten married, she had observed closely. At the beginning, she was always fascinated to see her sister and brother n law together everywhere. They were they closest friends to each other and required no one else. But as time passed and they got children, her sister got busy with the children while her husband started spending more time in the office. This made it difficult for them to give time to each other and share their thoughts.
That was when Salma decided to not get involved in the rituals of marriage and just spend a happy single-woman’s life. She never regretted not being married. In fact she loved enjoying and making most of all her moments in life.
“Anyways, I have got to leave now. Don’t want to be late for office,” Salma jogged away in the other direction towards their apartment.
Seeing Salma disappear inside the apartment, Lubna got lost in her own early days of marriage. Unlike her friends who had their marriage arranged, Lubna had gone for a love marriage. It was a lovely life with her husband. They had left for a world tour soon after their marriage. For the first year, their weekends were filled with romantic getaways or a simple candle light dinner at home. Lubna thought she had it all what she wanted and felt so blessed to have such a loving husband.
After a year, their marriage became sweeter when they were gifted with a beautiful twin baby boy and baby girl. It seemed as if their life was complete with a happy family of four. From romantic outings and dinner they progressed to fun filled trips to the parks and beaches. Their kids lost in playing around, while Lubna and her husband got to spend some quality time together.
Their children were now in kindergarten. Life had become busier and tougher. Her husband’s business was booming day by day as it was opening its franchise in foreign countries which meant that he had to spend more time working. Lubna, on the other hand was engrossed in various research works assigned to her by her boss and of course nurturing two little children who at this age are ultimate explorers, wasn’t at all a piece of cake.
Taking out time for each other was becoming a little difficult and all they got were the weekends during which the kids wouldn’t obviously leave them alone.
Looking at her watch, Lubna realized that it was already time to pick up her children from school. Heading towards her apartment, she went to her home to get the car keys.
As she opened her home’s entrance door, she was confused to see the curtains drawn. As far as she had remembered, the curtains were tied neatly with the ribbon to let the morning sunshine enter her home. It seemed strange and freaky.
Who could it be? She thought. She was a firm believer of ghosts and had always avoided watching horror movies or reading scary books which could have caused her to spend several sleepless nights. Ignoring the thought, Lubna stepped inside and closed the door. What was more strange was that she could hear soft giggles. This terrified her more.
With a sudden jump her kids appeared from behind the sofa and startled Lubna. Before Lubna could get hold of what is happening, her husband followed the kids with a small cake in his hand.
“Happy Anniversary!!!!” The kids and her husband screamed in chorus.
Astonished, Lubna asked, “Umair…you remembered?”
“So you doubted. Have I ever forgotten any of your birthdays or our anniversary?”
“No you never did. But this year was different. There was so much to be done by you.”
“So what! My family is still the most important part of me. I may get involved in my work completely most of the time, but I still value my family the same way I did at the start of our marriage.” Umair smiled proudly.
That was when Lubna realized what Salma really needs to understand. Change is a part of life, either married or not married. As years pass your life may become more or less busier but the happiness of having a partner to confide in is something no other relation could give.