Wasted Love

My name’s Yasmeen.
I’m 32 years old.
I have two girls.
I’m from Upper Egypt.
From Assiut.
Everything there has to follow tradition.

My family’s the third largest in the area.
We were better off there.
Happy and well-to-do.
We were four girls and one boy.
Father was very gentle with us.
He loved having daughters.

But my mother was something else.
She beat and scolded us all the time.
When I fell in love with my now-husband, I went and told my father, not her.
Even though the man was my mother’s nephew.
She hated him, though.

I loved him and was very attached to him.
Our house was three stories high.
I waited 9 years to get married to him.
During the second year.
My mother forced me to work at home.

She made me get up at dawn, and carry water from the 1st floor to the 3rd to do the dishes.
Anyway, I eventually got married to him.
I thought love was like in the movies, but it turned out to be completely different.
I tried lots of different jobs:
Jobs at pharmacies, dentists’ offices, even plumbing.
Many different jobs.

At the time I was being treated for infertility.
At the beginning, my husband treated me like a friend and wife.
He was like he was a friend, a brother, a husband, and a son to me.
He was good to me.
Then, he changed.

He treated me like I was a man and only occasionally like a woman.
I thought he was cheating on me.
Whenever I asked him to buy stuff for the house, he’d say things like:
“This is all I can afford” or “This is all I have.”
Things changed.
Loans kept piling up.

Our expenses increased, and he doesn’t help with the responsibilities.
I got sick and tired, and asked for a divorce.
I’m still waiting for it.
I’m just afraid of one thing.
I’m afraid my brother will make me go back home.
He’ll control our every move, me and the kids.
I just want the divorce so I can them.

Once, before Eid, we didn’t have a single penny at home.
My husband was home.
I begged my neighbors for as little as 10 LE.
I came back with 30 LE.
When I got back, he asked if I could buy him cigarettes before getting dinner.
I wanted to throw him out the window!

I feel like my mother was very unfair to me, and I told her so.
I try to be good to her for God’s sake.
There’s so much I wish I could tell my husband.
I waited 9 years for him.
I lived with him for 11.

I wish I could have lived the life I’d imagined with him.
I wish he felt my pain like I felt his.
I wish he would’ve helped with the responsibilities.
Even now I still feel his hunger when he gets hungry.

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