On the designated day, Amal set off to meet Munthir’s mom, and in her attempt to be discreet his mom suggested they meet in her own home. She gave Amal the directions and Amal had no choice but to obey. She really wanted to impress the woman, as she had admitted to herself and beyond all her better judgment that she had taken a liking to Munthir. She knew in her mind that Munthir was far from perfect, but there was just something about him she liked and that she couldn’t explain. She was not even impressed by his status or his finances, as her finances were just as good and her position at work was just as powerful. However, she loved the kindness he occasionally allowed to appear towards her like a ray of sunshine seeping its way through the layers of judgment making up his character. She even felt like a fool at times for subjecting herself to his judgment and even his mother’s rude tone on the phone. She wondered if he knew about this meeting but she did not dare to ask. After all, his mother was clear about not wanting her to tell him.
On that day, she wore an elegant pair of gray pants, and a lace white shirt. She even made sure that her hair was clean, and blow dried. She put on just enough make up to compliment her skin tone, and she wore an elegant pair of black shoes that made her appear a bit taller than she really was. She wanted to appear respectable, not too flashy, polite, yet sophisticated, and that is why she opted for a semi-formal attire. Knowing it was the first time she was planning to visit his mom, she even stopped on the way over to pick up a small box of chocolates.
Surely enough , his mother was alone in the house when Amal arrived . When she saw her she gave her cold handshake, barely greeting her, and she ushered her into the living room.
The minute Amal sat down, Munthir’s mom asked her
“How do you like your coffee?”
Not wanting to send the woman off to make it she said “please don’t bother yourself?”
“It’s a custom to serve our guests coffee and you are a guest, so just tell me how you like it.” Munthir’s mom replied,” We don’t need to exchange in this social custom of you pretending you don’t want coffee and me insisting that you have it. ”
“Ummm… I,…….fine I will have it without sugar” said Amal, as it was then that she realized that the woman was not impressed by her, and that the words she had to say could not possibly be good ones.
Munthir’s mom then left the room, giving her a few moments to collect her thoughts and to observe the space around her. She noticed that the living room oozed with classic decor garnished by a dark brown and beige color scheme that only added to its seriousness not to mention the sinking of her thoughts. The seats had arched backs, set within a bulky wooden frame. The brown curtains let in no sunlight when closed, but Munthir’s mom was sure to keep them open just so she can get a good look at Amal. The wall had a verse from the Quran hung on. The verse was embroidered with gold calligraphy set on a felt background, and bordered in a golden frame. The dining room buffet had crystal glasses peering at her from its glass doors. Another wall had a big mirror on it, and the floors were covered with dark brown wall to wall carpets. Looking at the room, Amal could tell that Munthir’s family were rich as everything in the room was expensive and extravagant, but she could also tell that they had very traditional taste, as the room spoke of Arabism. “This woman is traditional” she thought to herself, “and she definitely is now going to tell me something only a traditional woman would say.”
Interrupting her thoughts, Munthir’s mom returned to the room, handing her the coffee cup in silence. She then sat opposite to her and took a sip from her coffee. Amal felt obliged to do the same.
“I’m going to be direct and get straight to the point, what do you want from my son?” Munthir’s mom asked.
“Nothing aunty, we met then we became friends, and I had never wanted but good things from your son.” she replied.
“Did you know that my son was seeing another girl. He is serious about her and is hoping to marry her?” Munthir’s mother said
“No I had no idea” said Amal as she felt her hands tremble and her heart sink to the pits of her stomach.
“Don’t feel bad Amal dear, after all this is an expected outcome. He will not want to marry a girl like you. He is my son and I know him.” Munthir’s mom said apologetically.
“A girl like me?” Amal asked in a low voice, with her eyes t the ground . She was unable to look up at the woman, as she felt her eyes water, and her heart sink to the pits of her stomach.
“Look. I think you are a nice girl but different from us and not for Munthir. Jana, the girl he is seeing is more traditional. It’s an unfair society, but really a girl your age should not expect much. I am sure you will find an older man who will accept you” Munthir’s mother said.
“I don’t believe you” Amal said, as she was trying to stop the tears from coming out of her eyes, “I saw him yesterday. He never spoke of another girl.”
“Maybe he didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” Munthir’s mom said
” I never forced him to talk to me, why would he talk to me if there is another girl.” Amal asked
“Maybe you were giving him the fun things another girl would not give” Munthir’s mom said while smiling.
“Excuse me, but I am not that type of girl. He got no fun from me I assure you, and if you are thinking along these lines I must say , you are out of line.” Amal said as she picked up her bag and stood up.
“Now look young lady !” Munthir’s mom said, “I would never ever accept my son marrying a girl like you. I will make sure of it, even if I have to tell your parents what you are doing with my son. You are not his type, not my type and I will not have him marry a girl like you.”
“If he doesn’t want to be with me let him tell me, and if he has another girl in his life he has to tell me that too. I will let myself out” Amal said as she went to the door , hearing his mom shouting in the background, “My son will never marry an older woman only after his money”
Amal got into her car and was unable to stop herself from crying. She was enraged with life, Munthir’s mom, and society but mostly she was furious with herself for letting her feelings for Munthir develop.
She picked up the phone and dialed Munthir’s number, but the minute he picked up she had no idea what to say. She wanted to break any ties she had with him then and there, just because he lied to her. But, then again part of her didn’t want to believe there was another girl in his life. She wanted him to tell her that his mom was lying, and that she was the one person he waned to be with. She could hear Munthir’s voice shouting through the receiver “Amal is that you?”, but she didn’t know what to answer him. In her moment of weakness she was not even sure if this was her, as she had never been so confused in her life. In an attempt to silence the sense of chaos erupting inside her, she slammed the line. She sat ins silence so that the words “A girl like you” resonated loudly in her thoughts. She wondered why she was automatically put in a class of girls not fit for Munthir. She cried, and she drove only to find herself driving to his office.
She hoped that the words would form themselves on the way, as she desperately pleaded with life to make all what happened with his mom appear as a misunderstanding.