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July 8, 2020


Another decades-long marriage hits the rocks.

Loved each other through hard times but something went wrong. Just grew apart, they said.

Secrets start escaping from their marital closet and soon whispers are abuzz with “But they looked so happy…”, “did you hear…”, “she always… he never…”.

The dissolution of marriage never sits well with me. 

Here I am sleepless again, hearing each tick and tock echo from the wall clock on our bedroom wall.

Our.

Our bed. Our bedroom. Our house. Our family.

Us.

The life we’ve shared together through the nitty, gritty, dirty and the beautiful picturesque sunsets. 

How do we know it won’t be us next?

What makes our love so unbreakable? Everlasting?

As you lay asleep beside me, I’m observing you closely.

I see your eyes peacefully closed and hear your rhythmic exhale and inhale in the stillness of the night.

I know that any minute you’ll clear your throat before you turn to your side.

I know your routine from the moment you get up from the chime of your phone alarm until you fall asleep at night.

The way you sit up and slouch for a minute. How you shuffle your feet to the bathroom. The way you slam the door closed though we’ve talked numerous times about how it wakes up the youngers in the room next door.

I know how you pause between brushing your teeth and for how long. And I know how the first time you open the tap it’s a slow trickle but the second time it’s a full gush.

I know that you’ll drink a glass of water before you walk out because when you leave the bathroom a minute too early I call out from my bed “Hey you didn’t drink water today…”

You look at me puzzled and ask “how… how did…?”

I don’t know how but I just do.

I know you. And I know us.

But when a marriage we thought was solid and strong begins to crumble I question all the certainties I depend on.

You suddenly open your eyes and see me staring at you.

You ask what’s wrong but I remain silent.

Your sleep is too strong to stay awake and you fall back to sleep. 

And in this quiet room, amidst the tick tock, and your rhythmic breathing, I pray.

I pray that our marriage withstands all the changes life throws our way.

I pray that we never crumble too.

I pray that we never grow apart or astray.

I pray that you are always here following your routine; because it’s become mine to countdown yours.

My eyes well up mourning the loss of a marriage between people we love and with fear for us. 

Our marriage.

There are no certainties or guarantees… that’s what getting older is constantly reminding me.

But I do hope that if ever our boat heads towards the rocks in the horizon, God takes control and steers it towards the open sea once more.

Because I want to be infinitely drifting in the open water, lost in your rhythmic breathing, under the guardianship of God, sailing into forever, together with you.

You me, and us.

-Tumkeen, Writer

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