Sixteen Days. Sixteen stories about Her from my diary.
Day 8: Pari
Pari was tall, very tall. Slim. Fit to walk an international catwalk and model for the world’s greatest designers. She was so fit, anyone who did not know would guess that Pari spent all her days at the gym. For the Iraqi context Pari was ‘wanted’ she was, after all, blonde, something all mother-in-laws admire when on the search for a bride for their son. She was humble, shy, hard working and spoilt her husband in all the ways a woman can spoil her lover.
One day, Pari and I were guests at a mutual friend’s home. I volunteered to help her wash the dishes, as she was already at the sink. I joked about our height difference, and how lucky her husband was to have such a beautiful woman. She replied: No, he is not lucky. And from there our conversation began, I washed dishes, and listen to Pari. It was a deep conversation, and I was lucky there was no eye contact, we were both facing the sink. I would have cried.
Pari married at the age of 17 to a lovely young man. For nine years of their marriage Pari could not be pregnant. Although, as she says, after their third anniversary society, his family and friends would all whisper in his ears for a second wife. How could he not have a child to carry his name? Everyone told him.
For nine years of their marriage Pari could not be pregnant
After nine years of marriage, and doctors clarifying there is no chance of a natural pregnancy, Pari approved for her husband to marry a second wife. Pari, who loved and breathed the love of her husband approved to ‘share’ him with another woman, just so he can be happy, just so society would stop whispering in his ears and feeling sorry for him. Pari was jealous from the bird that flew over her husband’s head, but walked with her own two feet to court and said ‘yes’ to a second wife.
walked with her own two feet to court and said ‘yes’ to a second wife.
After the marriage with eleven weeks the new bride was pregnant. Pari’s husband shared his life with two women, in one house, one night upstairs with Pari, one night downstairs with the new wife.
After the pregnancy, the second wife said she could not clean or cook, Pari took all the home responsibilities. In the third trimester the new wife requested the husband to stay with her every night as she feared early labour.
After the birth of the baby, the husband and the new wife came home from the hospital. Pari had prepared a surprise baby shower at home, the house was pink and a big ‘welcome home’ sign with balloons waited at the door.
Pari had even bought a piece of gold jewellery for the newborn. As she reached to carry the new born the second wife exclaimed that Pari can’t touch the baby. For the sake of her husband she was patient. She said the baby would cry on the floor, I would reach for her, and the other wife never let me hold her.
After the birth, the new wife requested the husband stays with her in the downstairs room at night because of the baby.
As the baby grew and a second pregnancy was on the way, Pari spent more and more time in her parents house. One day, upon her return, she realised all her bedroom furniture was in the living room downstairs. The new wife had emptied Pari’s upstarts bedroom. Her excuse? Now that she will have two children she wants the upstairs to herself.
she became the ‘other’ wife
Problems began. Pari was not only forbidden to have her husband as much as she wished, or ‘shared’ but was also no longer comfortable in her own home. The day I spoke to Pari at the kitchen sink she said Four and a half years have passed since she became the ‘other’ wife. She said often her husband is heard telling relatives he regrets re-marrying, as much as he loves his two children. He admits it was injustice to Pari. He admits his second wife uses the children to threaten him. He admits that everyday the second wife insults, hurts and psychologically abuses Pari. Yes, he would never stand up or defend Pari, because the other woman was the ‘mother of his kids’.
I remember washing dishes and thinking to myself, for once what if society just learned to SHUT UP. I thought, what if Pari’s husband could not ‘create children’ knowing Pari in such a short time I could swear she would have never divorced and remarried. That night I shared the story with a loved one. I was in tears thinking of how Pari went to bed every night, seeing her husband with another woman, in front of her eyes, everyday. Then I thought, how sometimes a woman can be the cause of abuse to another woman…
As I write this, I am thinking how will Pari live the rest of her life? She never completed her education, never had a job in her life, and her source of living, is her husband. Infertility has killed Pari alive.