Page 1


Love Sarah Salem Continued from ‌ Twisted Forms of Love


AuthorHouse™ 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington, IN 47403 www.authorhouse.com Phone: 1-800-839-8640

© 2014 Sarah Salem. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author. Published by AuthorHouse 10/28/2014 ISBN: 978-1-4969-4923-3 (sc) ISBN: 978-1-4969-4924-0 (hc) ISBN: 978-1-4969-4922-6 (e)

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only. Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock. This book is printed on acid-free paper. Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. Th e views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.


Chapter One It was a Friday afternoon on a cool, cloudy fall day. I stood outside a closed old gray wooden door. I contemplated knocking on the door for a few minutes; I then glanced around briefly. I took a deep breath, quickly glancing at my four-year-old daughter, Nora, whose little hand was tightly held by mine. I gave her a wide, reassuring smile. Her big brown eyes were anxious. I had to hide my anxiety behind a calm exterior. With a shaky hand, I reached to knock on the door. This was the place I had wanted to break away from, but my twisted destiny had led me straight back to it. This time around, I wasn’t alone though; I was with Nora. As I waited for someone to open the door, I recalled the events that happened since my car accident. A couple of weeks after my husband Yusuf’s death, my mother, Mona, went back home, and I took an airplane to Nova Scotia. I needed to be next to Nora, who was staying with my friend Cameron and her husband, Troy. Because of my awful circumstances and my injuries from the accident, I had been laid off of my job, and I would be collecting unemployment for months to come. The sight of Nora brought me to tears. I felt a mixture of relief and pain down in my chest. I realized that I was still suffering from the effects of the horrific events that had happened to me. Cameron and Troy were both relieved and happy that I was safe and also delighted to share the happy news they had received soon after

1


Sarah Salem

landing in Nova Scotia. Cameron was finally pregnant after trying to conceive for so many years. The mild, cool fall weather in Nova Scotia was somewhat soothing for the first couple of days. I spent some time sitting on their balcony overlooking the beach. The small two-bedroom apartment they were renting temporarily until they bought a house was well laid out. The open concept in the kitchen and living room and the bright, colorful, casual furniture set against a crisp backdrop of white floors, walls, and ceilings at first gave me the illusion of being on vacation. I should’ve felt happy and free. Nora whined most of the time for my attention, which was exacerbated by my withdrawn feelings, causing me to ignore her. I found myself remaining silent most of the time. But my silence was interrupted by sudden changes of my mood. I snapped at the wrong time for the smallest, most insignificant misbehavior by Nora. Alone in my despair, I wondered what type of mother I was becoming. I felt helpless and scared. I valued Cameron and Troy’s attempt to get me out of the shell I had quickly formed around myself. I felt as if my life had changed from a thrilling scene to a frozen, feeble-looking picture. I tried to act as normal as I could. It was as if Yusuf’s accident and death had killed something in me. I felt really empty at times, and at other times, I felt full of rage. After two weeks, I knew that I had to figure out my living situation. I couldn’t exploit my friends’ kindness, especially when they were happily planning to welcome the new baby in their lives. I kept in touch with Mother on the phone. She told me that she had to bring Father back home because he was ill. At first, when I heard of Father’s illness, I was somewhat skeptical. Was he reaching for attention, using his health as an excuse? I really didn’t feel remorseful toward the news and was disappointed by Mother’s weakness. She was once again making horrible decisions by welcoming Father back into her life. Hadn’t he ruined all our lives enough already? At that moment, my former life gushed back into my head. I recalled my torn-up country, Lebanon, my father’s selfishness and continued abuse, my mother’s weakness, my horrific childhood, and my husband, Yusuf, a lunatic con-artist, a man who burst out of nowhere to become 2


Bittersweet Tones of Love

my husband and terrorize my already traumatized life. A month after the accident, my body still went rigid at the horrendous memory. A couple of weeks later, I received a call from Mother. She was calmer than usual, possibly because Father was around the house; he was controlling her ability to speak freely. A few minutes into the conversation, she said, “I have to tell you something. It’s about your father.” She sighed. I replied, “Okay.” “Your father has cancer. We just found out a few days ago.” I frowned, but somehow, I felt really calm on the inside. She continued, “He went for a surgery to open up the blockage in his pancreas. The doctor found that his organs were enlarged and inflamed.” We were both silent for a few long seconds. She continued in a tight tone. “The doctor is giving him weeks.” I hoped to feel a squeeze in my chest, but I remained calm and quiet. I closed my eyes. I couldn’t really interpret my feelings about this news. What type of emotionless robot had I become? I said, “How come the doctor operated on him? Didn’t he see the signs of cancer?” I really didn’t understand. Was the doctor that ignorant? “The doctor had been trying to get him to take a blood test for the last year, during which your father had to be on a strict vegetarian diet for a couple of weeks. Your father refused to change his high-protein diet. You know how your father always enjoyed his food.” She sighed again. I let out a sigh too, shaking my head and scowling. I did remember Father’s love for food. He always made sure he had plenty of chicken, beef, and fish. His portions alone were as big as my mother’s and the kids’ combined. I recalled how hungry we were growing up. How angry I was looking at Father’s oversized plate! His egoism turned against him; it was sullen and cold with sharp edges. It stabbed him straight in the gut. Should I feel something with this new discovery? At this point, I shouldn’t feel bitter and cynical. I wanted to feel remorseful.

3


Sarah Salem

My mother continued in a brittle, low tone, “Will you come and bring Nora soon? I’ve missed you both a lot. Even Chady has been asking about the both of you lately.” I pressed my lips tight together; my chest got tighter too. I didn’t want to hear that. When did Father ever care about me or my daughter? We never even existed in his agenda. I ended the call with Mother soon after. I promised her that I would try to come as soon as I could. I felt lost. But I knew I had to make a decision. Did I really want to see my father during the last few weeks of his life? A couple of days later, I was on my way back to Ontario. I had to be with Mother and my siblings; my family needed me to be around. I also had to see my father; I had decided that that was the right thing to do. During the cab ride, I started to feel something finally. I felt apprehensive. I hadn’t seen my siblings for a while. How would I feel when I saw Father’s ill face? How would I react to his weakness when I was much stronger? *** The door swung open. A beautiful, bleached-blonde young woman stood in front of me. She wore tight jeans and a simple white shirt. I smiled. I recognized her right away, of course. She was as pretty as the picture I had seen. She still resembled Mother but in a wilder, more exotic way. I could tell that she was stressed despite her wide, welcoming smile. Her big brown eyes shone. I hugged Jasmine as tight as I could with my injured hand between us. She was slightly taller than me. Her slim shoulders felt warm and inviting. I could hear her quietly crying, while my eyes were still dry. She spoke in a wobbly voice. “I’ve missed you, Sis. I’ve miss you so much!” Now my eyes were starting to water. I said calmly, “I’ve missed you too. You look gorgeous. Even better than the picture Mother showed me when she came to see me.” She pulled back a bit. Sniffing back her tears, she said, “You didn’t change one bit. You are still as beautiful as always.” 4


Bittersweet Tones of Love

I wanted to laugh. I knew that couldn’t be true, since I’d been looking way too dejected for years. But at least my face wasn’t as pale as it had been weeks earlier. I heard Nora say, “Mommy, who is this?” I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about Nora. I looked around myself. I didn’t even notice my brothers and mother, who were waiting to greet me. I was, after all, overwhelmed by Jasmine’s touching welcome. I looked over at Nora and said with a smile, “This is my sister. She is your aunt, sweetie.” Jasmine picked up Nora’s small body and hugged her tightly. Nora still looked a little perplexed. I moved on to greet the twins. I gasped. They were at least a couple of inches taller than I was. They were almost thirteen years old—both had straight, brown hair; their bangs covered their foreheads. Their brown eyes were welling with tears. I didn’t know what happened, but the sight of them brought my emotions to life. I felt hot tears on my face. The twins were more than brothers to me; I had practically raised them with Mother. I took turns hugging them. Each of the twins in turn insisted on carrying me around for a few seconds. I guessed they wanted to show me that they were all grown. Then they each grabbed Nora and tossed her into the air lightly. She was giggling loudly. She only knew her uncles and aunt from the pictures that I had shown her. She was meeting my family for the first time. I was glad she was happier and not as fretful as she had been earlier that day. Hady was a tall young man. He looked very handsome with his dark-brown hair brushed to the back, his round face clean-shaven. His big brown eyes were moist. His full lips kissed my temple and both of my cheeks. He then gave me a tight squeeze. I felt sad all of a sudden, as if I had missed a decade already, not just a little over four years. I hadn’t seen any of my siblings or my parents since Nora was born. Yusuf even picked up the couple of letters Mother had left me at her work. He made it too clear that he never wanted me to see my family. Mother was behind Hady. She still looked the same as when I had met her weeks before in Montreal. She was my height, about five feet two inches. Her eyes seemed tired, with dark circles surrounding them. Her face appeared a bit pale, and her slightly graying hair was 5

Bittersweet Tones of Love - by Sarah Salem  

What can years of abuse leave behind? Fear, self-loathing, and deep but invisible scars . . . Is it possible to feel happy and normal again?...

Bittersweet Tones of Love - by Sarah Salem  

What can years of abuse leave behind? Fear, self-loathing, and deep but invisible scars . . . Is it possible to feel happy and normal again?...

Advertisement