Talk It Helps

by Ayesha Adil

  • 14 Oct - 20 Oct, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

Just an ordinary evening in the life of an ordinary couple. Saima and Fawad enjoy marital bliss. Bliss. Such an ambiguous term. One man’s bliss is another man’s torture? Now where did I hear that one? Marriage is irony at its best and worst. Can’t live with it. Cannot live without it.

Saima: That’s it. I won’t do it anymore.

Fawad: Do what?

Saima: Do it anymore.

Fawad: As in stop eating? You are getting a little bulky. The layers are forming around the chin you know.

Saima: Humph. I love you that’s why you get away with that you know? No, not stop eating, silly. You know I can’t stop that. I think of food 24/7, and even as I am sitting here talking to you. I’m sure I use 100 per cent of my brain of which 97 per cent is spent thinking about food. Well, there goes Einstein’s theory or was it Newton’s?

Fawad: What theory? That we only use 1 per cent of our brains? All that fleshy mass, it’s of no good, yea?

Saima: Don’t change the subject!

Fawad: Then? You are thinking of… what?

Saima: Have you noticed lately that I am spending more and more time on mundane tasks around the house?

Fawad: I have noticed that. And I have been wondering about it too. I hope everything is alright?

Saima: You wondered, did you? You didn’t ask now, did you? I mean I’m not that important now, am I?

Fawad: Haan? We were talking about you? Where did this come from? (I am so dead, sigh) (Change the subject you dimwit and do it fast.)

Saima: What are you thinking of? Tell me!

Fawad: Ahem, ahem. Isn’t your birthday coming up soon?

Saima: My birthday?

Fawad: Yes (sweating under the collar with a sheepish smile). Yes, your birthday.

Saima: Now let us talk about that. The birthday that you forgot last year. Isn’t it the same?

Fawad: Oh no, how could I forget? I should forget everything else, even my name but why did I bring this up.

Saima: So, do you still want to talk about my birthday? My birthday? (Repeats it again and again. Very much like Ross did in the Sandwich episode.)

Fawad: I didn’t forget. I just remembered too late. I mean London is in a different time zone. You know. (Oh please, its only 4 hours behind… I’m so dead.)

Saima: Grunting under her breath. This is so painful. It’s even more painful when he actually forgot. Now I have to filter this. That he forgot and then he forgets forgetting and then brings it up again.

Fawad: Can’t look up. That face. I think I want to vaporise right about now.

Saima: Takes a deep breath.

Fawad: The guns are loading…

Saima: (Relaxes herself.) Honey.

Fawad: Yes? (Please save me someone. Anyone. If there are any fairy godmothers out there please come and save me.)

Saima: Relax. I don’t want to fight. I mean look around you. The world has bigger problems that you and I can solve. If we fight then who will save the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked. I don’t want us to fight.

Fawad: Wow that was close. Like a missed cannon, a bomb that didn’t detonate, a light bulb that didn’t burst even though the shower head blew and all the water splattered over it. I don’t think I have ever been that lucky before. Graciousness overcame. Maybe our love for each other saved the day.

Saima: A glorious notion.

Fawad: What?

Saima: Your musings.

Fawad: You can read my mind?

Saima: No, I can’t read your mind, but you did look happy and I felt that you must be happy in your head.

Fawad: Is this why we’re together? We drive each other insane? We read each other’s thoughts? No, wait. I can’t even read the newspaper without my glasses. Why is this happening? What was I doing before this onslaught began? It started off simple. It escalated really fast didn’t it?

Saima: Now, what are you up to?

Fawad: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Aren’t you hungry? Maybe we should eat.

Saima: Are you changing the subject again? I mean my life is of no importance to you, is it? I work all day. Then I expect some human company at the end of this crazy, traffic-jammed, blabbering co-workers, silly-gossipy day and you shrug me off. You just take me out like a fly in your tea. Did you even see my schedule today. Straight up classes till break time and then some more. (Out of breath. Can’t breathe.)

Fawad: Your co-workers are human too you know. And so are your students.

Saima: What’s that? (You will act smart now, will you? A babe out of the woods. Or is it a babe in the woods. Oh, it doesn’t matter!!)

Fawad: Nothing. I’m here and I

am listening.

Saima: Patronise me now.

Fawad: I’m not! You know what? You said you would stop doing something when we started this conversation.

Saima: What?

Fawad: I don’t know. You said something.

Saima: You weren’t paying attention, na? You never do listen you know.

Fawad: How do I save my butt from this? How do I get out of this? If I died now I could go to heaven. If I wait too long I might say something that will definitely drag me to hell. Oh God, please help. I thought I knew everything. This marriage thing is just so much hard work. After so many years I am still such a novice. How did this happen? A quiet evening with her that’s all I really want.

Saima: This always happens. I sit and wait because I want to share stuff and it ends like this. So many years and I am still a novice. I mean they say talk. We are talking but is it helping? No. Then what? It’s all these psychologists having stupid ideas put into our head through the social media. Telling us to talk it out. Share. Sort out all your problems with the power of communication. Our parents knew it right. Don’t talk. Just eat and sleep and that’s it. I mean how many of them fought. I don’t remember them fighting.

Fawad: What’s wrong, dear?

Saima: I’m stuck.

Fawad: Where?

Saima: I don’t know.

Fawad: I think this is good. This works. Build on this. Keep going.

Fawad: Tell me.

Saima: I’m just so distracted. I want to relax and enjoy the peace but all we do all day is bounce from one task to another. In between our cellphones, our emails, our social accounts… it’s never enough, is it?

Fawad: What do you want?

Saima: I don’t know.

Fawad: Hmm…

Saima: Is that all you can say? I mean, here I am, pouring my heart out and you

say hmm…

Fawad: Say something, say it… say something. Oh please…

Fawad: I love you (smiles warmly).

Saima: Looks up, seriously.

Saima: Me too.

Fawad: Thank God… be smarter next time please.

(The sound of a TV blaring and a kid screaming somewhere can be heard in the background.)