Excerpts from a Book*

A friend mentioned ‘Can you believe Ramadan is in 3 months?’

Your heart sinks to the bottom of the sea remembering what you’ve been doing for the past 3 months. You are a woman of God, undeniably, the way you care for others. But you remember the guilt from last Ramadan when you were standing in night prayer, tired legs, bloated stomach, squashed between two mothers, and somehow that reminded you of the warmth you felt when his hands were wrapped around your body, the way you shamelessly moaned his name a few minutes before the morning call to prayer. The way you hear your mum playing Surah Kahf every Friday at home but you kiss her goodbye and run to his arms. The way when you’re both done, you wear your hijab with pride, this is something you need to hold onto to keep you a little grounded. The way you’ve taken up Quran lessons on Saturday mornings but Saturday evenings you lose control over your entire body.

The moment you greet each other whilst shaking hands, a fire begins from the corner of the tongue. You are a woman of God, you repeat this to yourself to silence the dangerous thoughts, and you are woman of deep contradictions. A woman who loves to praise God when he is between your legs sucking your thighs. You are what too much love can do to a woman. You said you would walk away last Ramadan because you could not handle any more sleepless nights and uneasiness in your heart. But once the month was over, you were strong until winter arrived and you crept back into his bed to keep you warm, warm from the world. Your mother’s words are deeply installed into your mind, you should feel shame, and shame is your middle name. However, read articles about how women should not feel shame and we have desires too, but this is to keep you sane. This is what too much love does to a woman.

At teatime with your aunties, you and your cousins gather around her, as usual she begins to speak about how us women should protect ourselves and shouldn’t let no man in. Her reason is men are dogs and once you let them in they lose interest. Her traditional views startle you, but you brush them away as you know you are from different worlds. You listen to the conversations of your work collages, which laugh about the happenings of the night before, you laugh with them, and you never speak of yourself. They would never believe the love bites under your hijab were real. You catch up with your mother. She looks at you with a certain pride and parades you like a trophy, tells her friends about your promotion at work and the only reason why you’re not married is because your stubborn.

Your period has not come yet. You question whether it could be.

And you ask yourself why do I keep putting myself through this. Every year. Am I addicted to him? Am I addicted to this feeling? The months we were apart I felt calm, happy even, as if I was on my way to inner peace but I needed a thrill. I tried a new boxing class, of course. It was great; the instructor pushed me to my limit. But once you’ve felt his high you can’t replace it with anything else.

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