The revelation from Patrick was something neither of them expected. Dazed, they simply ‘floated’ upstairs, making their way into Samar’s room quietly.
“Samar …” Anna called her name, snapping her out of her thoughts.
Glancing over, she raised her brows at Anna, asking Anna to continue her sentence. When Anna asked if she could be with her a little longer, Samar knew Anna wanted to talk to her about what Patrick had just informed them.
“Why did you get angry at Patrick?”
That definitely wasn’t a question she expected.
“Well, I was angry because he had the cheek to ask you to spend the night with him. You aren’t a prostitute!”
“How do you know he wanted to spend the night with me? He just said he wanted me as a reward.”
“Trust me, Anna; when a man says he wants you, it could only mean one thing.”
“Alright, let’s say that he intends to bed me. Why did you reject it without asking me? After all, he asked for me – why did you offer yourself up instead?”
Where was she going with all of this?
“I beg your pardon; I didn’t know you were interested in him. I’m sure he’s still around – I can go and find him and tell him that you want to repay him for his favour.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“How the hell do I know?” she exploded. “All I know was that you looked like someone had stabbed you or drain the blood off from you; I just wanted to get you away from him.”
“Why do you always contradict yourself? Couldn’t you just answer me truthfully when I had asked? Why do we go through this dance all the time?” Sighing, she dropped herself onto Samar’s bed. “Is it difficult to be truthful, even to me?”
“You’re a paradox; you scare me sometimes.”
Anna laughed at Samar’s admission.
“Well, I’m scared now. I don’t know what to think of what Patrick had just told me. A part of me feels like nothing has changed; I still don’t have my memory despite now knowing about my background and the existence of my family. At the same time, the knowledge that I had just received is quite ugly; I don’t feel relieved knowing about it, and at the same time, I can’t feignt ignorance now that I know about it.”
“You’re taking in too much at the moment. Sleep on it; just as Madam said, morning will come, and with it a fresher mind. You’ll be able to come up with something then.”
“What do you think I should do? Or better yet, what would you do if you were in my position?”
“Well…” Samar had already asked herself the same question over and over again when they were making their way back to their room moments ago. “I’d most probably leave. I’m not a prostitute, and well, the only reason I’m here was because I had no recollection of my memory nor did I had anywhere else to go. Now that I know that I had a place and family to return to, I would – despite not having my memory still. Staying here would be redundant for I no longer have a reason to do so.”
“What if I had a reason to stay?”
“I don’t think you should. To be completely honest with you, staying here would not help in any way – especially not in the way you think it would.”
Samar cursed herself when she saw Anna’s tears welling up.
“Don’t do that!” she exclaimed. “Honestly Anna, it feels like you simply do things as you please without thinking. Have you ever thought about what would happen if you continue living here? You’re gonna be a maid for as long as I work here?” She smirked sarcastically when Anna nodded her head. “So you don’t mind the fact that I sleep with men for money; that I would roll out from our bed into theirs and vice versa?”
The image of that one night flashed into her mind once again. Gasping out in shock, in pain, Anna succumbed to her tears. Writhing with a kind of pain that made breathing difficult, her cries were growing louder with each passing minute. The pain that was obvious on her face made Samar feel guilt-stricken yet she knew that Anna needed a reality check. She relied too much on Samar; she relied too much on her emotions. Unlike Anna, Samar knew that love wasn’t enough to live a life.
“You wanted to know my past so badly previously, remember? Let’s see what you think of my story then.”
It’s not a long story to begin with. I was the youngest child in my family; I had an older brother and an older sister. Our age gap isn’t that huge yet everyone treated me as if I was a child that was ignorant of the world. I guess you can say that it made me realise that they didn’t care about the fact that I had my own opinion. As long as I stayed within the line that they had erected around me, it was fine. It was expected, to be honest – it wasn’t something out of the ordinary.
It wasn’t as if I did it to make them angry with me. Without realising, I found myself crazily in love with someone from the same college. The fact that she was a girl didn’t bother me at all; I was innocent enough to believe love was all that mattered. We were lost in our own bubble, I suppose. We were both oblivious to the outside world at one point; I’m not sure if she was, but I certainly didn’t know what was going around me.
Somehow, word got to my parents that I was intimate with a girl in my class. Someone had even sent to them pictures of me kissing my girlfriend. At the moment, all I could think was how grateful I was that they didn’t send any other kinds of pictures. My parents were furious of course; I can’t remember ever seeing them so angry before. They threatened to pull me out from college and disown me if I went looking for her again.
I reacted the same way I figured everyone else would; I was adamant about my relationship and vowed to stay faithful to my lover, as we had made a promise about a year ago when we started dating that we wouldn’t desert the other out of nowhere. I suppose I was naïve to have believed that things would stay the same in the face of adversity. As soon as she found out that my parents were creating a big fuss about the whole thing, she suddenly changed.
She confessed that she was only with me for the kick of it; she was never in love. The idea of being a couple that has regular sex was the appeal to her; when my parents started creating trouble for us, it made things difficult and that wasn’t something she wanted; she didn’t want to have anything to do with troubles, even if it was something she helped to create. She was in it for the fun and well, there was nothing fun about being surrounded by trouble – is there?
She simply left me, Anna. Just like that. Without even sparing me a single backward glance.
As if that wasn’t enough, my parents arranged my marriage to a distant relative of mine. What they didn’t know was that the man was addicted to gambling and drinking. Since he was a distant relative, they assumed that he was someone trustable. Somehow the news of me being gay was made known to him, yet he still went through with the marriage, which of course, made my parents to view him in high regards.
While I admit that I was surprised too by his open-mindedness, I was still too caught up with my heartbreak to actually notice all that’s been happening behind the scenes. I graduated without any problems after that and I managed to make it into the bar. While I was busy establishing myself as a lawyer, he was busy squandering his earnings to fuel his addiction, and when that wasn’t enough, he began touching mine.
At first, it didn’t matter to me – I just didn’t care about anything anymore, but then he started drinking at home with his friends; friends that shared his addiction. When they got drunk, they started harassing me – sexually. You would assume your husband would come and help you right? Mine didn’t – in fact, he egged them on, saying that I’m gay so they can have their way with me as to cure me of my ‘illness’.
I had the same expression you’re having there – more, I couldn’t believe my ears. I suppose I was lucky enough that they were still sane despite being horribly intoxicated. I waited until they left before I confronted him about his behaviour but it was to no avail; the argument escalated to an extent that he used his fist on me out of nowhere. He floored me with his fists, then his weight. At one point, I was convinced that he was going to rape me.
I don’t know whether I should be thankful that he didn’t.
To be honest, I’m not so sure what happened next. All I could remember was having things thrown at me; at one point, he took the metal chairs that we used for the dining table and flung it hard at me. I remember shielding my face at the last minute, so it crashed onto my arms instead, snapping my left arm into three pieces, sending waves of pain all over me.
I must’ve screamed my lungs out as my neighbours started pounding on the front door. They even called the police yet, he was totally out of it; he continued hammering at me. My unresponsive state infuriated him even more; his battering continued even though I passed out right after he broke my arm.
I woke up in the hospital three days later; my face covered in a sickening mass of blue-black bruises while the rest of my body was heavily bandaged. The police arrested him; from what I heard, they came in when he was choking me. They arrested him under the charge of attempted murder, a case successful fought and won over on my behalf by a colleague of mine. I’ve been free of him for three years now.
“My story is ordinary – or simple, whichever way you see it but it doesn’t end like that. After I managed to get the divorce settled, my family tried to arrange my marriage again with someone else. They kept asking me to put my past behind me and move on, restart all over with someone new but it was too much for me. I couldn’t sleep at night; I’d still get nightmares from the beating he gave me.”
“That’s ridiculous! How could they repeat the same mistake when the first person tried to kill you?” Anna exclaimed.
“In their mind, they did a mistake and so they wanted to redeem themselves by choosing the right one for me this time.”
“That doesn’t make sense! They should at least give you some time and space to recover.”
“Nothing ever made sense in my life. Madam came to visit me once; she was already doing this back then and so she had an estranged relationship with my parents. To be honest, I was really tired then; I just wanted to disappear into nothingness. Meeting her gave me the idea; what better way to disappear than to do a job that nobody knew of your identity nor knew of your existence? Madam was skeptical at first of course but I guess I managed to prove my worth.”
Smiling ruefully as she sat at the foot of the bed, she turned to study Anna.
“Who am I to blame for my misfortunes, Anna? My parents, for forcing me into the marriage; that man, for doing all of that to me; or should I blame my lover, for using me and discarding me just like that when it suited her? Of course, I was naïve and blinded by love at the same time; if I wasn’t, then I’d have noticed that she was simply using me, sucking me dry. So, am I at fault then?”
Anna shook her head; her feelings and emotions at war at what she had just heard. Her heart was bleeding for the woman in front of her yet she knew now that the woman had too much of pain within her – so much that she no longer believed words of love given as it was.
“Maybe no one’s at fault – fate was such, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from all of this is that love isn’t enough, Anna. You need more than that to survive. Doing everything for the sake of love would leave you empty and hurt at the end of the day. I should know; I’ve been through that.”
“What makes you think I’d do the same to you – abandon and hurt you?” Before Samar could answer, Anna continued on. “You know how I feel – and no matter how hard you try to deny it, I know of the things you’ve left unspoken. I know, Samar so why are you trying to pretend otherwise?
“You know nothing.”
“Maybe ….” she trailed, her head cocked sideways, her eyes steady on Samar’s. “I might not know anything, Samar but there’s one thing I’m completely sure of; I love you, Samar. I love you so much.”