Sana and Bariyah - a fiction for exmuslimsJuly 10, 2020
Sana and Bariyah had met in college. Back then they hadn't realized how their destinies were intertwined with each other. They both would attend the same economics classes everyday. Sana, the centre of attention and Bariyah, a wallflower. Their worlds were different yet they shared the same space.
Sana was from an influential family that had a big name in their town, Behrampur. Bariyah was an ordinary girl with ordinary ambitions, the daughter of tailor chacha.
There were many suitors for Sana that came and went while Sana kept rejecting them in hopes of marrying her one. She knew she was running out of time. She would have to eventually say yes and marry someone to keep her family's honor. She never really liked any man that came her way. They were all just too masculine for her.
When one day her father called her and told her she'd have to say yes to this man who was a perfect musalman. Who would make her deen should she follow him into his house, Sana knew this was the moment for her to jump out of her dream world and enter the society she lived in. She agreed to the marriage with this righteous man who had earned everyone's respect in town. This bearded Islamic scholar who had come back to reform their society. The news spread far and wide and reached the ears of Bariyah.
Bariyah was silent girl who always blended into walls. She never spoke up nor ever tried to make friends with the popular people of her class. She'd sit in her corner with her notebook open to the last page. Always doodling the letter S for Sana. She never saw a girl more beautiful than her. She'd steal glances at her through out the class but never dared to go up to her. She was afraid of getting rejected by the one girl who had stole her heart. She knew they could never be together and her secret was safe only with her. She knew Sana would get married soon. But when the news broke, Bariyah's dreams broke with it. But what could she have done? Sana never could be hers.
Everyone congratulated Sana over the following days. Bariyah took her chances to at least talk to Sana while she had the chance. To at least stand near her before she was gone forever. It took a lot of guts for Bariyah to walk up to her. Everyone had left the class and Sana was packing up when Bariyah in her meek voice said, 'Congratulations. The groom is very lucky to have a girl as beautiful as you. Erm..All the best for your life.' and walked away as fast as she could. Her heart raced and cheeks flushed. It was the closest she ever stood in front of Sana and had made a complete fool of herself. She knew destroyed her chances to even be Sana's friend. Walking away from Sana was the longest walk she ever made. She decided to never go back to the class again.
On the other side, Sana was very amused by this silent girl of her class and her curiosity peaked to get to know this woman whom she never really noticed up until now. So she invited Bariyah the next day to help her shop for her wedding and hangout with her until she got married. Sana didn't have many close friends but something told her, Bariyah would be a close friend.
It was a dream come true moment for Bariyah. She decided she wouldn't disappoint Sana and be her best. She'd do anything to spend the last of Sana's single life with her. Fulfill a dream anyway she could.
Their friendship blossomed over the weeks. Sana never knew she could have such a good time with anyone. Bariyah was something else and Sana was glad they she was able to find someone like Bariyah. Bariyah was obviously in love with her but did her very best to never let her emotions flow out. She'd pass off her flirting as casual jokes. Sana would play along and it was almost like time stopped for them.
Spending time with Bariyah would confuse her. The world as she had always known was changing and everything she had known about herself felt like a lie. She was confused, excited and scared yet she knew if anything made sense to her, it was Bariyah. She was the gravity that held her together in this world. She tried to brush off all her feelings as pre wedding jitters but her heart kept screaming something else. Sana was falling for a girl. She refused to admit it not only because it was wrong but also because she knew she could never have her.
They never spoke their hearts but their eyes would convey things they were afraid to talk about. It wasn't that hard in all the wedding shenanigans to keep their minds occupied. It was only in the nights when Bariyah stayed over with Sana in her bedroom that it was difficult to stay apart. They would sleep on the same bed in their corners. Slowly shifting until their bodies intertwined. They couldn't have ever asked for more. They knew that was the closest they could ever get. They never spoke of it the following mornings and would go about their business.
Though time had stopped for them, the world around them was changing rapidly. Sana's weddng was in a day and they had to snap out of their world. They had to part and they knew it. Bariyah never brought Sana a wedding gift because she knew she wouldn't have been able to go through with it. Sana never asked for one because that meant Bariyah accepted their fate of never being together.
They spent every moment together until Sana had to go to the alter where she'd accept Ali as her husband. No one spoke for the longest time until Sana, in her wedding dress broke the silence.
'Bari, would you have liked me if I were a boy or you were a boy?'
'what do you even mean by that? I like you as you are. Everybody does.'
'You know what I mean. Would you have married me?'
'I would marry you in a heartbeat' she said jokingly, trying to hide the truth.
'Then do it. Because I do' Sana said it in all her seriousness. She looked at Bariyah who had nothing to say.
Sana got married a few minutes after their conversation. Saba hadn't had a chance to reply. They never spoke to each other again for years.
Sana was a dutiful wife, arrested in her own desires for a person she knew she'd never have. She never contacted Bariyah again. She never spoke of their time together but every night she went to bed thinking of her. She performed all her wifely duties and did everything that was expected of her. Ali was a patriach who spent much time in local politics. He did everything islamically and followed all the duties required of him. Society respected him. Sana was told time and again how lucky she was to be with such a learned man. Only Sana knew behind closed doors, Ali wasn't what people thought him to be. He wasn't cruel. He was just very to the book.
Her life was a routine she submitted herself to until she died. But one fine day her husband broke the news that he was marrying another woman who had nobody else that could provide for her. Sana was a dutiful wife so she said nothing even if it hurt her sentiment a bit. Even if she didn't love Ali, she didn't know how to react to the thought of another woman in her house.
Next day, she prepared for the bride. She'd thought they would split the responsibilities and her coming would reduce the time she'd have to spend with Ali which was a good thing. She thought maybe this was a good thing even if society might feel bad for her. Even if her parents were more upset than her, maybe this was how she could manage a marriage she could barely be happy in. What she didn't think was to ask about this bride who was to enter her house.
Bariyah entered into her house dressed as a bride. It was as though life brought back colours and Sana couldn't have been happier. Yet this was the last thing she could've expected. She contained all her emotions waiting to explode. Ali escorted his new wife in and told Sana about her as though they were meeting for the first time. Ali never remembered Bariyah from his marriage to Sana. Nor did Sana's parents remember her name.
'She was in the same college as you. You probably never noticed her. She recently lost her parents and was working to earn a living. I couldn't let a woman work while I could help her so I married her. I hope you will be nice to her.' said the husband.
Never in her wildest dreams did Sana think this could ever happen. She didn't know how to react and just showed Bariyah to her room. Their husband spent the next few hours with her while Sana waited in anticipation. She didn't know what was happening. She didn't know what to think of it.
It was past midnight when Bariyah sneaked into Sana's room after their husband was fast asleep. She came in and said, 'I know what you're thinking. This is crazy but let me explain myself. It is true my parents died in an accident. I was earning my living in the tailor shop when your husband walked in. I knew instantly who he was and he offered to give me support if I agree to marry him. I knew he was marrying me for a political gain. It is completely greedy of me but I missed you, Sana. I had to see you. I had to be with you. You have no idea how difficult these last few years have been. . I know I should've spoken before but he said you were OK with the marriage and I hope you are and i just wanted-'
Sana stopped her midway and kissed her for the longest time like she had always imagined she would do in her dreams. So what she couldn't marry Bariyah. They both could share a husband and live together like she always wanted to she thought.
'Remember you asked me something right before you got married? My answer is I do. I marry you. Even if this is how we're to live. Even if I have to change everything in my world to be with you, I will. I have. I love you.' said Bariyah with a finality, tears falling off her face.
'Thank God for Islam and our Islamic husband. You and I are finally together.' Said Sana holding the love of her life in her arms.
P.S. - I'm so sorry this is so long. I was trying my hand in writing fiction stories that had a twist in Islamic societies. This is my first and I've written after the longest time. I hope you like it.
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