Sunday, June 26, 2005

Same life time, different lives..

I haven’t worked a whole shift at our Myer store in close to 2 years, towards the end of my shift I saw something that made my heart skip a little beat.

When I was in year 9 (around 15 at the time) I became really good friends with a Lebanese girl; she was really beautiful and had the most amazing blue eyes against long black curly hair, she reminded me of an Arabian princess. By the time she was 16 she would be sent to America and married to someone she barely knew.

16 is such a young age, I didn't know much about her Fiancé except thinking that he looked hairy and old in the photos (she would meet him for the first time at her engagement dinner). I remember her pretending to be excited but you could always sense her fear. Right before she left for America she confided in me that she didn't want to go through with the marriage, but there would be no backing out.

After she left I never heard from her again, her sister did mention to us once that after they were married she refused to sleep with him which was making her husband angry. Her sister who was only 13 or 14 at the time swore that she would never be pressured into an arranged marriage and that she would run away before she ever let it happen.

I saw her today shopping with her mother; she must be 20 or 21 at the most? On her left hand was a thick gold wedding ring; she was pregnant ready to give birth any day now. Maybe she chose this path and I am in no position to judge, but I remember so clearly the strong minded 14 year old girl who was so angry that her sister got sent away and so determined that she would lead a different life.

My heart sank a little; I’ve never ever stopped wondering how my friend was doing. Considering that she has another 3 younger sisters, I wonder what the future holds for them.


Bosco said...

I guess family is just too strong to say no to. I don't know how I'd do in that situation;

to weigh up whats right against my fam. I'd probably go with the fam at the end of the day. It's just too hard to say no.

PiCkLeS said...

I just think that at 16 you don't know what you want, especially when it comes to choosing a husband. Imagine being too scared to say no...

I think I just feel lucky that I am not in the same situation.

Betty said...

wow, that really opens your eyes up to how lucky and good we have it. Good luck to her, I hope in some small way, she's happy.

PiCkLeS said...

Betty you do know who I am referring to in this post don't you?

Anonymous said...

Maybe she chose the path and things will work out for her. Sometimes these stories have happy endings and the family ends up being right, but ofcourse that all depends on whether or not you have found a good man.
Remember also a strong minded 14 year old also does not have much experience.
I hope that she is one of the lucky ones.

Sarah said...

Geez...I've never stopped wondering about her too. She ws promised shopping every day because he lived near a big mall, but the last I heard he wouldn't even let her out by herself and in the first 6 mths she was there she hadn't even seen her neighbourhood!!!
I guess I still pray too that she is okay and that one day she will be true to herself!!!

PiCkLeS said...

Anonymous: yes I really do hope that things work out for her and that she is happy. And i totally agree that in some situations arrange marriages work out really well.
I guess in her situation I remember how controlling the family was, from what they were allowed to wear to who they spoke to on the phone. They were dropped to and from school every day just so they couldn't talk to boys at the bus stops etc.

I really miss her.

Anonymous said...

I agree that no one's life should be controlled. However, there are not enough families who actually really take an interest in their children's future. At least in some obscure way her parents care (hopefully with the right intentions) and that is alot more than many children could ask for.

fool on said...

Are you sure the little sister didn't have a love marriage? Although she was walking with her mother - maybe things aren't as bad as they seem and she actually loves her husband/fiance.

It's a controversial ground, this arranged marriage business. My gf is Indian and her big sister was up for an arranged marriage a little while ago. The funny thing is, she was actively seeking her parents to go out and find a 'suitable husband' for her. Things didn't work out and she thought all the guys were duds, and she met someone in the process anyway so it all eventually fell through.

So it wasn't too different in that respect to asking your friends to 'hook you up'. I guess it's totally different when it's against your will, that you meet the other person at the engagement, and that you're so young. 16. Goddamn. I'm not even going to pretend to act like I would know what that would be like. Hope for better days.

PiCkLeS said...

Ivan: yeh i truly hope that she is happy & hoepfully it was a marriage out of love. When i saw her pregnant and all i was too shocked to go up to her, plus i didn't know what to say anyway.

In regards to your question about Baku. I've been with them for 5 years now and I still manage the stores on Sundays. I know Christina & I've met her mum as a client of mine purely by chance! I trained Hazel & helped her get her current graduate job at optus! ehhehe

Sarah said...

Funny actually...I have a friend now who is Pakistani. Ultimately her fate is to have an arranged marriage, however she is so strong willed she has managed to push her parents off until she has finished her degree. She just turned 21 and her parents have prepared a trip for her to Pakistan at the end of the year as a "holiday". She is slightly worried that this is a plot to get her hitched but is all prepared to have her pasport and own money on her so she can leave in a hurry (if u know what I mean??)

Its sad that most girls in her position do it for their family, but crave so much for the freedom we have. Some are smart however, because this girl in particular is seeing someone and when the time is right, will go about the sneaky way to make her parents think they have arranged it, when in actual fact they have been together for some time!!!

Oh well...I believe in family, but family does not always know what is right for you. In the end we are all individuals who need to make our own decisions.

Meyshia said...

Em, I was surprised to know that one of my colleagues only met her husband a day before they got married. At least she was 24 when she got married and not 16. I'm glad to say that her husband turned out to be a really caring and sweet guy.

Imagine the days of our great grandmas, when their fates were uncovered along with the red veils that draped over their faces on their actual wedding night. A memorable night I would imagine, filled with tears and uncertainty.