She didn’t love him. Strictly speaking, she worshipped him and the mere thought of losing him tore her up inside. One day he had to go on a trip for work. The prospect of him leaving her side harrowed her. She would not be able to breathe the same air he breathed or smell the distinct charm he oozed in order to raise her spirits.
He would be absent for a whole week—each of the seven days would feel like seven years, for they had not spent a single day apart since they had gotten married three months ago. God had wanted them to find their way to each other’s hearts while in their fourth year of college. They had fallen madly in love the moment they had set eyes on each other. They had only seen the other’s good qualities and had instantly become inseparable.
During the day, she stayed at home missing him, waiting with bated breath for his return and getting things set to meet his every need as soon as he walked in the front door. Thus he could just relax after having spent the whole day at work and didn’t feel tempted to leave again, save for attending the prayer at the mosque or going out with one of his pals.
As he turned the door knob, she hugged him lovingly and rubbed herself against him one last time in hopes of retaining some of his warmth. Then she started crying. He wiped the tears off her cheeks and tenderly kissed her goodbye before closing the front door behind him.
As the week wore on, all she did while awake was pine for him. She spent her nights dreaming about him as well. She did the laundry, tidied up the house, and reread his old love letters. She even thought about writing him a short letter. In the end, she decided to riffle through the pages of their photo album in order to revisit old memories instead. He had made her smile, laugh, and cry. During that time she couldn’t help but wonder, does he miss me?
Finally, the week ended and he returned home. She dotingly helped him take off his coat, and since he immediately went to use the bathroom, she sniffed at it and checked its pockets. He had not given her any reason to be suspicious of his fidelity. It was just a nasty old habit of hers that was totally unrelated to the trust she placed in him. However, in one of the pockets she found a hanky with traces of red lipstick. At that moment, she felt as if she had been struck by a lightning bolt. She dropped the hanky, broke down in tears, and ran out of the house.
When he got out of the bathroom, he found a note from her. It said, “A week apart is all it has taken to destroy our relationship. Go back to the tart who has stained your hanky with her lipstick.”
He picked up the hanky, examined it, and said to himself, “My wife has gone crazy. This is the hanky I used to brush her tears away the day of my departure. Some of her lipstick must have gotten on it by accident, because I never took the hanky out of my pocket afterward. Her jealousy is completely irrational!”
He smiled, picked up his coat, and left the house to find her.
Written by Rouicha Labed.