1958 December. One summer day Noori came down to the house as usual but this time the intention was to have a private conversation with my mother. “Umi, I really need to tell you something and it’s very important.”
“Of course beta (my dear child). Come over here and sit with me, relax and tell me all about it.” My mother saw the need for comfort on Noori’s sweet face; I know my mother. Noori began to cry. “I’m pregnant umi.”
Apart from my mother’s 1st reaction of surprise, she was quite calm and was all about making this conversation easier. She asked her what makes her think it is so. “My sisters at home noticed that I threw up a few times and they cornered me. I have not taken steps to confirm it but I’m pretty sure it is so,” Noori replied in between sobs.
“If I could just get the two of you married right now, we wouldn’t have to worry about this as a problem, it would be a celebration. You know this family thinks the world of you Noori, you are one of us.” Still holding her my mother continued, “I’m sorry this cannot be that way beta. I am not sure what we can do.”
After a lot more crying and in all her comforting, my mother advised her to return home. Noori was clearly frightened. My sensible mother told her to be strong, brave and quiet as long as she could and that she’d talk to Gary right away.
Noori returned home after a little while and my mother most definitely had a very serious talk with me. We knew we were jammed tight in between a pivotal rock and the sheer unscalable mountain.
Unfortunately her mother found out before long and I hate to remember this; that precious girl, she took a physical beating. There was no lenience or grace. After her mother got that part out of her system, she told Noori she’d call the doctor immediately to have the pregnancy eliminated.
Obviously Noori didn’t return to our house and I knew nothing of these developments. My little sister found out and relayed the information to my mother. Back then with great modesty and all, at least on my sister’s part, she would never say these things to her brother and so it had to go through our mother.
My loving and supportive mother then told me everything she knew including the scheduled doctor’s visit at the clinic. I intended to be present, even if it was in secret. If I could’ve stopped this from taking place, God knows I certainly would have.
My young adult nephew accompanied me to that clinic the morning of. Noori’s mother didn’t know me, let alone that I was Gary so I didn’t have to hide. Still I know I was taking a chance going there but I had to let Noori know that in some sort of way, I was there for her.
She saw me, acknowledged me secretly but sadly we couldn’t share a touch or any words. I felt her heart breaking directly inside of mine.
She was called back and my heart skipped a beat or eight; she gave me one more quick glance as she went inside.
Well over an hour had passed when Noori finally emerged from back there. My angel looked terrible, she was clearly weakened both in body and spirit. God how I wished I would’ve been able to just hold her so tight. ‘I’m so sorry my love.’ Only my eyes could speak.
Somehow Noori’s female family members managed to keep all this from the father and brothers. At an extremely critical and delicate place in her world, she could’ve used some tenderness.
During the next couple of weeks which followed, I don’t know if she was the recipient of any compassion, especially from her mother from whom she really could’ve used it.
I felt a sense of urgency and my heart told me that love was key in the healing process. I wished I could see my girl – I needed to see her, to reassure her, to hold her.
One day Noori’s sister-in-law was feeling uneasy about something she just couldn’t put her finger on. She went to check on Noori. She was in the bathroom … for a very long time.
She knocked, nothing. She banged harder … nothing. The younger sister came out to the door hearing the commotion and instantly felt the urgency as well.
The two of them forced their way in just as Noori was about to take her last step. They got in there just in time. Noori all but succeeded in hanging herself.
Nearly a week had passed from that desperate day before the breeze blew the news down to me. I cannot even begin to tell you how I felt when I heard. And I could never tell you how broken she thought herself to be.
It would be nearly a month before I laid eyes on my angel again. Noori finally found the inner strength to pay us a visit. She told me everything that happened and how.
She showed me the remaining bruising she sustained from the beating her mother gave her weeks ago. Noori explained her thought process during this time; she didn’t need to say more. I felt I could understand the emotions she experienced.
Where do we go from here?
pregnancy eliminated My heart cried out at the thought of another child of mine I’m apparently not supposed to experience.