“When did you get the news and how?”, Hicham asked.
“This afternoon. She told me the news. You can say she confessed her sin looking for forgiveness. She forgot that she will ruin my life by disclosing such a secret”, Amine answered.
“So what is your plan?”, Hicham enquired.
“I have already said that I am lost”, his brother stated sorrowfully.
In fact, Amine’s wife was suffering from cancer and had been kept under excessive care at hospital. They had been married for five years and the experience could be qualified as successful. They had their first and only child five years ago and Amine was strangely attracted to the little boy. He loved him too much, but the news seemed to be the turning point of his life.
“Morning. Did you sleep well?”
“Yes. I did. When mom will leave hospital and come back home?”
“Soon. She will recover quickly and return to her home”
“I miss her a lot.”
“Yes, I know. Take your breakfast and get ready to school.”
While the boy was eating his breakfast, Amine was staring at him overwhelmed by a feeling of mercy. The boy was unaware of what was happening around and he loved him a lot. Did he have to tell him the truth and dismiss his responsibility. “No way, the boy is a victim too and if I do it I will spoil his life. I can’t. I am not a villain.”
The little boy finished his meal and ran towards Amin and gave him a hug as he was used to doing every morning, but this time the hug was warmer and stronger. A hug gathering two victims of the same villain.
Amin went to the hospital every morning before going to work, but today he didn’t do it and he couldn’t admit the new fact.
In her room in the hospital, his wife Dina was lying on her bed, her eyes were almost closed and they hid the long suffering of many years. Was it the apparent feeling of guilt or the apparent outcome of a strong struggle with her mortal illness?
Beside her was sitting her cousin who was trying to lift her spirit as she had been doing since Dina discovered the sickness.
“My fate was so cruel to me. I lost everything: my health, husband, son, and my pride”, Dina admitted.
“Ohh, you always blame yourself for things you didn’t do. You are so responsible, thoughtful, and sensitive, that’s why you said that. We all know how strong and caring you are and appreciate you for that. You will come back to your home safe and strong and you will beat your sickness and give us the good example as you always do.” said her cousin.
“Listen dear. There is something you have to know. Something not easy to receive.” Dina said in a weak and tired voice.
“Go ahead my dear. I’m all ears”, the cousin replied with full concentration.
“Samir isn’t Amin’s boy”
Her cousin opened her eyes wide and tried to keep calm despite the shock and let her complete her story.
“I told Amin this news yesterday but I didn’t tell him everything because he didn’t let me do that. He left the room without saying anything. Indeed, it wasn’t an adultery as the listener might understand at the beginning. But there is a whole story behind.” She stopped for seconds to collect her energy then she went on: “I was raped by my first boss at work. He seized the opportunity at the suitable moment. One day, I fainted at work because of exhaustion. I was in his office to deliver some documents. I felt a strange feeling before losing consciousness and he asked me kindly to sit on the sofa so as to relax. I fainted and the monster committed his crime. When I woke up I found myself in the hospital. He had called an ambulance and presented his own explanation of my state. No one noticed what had happened and they behaved with an employee who suddenly lost consciousness because of overworking. He signed a week leave following the doctor’s recommendation. On the contrary, I thanked him a lot and he won my respect for his kindness.”
“And how did you know it?”, the cousin asked the question that might come to the mind of every listener.
“He told me that himself when I presented my notice to leave the job three years ago. He even threatened to spoil my life and ruin the professional career of my husband. He said I should stay under his eyes because we have a son in common. I made some analyses and I found out that what he had told me was true. So I was in a dilemma. And I decided to keep the story secret and save the stability of my family. But recently I couldn’t keep the lie anymore and I let the cat out of the bag.”
“Oh dear how badly you were suffering and what a burden did you assume!” Her cousin said. “you were too brave to go through all that suffering” she added.
“I have a huge favour to ask. Unless I don’t leave this room safe, don’t hesitate to disclose the truth to Amine and keep my boy if he doesn’t believe the story.”
“Don’t worry. I give you my word, but I am sure you will overcome this critical period and come back stronger than before.”
Coming back stronger seemed to be a hopeless ambition because Dina’s state was worsening day after day. She didn’t receive her husband for one week, but she forgave his reaction. At least he was still looking after the child and doing his job as a father. In fact, she expected another reaction from Amin who, on the contrary, proved a high spirit of wisdom and self-control, but he wouldn’t forgive her.
She endured hard times before and after getting sick. Her psychological state grew worse and couldn’t help hasten her recovery. She was lost in the depths of darkness and doubt. She succeeded to alleviate the pain of guilt after revealing the secret to her husband though.
Dina was lying on her bed in the hospital. It was 6.30 a.m and she was listening to the sound of the rain outside. She was looking eagerly at the window, looking for hope and eternal relief to save her dignity and pride. Her eyes were faint but filled with innocence and certainty for a better life. She drew a beautiful smile when her soul left her body and put an end for a story full of sacrifice and selflessness.
Her husband was at home when he received the news and was overwhelmed by a confusing feeling of mercy and nostalgia. Despite her unforgivable sin, Dina was an ideal wife with whom he shared his ups and downs. He tactfully transmitted the news to the little boy and made him understand that his mother was at peace enjoying her rest in Heaven.
But was he going to keep the boy or not?
The funeral took place in her homeland and he received condolences from his friends and acquaintances. He behaved as he was supposed to do and kept the boy beside him during those difficult days.
Being unable to come to a decision about the future of the child, he refused to discuss the matter with Dina’s family who suggested the idea of keeping the boy. A voice from his inside urged him not to punish the boy by a mistake he hadn’t committed.
After a week from the burial of his wife, the trustworthy cousin paid him a visit and asked for a close discussion which he welcomed at once. She told him the whole story in details and her tone and compassion didn’t leave room to any doubt.
“Why didn’t she tell me everything?”, he noticed.
“First, you didn’t give her the full chance to clarify things. Second, she was saving you and your reputation from a cruel monster. She didn’t want to turn your life to a loss of face. I think she did her best to protect you and it’s your turn to do the same”.
These words went straight to his heart and awakened his consciousness.
He said without wavering: “the boy is mine and he will always bear my name.”