That’s the problem when you’re young. It’s hard to come to terms with your own status. The problem with me is that I never really had a status. I was always carefree and loved to joke around. I had one peculiar friend who was very beautiful, we both got along very well.
Back in those days we didn’t have cell-phones, even when I asked for her number she would tell me that her phone was always disconnected. This meant she would always be the one calling me. I could remember her always whispering over the phone and there’s no doubt our conversations were short and swift. They usually involved a yes or no answer of meeting at a bar or coffee shop.
The last time I met her was at a local bar. We were having a lot of fun, laughing, and overall just enjoying each other. She looked me in the eye and told me that if I were to ever bring her home her father would kill her. Of course I took it as a joke, “Maybe your father would kill both of us”, I said hysterically.
She reached out for my hand and told me point blank that he would actually do it. Smiling, I squeezed her hand and asked, “What would your father do?” She shook her head and repeated the same grim words, “He would kill me.” She explained how back home her cousin went missing after she refused to marry a man introduced to her by her father. “That’s just the way it is over there, disrespecting your father is by no means ever tolerated,” she stated.
I asked, “So she ran away?” She shook her head with a look of concern, “No, she wasn’t the type to do so.” She continued, “It was only time before she went missing. She would frantically meet up with me crying about the death threats uttered by her father if she chose to disobey him and refuse the marriage. When a daughter shames the family it is necessary to cleanse the dishonor, more often than not they go missing or commit suicide.”
Now I began to question her, “Let’s say if you and I were lovers, would your father disapprove of it?” She smiled, “Of course he would, and he would kill both of us.” I began to get very annoyed, “Why would he kill me? I’m a happy-go lucky guy.”
“You don’t understand, that’s exactly it,” she responded. “Your cultural ways are far too different than mine. A father believes in his daughter’s chastity, if she gives it away to someone like you it stains the family. My father has to have complete control of what I do, therefore giving my virginity away to a stranger is simply unacceptable.”
I started to backtrack, “We are friends and the good thing about us is that we’ll always be friends. That’s what I like about you, we can have serious conversations but laugh at the same time. Friendship is important and I’ll never cross that line. I think you’re a great person and you can certainly determine the path of your future. Mind you, when you do get married I hope it’s a man that you like and someone your parents approve of.”
She nodded her head, “What happens if my parents don’t approve?” I looked her in the eyes, “You have no choice, it has to happen. Look what happened to your cousin, she went missing. Plus who knows, your future husband could turn out to be very good-looking and provide you with whatever you want.” However, right there and then I knew my friendship would imperil her.
A lie seemed like the only way to help her. The next time we met up I told her I received a job offer outside the city and that I would be leaving town for a year. I could see that she understood our position. A feeling of stupidity swept over me as I realized she could tell I was lying.
“It’s good to be free,” she told me. I replied, “We are both free. We live in Canada.”