By Rouquia Alami
It was the worst day; worst day? No!
Why should I consider it bad; it was the most beautiful day in my life along other days. It was a nice dawn when I first touched her petite hand, when after her birth; the nurse brought me a tiny little girl.
Another good day was her first day in play school. Her laughter spread all around, together with her friends filling the place with noise; when she was standing on the theater giving the high school graduation speech; I saw her stepping into life till she graduated from university. It was a big time – now a nice memory – I accompanied her, it was the first time she entered the university campus, I could notice, she was so shy; I was so happy: my daughter now is going to start a path towards a great achievement, going into university: in the hall, I stood aside while she was choosing her learning route.
So today it’s her wedding, but surely this is the happiest day for all of us seeing her with the white long dress walking with her groom in the aisle while everyone is clapping: and “Here comes the Bride”! Here comes my lovely daughter!
Previously before the groom arrived to our house, family, friends, neighbors gathered all around to see her off for the wedding: the Dean’s family representing everyone told the Groom: “We are all here to welcome you and your family, we are proud to accept your offer to marry our daughter, unquestioningly we agreed to your offer, trusting that she will be in good hands”.
The henna party which means the women’s night: my daughter was surrounded with tens of young girls, and what is henna night? Henna is the party a mother makes for her daughter on the wedding’s eve: where henna is soaked in big pottery pots, and the bride’s hands and all the guests dye their hands, feet, skin and hair.
What a venue: a place is full with glowing candles, women wearing folklore dresses, and wheat spikes in jars, red table sheets spread everywhere.
The traditional folklore songs fill up the night:
Oh you bride: …
Tonight you’re leaving your father’s house…
In case you like anything from its belongings,
Please do take it with you,
Even if it was a nail on the wall, unscrew and take.
Bridal henna nights remain an important Arabian custom, particularly among traditional families.
In another place men will be celebrating the “Guys Night and Groom’s Bath”: all male friends will be singing while the rest are dancing the “dabkeh”.
Another song but different one:
I was bachelor and happy,
My mind told me to get married,
For months everyone was preparing themselves for my daughter’s wedding; the closer time approaches the more different I felt: at one time happy and another unhappy:” a mix of feelings.
Twenty eight years she was around, with, and for me. She’s there! She was a daughter and my companion, a relief, I used to talk and she is a good listener. By this night she will not anymore be with me, it is the best day of her life.
But sad for me: oh my! I did not relieve that feeling.
But she felt it: I’m sure of that.
Cakes, candles again, flowers over the tables, DJ, music, dancers, food, for the first time in my life I see the hotel as nice, the hall as bright. Her smile was the most beautiful smile, a different kind of a special smile.
The DJ sang for her at my request, a dearly loved song, till now whenever I hear it I cry, yes I see my tears come down.
The lyrics say:
Let’s live flowery stability
Let’s have boys and girls
You’re the most beautiful in my life.
My son jumps to his sister and kisses her, only then the camera man caught my tears.
The wedding was over, her parents, brother and sister were going out from the hall, she looked at us, and for the first time she ran away, she didn’t say goodbye or shake hands. Maybe she ran away not to see tears, off to the elevator to go up with her groom to the room.
It is the worst day, off she went, the joy with her friends, one goes and another guest comes back.
Missing her when she used to sit in the living room and bring five oranges and starts peeling them and giving everyone his share. No more phone ringing and bothering us, silence.
Next morning we went with her and her groom to the airport to see them off for their honeymoon.
On the way back stillness spread in the car.
Her sister went to the bedroom; a bedroom with its walls embraced their secrets, nights’ talks, books, stories, and their perfumes, makeup kits.
Her sister missing her already, she cries.
But what should we do: she is happy, she is off with the man she chose to be with, and it is her good choice.
How come it is the worst day? At the contrary it is one of the best days.
Soon she will have children and our house will be filled with new guests again.
Although I was trying my best to keep my spirits high for her brother, sister and her father to ease her absence but all along my heart was falling apart.
After ten years of her marriage! God gifted me two beautiful grandchildren; her brother too added one nice member to our family a grandchild too.
My youngest who cried over her sister’s absence married too, and on her wedding eve I had the same odd feelings: now is it my worst day or my best?
It is up to the readers to say if they agree or disagree: was it the worst or best day?