She cooked well, was soft-spoken and obedient – the whole ‘daughter-in-law’ package.

Her marriage was fixed with a man she hadn’t met or even seen. But she agreed! For her parents were happy with the pair.

No one asked her what she wanted. No one knew of the beautiful paintings hidden in her cupboard.

The wedding was huge. “The guests should remember it for years to come” they had said.
Every day, she was expected to wake up before sunrise, shower and cook for everyone in the house before anyone else woke up.

Years passed like this. The paintbrush was replaced by a ladle and the canvas by a vessel. She hadn’t realized what she was missing until her son was asked to paint a picture as a project.

She thought about how she spent her entire life living for others. She had pleased everyone else. It was time to please herself now.

She started giving time to her hobby and this didn’t go unnoticed by her family.

He – Where do you go everyday for hours at a time?

She – I have a hobby. I paint.

He (starts laughing) – There is no need to waste time. Go, finish cooking dinner now.

She – I wouldn’t expect you to understand. But I’m not going to stop.

He (angrily) – Did you just talk back to me?

She – I’m just –

He – Enough! I’m tired from work.

And he walked into the bedroom to rest. As he came out, an hour later, he saw her with packed bags and ready to go.

He – Where are you going?

She – To finally live for myself!

He – What? What has gotten into you? You’re not the person you used to be anymore.

She – Apparently I have outgrown your expectations and my limitations.



Author: Zainab Haji

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