Life, Arranged: Better Luck Next Time
Continued from Part One: The Visit
It took us almost an hour to reach their house.
I walked in and had no idea what to expect.
A million thoughts rushed through my mind. Is he cute? What if he’s ugly? What if I like him? What if I don’t? What if he likes me? What if he doesn’t?
As much as I didn’t want to do this, meet this person and his family, “You’re not what I want” was not something I was ready to hear. I wanted to turn him down before he could do the same to me. I wasn’t even in the door yet and going crazy thinking about him.
“Assalam-o-alaikum,” said the woman who answered the door.
She looked my mother’s age, this mother of this potential husband I was about to meet.
She said her Salaam to my mom, my aunt, and me, as a cat passed and my potential mate rushed over to pick it up. He took it away from us, but I really didn’t mind the cat. I actually would have preferred the animal was there; its purrs would’ve been a welcome distraction.
We were seated in the living room. Ornaments and fake flower arrangements crowded the tacky colored walls as if kitsch personified stopped by and threw up before saying a quick farewell. I sat on the couch next to my aunt, and my mother sat on a couch with this potential mother-in-law. My father, my uncle, and the young man’s father sat on another couch.
He entered the already overbearing atmosphere, wearing a button down shirt and dark navy jeans like he’d just walked out of the GAP. His hair, the color of night, was slicked back. He sat down on a chair diagonally from me.
I had no idea where to look. I stared at my own hands. My fingers couldn’t stop playing twiddle thumbs.
“What is your name dear?” the woman asked me.
“And what are you doing, studying, working?” she persisted.
For once in my life, I actually stayed mute. I only answered what I was asked. But the voices inside my head screamed: THIS IS SO AWKWARD! WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO?
She kept probing, trying to engage me. I tried to explain to her what I wanted to do with my life and she asked more questions. To her credit, she was kind, reminiscent of Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter; she was round like her too.
After a little chit-chat and interrogation, my family and I were escorted to the dining room where we were served some tea and snacks. I imagine Mrs. Weasley is a better cook .
But her loving son lapped up the dessert, leading me to believe his taste in food sucked. Strike one. I sat across the table from my uncle, thanking god he was there. I kept a smile on my face as he whispered jokes to me about the unappetizing food, and how this potential husband was too short, even for me. I turned around and almost mistook him for one of his mother’s knick-knacks. (No mother, that won’t fly, thank you.) Strike two.
Soon enough it was time for us to leave. I looked at my phone, only two hours had passed but it was close to 1 am as we said good-bye. I scurried out the door as fast as I could without appearing as if I wanted to get the fuck out.
Truth be told, he was a decent guy: capable, well-mannered, an apt speaker. Truth be told, I was upset. After that day the family never called back.
This is the second installment of “Life, Arranged,” a series of true stories about a young Muslim student unwittingly in the process of finding a husband. New stories will be posted every other Friday and you can follow us on twitter @jerkmagazine to check for updates.