(Daughter of a Cursed Father)

A fictional short story by Frozan Shahnoori

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“You, you dokhtar e padar nalat, how dare you bear a girl for the third time? I wanted a boy. I wanted him to be my hope, but you wicked creature gave birth to a piece of trash and destroyed my dreams. I will entomb both of you alive. I will save myself from you.”

These were the words of my husband 30 minutes after I had given birth. He beat me with his long and powerful legs so cruelly that I could hear the voice of my broken bones, but I was not feeling any pain, because his words were more disturbing and gruesome than his beating. In my mind, I was thinking — did I create this child alone? My crafty mother-in-law was sobbing in the corner of that cold and dark room not because of me, but for her son.

She was saying, “My beloved son, I will bring a new bride for you. Do not worry. She will bring happiness to your life and a smile on your lips.”

That cold and dark room was warmer and brighter than their hearts. When I heard her words, I did not feel bad, because I just wanted a simple life with my innocent daughters. I wanted a better life for my daughters. My husband never loved me, because I was not a stylish or modern girl.

After I gave birth to my first daughter, he started beating me. He punished me for a crime that I never committed. Is being a girl a crime? I always ask this question from myself, when I am in front of my broken mirror, but there is no one to hear my weak voice. In my family and life, stopping violence against women is just a motto that my husband and mother-in-law laugh about most of the time.

This was my childhood best friend`s life story. My cute and cheerful friend. Her name is Najma. She always had the first position in our class, but her family forced her to get married with a strict boy when we were still in school. I saw her after many years, and even I could not recognize her easily. She looked ten years older than her real age. Her thin face was full of lines and scars. Those lines and scars clearly showed the violence and injustice she was facing. She was not my old friend who wanted to become a pilot. She was a weak and hopeless girl, with a lot of burden on her fragile shoulders. Her hooded and innocent eyes — full of tears like pearls — seemed to be asking for mercy. My angel friend was hunted by a cruel beast. When I heard her life story I could not stop my own tears. I was just a girl like her, who could have such a life one day too. I hugged her and told her that she was not alone that her fate is the destiny of most Afghan girls. I could not do anything to reduce her pain and at that moment, I realized how weak and wretched I am.

About the author: Frozan Shahnoori lives in Afghanistan and is a Star Educational Society alumna. She was a student of teacher training and creative writing classes and will major in Business Administration when she starts her university studies in the near future.

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart

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