One day she said: “I’ll come to you, even if to the end of the world”.
He proposes. Her heart beats. and beats. and beats to the rhythm of her dreams, on and on and on, his voice seems distant now, did he say something?
“I live in the West. It’s different out here.”
She doesn’t hear his words, only the sound of music. It’s all music to her ears. She sees angels surrounding them both as they dance through life in this world and the hereafter …
Once upon a time, in a far and distant land where roses bloom and rivers bend, there lived a prince named Omar and a princess named Salma.
Since childhood, the prince and princess felt destined for each other. Many times the court citizens at the royal palace would say: “ the future of this kingdom is in the hands of prince Omar and princess Salma. They shall bring the royal families together. Hail prince Omar! Hail princess Salma! Hurrah!”
Secretly, in their pure hearts, prince Omar and princess Salma had a dream. They wanted to live … a normal life. Like normal people. Happily, in a happy world, where they’d make friends, and live happily ever after.
Then, one dark day, prince Omar and princess Salma were destined to part. It was writ that prince Omar would go away to far and distant lands to fetch gold and treasures for his royal family, to enrich the kingdom and secure its future.
For many nights did princess Salma weep, sob and cry for her young prince: “oh woes me, my fair prince shall leave me. Alas, this world is cruel”.
The fair prince bid his princess farewell, and promised to return to quest for her in marriage. She looks at him with tears streaming down her cheeks: “I’ll come to you, even if to the end of the world”.
Many a long days and nights later, ten years in counting … things changed.
Salma is now a twenty nine year old woman who lives in the Middle East. She enjoys the outdoors. Is very athletic. Works in the ministry of education. Owns a small apartment. Travels to Europe frequently. Speaks five languages. Owns a cat named lulu. Her father died when she was young. Her mother still lives.
On the other side of the world, in the Americas, charming Omar owns a small business in interior decoration. Enjoys sports. Prefers to look good. Buys designer clothes. Lives with his family. Changes cars frequently. Sports a ‘six-pack’ and a complementary sun-tan. His father died when he was young.
As they plow through busy lives, Salma and Omar remember their heart’s pure dream. Which, unlike their lives, did not change.
One day, Omar tells his mother: “… she said she’d come to me even if to the end of the world. That she wouldn’t mind traveling this far to get married. She figures living in the Middle East can’t be that different than living here. As long as she’s with me, it doesn’t matter”.
Things were planned. Salma and her mother fly to the Americas for a month visit. The first days went well. Then, one afternoon, Salma says: “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do in this America”.
Suddenly, Omar discovers his temper: “if you don’t like it, pack your things and go!”
The days go on. Salma and Omar get over their differences. In their pure hearts, they still want to live happily like normal people do.
One day, Omar’s mother calls him to the bedroom: “Omar, she’s too westernized! She pretends she wants to wear the hijab to humor me. I can’t stand her!”
Omar’s heart broke to pieces. He really loved his mother, and he really wanted to complete half his deen with Salma.
The families were supposed to come together, thought Omar. Salma is my cousin, my mom and her mom will now be enemies, my mom will side with me, and Salma’s mom will side with her.
This was supposed to be easy, thought Salma. Omar is my cousin, but I can’t stand this America. Nor living with my aunt.
Then, a day before her flight back, Omar proposes to Salma. Her heart beats. and beats. and beats to the rhythm of her dreams, on and on and on, his voice seems near now, did he say something?
Yes. Yes, he did. “ … but I live in America. It’s different out here …” – she hears words, not music, there are no angels anywhere, and yes, she agrees with him. They see struggle surrounding them both.
… Many a long days and nights later, five years in counting, Salma marries and has a boy named Ahmad. Omar marries and has a daughter named Nadia. Late at night, when angels whisper in children’s ears, Salma’s pure heart whispers to her sleeping prince Ahmad: “ … go to her to the end of the world”.
Somewhere else, in the dark of the night, as he puts his princess to sleep, Omar’s pure heart whispers to his princess Nadia: “… go to him to the end of the world”.
Ps: This piece is dedicated to my brother and his (our) cousin.