I don’t know exactly how long I was imprisoned for. The days passed by so sluggishly that I could say it was months but I cannot certify the exact amount of time that was stolen from me. Everything is a haze now and at the time I was informed of little.
Days and nights would eventually merge and the only 2 things that dominated my thought were my family, which were now a blessing, and my future. I had exams coming up that I was with no doubt going to miss giving my predicament. My life turned hollow and my every day routine was reduced to a forced prayer 5 times a day in order to please my captors and show my repentance.
Every now and then I would try to strike up a conversation with one of the guards to find out more information about what was going to happen to me and if my family knew where I was. Sadly, that got me nowhere except feeling more dejected. They kept stressing that I was going to be here for a while and that they don’t know anything about my family. I recollect one of the guards suggesting I forget about medical school or sitting any exams because that was not going to happen.
I cried my self to a dreadful sleep every night and with every day that passed I would sit there isolated in my cell trying to envision a unique and unfamiliar way to end my life. I would pinch myself to a point of damaging tissue just so I could feel something other than the torment that was forced upon me by these people. Imagining death served to be a palliative exercise.
My mental state devolved into an unpleasant and irrecoverable one. Shame ran through my veins and with every breath I took I felt the burden of guilt get heavier and heavier.So many questions filled my devastated mind and so Little answers did I find.
Where are my parents? Did they disown me? how much longer will I be here? am I going to be killed? Will I ever see the outside world again? What shame have I brought upon myself and family? What about M!!!??? Is he alive? Is this my fault? Do I deserve this? Does M deserve this? Is M in jail too? What about school and my exams? What about my career? Will I ever get married and have children?
Is this it for me?
I failed during those weeks/months to progress as a human. I felt no different than those bugs that crept the floor of the cell I was in. I begrudged the bugs…they were more free than I was but they were my only company. Unwanted company…
I found refuge in the red light that shined off the surveillance camera. In it my thoughts would wonder off almost on a daily basis. I learned to eat the crap they served me twice a day and ached for the old days when I would pick through my food and refuse to eat it just because I could. Oh what tragic a turn my life had undergone.
Then one day out of the blue the main prison guard showed up, unlocked my cell and mumbled something about me being lucky. I didn’t quite understand what was going on but she gave me all my stuff in a plastic bag and ordered me to put on a “proper” head and body cover which she supplied me.
I was guided into a room that had a large table in the center with chairs around it. The room was empty and I was seated at the very end of the table then the guard left shutting the door behind her.
My heart was pounding, my body trembling and my mind overwhelmed. I was in fear of the religious police who I knew were near by. Why would they cover me up like this if that was not the case? So, there I sat. Little insignificant me awaiting my doom when the door on the opposite side of the room suddenly opened. A dozen police men accompanied by religious police men walked in and grabbed seats as far away from me as they could.
Then, from the corner of my eye, I could see a man wearing civilian clothing had walked in last. He sat down at the end closer to where I was.
The elder of the religious police began talking, preaching and reciting some Quranic verses. I wish I could say I remember what was being spoken but I cant. Once again I detached from the reality that surrounded me. I sat there like a piece of furniture with my head bowed down like the good submissive woman they expected me to be.
They talked and preached and everything was directed at me. Nothing was actually spoken to me so I remained silent as this was clearly not a two sided conversation. This went on for a good 15 minutes or so then they started reading off/referring to some papers they had brought in while talking to each other, questioning as well as reviewing my case.
I was never asked any questions or given the opportunity to talk. Frankly I didn’t quite understand why I was even there?
Then I heard a familiar voice, I knew this mans voice! So, I looked up for a second to orient myself again and possibly see if I could recognize who this man was. The man talking was the civilian who came in last…the one seated the closest to me…
This man… was my father.
Father, who didn’t look his daughter in the eyes the entire time, thanked them for the lecture, signed some papers and then walked out along with the elder leader who ordered me to follow them into a car.
I was ashamed for being alive that day. My father (the surgeon) had to come down to this crap hole with these creatures and sit there listening to this rubbish religious bull so he could get his daughter back. That day, for the first time ever, I felt bad for father.
But still I was not happy to see him there. If anything I was instilled with yet another dose of fear now. The fear that he very well might finish me off once we got home. None the less, that was a scenario I knew how to deal with and thus more acceptable to me than what I was going through.
So given my options, I quietly got up and followed them into the back seat of the car where I belonged. The leader drove both my father and I home while we all tuned into some verses from the Quran on one of the countless religious radio stations.
To be continued…