One Month In

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I don’t know if you should forgive me.

He doesn’t dare say it out loud, but he’s thinking it. He sits on the floor next to her, leaning against the bed they bought a month ago. Her face is buried in her hands, stained with dried tears. She didn’t want things to be like this. She thought they’d be fine when they got married, that they had both moved forward. To be honest, she was more upset with herself than with him right now. She thought she had left these thoughts behind, thoughts of I don’t deserve anyone, I’m just a burden, and why should anybody love me? She worked hard. She spent time fighting off these demons. She didn’t think they would ever come back.

Can we skip to the part where we’re both happy again?

She can’t bring herself to speak the words, but she desperately wants, needs, to get past this part of whatever’s happening right now. She feels his arm wrap around her. His eyes focused on her, seeing the pain he’s caused someone he loves. Before, he had only ever thought he was hurting himself. No one knew. He clung so long to this private sin that it never seemed to affect anyone else but him. Of course, he reached a point where he was sure it could no longer continue; he had to make a change for himself. He worked hard. He put in the time and effort to get away from it. He thought he was free. He didn’t think it would ever come back.

They both sighed.

They’d been sitting on the floor for at least two hours. Silent. Only tears and fast breaths filled the air. Despite the distance that had grown between them over the past day, they were sitting closely to one another.

She rests her head on his chest out of exhaustion. He rests his atop hers.

Sitting there, both broken and sure that they were to blame. Both afraid of one another: afraid of disappointing her, afraid of wasting his time, afraid of being the worst thing that could’ve happened to the other.

They’d both been honest from the beginning. When their families got them together and they talked through the thousand-and-one questions that you’re told you shoud ask. After the consulting with friends and prayers of istikhara, they both mustered up the maturity to warn the other of their previous mistakes. It’d been a while, for both of them, since they’d experienced true hopelessness, but they both thought the other should know that this was once a part of their past. Their honesty brought them closer.

One month in.

The room feels like the aftermath of a storm; emotional debris lies everywhere. Pillows lie tossed around the room, an iPad thrown in a corner, a tattered journal on the dresser. But, the storm has passed now; all that’s left are two people too paralyzed to speak.

“What…what helped you get past it before?”

She sits up, gathering what’s left of her energy. He sits up, too, surprised to hear the sound of her voice. He takes a moment to think. .

“Um…well, I would feel pretty terrible for, I don’t know, days sometimes. I would try to force myself back into feeling normal or try to, you know, get my iman up with lectures on YouTube or something. After some time, though, I would be back to normal. I would be, like, praying salah and actually feel all right again, like I was myself.”

She hung onto his words, actually listening for what felt like the first time. She didn’t see someone with the title of her “husband” just then. Whatever voices had been pulling her before were quieted, at least for this moment.

“I used to read a lot. Like Yasmin Mogahed, In The Early Hours, or other books on purification of the soul and stuff. They didn’t usually immediately help but yeah, I still would, like, force myself to keep reading them. And yeah, after time passed, they always kinda sunk in and I would feel it in my salah, too, like whenever I prayed, how I felt was some sort of indication to how I was doing. But yeah, after that, I’d usually be back to normal, too.”

He nodded. For a minute, he forgot who she was and just felt like he was having a conversation. They each looked around the room. It felt like a different place than it was a couple hours ago.

She reached for her phone on the bed and clicked for the lock screen.

“Well…it’s time for ‘Asr.”

She said it matterof factly. They locked eyes for only a moment. Then they both got up and brushed themselves off.

“I’m gonna make wudhu,” he said as she picked up a hijab from the floor.

Jawaad Khan was born and raised in sunny South Florida to a family of creatives and Islamic workers. He went on to complete a film degree at the University of Miami, one year of improv classes (which he’s very proud of), and he studied Arabic and Islamic studies at various institutes in Dallas, TX, where he now resides with his wife and cat. He serves on the board and is an editor for Muslim Youth Musings. His debut collection of short stories, titled "No Old Ladies in Jannah" was published in 2023.


  1. Amazing piece, masha’Allah. Many that go through addictions think that marriage will cure them, whereas it may just hide the problem further if they don’t deal with it.

    I loved that the addiction wasn’t specifically mentioned, so each reader can relate to it in their own way.

  2. I can totally relate to the feelings expressed above. May Allah give us all the patience and courage to stand for our marriage.

  3. This is so powerfully written mashaAllah.. what a terrifying scenario. It’s heart-wrenching really. “Before, he had only ever thought he was hurting himself.” That feeling!

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