Updated: Jun 17
Wafa’s window showed rolling dark clouds that had camouflaged the bright moon, causing the darkness to encapsulate the whole world. In her lavish and well-decorated bedroom, the owl's hooting was echoing as there was no noise in her house. Averting her gaze, it landed on the wall clock which was showing 2 am. Taking a deep sigh, she rested her head against the headboard.
Opening her eyes and straightening her body, she impatiently stared at the door from where Wahid was entering.
"Where were you?"
Impatience, frustration, and helplessness were evident in her tone.
"I was craving coffee so I went to a coffee house. There, I found an acquaintance, and lost track of time." Wahid replied in a nonchalant tone while taking off his shoes.
"I told you in the morning to come early. We have to go to the doctor for my check-up." Wafa's shoulders slumped and helpless tears shone in her eyes.
"Uff! " He slapped his forehead while lines of frustration marred his features.
"You should remind me about the appointments!" He snarled at which her eyes rounded in alarm.
"I was calling you, but you were not attending it. So, I messaged you." She murmured.
"I'm not free at the office to attend the calls and to read the messages. You don't have any idea how much burden I have on my shoulders. Uff! What should I do? " He held his head in between his hands at which a flash of concern shone in Wafa's eyes.
"Are you okay? Should I bring you dinner? "
"Yeah" he nodded his head at which Wafa stood from the couch. She felt dizzy and the urge to vomit hit her, but she resisted it.
Dragging her feet, she went into the kitchen. Putting dishes in the microwave, she started it.
"I'm so done with my boss! He expects me to work like a donkey and pays me only a few cents. I have decided to quit." He announced while entering the kitchen. Wafa's heart lurched to her mouth.
"Don't rush into your decision, Wahid. Getting new job is not a piece of cake. And without your job, we wouldn’t be able to survive. We will soon be welcoming a new member into our family. We have to think for their future too." Wafa sat near him and tried to plead with him while lines of tension marred her features.
Wahid rolled his eyes at her speech.
"You just keep on thinking of yourself! Am I a donkey who has to work from dawn to dusk for others? Where is my life? " He got irritated at which Wafa took a deep sigh. The beep of the microwave interrupted his angry tirade as she went to fetch the dinner.
"I also wonder where my life is? It has been swallowed in your house." She replied a little desperately at which fury rippled across Wahid's features.
"Just keep on complaining! You have no idea how much I'm suffering!" he replied bitterly while piling up the rice into his plate, distaste etched on his face.
"Your cooking is zero in front of my mother's cooking. The taste of her rice was heavenly. And, whenever I came back to home after having a hectic day, her concern was only my health. She was less worried about my salary or house expenses. If she were at your place, she would have supported my decision."
"Yes, she would have! Because your father was there to meet the expenses. And there is a difference between a mother and a wife. You have duties as a husband! Fulfill them. For God's sake! " Wafa thought but didn't utter a word. Instead, she kept on swallowing her rice.
"Make an omelet for me. I'm not going to eat this." He pushed back the plate towards Wafa, her lips set in a hard line.
"I'm not feeling well." She tried to protest but was ignored by Wahid.
"I'm in the bedroom. Bring me my omelet there." He ordered and went into the kitchen, leaving her alone, as always.
Recoiling in anger, she took deep breaths to control her raging mind and helpless tears.
Putting the plate of omelets on his side table, she took his discarded shirt from the floor.
"I'm not feeling well. Tomorrow, we must have to visit the doctor." She tried to avert his attention toward her health, but he just nodded his head with a disapproving frown, without even glancing at her.
"Holidays! After a long time!" Relief was evident on Wahid's face, but tense lines were on Wafa's face.
"Wahid, please think again! Without a career, there is no future." Pleading was evident in her tone.
"We will get those things which are in our fate, Wafa. I can't compromise on my mental health just because of a few bucks."
"Okay, leave the job! But before that, look for another one. If you can find an alternative, go for it. I will support you. " Wafa put her hand on his shoulder, and tried to change his mind. But, he jerked away her hand and slammed the bedroom door on her face, leaving her alone to mourn.
The noise of cutlery and chatter was echoing in the lounge. The smile was stretched on Wafa's vibrant face as her and Wahid's mutual friends had visited their house after a long time. Echoes of laughter and endless chattering were going on while they were sipping soup and eating crackers.
"Your furniture is outstanding! From where you buy it? " One of their friends asked Wafa.
"This… " Wafa was going to reply but was cut off by Wahid.
"Hareem, our house's furniture has been designed by a renowned house designer which is not easily affordable to every person."
A blush crept on Hareem's face, and Wafa was taken aback by Wahid's reply.
"Hassan has got a promotion, and we have saved enough money to afford any renowned house designer. Thanks to Allah, Hassan, and my career is going smoothly." After recovering from Wahid's cynical reply, Hareem fired back.
A frown settled in between Wahid's eyebrows and remained there the whole night.
"Hassan was nothing in front of me a few months back. And now, his wife is thinking that they can replicate our house without any effort." In the bedroom, Wahid commented with a sarcastic smile.
"Hassan has done a lot of hard work, and now he is eating the fruits of it." Wafa said while hanging his shirts.
"Still, I'm richer than him." A cynical and satisfied smile remained on his face at which Wafa rolled her eyes.
"You are! But your inconsistency in making a career can cause financial issues in our life. I think with your personal responsibilities, I have to take your financial responsibilities too." Wafa thought, as always, but didn't speak it out.
Dark clouds had camouflaged the bright sun, depriving Earth of its warmth and light. Sitting in front of the window with a cup of tea in her hand, Wafa was gazing at the brown hot liquid with an expressionless face. Thunder broke down in the sky, and drops of rain started falling. Gazing at the hot liquid and listening to the falling rain, her mind drifted toward a scene of the past.
Rain was falling on cats and dogs on the ground college, and the students in the classroom were gazing at the rain with excitement. Her seat was in front of the window on which drops of rain were falling.
"Okay students, I'm going to start the lecture, so be alert." Eighteen-year-old Wafa averted her gaze toward her psychology teacher. "Today, I'm going to tell you about a syndrome. It is not a disorder actually, it is a way of being. And it is known as the "Peter Pan Syndrome." It is mostly associated with those men who never grow up mentally. They are not willing or ready to accept adult's responsibilities and issues. They love adolescence and remain in that state of mind. Such men are inconsistent in their personal and professional life, love to procrastinate and remain cold and indifferent to others. They find it hard to remain in a friendship circle as they are unable to identify or relate themselves in the circle."
"But why?" Wafa's mouth hung low and she asked.
"Well, the main reason is overprotective or pessimistic parents. Issues in childhood lead to disturbing adulthood." The teacher replied and continued her lecture.
"I will never be an overprotective or pessimistic mother." Eighteen-year-old Wafa decided, and the twenty five year old Wafa caressed her belly.
"Wafa! Wafa!" Wahid's voice disrupted her train of thoughts.
"Coming!" she called out.
"Iron my clothes. I'm going to an acquaintance to discuss a business plan. I have decided to start my own business now." Wahid extended a pile of clothes to her.
"This is also your routine: planning big, doing nothing. And then, drift into a state of despair and pessimism for days." She thought while ironing his clothes.
After he left, Wafa again sat near the window and stared at its panes where tears of rain were leaving their trails behind.
"In marriage, Peter Pan men want a wife who can support him and protect him just like his mother. He wants a superhero woman. Overprotectiveness of his mother has driven him to be cynical toward women, but he still wanted them to take care of him. Such men's wives are known as "Wendy". There is also Wendy syndrome. In it, females have lived with a dominant and overprotective mother, and in their relationship with Peter Pan, they are willing to play the role of Wendy. Despite all the frustration of Peter Pan's men, Wendy remains with him because, psychologically, they feel comfortable around Peter Pan. Their disturbed childhood made them fearful of real men, and they opt for Peter Pan."
Eighteen-year-old Wafa paled at her teacher's explanation of Wendy, and twenty-five-year-old Wafa leaned her head to the back of the chair.
In her back, there was a weeping sky, and in front of her, a dark lonely house.
About the Author:
Laiba Akhtar has recently completed her graduation in English Language and Literature. Passionate about writing and reading, she has written various novels and short stories which are present on different social media websites. She is also an editor in Causerie E-Magazine, and a humanitarian writer in The Digital Desi. Her short stories "Dusk to Dawn" and "Sheikh House" have been published in Perspective Magazine.