Note: This short story is based on true events and scenarios from Afghanistan. It is a reminder that women around the world are still victims of discrimination, domestic violence, and are denied numerous human rights.
Her heart throbbed when she heard the door slam behind her. Sweat dripped down her forehead and she shivered in fear. The walls seemed to close in, and the smell of ash wafted around the room. The darkness embraced her body, and her breathing slowed.
This was a daily occurrence now. No matter what Asman did, nothing would please her husband. Enough was enough. She looked out of the window, and at the mountains ahead. The world had always seemed so small from her tiny hut in Kabul. But now, she realized that what lay beyond the vast horizon was always there. She smiled in awe but her face hurt from the repeated beatings. She raised her eyebrows in hope, but they hurt from when she was forcefully knocked to the ground.
That night, Asman didn’t sleep. She usually stayed awake in anticipation of thundering footsteps, or sudden commands from her husband. But today she sat and looked out at the starlit dark blue sky. Life doesn’t have to only be about suffering, she thought. There is a whole world out there filled with the hope of freedom. Her mind felt still and calm for the first time. She stood up and strolled around her room. She imagined a life without a fear. A life without being at the mercy of someone else. A life with love. The moon was bright and full that day, unlike most days.
The sun rose early the next morning. Asman’s room was found empty, and her husband was in a rage. He swore to find her and curse her.
That didn’t take long. Asman was found in a forest- sore and tired. She was taken by her will into a court full of men. Her eyes were blank, and her pain was immense. She never saw her husband again. That day she was sent to prison, but her soul finally felt free.
free at last