“He never let me cry again”
The story of Rajiya Begum, a sex worker, and Abbas Miah, a disabled man, as retold by GMB Akash
It’s very hard to fall in love again. Especially for a prostitute. Ever since I have understood life, every inch of my soul has suffered in grief. I have no idea what my age is or who my parents were. I have spent my life on the street. And my daughter was the only reason for my breath. I never told her what my profession was. She was a beautiful chubby child; it was very difficult to lie to her, especially when she smiled at me. Whenever she asked me, ‘Why are you going to work at night, amma?’ I could hardly speak to her, but sometimes I told her; ‘I never wanted to work at night.’
Without understanding anything, she’d always hug me before I left home. I wanted to get out of that gang. I tried to escape many times. I badly wanted to save my life. But I knew no one, nobody came to help me ever since I’ve woken up in this bastard world. Everyone used me, played with my heart. Left me devastated and I had no idea where I was going.
That was a rainy day, it was raining heavily; I was standing under a tree, waiting for the sunset. I did not even notice the beggar sitting in the wheel chair on the other side of the tree. I was crying hard and the rain was pouring onto me. I had no idea how long I had screamed in anger, in agony. I wanted to return to my daughter, I did not want to go anywhere with any stranger. I was very tired. Tired of being used at every place by everyone.
Suddenly I heard the crack of the wheelchair; he coughed loudly to get my attention. I did not try to weep off my tears and told him that I had no money for a beggar. He handed me a fifty taka note and said that was all he had. He warned me about the coming storm and requested me to go back home. I was numb. The money was already wet but I kept that dearly in my plum. I saw him pushing his wheel chair while moving in the rain; saw him going far away from me. For the first time in my life that evening, someone gave me something without using me. That day I cried deeply while returning to my hut. That day for the first time, I felt loved.
That very same monsoon, I searched for him until I found him several days later, sitting under a tree. I came to know that his wife left him because of his disability. By gaining a lot of courage, I told him that I won’t be able to love again, but I could push his wheelchair for a lifetime. At that moment, he smiled and said, ‘Not everyone can push a wheelchair without love.’
We are married for four years. During our wedding, he promised me, no matter what he would never let me cry again. Some days we do not have lunch. Even today, we have only one plate of chot pati and were sharing it together. We have already passed many difficult days, months and years. But I have never cried again, standing under any unknown tree. Abbas Miah has kept his promise.
We hope that we can spend an eternity loving each other like this.