Chapter 1

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     "What do you see in her?" The bright-eyed woman asked the overtly handsome man before grasping his collar.      

     "She's my mother's choice. We had a great run, but I must fulfill her desire to have a traditional daughter-in-law," the young man explained dramatically. 

      "Love ME. Marry ME," the woman cried out before enveloping the man in a forceful embrace. 

     Farah scooted up closer to the TV to study the attractive woman's face while the scene became intimate. She frowned and tapped the screen just as her coworker, Raquel, walked into the room. 

     "Dr. Abed, get a room. I know Dennis Mathers is hot, but we're working," Raquel teased before preparing herself a cup of coffee from Farah's personal cappuccino maker. 

     Farah turned around and pushed up her glasses from the bridge of her nose before shaking her head, 

     "Ah. Dr. Mathias, you're here. Who?"

     "The guy you're ogling on TV. The one now wrestling Loraine Smith in an attempt to remove her clothes for one last romp before they marry different people," Raquel explained. 

     "Oh. The movie?" Farah asked while facing the TV again. 

     "When did you get so interested in rom-coms?" Raquel asked before sitting down on one of the couches in Farah's office. 

     "I don't know what that is, but take a look here. Do you think this pixel is dead or simply stuck? I see no light behind it, so I think it ma be dead," Farah pointed out before tapping the screen gently. 

     "You're kidding," Raquel sighed.

     "Excuse me?" Farah asked before glancing back at Raquel. 

     "Farah, good lord, woman. You have two of Hollywood's hottest stars tearing their clothes off in front of you and all you see are dead pixels? Should we hold micro funerals for the departed?" Raquel chuckled. 

     "I know you're teasing me," Farah sighed before heading back to her desk. 

     "Yay! Now we can move on and talk about what's really important, your chaperoned dates!" Raquel smiled. She had known Farah for nearly twenty-five years, ever since kindergarten. They grew up together, went to prestigious high schools together, and even became astrophysicists together. When Raquel married her high school sweetheart, Farah had been her maid of honor and when she divorced him after finding numerous affairs with his secretaries, Farah was the one who held her while she wept. Farah had always been timid, but it seemed as if the woman was growing more withdrawn as the years passed. 

     "It's not going to work out," Farah explained before pulling out a notepad and scribbling something down. 

     "What do you mean? Didn't you go on one of those Islamic dates last night? How do you hear back from them so fast?" Raquel asked with a sigh. She wanted her friend to have her "happily ever after" already. If there was anyone that deserved a soulmate, it was Farah. 

     "He was kind. We had dinner. He's a marketing executive and wants a stay-at-home wife that is a doctor. I just happened to be the wrong kind," Farah explained and clenched her jaw. 

     "Wrong kind of what?" Raquel asked in anger. 

     "Why are you angry? I am the wrong kind of doctor. I have no intention of giving up my post-doctoral work here to stay at home so that my husband can order me to make him a sandwich. He was kind enough to let me know that he needed a wife that would take care of him, preferably someone not as educated as me, and that I am not a real doctor. He apologized, which was kind. The bureau has asked me to lie about what I do or I will probably never get married," Farah explained off-handedly. 

     "Please tell me you punched them. Why the heck should you lie?" Raquel frowned. Farah had once been outspoken, now she compartmentalized her emotions. It was infuriating to watch such a smart and kind woman internally destroy herself because of the number of rejections she had received from the matrimonial bureaus she was a part of. 

     "The most in demand profession is a medical doctor for the men my mother has chosen has potential spouses. I'm the wrong kind of doctor," Farah explained, a bit slowly this time.

     "Farah, I will punch you. I'm not slow. I just don't understand why your mom keeps pressuring you to go on these horrendous dates where most of the guys are asses. You pray five times a day, you hold your religion dear to your heart, and now you're being told to settle for divorcees that smoke and drink? You're too smart for this level of idiocy," Raquel explained. 

     "Everyone my age in my community is married with some even having kids. Every time I immerse myself in my community, my mother is embarrassed because I'm the unattractive nerd who will never get married. People, random people from my community, come up to her and ask why I won't get married, as if I'm a plague on their images," Farah whispered through gritted teeth. 

     "Farah, I love you. I mean it and as someone who loves you, I feel like I have the right to say that I'm very worried about you. You barely eat, you are always worried about your next date, and I've yet to see you smile all day. That's some unhealthy crap right there," Raquel explained. 

     Farah knew that Raquel was right, but she'd never admit it. Being South Asian in descent had left her facing unique circumstances that constantly contradicted her beliefs as a Muslim. Now that she was nearing the age of thirty, it seemed as if all anyone ever asked her was, "When are you going to get married?" Personally, she wanted to marry someone who understood her passion for astrophysics and science in general, but her mother wanted her to marry someone she chose. That was all well and good, the only problem she had was the fact that the men she was set-up with didn't like her plain looks, her slightly curvy frame, and her slightly dusky complexion. She was born with intellect, but it seemed as if that no longer mattered. 

     She clocked out of work a few hours later and headed home in her hybrid car.  Her life's carefree routine turned into a nightmare the night her father passed away. She went from being her father's treasured princess to the sole bread winner of the family. She couldn't share her loneliness with anyone, least of all her mother. After her father's passing, Farah worked around the clock to make sure her mother and siblings never suffered when it came to expenses. Her siblings took advantage of her, she knew that. She also knew that her mother constantly compared her children to those of the community to feel better about her own life, so Farah faced all the misery she had at home, in hopes of making her father proud. 

(This is a new book I'm working on that deals with self-discovery and self-worth. I hope you all enjoy it and as always, I appreciate the votes and comments.)

To be Continued...
Unmarried- A Muslim American Story (The Anti-Love Story) (ON HOLD)
Last updated: Feb 19, 2016
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