I talked to M for a long time that day. Mostly I did the talking. I grieved as I talked, and said things that had he been strong enough, would have made him angry. Instead, he just took it. His voice was too quiet to hear at times and he thought out loud about his religion, about the 'wedding.'
M is Muslim, very Muslim. He tries to find out what he is 'supposed' to do according to his religion and tries to put aside what he wants no matter how much it hurts. As I said before, he has more than once referred to me as his "weakness." It was his family's opinion that marrying me would weaken his religion and change his "line." This was a worry he had begun to share. Now, being technically married, he worried that even talking to me on the phone was bad, but that turned out to be something he could not leave.
Don't doubt that he tried.
M's parents changed immediately after the marriage was conducted. The watch of his cousins was loosened. Suddenly, M's demeanor started changing back to a more normal replica of himself. He was not getting sick every night and was allowed out of the house alone. I would call and find that he had the cell phone in the market or on the streets. His family started making plans for him to leave but required that he wait for his "wife's" papers before going. The marriage happened November 24, 2004, and on December 13, the paperwork still had not been delivered.
The thing that got more complicated for me was M's guilt. He kept trying to determine if divorcing this woman was allowed by his religion, and at what cost to his family. His marriage had been a work of several both distant and close members of the family. One of the most instrumental in the planning was a certain favorite and trusted cousin of his who wanted to marry one of his other cousins. Theirs was a 'love' match, but unequal in education and wealth. The female was college educated while the male was by description of the prospective bride's mother, "illiterate." Oddly, this part of the match was not made known to M until long after the marriage had taken place and he was no longer even in Pakistan. The trade was the Canadian immigration, which apparently is as good as gold when it comes to marriage planning.
In addition to this matter, were subtle family threats that I cannot begin to understand. I know that families are very involved in marriages in Paksitan and how could this not be true when there are so many interrarranged cousin marriages? But it becomes very personal when someone hints at breaking an engagement or divorce. This is not even to mention the cultural stigma carried with divorce in the first place.
And so, there was M, stuck between a 'wife,' his family, religion, and a gori-amrikaan 'girlfriend,' a word, which, by the way, he despises.