A girl finds out that her ex-boyfriend did voodoo on her. After discovering this, she does not believe it at first. However, due to a series of inexplicably unfortunate events and the fact that her traditional, slightly mystical Islamic family strongly believes in the detrimental effects of black magic, she reluctantly agrees to a 41 day spiritual cleansing.
A great, old wise woman, named La Intuición, who lived inside a girl once told her:
In this world, there is a special kind of dog that stands on two feet, uses words to bark and can be recognized by the tail that wags between their legs—often, taking form of a man. Be wary, for these dogs need to hold themselves to pee straight and may cause great harm.
I had ignored La Intuición because I was yet to understand the language she spoke and when it came to a person, for the purposes of this article, shall call X, (which can stand for anything from “exterminated” to “xenic,”) I chose to hear what I wanted to hear.
X was blessed short with hair spiked up like little horns and a face my grandma would describe as bincha—a term in Chittagonian that can be understood as a mixture of squished, ugly and unnecessary.
But it was his hands (and youth) that had me smitten. He could perform any beat his heart imagined and pick apart the dreams in any innocent’s voice with his music.
After the summer cooled down and the smoke from the last of the cigarettes gone, the guy that was left was not talent, fame and smiles. Instead, in the next eight months, I had to tread carefully across insecurity, anger and a slush that felt like an inferiority complex.
It started with a harmless phone call. A colleague was inquiring about my absence from work, and I assured him I was all right, simply taking a personal day, and we laughed over a stupid matter before the brief conversation finished. I didn’t notice X seething until we got into car.
How. Dare. I. Talk. To. Another. Man. Like. That.
Huh? Like what?
The amount of derogatory vocabulary is extensive because he never used the same word twice in our sessions and the abuse ranged from subtle, snide comments to manic name-calling and aggressive behavior.
I always tried to explain to La Intuición that he cared for me, and he had an artistic temperament. La Intuición would rattle her fan, and I knew she was right: art can only amplify what is already there. The hole in the ass was only getting bigger.
Everything that led to the end of our association, I have consciously blacked out in order to live. On that dark, celebratory December night, I rushed to be by his side because it was another important event where my presence was ordered. I had been tired from travelling, food poisoning and in general, too many family functions—but I still came. After being introduced to names important to him, I had to sit down, take off my shoes and massage my heels.
“Who do you think you are? I’m going to fucking slap you!”
In every scenario, I have been condemned into never understanding what happened despite my numerous attempts at pressing replay.
That night, I was dragged out to be dropped home and although, I never got the promised slap, I did get a bruising or two on my cheek, shoulder, knee and will from the rough handling of his car, his stubby fingers and his ego.
La Intuición opened the door to my barefooted soul that night and not one to remain silent, sighed in her knowing, “At least, you finally found an opportune moment to leave.”
Since then, I hope that the famous friends and reputation have served him well. But, I have heard that even if he has everything, he is still alone. I believe that’s what they call hell.
Three years later, I was shipping my life in London back to the USA by using my thighs, elbows and mouth to tape a box when my mother called about the “latest.”
“Listen, there’s news for you. I spoke to your aunt and her holy man said someone performed a strong curse against you, so that you may never find love, success or happiness. So that you may NEVER get married.”
I realized the latter part was causing upheaval within my mother. At 27, I was hopeless in that aspect, I suppose. With cousins younger than me achieving husbands, in-laws and even kids, I had nothing to show at my age except that I was attempting to conquer the enigma called German.
The worlds that my mother and I had grown to inhabit and construct for ourselves had differing levels of meaning—even if we could not understand each other, we momentarily tried to respect each other prior to the next fatal outburst—usually, an issue dealing with my lack of interest in a marital status.
However, when she learned of the curse, she explained the direness of the situation (single forever), the combative prescription (intense praying) and she knew it must be real because multiple sources had confirmed it from the other world. My mother is a stout 4’ 10” (147.32 cm) woman whose elbow I had once fell on, and the pain destroyed my rib for a few hours. I have tried to take her somewhat seriously since then.
But, even though I react in disbelief, it is never a complete distrust. Perhaps, I have drunk too much holy water, had jinns preened from my hair, met enough eerie personas and of course, grown up around family members, such as my great-aunt, who had her spiritual baba on speed dial, that nothing fazes me.
I remember once when I was sixteen I had met an elderly, saintly lady who lived on a hill near a road to a well-known mosque in Bangladesh. My two great-aunts and my mother brought my sister and I for healing, since the amount of spiritual negativity out there is daunting: garnering an evil eye, people placing curses, or some jinn bumping into you and sticking on.
In a tiny, cramped mud shelter was a frail woman, crouched on her legs separating flower stalks. What was left of her hair was in a white bun and her opaque blue eyes indicated blindness. She was a beautifully delicate vision of pissed virtue, possibly because many bothered her for her visions, since the “holies” always have the answers to God’s silence, and she just wanted to live her life until she died.
Therefore, I had to ask my mother, who did the “holies” think I was cursed by.
“A jilted man in his fury, bent on destroying you for not wanting to be with him. Do you know who that could be?” my mother asked.
“I have no idea.”
But, in that moment, I did know I was cursed and by X. However, not in the way my mother believed—although, IF X did voodoo, I wouldn’t be surprised because he would try anything for my downfall and his ego, including drinking the blood of kitten fetuses.
The anger, mortification and pain from X hadn’t all left. He had cursed me as I had developed a fear of not being good enough until I crumbled myself to be so small and unnoticeable instead of choosing to live gloriously big and bright.
For me, this meant knowing that I am more than enough, listening to La Intuición, living life without guilt, innocently and intentionally flirting with anything alive, and slipping off my shoes whenever and wherever I want. And this prescription feels authentic and amazing.
However, the “real” prescription my mother handed me was different and drastic as expected: strictly observing 41 days of prayer including a half hour chant during sunrise.
Due to her vow to challenge the evil underworld and my own dwindling funds, I had to leave Europe, and I completed her prescription successfully. In the end, there have been no shocking revelations, only gradual realizations that have led me to keep a little more faith in life and myself.
But, I’m still not married and before my mother discovers another prescription, I plan on moving to Germany—it’s an eight hour flight away, gives an ocean between us, and I can speak my unintelligible German.
Then, I’ll tell her that me being single and unmarried is not part of any curse—that’s just me.