"We're going to visit your mom-in-law."
Hubby nodded. He's yet to step foot into his mom-in-law's house as I wasn't sure the kind of reception we'd get from his father-in-law. We had our meetings with Mom and Brother at public places, not at Mom's house. Nevertheless, I wanted to test the waters that day - at whatever cost. At least with a strong man beside me, I wasn't that nervous.
The last time I stepped foot into the house was almost 1 1/2 years ago. Why? One reason - dad. I have never been close to Dad, and neither has my brother. My dad is not like everyone's dad. He's different; with a quick temper and a heavy hand. A traditional father who expects everyone to listen and obey, no questions asked. And I had been rebellious. He hasn't spoken a word to me since the day I told him I was divorcing my former husband. Words were exchanged through the phone when he insisted I stayed on in the unhappy marriage. As a result there was a breakdown of communication between us since. My own conversion to Islam made our relationship worse. He was hopping mad when he found out I became a Muslim.
"He's in.. are you sure you want to drop by?" Mom called and sounded nervous.
"Of course we're coming. Don't worry." I told Mom.
We got down from the car. Dad's car was in front of the house.
The dog, chained up as a result of our arrival, started to bark loudly. I called its name, and suddenly it wagged its tail. It could still recognise me.
"Well.. this is my house I grew up," I told hubby.
Mom was waiting for us in the hall. We chatted, just the three of us.
"He's in the bedroom getting ready to go out," explained Mom.
Suddenly the door opened and he came out.
I didn't look up. I couldn't even bring myself to look at him in the face. I was worried he'd start swearing and chase us out of the house the moment he sees me in the tudung. Hubby, as diplomatic as ever, introduced himself, shook hands and started small talk. Mom looked on quietly at the antics of the two men. After some time, he got up and left, telling Hubby that he's got some meeting to attend.
"Why didn't you talk to your dad?" Hubby asked on our way home.
"Well, I just can't. Not now. It takes time," I explained. I didn't know what to say. Other than the love for art, I also inherited Dad's stubbornness.
I know as a daughter I should make the first move but heck, too many bitter words were exchanged between us the moment he found out about my impending divorce. Amazingly, he wasn't even fond of my former husband.
"Did he ask anything about me?" I called Mom that night.
"No, he's been quiet. And it's good too, 'cause I'm alone in the house with him," replied Mom.
That's one hurdle I'd need to cross when I'm ready... soon, I hope.
It took 2 years to soften Mom's heart and for her to accept me back as a Muslim daughter. Dad? Only Allah swt knows best...