Jameel Jamal on: Split Family, Split Emotions.

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Many of us endure hardship for two simple reasons: either we gain something at the end or it is merely more convenient to pretend everything is fine.

    In September 2010, I started the month with very little cash, a pile of incomplete work and a phone bill that would make my mum fume. Yet, still I was smiling. After several months, a letter slipped effortlessly through the door stating that my parents were no longer legally married. At first, it was a day of relief that we no longer had to stay a ‘complete’ family out of fear of how others would see us if we had come from a ‘broken’ home, having lived apart for quite a few months, this day was inevitable.

    What followed the first few days of September were days of isolation and frustration. I still lived with my mother and sister and saw them every day yet I felt I had to carry the responsibility of stepping up to be the man of the house, to complete my education and to make sure no one would try and tear the seams of my family. I sympathised with my mother and sister yet we all suffered in different ways, some nights would be crammed with awkward silences and thoughtful glares back into the past reflecting on what life would have been like if the letter never came whilst others were spent trying to act if 14 years of marriage hadn’t been lost.

      Walking through the shopping centres on days that we had deliberately set aside to spend with the family, we were bombarded with everything we didn’t have. No father to accompany us to our first football match, no husband to buy us chocolates, no father to holster us up on to his shoulders.

        Months past and the apple of gossip had landed on the floor with its juice overflowing to friends. Suddenly, it felt like we had separated from ourselves from haven of the castle walls to the grounds of the battlefields. We felt ashamed and embarrassed, almost as if we had done something wrong by choosing our own happiness over a marriage of convenience.

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        It took just one day for all the pain to cease, one day that meant we did find solace from someone other than our own family and it was at school. Looking around at a close group of friends I saw just how each one of them extended their arm to help me having suffered from the ache of a divorce too. There, that was what comforted me the most: I wasn’t alone. It felt like I was at the beach in the middle of November, although the weather and what was to come scared me, I enjoyed the view and the comfort of feeling back to normal where I belonged.

        Jameel Jamal, 16

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