A silver frame stood elegantly on a table nearby, and the framed photograph was that of Jannah and Ahmed on their wedding day.
I wondered then if Jannah had ever experienced that special spark of love. Her marriage to Ahmed was traditional, as many marriages here in Egypt. Her family knew his, and they had set them up to meet, and shortly afterwards he proposed. They got married, just like that.
She seemed happy, or rather content. She hardly complained about him, except on rare occasions. They seemed to get along fine. They treated each other with respect and care—an essential ingredient of successful relationships. Yet I often wondered if that was enough, at least for someone like me.
I used to wonder often if there was any single element in a relationship that ensured happiness, and stability. A cousin of mine said it was money; her financial security was the most important thing. One friend said passion, another said respect, and a third said romance. My mother said it had to be appreciation. My father said it was honesty.
Yusuf said that that ingredient had to be love.
“So,” I had asked, “you mean true love?”, and he'd said, “There’s only one kind of love, sweetheart. If it isn’t love, it just isn’t love.”
-- The Years of Silence: A Novel by Marwa Ayad - An excerpt from chapter 11
~ An up-and-coming debut author, Marwa Ayad's literary writing has been described as heartwarming, mesmeric and intense.