For the first year I knew her, I never knew that Danielle had ever been married. She never talked about it and I just assumed that she was another of the many unmarried women in their 30s in the village. Her story is that she married young, at I think 16, to a man she had never seen before the wedding. She wasn't married long before it became clear that he was an alcoholic and soon after, began to treat her poorly. She was faced with the choice of staying with him, even if he was a terrible husband, or leaving him and moving back in with her family in the village, knowing that as a divorcee, she may never get another marriage offer. She left and came back to the village. Now, at the age of 30, she's still unmarried, wants nothing more than to be married, but has no real way to go about meeting men, and no one wants to arrange a marriage for their son or brother or nephew with a woman who is clearly not "pure".
A misdialed number led to a conversation that led to a secretive text-message relationship with a man that went on for several months before they agreed to meet. She spent a weekend with him, lying to her family about going to visit an aunt or a friend somewhere, and then later I helped her meet him again by telling everyone she was going with me to Fes and then sending her off to his town instead. Even at the age of 30 and even though she was divorced, she still could not tell her family that she was going to see a man. After their second meeting, he told her that his mother disapproved of his marrying a divorcee (he was almost 40 but still couldn't stand up to his mother regarding whom to marry). But he continues to send her texts, urging her to come visit him. She has to decide whether having a secret lover who will never marry her is better or worse than having no one at all.