Walking over the red bricked pavement lined with rustling leaves, she quietly stared at the huge glass windows of the white washed hotel. She could hear a group of men standing outside the main entrance door laughing over their cigarette smoke as she strolled silently. With every step she took, her thoughts started to wander back to him.
For the world to see, they were two people stuck between odds; however, in reality, they were two sinful stories trapped inside the four walls of a cubicle.
The chill surrounded her as she wrapped her arms around her body as if letting her thoughts captivate her soul in the slightest of instants. She could hear his words echo throughout her soul, oblivious to the sounds of laughter around her:
“I’m living it by keeping all of you and especially you a part of it. I’m not gonna drift apart.”
A painful smile crossed her face. He did keep all of her after all.
“How difficult is it to love back?”
“Is it so profoundly pinching that people prefer breaking hearts and souls over trying or is it just simply wrecking to even try?”
All these questions haunted her mind as she stared at those lifeless leaves on that dark scary night under that starless sky. Tears trickled down her cold red cheeks. With every drop on her cheek, with every step she took, with every unwanted breath, she wanted to scream. In that instant her eyes told stories centuries old as words crossed her lips yet the voice box failed them:
“Take my past, take my sins”
Dejectedly she went and sat on the stairs leading to the parking lot. She could feel something cringe inside her as his words hit her hard, time and again. He wasn’t the best of people but he was hers even for the shortest of times. She had loved him. She still did. Through the thick and thin, she had cherished the memories they had made; the good ones more than the bad ones. With trickling tears and tarnished years, she still pictured his face in front of her eyes. That smile, she’d give away a life for. With that sparkling longing, she looked aside to see Farhan heading towards her. She knew he loved her, she could see it in his eyes but she also knew that she loved somebody else and she couldn’t help it.
He came near her as she stood up while moving her palms over her face.
Looking at the gorgeous chaos she was, he stared into her lonely eyes and asked:
“Do you miss him?”
Walking over those rustling autumn leaves in the dark night overshadowed by the starless sky, she could sense the fear in his voice as she mumbled;
“When did I ever forget him to miss him, he lives inside me, inside every single breath I take, every single word I say, he died in my life only for the world to see but he lives inside me more than he has ever lived there.”
As if sensing the urge to express in her voice, with hidden emotions and unsaid feelings he gathered up the courage to question her intimacy as Farhan once again said:
“And do you still love him after all he did to you, after all he did to leave you, after all he did to make you a wreck?”
Just as Farhan’s words came out, she sighed and said,
“Do you know why I’m here walking under the dark fearless sky? Oh of course you don’t! It’s because whenever the stars come out I realise that if they can shine brightly despite the monotony, why can’t I love him despite all the pain that he gave me. I know I sound crazy to you. You might just think whenever it comes to loving him, I lose my mature approach towards life but it isn’t that. It’s just that I’ve loved him so much with each passing day and each passing second that I can’t live without loving him. The day I stop loving him, I would cease to exist. He’s a part of this soul, he lives right here”, she said as she pointed where her heart lied, “and here and everywhere. From the early morning breakfasts to the late night reading ventures, he is everywhere in my life and it is him that makes me live, makes me want to take a step forward each day and the day he ceases to exist so will Falak. You won’t see her. You won’t feel her presence anymore. She wakes up each day to his thoughts and sleeps everybody to praying for him. She can’t let him go.”
She choked over her last words as she ran inside as fast as she could as Farhan was left to think why life was so unfair.
Feeling like a drapetomaniac, she ran as fast as she could as if trying to rub the bitter truths of her existence against her feet until she came to a standstill. Tears flowed down her red cheeks as she looked at the sides with a perplexed look on her face. It had been one whole year, one whole year of trying to live and failing at every step, one whole year of trying to suppress what had happened to change her from the cheerful Falak to the cheerless Falak. She still didn’t hate him or even dislike him. How could she?
Thinking with tears running over her face, she slowly and gradually reached her bedroom and fell flat on the bed like a bleeding corpse or a defeated animal waiting for support. She was that vulnerable like a little child, so so emotional in that one instant as thoughts hit her once again.
What is it with people that they fail to realise the worth of somebody’s smiles? She had always wondered that, always wanted to question people on that. Why were her smiles taken away? Was it because she tried not to whine about things like normal people and rather solved her problems herself or was it because she was everything he didn’t want in his life? It was one complex question. From the moment they had first talked to the moment when they first met, she remembered everything. She remembered how when they met they had argued over things as little as who smiled better and laughed at each other’s craziness. She smiled through her tears as the thought crossed her mind. She remembered how when they first talked he, like so many other people, failed to realise how sweet she could be. They had loved, she held a firm believe in that. Nobody survives for a year and a half together without love in between them; it’s humanly impossible to laugh with somebody and even cry with them for that long but not once feel love building up its tension between them but then they had lost. It’s such a cliche expression to say that but it really is the truth. They had lost smiles and trust to misunderstandings and more and more people in their lives, like water evaporates under the burning sun.
It was that quick. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and they were gone. Gone with the wind.
Ripped apart ruthlessly by their desires, by overpowering characters in their lives and by the lapse of communication.
Helplessly, Farhan stared at Falak running towards the door and entering the lobby as she disappeared. Over the years he had seen Falak progressing in life like a shining star, strong and confident, yet whenever it came to the man she loved, she broke down. Her eyes went that certain colour of red very few could see; her hands started to shiver in the weirdest of manners. He had been working with her for the past three years in the same firm and it was work that had brought them to the luxurious life held between the gates of PC Bhurban. He had seen her grow distant. He had seen her lose smiles. He had seen her going quiet. It was an endless journey because somewhere in his heart, he envied that man, that man who held the power to give a woman like Falak her smiles, that man who was artsy enough to paint her life like it was a meadow holding the prettiest flowers. Roses. Jasmines. Chrysanthemums. Tulips. Gladiolus. Sunflowers. A world in itself yet a world so distant.
His thoughts had brought him despaired and dejected to the door of his room. Sitting on the bed he, weakly, switched on the television. Suddenly the entire room was filled with the sound of music and he felt as if somebody had given all his thoughts words.
“Kare to phir kya kare
Tere bin kaise jiye
Ankoon mein pyar liye
Bolo kahan kahan phire?”
With a tear stained face and a rotten existence, Falak could slightly hear the music playing across the wall in Farhan’s room. With every word, with every lyric, her eyes kept going blur:
“Sajni paas bulao na
Ke dil aaj tuta hai aaj tuta hai
Sajan maan jao na
Ke woh aaj rutha hai aaj rutha hai
Koi use manae na
Dil tujhey hi chahe na”
For once she understood more of these cold and spiky words piercing her soul apart than the waterfall flowing down the curves of her jawline. The music disappeared in the blues of the night and the waterfall ceased to flow yet the eyes remained bloodshot and the mind wrecked. She had loved him to the point where she couldn’t think of love without thinking of him.Gazing at the fire alarm on the white coloured ceiling, she fell asleep in her moment of another memorial.
As the music faded away, Farhan switched off the television and lied down on his bed to recall what hadn’t been recalled by anybody but Falak in a long time, the life changing decision.Gazing at the fire alarm on the white coloured ceiling, he started recalling events from the past year. Her smiling face while looking at her phone. Her early evenings from the office. Her eyes reading ‘I’m committed and loved unlike any other.’…Her tears. Her pain. Her eye bags. Her suffering reflected through the excessive amount of medical prescriptions on her desk. He pictured the day she had first come to the office after a month’s leave, asked for on the phone and he had met her during the lunch break;
“FALAK? God! What just happened to you? The eyes…”
“Does it even matter.” She said as if trying to engrave words on her mind more than his. “Really does it even matter if I have red eyes or glistening with happiness ones. It doesn’t. I died, Farhan, I died. In that little moment in which I thought I was the closest to Fadil; forehead to forehead, legs to legs, eyes to eyes; I lost him.” She bursted out crying and almost fell to the floor. He quietly sat next to her holding her hand as she continued painting all his fears in one single frame.“Can you believe it? CAN YOU? I lost him to a sin. I lost the person I love”, she hiccuped, “the person who claimed to love me the minute he heard of the responsibility this act had brought to our lives. A living, growing responsibility.”
Farhan felt as if somebody had taken his heart and stabbed it.
“I BLOODY LOST HIM…to responsibility. To desire powered by love? Ugh.”
They kept sitting silently for the rest of the lunch break; Farhan, brooding over his kismet and Falak, crying over hers.
He opened his eyes with a flash in an attempt to escape the misery the flashback brought with itself. Lost for words, he remembered the first time he had met Fadil outside the office over Falak’s wish.
Tall, dark and handsome; the phrase was surely made to fit his personality.
Unlike Farhan, he had an utterly charismatic personality, dark brown eyes and a beard that spoke for his sophistication. In his meaningful handshake and Falak’s glistening eyes he had read the ability he held to hurt her but he couldn’t say. What was Farhan Hashim, the son of a man who worked in a small pharmaceutical’s company, a LUMS graduate in front of Fadil Shehryar, the son a feudal lord, an Oxford graduate; a man whose family name spoke for him before his self did.
The clock ticked in the silence of the dark room as she opened her eyes sweating viciously. Reaching for her phone lying on the side, she saw the time and sat up straight.
3 ams still haunted her, developing insomniac tendencies in her already troubled life.
“It’s true I’ve loved you for all this time but I can’t afford to have this baby or you, as a matter of fact, as my wife. A doctor’s daughter won’t fit into our social class. I can’t marry a girl like you.” He said in a hideous tone and started to walk away but stopped in the middle and looked back at her fragile face staring at the lines on her hands, “and ONE more thing, don’t try to contact me. It’s better we don’t talk.”
They haunted her to the point of screaming out loud. But more than that, she was haunted by the scars that the timely abortion, over the insistence of her lamenting parents, gave her.
Their social standing.
Where was she?
Where was her baby?
Her Fadil…she choked over her thought and fell back over the pillow with the look that could turn tables with the sympathy it called for.
Love is the strangest of emotions. It makes lives and it breaks them altogether as well. Standing in front of the mirror in her red attire, Falak smiled at her thought. The journey from trying to be Falak Fadil to being Falak Farhan was an adventurous one with its ups and downs alike but after all she had given in to his love for he accepted her with her sins at the lowest point of her life. She knew she wouldn’t ever love him as much as he loved her but she could try and trying was the first nail in a successful future’s wall, wasn’t it?
They always said that if you can’t marry somebody who you love then marry somebody who loves you, she thought looking at Farhan playing with their four year old son, and they said it right.
After all these years, she pitied a person like Fadil Shehryar. He had everything for the world to see; luxury, fame, a strong political career, lots of women and above all money but one thing he didn’t have was love, the one thing that along with the hope and happiness it brought enlightened her life and beautified her
scars to the point of fulfilment.
Writer’s note: Uh, really not my type of ending to write but miracles happen? Haha. Even when I initially thought of not posting it, I ended up doing so because otherwise I would’ve written an alternative sad ending. Don’t want to make this long because I know very few people would have read this to the end owing to its length but here’s a quote I think fits:
“My daddy said, that the first time you fall in love, it changes you forever and no matter how hard you try, that feeling just never goes away.”
Here’s to everybody’s first time which came or already has to come and here’s to the life which is yet to be enlightened.