by Amna Saleem
6:30pm. The clock in the tower chimed.
I felt the coldness of the night as the sun descended. I said good-bye to him at the gate, outside my house. He was in a rush; he’d suddenly remembered he had a train to catch- missing it, he feared, would be an unbearable pain for the both of us to undertake the sad goodbyes again.
He sat inside the yellow cab, as I walked into my house and hurried upstairs to my room to sneak a quick long look at him from my window. I observed, with sadness, that he chose not to look back. Instead, he tried to occupy his mind busy instructing the cab driver to his destination. I closed my eyes for a second as a tear ran down on my cheek and the next second, picturing his gestures to the cabbie, and when I opened them, found him gone. I stood there by the window powerless. There was nowhere else to go. There was nothing left â€“ nothing that could make me smile or make me feel important. I chose to spend some more time at the window, holding the grill tightly so nothing could part me from it – the winding patterns bit into my flesh, leaving red streaks across my soft fingers, as if they’d been whipped with a cane. The pain certainly felt as harsh.
There was an unusual satisfaction in my grief, which I didnâ€™t want to avoid, a very odd pleasure in those tears. A certain delight in the chilliness of the night and the cool wind in my hair- it almost made my eyes water.
The road was quiet. It started to drizzle and I was instantly transported back to the first time we met at the Dry Cleanerâ€™s shop- we were wet and not very happy with the rainy weather. From that very rainy day to this very moment, that we always remained together spiritually despite the consequences of our physical distances. How I wished he didnâ€™t have to go. It had hardly been two minutes since he’d gone, and already his memories had begun to encircle me already like a thick, cotton shawl on a cold human body- the static of loneliness prickling unpleasantly against the warmth of those memories.
I shut my eyes and once again, I felt secure â€“ safe -so much so, that I didnâ€™t feel the need for anything else in life but the memories. The remembrance of the good and bad times we both shared were so intense, so real, that nothing could possibly beat those feelings. It felt amazing â€“ the nostalgic vibe running with electric energy within me and oh, how tightly I held myself and his memories close, to keep me warm and protected.
It started to rain quite heavily and the air threw few thick raindrops on my wet face threw the grill. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes and everything seemed right again – infact, cheerful. The green trees looked happy again. The neighboring houses no longer appeared old. Some of the neighbors came out of their houses and began to walk and enjoy every bit of the weather. I saw cars rushing and the wipers constantly dancing – the wheels splashing in the stagnant pools of water on the roads and producing gurgling rippling noises – it seemed like the water was giggling.
It was so beautiful.
Almost irritatingly perfect, in fact.
After a very short while, I couldnâ€™t take it anymore or perhaps I just DIDN’T want to. The sense of melancholy and heavy heartedness began to attack me – I was more content feeling that way again for a very odd and an unknown reason.
The beautiful scenario happening outside my window seemed odd to me, something unfamiliar â€“ something not quite right for me. I was confused for a moment and very slowly unfolded myself to stretch my arms and shut the window quietly.
There was silence again.
So intense, the silence began to scream in my ears. I sat on my bed. Slowly laid down my head and held the pillow almost too tightly -Â My brave demeanor vanished, my body wracked with sobs as I cried and cried and cried..
Realization dawned on meâ€¦I never felt lonesome because abandonment had somehow always kept me company.