It was one of those cold February moonless night, light drizzle throbbing in the quite dark street with barely breathing light from the lamppost in the street. My day started even before I opened my eyes. I had the feeling that it was just before dawn when I saw her. I don’t remember her face but I remember her curves and edges quite vividly. I believe she was playing with me. She wanted me as much as I wanted her, maybe more. She understands very well that the anticipation makes the pleasure more intense. She wanted me to open my eyes so that she could look into my eyes. I just wanted to drink the wine from her eyes. She’s quite a romantic. She herself knew that she was just delaying the inevitable. She didn’t close the door on her way out of the dark and damp room. It felt as I woke up from a deep slumber she was standing in front of me. As she saw me opening my eyes she walked towards me in the dark room with a little bit of light coming from the small window on my left, near the head of my bed. I was lying on the left side of the bed, my usual spot, closest to the window. She came closer to me with a smile wearing on her lips. Her walk had a look of remembrance. All I could see was her lips in the little light, thin and natural. As she approached me, the lips grew wider. She leaned on me just enough that I could feel her warm scent on my lips. I inhaled deeply, cherishing every moment with my closed eyes. She put her left hand on the right side of my head on the white soft pillow, with her left knee brushing against my left leg covered by a white sheet which I probably would’ve taken it because of the cold but at that moment when I was feeling her breath on the top of my nose and lips, I was feeling anything but cold. She tilted her head to her right and just the top of her wet upper lip touched mine. My eyes closed themselves naturally but I could see her smile broadly. As I was about to raise my head to kiss her, she withdrew from me and ran to the door. I followed her with my eyes as she approached the door. Her thin body dancing in the air. She stopped, her whole back to me. She looked back at me with her right hand on the door. The intense light was coming from outside through the opened door. Strangely, not a speck of light was entering the room. It felt like the light was made only to beautify her and all I could see was the silhouette of her whole body with clear curves and edges. I could still feel her smile. Still looking back at me she advanced her right hand towards me and signaled with her four fingers, tilting her face to the side of the door to follow her. And then I realized that it was her own light that was calling me. She moved away leaving the door open for me. Just an inch of our lips touched and I felt two universes colliding.
It had started raining heavily, with rain banging on my window. I was still lying looking outside the window. The room smelled of dust and water, a mixture of two different things forming a one perfect being bringing the fragrance of a known body. I think the rain was rejoicing knowing that I’ve finally realized what I’ve been looking for everywhere. And I woke up. There is a smile on my lips, and it isn’t my own. I am still lying on my bed, on the left side of it, just like always, holding a deep conversation with my heart. Let’s see what surfaces from the depths of this sea, let’s see what color the blue-sky changes into, the heart said. I guess everyone close to me understands my dream. I touch the empty place beside me on the bed and it was still warm- a familiar warmness. My tears are banging on the door of my eyes. It is daybreak, and the world of nature is becoming more beautiful with my own tears. I still know nothing about her, not even her whereabouts. But now I know the biggest thing about her with which I could recognize her anywhere, because now I know my lover’s lips. I wouldn’t be anxious anymore, nor helpless because I have a great responsibility on my shoulder, someone not that far away waits for my lips too. Now you are a Lover, not the one who laments but the one who carries both worlds in his hands. The valley of love is a long way away, and yet, at times, the journey of a hundred years is covered in a sigh. It’s the same day, but a new morning, the heart whispered. I look out of the window and new life is born. Winter is over and songs of life have come out among the branches again. That night will come again, washed clean with the moonlight and we shall whisper again with the gestures of our eyes. In the ambiguous dark shade of her hair once again her beauty will adorn the night. I inhaled my room deeply which smelled of my dream and reality, and whispered, “I am coming…”
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Please wake up. Mommy! My tummy hurts. I am thirsty. My tummy is hurting.”
She has been asleep for quite a long time now. First, she was playing with a rope that was looped over a fan and around her neck. I tried to do the same thing with my school shoe laces but I wasn’t long enough to pass it over the fan plus my laces were short too. I tied both my shoe laces with double cord just like my father taught me. My mommy told me this story about my shoe laces, because I don’t remember my father that much. Everything I know about my father is from my mommy. I never met my father, only saw his wedding picture with mommy, dressed in black suit, a broad smile on his face, looking very happy. My mommy says that my eyes look just like him. I don’t know where he is during the day but at night, when mommy sends me at the roof to sleep all alone, she says that the shining star in the sky is my father, and he keeps looking at us from far above. Sometimes he plays with me too and mommy believes that, until I fall asleep on my roof, and in the morning, he wouldn’t be there. Maybe he goes off to work, I always ask my mommy that how come she goes to work at night and returns during the early hours of the day, just before my school bus passes by our house, but she always says that she works very hard and long hours, that’s how grownups live.
I tried to bring her to the ground by stretching her leg but she didn’t let go of the rope even though both of her hands were holding the rope from under her chin as though she was taking off her bride veil as I saw in her wedding video. I saw my father too. He was very bright. Whenever I tried to bring mommy back, she kept spinning in circle. I got bored when she didn’t respond to me, and went to the kitchen for the twentieth time, but couldn’t find anything to eat. I heard a loud bang from my mommy room and I thought she might’ve come down, she might be tired from playing so long. I tried to bring her a glass of fresh water but my hand couldn’t reach the tap of the kitchen. So, I went into my room’s toilet and filled the cup with water in which I pee, only when mommy’s holding me from under my arm pit.
She was lying on the floor on her back with something red and sticky flowing out of her head. I felt afraid and called her from a distance but she didn’t move. I walked a few steps forward and touched her head, it was cold. I went into my room and covered her with my favorite blanket. It was very small for her, it barely covered her legs. So, I brought out all of my seven blankets to cover her completely, and a pillow under her head too. She was really making such a mess on the floor. Before she woke up and blame me for all this mess, I went into the kitchen and brought a dish cleaning sponge to wipe her forehead, the red water was still coming out. I washed the sponge from the white toilet of my room and then started soaking all the mess in it until the water in the white toilet was all red. My blue sweater also turned red. I cursed myself for not taking care of it. Cleaning in and out, I felt really tired, and I hadn’t eaten anything for so long, I laid down on the sticky rug beside her. Mommy is still asleep. She never slept for so long. I have two toy cars. They race by the floor where Mommy is sleeping. I felt tired and fell asleep alongside her.
It was dark outside when I woke up. I felt happy. I ran to the window and called out my father to come and wake mommy up. I couldn’t find him. The purplish red sky was throwing blue lights again and again, until I got bored of waiting, and went to my dressing table. I brought my favorite brush with which I used to brush my unicorn’s long white hair. I started brushing mommy’s hair because she likes her hair smooth and clean. It was very difficult for me to steadily comb her hair because the brush kept sticking in the hair, I guess it’s because of that red hair oil. I made a mental note to tell her not to use this hair oil, it isn’t healthy for her beautiful long black hair. I think Mommy is sick. She smells funny. I thought this hair oil had that smell but it was very difficult for me to sit near her. I thought she didn’t have the bath today morning. I don’t know why she always persists me on bathing daily when she herself doesn’t do it.
The door crashes open. I scream in terror. Fuck. What the fuck happened here? Oh, the crazy fucked up bitch. Get out of my way, you little shit. Fuck. He kicks me hard on my belly, I crash my head on the bedside table. My head hurts so bad. He calls somebody from his cell phone and went out. He locks the door. I always saw that man standing on the road in front of my house. Who was he? And how did he have a key to our house? Only mommy and one uncle had a key to our house. He only came to our house with his friends to meet mommy at night. Sometimes my mommy would go to work with him at night, leaving me with a nanny who always took good care of me, fed me, and always sat covering her head, on a peculiar mat and hundreds of small beads embroidered in a thread to make it a loop holding in her hand, whilst I sat on the couch and watched television.
Mommy has so many friends. Most of the night he came with different friends to our house. My mommy always sent me to the roof to talk to my father and tell him how my day at school went. That’s how I saw that man every night from the roof. I thought he was our neighbor. I never got to talk to the uncle and his friend. But whenever they left the house late at night, the house always smelled of something rotting, and there would be smoke everywhere in the morning when I’d be getting ready for school. Thinking about everything made my head hazy. I laid down beside Mommy. My head hurts. My tummy hearts. I don’t feel hungry now. I feel pain in my body.
There were some funny sounds, blue and red light outside our house. Few men wearing black clothes and a lady broke the door and entered. No. No. No. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. Don’t take me away from my mommy. I want to stay with my Mommy. No. Stay away from me lady. I tried to scratch her face with my nail. I tried to push her away, pull her hair. I shouted. I screamed. I cried, but she took me away from my mommy and held me in her embrace.
I talked very quickly, to tell her that mommy is sleeping. She’s just sick and she’d get better as she always does. But one of the two men, wearing the same dress as the lady, drenched with the rain outside, covered mommy’s face with my blankie. Their wet shoes soaked the red rug. Suddenly my head burst with pain that I never felt before. That same red thing smelled so bad. I gasped for breath looking at the red oil spilled on the rug. It was all over my clothes too. I started to explain the lady that I didn’t stain my clothes, I was just cleaning my mommy’s head. I kept pointing at the red thing. I tried to tell her that it’s a hair oil. My mommy loves her long hair. The dripping of the red thing became louder and louder with each word I tried to speak out of my mouth as quickly as possible, to make them go away. I didn’t like those two men that were standing over my mommy until I couldn’t hear my own voice.
I tried to speak loud but the noise of the red thing was louder than the blue light outside in the sky. I don’t know why didn’t they hear it? The noise kept on increasing, piercing my ears. It grew louder and louder and louder whilst the men were standing over my mommy, busy in talking to each other as though they couldn’t hear anything. Was it possible that they didn’t hear anything? Louder! Louder! Louder! The rug was turned into a black color with the dirty shoes of the two guys, and one of them taking pictures of my mommy. She liked it very much when someone take pictures of her. She used to take her pictures from her phone. I insisted her many times to take my picture too but she never did. She barely let me look into the mirror for no longer than a glance, while she didn’t take away her eyes from the mirror when she saw herself. When she looked into my eyes, she could never look away. My eyes always remind her of my father. I wish I could have seen his eyes too. My mommy was very pretty.
I couldn’t understand that why didn’t they listen to the dripping noise of that thing falling in the dark black little pond of the rug. I was shouting but still I couldn’t hear my voice, my throat hurts but my voice was soundless, just like my mommy used to turn down the volume of cartoons on the television screen, whenever I sat on the couch watching cartoons after I came home from school. I never heard the cartoons different voices, even my nanny never let me turn the volume up. I soon came to know that my mommy has taken out the speaker, that gives sounds of cartoons. The cartoons were very funny. Now, the cartoon no longer talks to me, they do not laugh with me, they are angry at me. I and mommy used to watch them together on the couch with me sitting in her lap. She always smelled so nice. She never let me had her perfume but its fragrance could always be smelled throughout our house. She had small bells around her ankles that reverberates whenever she danced. She danced very exquisitely. She says that she learned it from my father. She’s better than all the other mommies. Mommy is the best dancer in the world.
The lady caught me in her arms and pricked me with something sharp on my arm. I felt dizzy and I fell on the floor. The lady was flashing light in my eyes. I could barely open my eyes. It was so foggy. Maybe because there were so many red and blue light coming in the room from the window.
I fell in love with her even before she entered the room. I saw a reflection of her through the window of the room. That one glance, that one second was the moment of forever of my life. As she entered the room, I was completely immobilized. I felt like I was waiting for this moment since my whole life. My whole life has come to this precise moment. My heart beat began to rise. I was afraid that she might hear. She might hear what my heart was telling her. My heart was betraying me. My heart loved her more than I ever did. I felt happy and sad at the same time: she didn’t know how much I loved her, and she never will as I waited too long to tell her what I felt.
She was flawless in every way. Flawless in the way the wind played with her hair, flawless in the way the sun shone in her eyes, and flawless in the way her whole face illuminated when the sun casts its beauty on the moon of my life. She was the storm and I was just a boy who was so terrified to swim in its waves. She was the rose and I was just a boy who never paid heed to its thorns. She was that bright star of my life that every step, every path of mine led to her. She didn’t know that and she never will as I waited too long.
Suddenly, the door opened and floods of darkness fell over me. The security guard was terrified to see me sitting in the classroom so late in the night, alone. He was asking me something, there was a look of anger and fear in his eyes but I just walked out of the room and never looked back.
It was one of those times when I first fell in love with a stranger. Why do we usually fall in love with a stranger knowing that we don’t know anything about them yet we have some sort of connection, that somehow, somewhere, we knew each other from the past, perhaps not in this life but in the previous one or the one before that.
But when I saw her from the corner of the room, I knew I never wanted to see, to touch, to feel, to caress, to kiss someone else. For In a single second when I looked at her, there seemed to be many days. But I never had the courage to tell her just how I feel. But I hope someday she’ll realize what she really means to me. I sometimes dream of her, I remember one vivid dream, and I can’t hold this only to myself. I’ve been holding it since the school days and every day after that dream when I looked at her It was a sheer torture, like someone consistently stabbing a burning knife on my blooded healing wound. The wound was Her.
It was one of those purplish nights which don’t exist in real life, where the atmosphere was filled with the newly Spring bloom flavor. The trees were shedding their dying leaves but strange thing was, before the rusted yellow leaf could fall to the ground, it was reborn again into a new green life breathing leaf. Her eyes radiant grey, her lips starch blood rose, Her hair were autumn, consistently filling my cup of wine, you could just lose yourself in them.
She was standing outside my friend’s and my apartment with her friend who was my roommate girlfriend. They honked the car for the fifth time in two minutes when we finally went down to the street. I hurriedly went to Her and before her gibberish started, hugged her so tightly, she struggled to take me off from her, but I kept repeating sorry over and over again until she melted like snow in my arms. I can never forget that hug in my life. It was that moment that we shared and that will last till the last time. It was the kind of hug that a man can have only once or twice in his’ lifetime if he’s lucky enough to love someone he’s meant or destined to love. Sometimes it takes a man his whole life to learn how to love. Pity!
I hopped in the front seat with her and we went to a restaurant for dinner. Well, one wouldn’t call it a restaurant because it wasn’t one of those places where you park your car in the massive parking lot, and then you walk to the entrance where the waiter would already be waiting for you to take you to your table, and after that he would give each of you your menu and you’ll talk happily with all smiley fake faces until the sizzling food arrives. But what they’d really be looking for is visibility, attention, and praise. You’ll look around you, everyone having a good time. So, you’ll feel comfortable and perhaps have a good time too, or pretend to have a good time. Then you’ll pay the bill and go home. That’s it. Dinner is over. Night well spent. So is your life. Now back to your routine life which you despise from your guts. Period.
But where we actually went wasn’t considered a typical restaurant rather it was a market where there were several hotels, restaurants, fruit vendors, ice cream parlors, people selling clothes, hats, gool gappays, fruit chat stalls, coffee machine on the edge of the road, chai stalls, well it’s a mixture of everything in that small everything in a narrow long road.
Her parked the car outside that long narrow road alongside some houses, and hurriedly locked the car and came sheepishly out of it before someone could see us and stop us because the place where we parked wasn’t exactly the place where one should park, in front of somebody’s house. But she did it nonetheless because it wasn’t some kind of a restaurant where you were going to have dinner.
We walked past through several shops, shop owners, waiters calling you towards them but we struggled our way through them and stopped in front of a shop where the Pathan, probably the shop owner, selling unstitched clothes, saw our faces with strange eyes. She, leading the way, whispered something in his ear and he made the way for us to enter the shop and opened the backdoor of the shop that opened up to narrow stairs that took us to the upper floor of the same clothing shop.
The narrow stairs opened to a very small room with a low roof. We all had to bend our necks and wade our way to sit on one of the four candle lit tables. There were speakers in the corners of the small room, and all the four irregular and unequal walls were adorned with abstract gothic paintings, sketches, wallpapers, posters, that would at first scare the shit out of you. The most horrific and peculiar thing about all the paintings was, the eyes in some of the paintings were colored black, like someone didn’t like them and as a punishment painted them dark, blinded the people in them, only if one could call them people.
The room smelled of cigarettes, sheesha, weed, and all those drugs that we had never heard of. The tiled floor was broken in many places, and it was crooked a little and you’d think that you have entered some irregular gravity place, some fourth dimension. But there was one thing that caught my eye- a big window on the roof of the small room, from where I could see the purple sky, the Stars walking backwards, plane looking like an ant creeping high above leaving white trails illuminating in the dark
And then the owner himself did all the waitering, clearing the table, cooking, serving, playing our favorite songs, and taking our bill. Yes, that’s the kind of an unorthodox “restaurant” where we went. Once we entered its premises, we got out of the dimensions of time and space.
The “restaurant” served only one dish and it was called “Mantu” a special dish from the valley of Swat, as the owner explained. Its outer shape was like an oyster but the meat was enclosed in the elastic soft steamed dough. It was sour, spicy, and sticky.
After Mantu, we all smoked cigarettes, which the owner of Mantu gave us on our way out as though they were free with the meal, went to the beach on the seashore. We dropped our shoes in the car and took a long walk. After going really far from the car we lay down, my friend and his girlfriend started walking towards the water, playing with the tides. I placed my head on her thighs, and we softly whispered to each other. I don’t remember what we talked about or where did both of our friends went after that. It wasn’t that dark as the light of the moon was kissing the soft tides of water and reflected such beauty in her eyes that amazed me, it was a trance where I couldn’t look anywhere else other than Her grey eyes speaking of romance.
All I remember is that I was looking in her eyes as she was gently stroking my hair. She was gently whispering near my ear, heat of our faces reaching each others’ lips, and some mysterious force attracted us towards each other as though she was the moon and I was the water, our breaths colliding each other in the small space between our trembling lips speaking of unspeakable words. As our lips collided in each other’s embrace, everything froze; the tides didn’t make any sound, the nightingales quite, the sand wet, the heart beat stopped. Strange things happen when fire meets water.
Suddenly the thunder roared in the distance and a hard drizzle beating against my window. Has winter really arrived? There was a tear in my eye. My heart beat faster and louder than the road thunder, my forehead sweaty, my breath hollow, my hands cold. I lay awake staring at the ceiling afraid of looking anywhere else. Afraid of proving wrong what I fear the most. Now I have to realize that those days are gone and I have to come back to reality, no matter how much I hate it. Suddenly I was all alone in this all wild brute world. I was drowning in this thunderous rain. With each soaking tear the pieces were falling apart. A pit of loneliness. A prison. My world collapsing in front of my eyes and I could do nothing other than see it helplessly turn to dust and ash.
I became lost in thoughts and carried myself away in the hurricane of this passion. The more I thought the more I fell deeper in the void black hole. Why does God give us hope and dream if I the end He takes it away? Are we just born to helplessly give everything that we have all away? What does He get from hearing all those suffering voices, don’t He get tired, or does it make Him feel superior? If He wants to take away anything then take this brutal life that He makes miserable and full of torture. I’m a pathetic and disgusting creature. I feel nothing. A trance of Godlessness.
The thundering roar and the hurricane of rain became quiet. A warm hand silently brushing my hair went to my eyes, and held the tear in the life-giving hand. As I followed the hand, there, right beside me, behind the cloud of fog, two moon reflecting grey eyes wet with tears speaking of love- it was Her. As though she knew what I saw or felt. She understood me. She didn’t need words or deeds to express what I felt rather she spoke the same language that everyone in this world is capable of speaking, that makes us understand everything that happens all around us, the same language that is spoken in every part of the world, that same language that brings us together in times of despair and loneliness, it was Love. I didn’t know whether the dream was slipping into reality or reality was slipping into my dream. Dream- such a fancy enthusiastic passion. I knew I had to pay a high price for it. But it never cost me as much as those who didn’t live. And I did the only thing I thought I’d never be able to do again, I hugged her.
“Bhaiya, how long will it take for the two burgers that I ordered twenty minutes ago?”
“Year they are almost ready, just give me ten more minutes. My burger stall has never been so crowded before and I’m the only guy who has to make and serve the burgers and also to pack the burgers for those who want to have it as take away, so please wait for ten more minutes I’ll make you two special burgers just like old days.” The burger vendor replied apologetically.
What choice did I have at that moment other than to wait for ten more minutes for my order to get ready. Yes, that was very true what he said about his stall booming with customers, that it had never been that crowded. Moreover, it was a weekend night in the never sleeping city of over two crore population of Pakistan.
I’d been coming to that stall for five years. I was back in college when I first ate his burgers and they were as delicious as they were then. Now I was doing my research and that stall was still standing there as it is, like his father before him, who taught him all his business and passed it to his son, and went to the village to spend the rest of his days on the income of that stall. They were never able to turn it into a proper shop as the income was barely keeping the whole family alive. They were just happy with what they had, keeping faith in God who they thought knew better than both of them.
I’d met his father only once on the eve of my result day when I gave a party to my friends as I got the highest grades in my class. It was the same guy, the same spot, the same taste; in front of a bookstore and alongside the busiest road of the block, just on the edge of the road, as not to become a source of traffic jam.
The area has so developed since last two years. Before all the tall buildings and plaza malls, there were dozens of slums scattered all around the society. But thanks to the capitalists that all the marshy slums are now gone. On my house side of the road, there are tall buildings but the other side of the road is underprivileged. And all the slums have shifted to the other side of the road. Now, the slums all the time beg outside the malls parking slot but the guard are always on the foot to beat the slums as soon as they saw any near the commercial buildings. I hope they soon vacate our area too and then there will be cleanliness and no sight of poverty.
There was a milkshake shop behind the stall and its chairs and tables were spread out on the pavement leaving no way for the passengers to pass, so they had to walk on the edge of the road, crossing above the pavement and the burger stall at the same time.
The burger stall was a metal box on three sides, partially glass, and on the only open side this boy stood and made burgers. The metal box had a big metal plate under which a gas stove burnt. There were two cabins on each side on which salads, ketchup, kabab, mayonnaise, buns and dozens of eggs were placed. The whole place would hold as much space as the length of the wide spread hands of Jack and Rose.
It was a very fine night of April, a weather ought to be enjoyed alone in the darkness of the abyss. Slow breeze caressed my face, few drizzles blurred my vision, and the smell of the heat and water colliding with each other was addictive-enlightening a new world.
As I was relishing the scene, my friend called me asking me about the Sunday’s study circle arrangements in a local coffee shop near my university. I discussed plans with him for upcoming topic on the Asian Marxist Review that will be delivered by a special guest from the leading revolutionary party leader himself to mobilize youth and students from different universities.
As soon as I was off from the call, the burger guy packed my burgers for the go. As I pay him, suddenly a roar of thunderstorm sprang out from absolutely nowhere. It wasn’t the kind of thunderstorm that I saw on the sky rather I saw no light from anywhere, all I could hear was the grumbling of a couple of trucks and shouts of dozens of people. Before I had the time to look back, the three waiters of the milkshake shop quickly grabbed their chairs and tables and ran inside the shop. It all happened so fast that the guy from the truck jumped off from the vehicle and with the speed of lightening snatched the tables from the waiters and threw it in the long vehicle, breaking them.
On their trucks, that were blocking the road, was written: L.D.A (Lahore Development Authority), a governmental organization which seals illegal food stalls and fruit vendors. Illegal in the sense that their stalls come within ten inches of the road. Within a few minutes the road was completely jammed and the noise of horns and shouts of angry drivers reverberated throughout the busiest road of the block.
They dealt with those illegal small time businessmen by grabbing their stall utilities and throwing everything they could get into a huge truck. They quickly moved for the burger stall, threw the salad bowl, Kabab mixture, eggs, and burger buns on the road. They dispatched the gas cylinder from the stove and three bulky men wearing torn and stained Shalwaar Kameez, picked the metal box quite comfortably and threw it in the truck, breaking the glass of the burger stall, alongside the fruit vendors’ carts, their balancing tools, and their fruits that were crushed in the process under the jack-boot.
That boy didn’t know what hit him, he seemed quite as amazed as I was with all this drama, looked completely blown and in a shock, as I handed the boy money for my two burgers and walked away with delicious burgers and went on with my research paper on inequality and injustice in Pakistan.
Why am I so silent? What do you expect from me, it’s a very difficult question that you’ve asked. What’s so special about this question is that it is a very simple question with a complicated answer. To you it may be a very delightful question. But to me, it takes me to a deep nostalgia. Like other people to whom you’ve asked this question and I’m sure that you’ve already been fed with such and such happy memories like their first bicycle, their first visit to a zoo, their memorable birthday celebration, the first gift they received, the first time they kissed, the first thing they cooked, and so on, this kind of list is never ending.
But it’s a very peculiar thing for me. It’s not something concrete thing that I remember from my past, or something that I could show you, a souvenir from the past, rather it’s something abstract, something that I felt, something strange, but exquisite. If you ask me about the best thing that ever happened to me in my childhood or the finest memory from the album of my childhood, I cannot recall anything other than the rain. Yes, the rain. I don’t know what is so special about the rain or why do I remember it or call it as my best childhood memory.
The best thing about rain is that you get wet. Your body, your clothes, your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, your tears. I used to feel very excited when I saw black clouds hovering above my home. I used to climb to the roof and just stared at it and felt how strong the current of the wind was. I saw birds flying against the current of the wind only to be thrown backwards, and the birds kept on diving again into the wind, to break its code somehow. It seemed to me some sort of game that they invented to try their luck against something greater than their existence, a foreign hand that test their limits. Shaheen Falcon always deeply moved me, because it is the only one who deciphered the code and fly into the storm, cleave its way through it to fly higher than the clouds, into the world of its own.
The clouds grumbling sound, as though the soldiers are walking to the battlefield with their thudding footsteps, and the scattered dust rising from the ground and as soon the battle begins with lightening roar beating louder than my heart, the blood falls from the sky to my face. At night, I used to stare at the infinite sky that gave a purplish maroon look, the whole sky holding the blood in its breast. The calm just before the huge thunderstorm always deeply moved me.
When the water drops settled the dust and made the whole ground wet. The settled dust made the horizon clearer and most exquisite. The rain washed away all the dust form the eyes and I felt like I was watching everything for the first time. As the agitated dust settled, an aroma arose from the mother earth. As I smell the rain, it smelled as though the ashes of the past life have born again from the ashes of the ashes.
The tiny droplets of rain seemed to be thirsty for human warm touch. This was the whole purpose of rain to find comfort. It wasn’t a blessing but she, herself was being blessed when humans’ touch her, praise her, love her. But everyone was hiding and looking for shelter. They all were so self-obsessed and self-centered that they walked their stony footsteps all over her, crushing her beneath their trotting shoes.
I woke up with a start. I thought I heard someone crying that woke me up. I touched my pillow and then my face, they felt dry, then I walked up to the window and realized that it was the rain, always the rain.
I saw this whole drama from the window of my room. As the droplets hit my window, their whispering cries pained me, and gave me pleasure. The whispers, when hit the window, were so soothing. It was way better than my father telling me fairy talks because these weren’t tales, it was like fairies were knocking at my window. I touched the window and I could feel the rhythm with which they talked, the beat of each drop, and the coldness of each crashing story. As I pressed my thumb on the cold window, my thumb became wet even though the veil of window was between us. It felt strange but not miraculous because I wasn’t yet accustomed to the laws of nature and anything was possible. Without even realizing that I was holding my breath.
I opened the window and stepped outside. The moon was hiding behind the terror of the massive phoenix riding on the thunderstorm of my breath. Silently walked on the rooftop with each drop of eternity falling on my body, whispering love songs, and making love to me. The wind was savoring every moment and was rushing through my clothes.
I breathed everything so deeply. As I let go, I let go of myself, my whole self, my past, my identity, my soul. my spirit, and I became what I never thought or expected to be. I became a part of the rain, no longer an I, out of the chains of time and space, a drop.
Sometimes I feel like a boy who is the lone survivor of a wrecked shop, drifting in a life-boat with nothing to survive other than his own thoughts. All the wrecked ship just drowned, like the sea swallowed the whole ship into its deep mouth, and there’s not a single clue of it left on the sea.
I’m on a rudderless life-boat. I have no direction of home. I have nothing to hold on to. I can see only blue veil of death surrounding me as far as my eyes reflect. But in all the death surrounding me, I have hope. I have so much of it that I’m burning so brightly with this hope that no destruction could extinguish this flame of hope burning inside me.
I travelled day and night, believing that these tides will lead me somewhere, somewhere unknown but somewhere safe, somewhere away from this version of reality, far away from this earth, the world which is always noisy with all the suffering of this world, all this consistent pain torturing each other from materialistic and impermanent possession of this world. These tides will take me far away from any version of reality. This reality used to be like a drop of water consistently falling on the same point on my forehead, from the high ceiling always bringing me back to the reality, never drifting me back to my own world.
Now these tides are my guide to a utopian world. I found a compass on the boat but even before I could look at it and study my way to home, I threw it away. I was tired of being on the road, long empty road, lonely as a sparrow on the road, always finding something, when all along the road, it was with me all this time.
First time in my life, I’ve found complete happiness that has brought me to peace. The kind of peace you’ll find on the face of a homeless man sleeping on the side of the road. This place is so serene. It’s like a stroll in my own world, my own garden, every plant planted with my own hands, watered them with my sweat, that gave the sweet smell of hard work, surrounded with ancient trees with autumn leaves that will never fall from the branches and will transform into new leaves and the shadow of these fruitful trees follows me everywhere, keeping me alive.
But I believe with all my heart that in the end, when our reasoning and efforts cease to exist, we will all have to surrender and trust, without any doubt. Just like I left my fate to these tides, submitting and trusting in the same hand, that has written each of our destiny, that has created everything on the earth and sky and everything that exists in between, that same hand that guides us all.