N O T E
I could be anything in this world but I wanted to be his.
I have questioned myself often as to why I keep running back to Zaahid when our love isn’t butterflies or magic but is finding the middle ground between arguments of ugly words and the comfort of easy-going silence.
And the truth is, I do so because in the history of my life no one has ever crawled under my skin and refused to leave like he did. My relations—friends—have come and gone but only Zaahid has stayed—in my good and bad. And I don’t know how to handle that because that affection is still novel. Before my eyes the Game of Whites replays. I see the complex careful mix of that aesthetically pleasing colour. The mesh Zaahid pulls out is gentle on my skin, more than his words could ever be. The sticky adhesive holds me tighter, more than his arms could ever do. The creamy base, in the end, keeps us together, more strongly than the love between him and I.
With him I learnt that love is messy and takes a huge amount of work and it won’t wipe out my insecurities or cure my mental health and erase my sadness or problems. Yes, at times it sucks to be in love and anyone who refuses that is either a fool or a liar. The truth is—it isn’t hard to fall in love but staying in love is; so, you will not always be warm and fuzzy towards your partner and you might hurt each other occasionally and when the sting of nastiness will be too painful you will question as to why you subjected yourself to such agony. Then you will have an important choice to make—should I or shouldn’t I walk away.
“You’re one to talk,” Zaahid says, walking across the room. His back leans up against the wall and his knee is bent, his foot props against the wall behind him. His arms fold across his chest and he looks right at me. The honey-earthy hue of his eyes isn’t even kind enough to mask the anger behind them. I don’t even have the energy to roll my eyes at him. Love is essentially a battlefield not heaven—you have to work for it and in all these heartbreaking arguments, fights, tears you will come to notice a kind of love that is true, that you want to keep and the kind you will never want to give up.
And only persistence will separate you out from couples who split. Why persist? Well, because couples have done the math and gathered that the plus of being together far outweighs the minus of breaking up. That’s the hard truth and the only key to make love last and have a forever you were promised. Forever: never giving up even though they drive you nuts, forgiving again and again for words and actions that hurt, looking past their bad qualities and remembering why you love them so much and the undeniable growing together as stronger individuals. Only then, you will realize that, love is worth it.
Love isn’t magic. But when you get it right and when you work hard enough on it, it’s pretty close to it.
Zaahid stares at me for a moment, completely unreadable. But then he starts to nod his head like he’s finally getting it. A silent pause comes before almost everything he says. “I’m sorry, it was very crude of Natalia to say all that.” He looks vulnerable right now. I want to believe the genuine look in his eye, but he’s been so adamant since The December Night that I and ONLY I am the enemy. “And I’m also aware of the media’s nosiness in our personal family matters and I can’t apologise enough for their baseless remarks.”
I let out an exasperated laugh finding it funny that he has completely ignored Natalia’s ‘whore-around’ comment. “Are you?” I say quickly, not needing near as much time as he does to come up with a response. His and mine understanding is strong—it feels like we have mutually decided to drop that conversation. Zaahid sugar coating the venom media spits on me by posting rumors, news article—anything—about infertility or inability to procreate irks me.
Only fools are afraid of the truth. One should be afraid of the rumours. Rumours. Because if rumours are not stopped in time…then it can even defy the truth. “Do you have any idea what it feels like to have diapers, pregnancy kits, IVF leaflets and what not thrown at you! On stage. At public places. And sometimes even at my New York house!” I shout, but my pitch reduces and tears lace my eyes. I take steps towards him.
“I’m sorry,” he shakes his head. He begins to lift his hands to cup my neck but I slap his hands down. Tears drip from my face. In this moment I blame Zaahid for everything—the ice-cream vendor ran out of my favourite flavour: Zaahid, I tripped on the carpet: Zaahid, there’s traffic on the streets: Zaahid, the stars don’t align for me: Zaahid. I let him know of my pains through my body sinking to the floor.
Zaahid tries to reach out to get me up but turns around to face the wall, hitting it with a flat palm. The sound of skin against concrete reverberates in the room and straight into my stomach. He turns around and says, “I’m sorry and I know it’s not fair but I will walk you out of this. Trust me.” I draw in a deep breath, almost thinking about this afternoon’s version of him. The caring Zaahid. The loving Zaahid. My Zaahid? I don’t know. I barely know him anymore. I know him enough to know that words won’t be enough for me, though.
“Can you just not…” I close my eyes and shake my head, “give me fictitious vows?” I instantly lock my clouded eyes with him from the ground. Zaahid works his jaw back and forth and stares down at me, arms again tightly folded against his chest. He takes a challenging step toward me. My words have pinched him.
He stoops down, with eyes so hard and cold, I’m beginning to think this is a millionith side of him that I’m seeing. An even angrier, more possessive side. I have stun him into silence. “Okay,” he raises his hands in defeat, “okay, I won’t.” He brushes his fingers on my cheeks to wipe out the wetness. “Come on get up.” He squeezes my arm and forces an encouraging nod. He helps me onto the bed where my clutch lay.
Zaahid passes on a glass of water to me. I skim the guest room as I drown the glass. There are two sofa’s and a coffee table by the edge of the bed. A beautiful glass turtle and plate sit on it. A small cabinet under the T.V. is most likely a mini bar. It has a moroccon lamp which gives a yellowish hue to the room. The door on the otherside of the bed leads to the balcony. He removes his coat and tosses it on the bed. He unbutton’s his top button and folds his sleeve upto his elbow. We fall in a cozy quiet, accepting that we are fighting a moot cause. No one wins in this one.
He sits besides me and brings his hand to my face and gently runs his thumb on my cheek bone. “What—what are you doing?” I murmur. It’s a struggle to keep my eyes open and not lean in towards his palm, but I hold fast to my resolve. I’m building up an immunity to this man. Or…at least I’m attempting to. That’s my new goal, anyway. I attempt to tilt backwards but his hand holds the side of my head. He claims that spot and presses on it so hard it hurts. “Ouch.”
“I’m trying to rub off the tear tracks from your face and make you presentable again,” he mutters but there is a burning hard stare in his eyes and it would last only as long as it took him to think of the most brutally cutting thing, he could tear me down with. And after that I could kiss anything breakable goodbye. His anger sometimes is so hard to tell and so pointless to run from. Eventually, I can no longer feel the sting.
When semblance returns, I ease myself out of his grip and he lets me. He curls his fingers up into a fist and drops his hand to his side. “I’ll just go redo my makeup a bit,” I excuse myself, opening my clutch and taking out my facepowder, liner and lipstick. I make my way across the room and push through the door of the bathroom.
As soon as I’m alone, my back meets the wall of the bathroom. I lean forward and release a huge breath. I decide to take a moment and regain my composure before heading back out. I bring my hands up to my forehead and close my eyes. I feel a throb, then. I glance up and suck in a breath. In the mirror I see the slight bluish bruise like imprint on my cheekbone. No, Zaahid didn’t mean that. I cover my mouth with my hand, still in shock. What mark can make-up not cover, ha ha! I painfully and quietly laugh not sure who I was trying to convince.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t overthink it. My subconscious forces me to keep it casual. I try to do a patch work with foundation on my cheeks, hoping that I wouldn’t have to redo the whole thing. I line my eyes with a fresh layer of liner when I hear a crash. I pause. “Zaahid?”
Nothing. I reapply the lipstick. Another crash. What in the world is he doing? This is not even our house! “Zaahid?”
I use the toilet and wash my hands in a hurry and wipe it on my saree, opening the door. “Zaahid?”
The coffee table is tipped over. The glass turtle and plate are splattered on the floor. I take hesitant steps forward and see Zaahid standing near the T.V. His back is towards me. An almost empty whiskey glass and opened bottle rest on the cabinet. He lowers his head in his hands, looking down at something in his other hand. I can’t tell what he’s thinking. “What did you do?” I ask. My heart begins to beat faster. He turns his head in my direction. His expression is tight. His jaw is tight.
He turns and looks at me. His eyes are narrowed. I don’t recognize his expression. He mockingly smiles and there’s no way of knowing if I should follow along or piss my damn pants. “Zaahid, if someone comes in…” I shake my head in disbelief. My voice is small. I am confused by what’s happening.
He holds up my clutch and just looks at me like I should know what’s happening. When I shrug and shake my head in confusion, he puts down the clutch and holds up my phone and multiple pieces of paper. “Funny thing,” he says, setting my phone on the cabinet beside him. “I was making the bed,” he points at it, “and your clutch flew off. Out comes the phone with the cover off. I find these photos hidden in it.” Oh, God. No. No. No.
Zaahid crumbles the photos in his fist. “I thought the only thing working in our arrangement was our honesty.” He walks a step forward, his other hand is on the lamp neck, “and respect towards each other.” He tightens his hold on the lamp, “media has just exaggerated some leaked photos,” his voice is loud and angry now. He ridicules me, by letting me know he’s caught on. He chunks the lamp across the room and it shatters by my feet. My eyes fill with tears.
There’s a five second pause where I think this could go two ways. He’s going to leave me. Or, he’s going to hurt me.
He runs a hand through his hair and walks straight for the door. No. Zaahid cannot leave like this. He might kill Harry. I run to the door faster than him and shove myself in front of him and grab his arms, “Zaahid, please, I can explain. Let me.” He grabs my wrists, turns us around and pushes me away from him. This is my worst nightmare. I fall on the sofa’s ledge. My lips start to tremble.
He rushes to me and breathes out a shaky breath. His hands dig into my shoulder. My eyes are closed. I am too scared to look at him. I start trying to fight him off of me but it’s useless. He’s too strong for me. He’s angry. He’s hurt. And he’s not Zaahid. “Tell me the truth Maira!” He makes me stand and pushes me until my back hits the wall. “I absolutely cannot bear this.” I can feel my whole body start to jerk with sobs. I have no idea how bad I’m hurt, but I don’t even care. No physical pain could even compare to what my heart is feeling right now.
“It’s not what you think.” I don’t think I can speak anymore. “It’s was a photoshoot. The media found some leaked photos and exaggerated it.” Tears don’t stop flowing. In this moment I hate Zaahid. I am terrified of him and I also feel his hurt. How can I feel all three?
Zaahid nods in relief. His hand feathers my shoulder and snakes into my hair and pulls hard. “Please, tell me you’re not seeing him.” I shake my head, wanting the truth out of me so Zaahid will see what a huge mistake he just made.
“They got delivered to me yesterday night when I was coming over to your place. I did not think it through and kept them safely in my cover. I was not hiding them.” I say quietly. LIE. Zaahid’s grip looses and he takes a step back. I hate myself more in this moment than I ever have in my entire life.
I hate myself because when Zaahid asked me in the hall if he should be aware of something, I lied. I hate myself because last night when the photos got delivered to me, I had run to my mail box, dropped the pictures in there and then had walked to the car but then I made a conscious choice; I retrieved the photos from the box and opted to keep it on me, away from him. I hate myself, because deep down, I knew there was a chance that it’d get to this point and so I had hidden the pictures in my cover.
From under his arms I attempt to run away but he catches my wrist and pulls me so hard that my head hits the edge of the bed. In an instant, all the pain fades as a blanket of darkness rolls over my eyes and consumes me.
I can feel his breath against my ear as he mutters something inaudible. My heart is racing and my head is throbbing. I want to open my eyes but the light is too bright. I feel the coldness of the ice Zaahid’s holding at my head, seep into my skin. “Shh…stay still,” his voice is soothing and gentle. He pushed you twice! My subconscious roars. I meet his eyes and there’s concern in them but also hurt. And anger.
“What are you doing?” I try to sit up.
“You hurt yourself after tripping…” he states it matter of factly, pressing me back into the bed. I scour his face for a sign that he’s joking but no—he really does believe it. I can’t tell if I am disappointed with myself to mistake his lie as an apology or with the fact that I am finding comfort in his apology. You didn’t trip. He pushed you. Twice. I want to erase the last ten minutes forever. In them I saw a side of him that wasn’t him. That wasn’t me. It was awful. The whole thing, the entire ten minutes it lasted, was absolutely awful. I never want to think about it again.
Zaahid stills my hand between his, and it isn’t until he does this that I realize I’m shaking. I look up at him and he’s staring back at me. There are absolutely no words that can follow that up, so I don’t even try. “This shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry.” I’m not sure for what he’s apologizing but from what I think it isn’t about the push. “You’ve got to take care, Maira.” He brushes his hand on my cheek and I can see in his eyes and in the way, he touches me that he deserves at least one chance at forgiveness. Forgiveness? You’ve got to be kidding me! He isn’t even apologizing Maira! My subconscious sets down facts. This could have been an accident. Zaahid would never lay a hand on you. My inner goddess plants a thought. Yes, it might have been. I have to give him benefit of doubt.
He leans over, then slides his hand behind my neck and kisses me on top of the head, then releases his hold. He helps me sit up and when I look around the room, the mess had been cleaned up like nothing was ever destroyed here. Not even me. “Go wash your face.” He nudges me to the bathroom. Then my phone rings. It’s Harry. My fingers are shaking so hard, it takes me three tries to hold my phone straight. I cut the phone. “You know what? If you need anything, I am sure Harry will be available.” He throws the pictures on the pillow next to me and walks away. I hear the door slam.
I jump out of bed to bolt the door first. Then I sink to the floor with the growing dizziness. And I cry so hard I don’t even make a noise.
An hour later I walk out of the room. My face doesn’t look as bad as I feared it would. Of course, make-up is always the best cover up, plus the stray hairs I have loosened from my bun hides the side of my forehead. “There you are!” Harry exclaims walking towards me. I recoil from the loudness of his voice. “For a minute I thought you left.” Zaahid glances at us for a few seconds, then looks back down at his glass of whiskey.
“No, just some work troubles.” I hold up my phone and say. A beat later Zaahid cuts his eyes to me again and the playful smile is gone from his lips. I unnoticeably inhale, then let out a slow, controlled breath in an attempt not to appear blindsided by him. Then I see Gia walking to me with two plates of cake slices. “Did you give Ashton Miller my number?” I question her creating small talk.
“What?” She immediately pulls back the plate from my fingers. My subconscious’ mouth drops open. “I would never do that! I thought you knew better.” Yes. I want to trust my sensibility but today I am refusing to hold someone accountable and I don’t know what that speaks about me. “He already has your number. He contact’s you through me only to follow protocol.” She laughs taking me further into the living room.
“No—yeah—I just—sorry.” I give her a gloomy smile. A spider web of lies will entrap you.
“Chill…why’s he calling” Gia shakes her head; her eyes shine with amusement. “Are you okay?” Oh, God. I don’t like the sound of her voice. No. I try to forget what happened in the bedroom, but its everything right now. Zaahid pushed me. The thought almost takes away the smile from my face.
When I look at her, she isn’t smiling anymore. “Yeah! No…he wanted confirm dates for Vogue and Rolling Stone cover photoshoots.” My voice is higher than I intended it to be. Lying for Zaahid makes me want to laugh, cry and snot like a hormonal teenager. Denise drags her for a round of powder-plastic tea party before she can further ask.
The gathering engulfs the room in laughter. Voices babble happily like a mountain river, appreciation rolling off tongues but the banter is crude. We have to insult each other often, its just the way with us, no insults mean you aren’t really part of crew. Also, you will have a pretty nickname. I am not sure if the comments became wittier as the evening wore on or if it was just the effect of the liquor making everything seem so much funnier. Delicious delights are served and soon the get-together breaks down into a gentle muffle.
Sitting between so many people, all my thoughts are haywire. I cannot fake smiles right now. The emotional pain holds me back and prevents me to fully participate in conversations and enjoy my time. I think about everything I could do today if it weren’t for Harry’s invite. I could push Weekend Ritual’s with Riya to a weekday. I could finally finish that half-read book or even better I could do my research on paleo and keto diets, then guilty would do an extensive workout and to balance it out binge watch Suits with an ice pack on my legs. I clench my teeth together. I can feel my fingers as they fist around my saree.
I’ve avoided Zaahid’s eye since the bedroom incident but now he has come and sat beside me. He wraps his arm around me and pulls me to him. My body is tired and weak, but it remembers him. My body remembers how his body can soothe everything I’m feeling. “Are you okay? You look a little lost,” he whispers against my shoulder. This is so wrong and so good and so painful. Silent cries leave me. I press my face in his chest so hard, I can barely breathe.
Our conditioning makes us believe that pain is a weakness, crying is a flaw but no, loving is evil and dangerous. Falling in love with someone and to still love them after all the hurt they caused us is sin. And we keep committing it, consistently. We keep loving them even when we shouldn’t and we always will because there are only about three people in our entire lives that ‘get’ us for reasons we can never find words for and even when they shouldn’t.
Zaahid cooly rubs my arm, undetected as the kids play birthday games. I try to calm my breaths and minimize the sounds escaping my lips, but I’ve lost any form of self-control. It’s obvious my body is in tune with the game of lies we play a little too much and I can’t find it in me to stop. He eventually holds me still, allowing me to recover from an experience that he somehow made not at all petrifying for me. When I’m completely spent and emotionally drained and my whole body is shaking, he leaves light pecks on my clothed shoulder.
If I get a Redo Button, I am taking up the idea of a day with Riya, right now, yes please. I think I fall in love with her daily because she never gave me a reason to question it in a world where every other person I know, makes me doubt my choices in relationships. A fashionista and social media influencer, Riya now works for a luxurious brand as an assistant creative director, the name of which I always forget. Every time we meet up in café’s, she’s surrounded by sketches and an open laptop constantly working on her own brand. It truly is unconventional to see someone be an intern one day and the creative head the next.
Over large cups of French vanilla bean coffee and her caramel country bean hazelnut macchiato with a lavish plate of overloaded waffles and pizza she would drench me in information—her research—about latest tech savvy business tricks and about her desperateness to go on blind dates setup on Snapchat [apparently some low life runs a dating firm]. About two months ago she told me about meeting the most gorgeous human through it—Jeremy—and then steered off to rant about venmo like payment app in the UK—paym—which immensely helped her setup a local audience base for her influencer fashion shop and about setting up an etsy shop for worldwide shipments. When we met last, she told me that the app was a scam and Jeremy was married and had a teen son. In celebration of not being duped, she ordered another pizza while I looked through her draft etsy shop and payment apps.
I am THE worst person working with technology; hence, I don’t even know what I touched or typed that I saw her previous history of transactions. What irked me was her monthly credit of a thousand pounds from a user called TJ, because her shop wasn’t open yet. I did the math and wondered if it was her wholeseller or a franchise of TJ Maxx, but a thousand pounds? And for years? I don’t know. Most of the times I feel like I’m in a foggy bubble where I am numb of my intuitions. Plus, meeting Riya, hearing her talk is such a welcome breather that takes me away from my life and for few hours I feel like we’re back in school and Riya is teaching me for exams; so, I don’t want to dwell into puzzles.
Before I could voice my question, Riya had ferried me to my childhood days with a picture on her laptop accessed through my icloud. With a friendship as old as ours I don’t even remember when Riya hadn’t had access to my cloud. Moreover, she had helped me pick up all the pictures for the video in USO Finale. The picture was of Raahat and me sitting on either side of our father, cross legged on the floor. Every year on any particular day, he would sit us down and talk about ‘conscious choices’ we make in our daily lives and tell ‘tales from the war’ where he had misjudged or made a mistake and always emphasise on him repenting it every day since. It would leave me feeling like a huge gaping hole in my chest.
A champagne bottle knocks against the marble side table, making me jump and I snap out of dreamland. I glance at Zaahid, hoping he wouldn’t have noticed how nervous I am. He catches me looking and smiles, “you okay?” Just meeting his eyes makes tears well up from deep inside me and I swallow them down quickly. With so much at stake tonight, I need to concentrate on the here and now.
Harry has pulled out a magic trick from up his sleeve and all the kids huddle around him. Some of ladies and gents raise a toast to him, clapping at his well practiced hand. Logan helps Natalia take front row seats. Some days in late summer, early autumn like this with the air crisp and eager like this, there’s something in it sad and nostalgic and familiar. October feels like a hinge in the year. Swing forwards and there’s the icy winters with its aching pains and swing backwards and there’s the warm summers with its empty golden ocean of desire and pleasures.
The black magician’s hat shown to kids that rains glitter on them sucks me into a beautiful mess of chaotic sea full of broken things with glorious stories, it is a dark void of absolute splendor and revolt. I raise my glass and take a sip of champagne. The bubbles dance in my mouth and I feel a sudden flash of happiness, which I try to hang on to. But it disappears as quickly as it came. Zaahid puts a hand on my knee and just when Harry twists the wand shouting magical words, my world tips and I relocate to sitting besides Yousuf, five years ago.
We were gathered in Birmingham for Eid. It was my first Eid since I moved in with Zaahid in London and the one wherein we would establish each other as Peaches and Cream and discover the joy of gulab jamuns and ice creams. Sitting in Yousuf’s room, the two of us were silently contemplating what had happened. I had found my room knocked off like someone had raided through it. And I had found Taybah’s dupatta in the midst of the mess. When I had walked out, clutching her dupatta, I saw the living room and Wafaa’s room similarily destroyed. The only plausible explanantion I could imagine was I had harboured all three locations since my arrival. With questions burning inside of me, I decided to ask her what was going on but I had caught Yousuf crying by the window instead.
“Please make it stop. Please. I’m sorry. I am so sorry.” He had been shaking like being amidst a panic attack, clinging against the window sill. I had watched as his legs gave way and he had slid to the carpet to a sitting position. “I don’t want to sound like I’m justifying it, but I am not making excuses. I am sorry. I am SO sorry. I supported an unimaginable thing and I can’t explain it. I’m sorry.” My chest had grown heavy with his words and it took an extreme amount of effort to continue pulling breath into my lungs. He hadn’t noticed me until then.
When I had knelt beside him, he had looked up to me tearfully. He had shaken his head “I am sorry. Its been awful. I couldn’t be sorrier. The guilt is like a tumour eating away at me.” I had put a hand on his arm but he had only wailed louder. He had lifted his arm uselessly, as if he wanted to hold me but then understood that we were separated by something too vast to be crossed. New doubts and probing had poked me but I couldn’t voice them looking at Yousuf. I only had nodded my head slightly, because I could completely agree to it.
I’d watched him for a long time, then turned my gaze back up to the sky. Nothing made sense. I had mulled, suddenly feeling stupid, clutching the dupatta close to my legs. Yousuf had put a hand on my knee and broke the silence with a question that came out of nowhere. “I hope you find it in you to forgive me. Will you?” he had quietly asked. I had pondered his question mostly because I wanted to know what he was thinking about that made him ask it.
“Yes,” my voice had fractured with the unexpectedness of it. The intensity of the moment had caused tears to sting at my eyes, and I was completely taken aback by my unexpected emotions. I wasn’t clear on why he was so upset, but he had seemed confident that he knew exactly what it was and that he never wanted it to happen again. I had coined in his hurt on the desperately sad world.
He had patted at my knee twice then said with an unsteady but sure fatherly voice, “I love you.” He somehow had smiled and frowned in the same moment, “I hope I find the cure to all of your pains.” And all I could do then was to take his word and to take my trust and place in his hands, hoping he’d know that it was all the trust I had left in the world.
A huge round of applause breaks my line of thought. The children are running around chairs, playing musical chairs. I note Zaahid’s hand is not on me. He isn’t besides me but is hosting the game. Everybody is loving the things he’s doing; from the way he’s talking to the way he’s moving. While everyone watches him, I think about the years where I would have to know about Zaahid from headlines in newspapers or magazines. We haven’t really sat down and talked. When you hold as much weight as we do in our hearts and issues and questions whose answers don’t really exist, then there’s little scope for all that. Not at all, perhaps.
I still remember after our third anniversary party, when I had returned home—feeling reeling in Zaahid Noori and the new found attraction: love, towards him—I had spent the night stalking every possible place online where he might have cryptically posted something about me. I had relived each moment where I finally had realized I really like him. For two months straight, I had weighed all the possibilities of us. Maybe you should say something Maira? My subconscious had offered. Should I? How would he react? Would the two of us meet in a lounge and get high and suddenly something would happen in a hotel room? No, that’s too wild. And too fictional. Albeit I get enough fluid boldness in myself to make a move how could it really play out?
All that I could think of sounded insane as I schemed a way to tell him that I was absolutely enamored with him. In any case, I was almost certain; when time would arrive, I would’ve backed down. At the time where a stoned kiss would do the trick, I wouldn’t do it. When the two of us would be alone and I could have said something, I would restrain myself.
In that same year’s promotional events and public sightings with him, I would pretend that I don’t like him at all. It was a formless denial. Of course, I never liked him! How could I be so silly? I had maintained a mental catalogue with bullet points considering a number of reasons why it was anything but a smart thought to like him. With all the time I spent talking myself out of liking him, I actually ended up wanting him more, simply because I realized that on the off chance that if he truly wasn’t vital to me, I wouldn’t need to consider it.
“Penelope did you see your daughters win the musical chairs? Their smiles stole my heart.” Someone says in the room. A vague cloud of fear and insecurity in equal measure blinds me. I don’t see anyone or anything. I just think of two names. Penelope. Evans. Zaahid. Noori. I hesitate to take them together; as if, if I said it out loud it’d break some invisible charm and it’d all come true. I feel defeated.
I know putting Zaahid behind me wouldn’t happen like waking up one day and saying ‘I don’t want him anymore,’ it would be a gradual descend, taking each day at a time, and then failing to remember him bit by bit over time. My love would be a journey which I would be walking alone. To be honest, I am a paradox. I want to be happy, but I think of things that make me sad. I don’t like myself, yet I love who I am. I say I don’t care, but I really do. I crave attention but reject it when it comes my way. I’m a conflicted contradiction. Surely if I haven’t figured myself out yet, there’s no chance anyone else has too.
Ending it will be slow but sure and I will not poetically justify it. All it will ever be is a conclusion and I would hate to weave shiny words around it to sound like music exactly how blood can never be picturesque. It is just red.
P.S.: Did you find the above chapter a bit overwhelming? Do you need an espresso? A hug? Don’t worry, this will all make sense soon.
I think the part of the reason why we hold so tightly is because we fear something so great won’t happen twice.
“I’ve been told, I’ve been told to get you off my mind, but I hope I never lose the bruises that you left behind. Oh my lord, oh my lord, I need you by my side. There must be something in the water, ’Cause everyday it’s getting colder. And if only I could hold ya you’d keep my head from going under.” Song: Bruises by Lewis Capaldi.
Please drop me a comment or a vote if you think this deserves it and give me a chance to improve. All the love as always, Mahak xx