I hear of Noor’s accident. I rush to hospital with a heavy heart. I rejected Noor’s love three years ago. I don’t know why I am dying to see him.
I see Noor lying on bed. Many pipes are fitted on him. He must be having intense pain. But I don’t see any on his eyes.
“I am happy to see you here Zarina. I am dying. I have to say you many things.” His voice stammers but he smiles with ease.
I stop breathing to reverse the tears that are about to fall from my eyes.
He continues. “Let me see your face before I die. That is my last wish.”
Something pinches me deep inside. “I cannot do that. Please take your wish back. ” I talk to myself.
I don’t look at him. I try to divert the topic.
“Noor, how did this happen?”
He doesn’t seem to concentrate.
“You know , I love you Zarina.” My heart beats faster.
He catches my hand. He is so warm.
I sigh. “Why didn’t you call me Noor? You didn’t send me a single text. Weren’t we good friends? Did my rejection hurt you that hard?”
“I valued your decision then. I do it now as well. Love is free, Zarina. If I’d contacted you times and again, it would be an addiction. And love is never an addiction. It is free from everything. I cannot captivate. I cannot protect love. It is free from possession and madness. All I can do is love.”
“A person would not love withered flower. You can not love me. I have concealed a bitter reality. I cannot show you my face. I am sorry.”
“You have safely kept the pale and old red rose I gave you inside your diary. Don’t you? It was fresh and red when I gave. It must have dried up. Zarina, love is not judgemental. Knowing about any reality of yours will not stop me from loving you. Love flows, keeps flowing irrespective of hinderance.”
He uncovers the shawl with which I had masked the left part of my face. I close my eyes. He runs his hands on my burnt skin. I am unable to look at him. But I don’t feel uncomfortable at all.
“You are beautiful Zarina. I feel like I am falling in love with you again and again.” He keeps repeating that he loves me. His voice is calm.
“I will die well Zarina. See , I have got enlightenment. Yes, I have. I can feel. Love is the last stage of enlightenment. There is nothing beyond. I achieved it. I don’t dream of anything now.”
I look at him. His eyes are closed. He is not speaking anymore. I lower my head on his chest. His breath is not continuous. I kiss him on his eyes. He doesn’t response.
“Mom, wake up. It’s 7.” I hear Sakina’s voice.
I realize, it was a dream.I look at Noor’s photograph on the side unit of my bed. It’s his 5th Death Anniversary. I see myself in mirror. I put an ear ring on my right ear. I gaze on the left one, the burnt.
“What are you thinking, Mom? You seem lazy and clumsy. Why are you late to wake up today?” Sakina sits on my lap.
I put my arms around her. “I am in love.” I wink.
She opens her eyes wide. “Really? With whom?”
~Noor’s first and last note to me:
Let’s fly high Zarina. You and me together, we will reach up to the stars. I love you. I can say it hundred times but I shall not be done with it. Can I repeat again? I love you. I can feel it.
Zarina, I wish you to see during the last hour of my existence.
Convey my love to Sakina.
I don’t expect the answer. All I can do is love.
Jan 22, 2016