Although only a few months had gone by, Amna felt like an eternity had passed by since her husband, Bilal had disappeared. An eerie silence had overtaken the grandiosely decorated apartment. Thoughts regarding this certain incident had struck at a blinding pace, and questions with no real answers popped up, every time she thought about it. Just before her husband left for the bizarre journey, he had promised that he would return. With that being said, he held out a yellow flower, and she reached out and grabbed it.
“I would be back before this flower wilts”, he said.
The stem of the flower did not possess enough strength to hold the flower upright anymore, and the anticipation had begun to clutch at her. She sat right beside the door, frantically waiting for the one knock on that door. Minutes turned into hours and the hours turned into days. Every passing moment, her heart was broken. The changing dynamics of the way her heart operated in was in direct contrast with the unchanging eerie silence that had captivated the atmosphere. But her willingness to see her husband made her believe that he was going to be back soon, and she mustered the courage to believe, but within a few minutes, her heart was broken yet again. The new moment of a joyous rebirth was followed by a painful death. For a fact, she knew her husband had never lied to her about anything, and this was one of the reasons, why she had clung to her faith of seeing him again.
Every memory with him was crystal clear, and these long episodes of his absence made these memories stronger. One of the strongest memories of her was the piggyback rides on her husband’s tall, 6 foot 1 inch frame. The city appeared in a different light. Everything appeared a bit smaller. She often questioned her husband, “Now I know how it feels like to be tall. There is so much distance that separates me from the ground. Does not it feel weird to be tall?” More than anything, these memories were a manifestation of the security, she was provided with by him. Similar to viewing the city from a higher point during the piggy back rides, she saw life from a higher plain with him. A different person in her was made to come out around him. She felt like she was a brighter, more positive individual around him, emanating this radiant, exuberant aura out to all individuals, making her entice a lot of opportunities and people around her. The reasons for this were fairly obvious. Although she was aware of the imperfections that existed within her, she was made to feel perfect, the smartest and the most beautiful wife in the world. This is what love is about, purely because love has no reason and cannot have a reason. Even the likes of great philosophers and poets like Jalaludin Rumi have not been able to explain the reasons for love albeit they revered it and found it the single most inspiring force in their lives. But with her husband gone, she had turned into a solitary creature, shutting herself from the entire world. No wonder, she did not have any friends come over to her house anymore. With her husband gone, all was gone. She has experienced death even before her death, and it pained her all the time. Turbulent conflict had started to swell within her heart, and maybe in a few months can drive her to the point of madness. All she wanted was him.
Once again, on yet another sunny day- which ofcourse was not reflective of her mood at all- she found herself firmly fastened to the spot next to the door. For the first time, a knock on the door evaded the unwavering silence in the house. She was startled. She knew it was him. Her heart made a jump, and she was born yet again, and like an infant was going to witness life for the first time. What would he look like now? Did he still have stubble of hair on his cheeks? Was his hair still parted at the side or were they really long? Was he still wearing that dirty shirt? He must look really unclean. Only time was going to allow her to answer these questions. Keen to find answers, she stood up. What time would it have been? Will she have to cook her dinner or lunch? She decided not to worry about it as he was never a fussy eater. As he would put it, he was an inquilabi (revolutionary) Sufi dervish person and could survive on a piece of bread in the morning and goat’s milk in the evening. He always had been silly, coming up with the most bizarre of stories, but this was what drew her closer to him. He was not just like any other person. He could not have been like any other person. Nothing prohibited him from doing something. If he felt he was right and saw no meaning in what other people did, he would feel more than free to commit acts, which were not considered normal. What is normality anyways? Nevertheless, it made Amna laugh. She knew he did it for her; just to see her smile and laugh. For the number of times he made her smile, he really must have thought her smile was beautiful. He often blamed her for brushing her teeth too white, and he told her that he did not have any problems in the world as long as she smiled. What was he going to come up with now? Realizing it had been more than five minutes since the doorbell rang, she better hurry. The thoughts had completely drowned her, making her unaware of the present. She brushed her hair aside; the natural human instinct to make themselves look good. She wanted to look the best today. After she heaved a sigh of relieve, she threw the door open, in anticipation of hugging her husband.
All her expectations were killed. Stood in front of her was an attractive looking, lithe young woman, with peculiar black make up on her face. Her gaze shifted from the flower pots placed near her neighbour’s door to her.
Hiding her disappointment, Amna decided to sound as casual and blurted a few words along the lines of, “Hey! Yes, what can I do for you?”
She had mysterious, piercing eyes; eyes that had seen suffering and were willing to seek a safe haven in wherever she looked at. It took a slight delay for her to speak, as if she was trying to make sure every word was rightly chosen to explain the situation. What surprised Amna more was the white-clothed ball she held in both of her hands; the prudency with she held the small object gave the object a gold-like value. Why had she brought something valuable to her? Was she linked to her? Was she here to give some sort of tragic news about her husband? Every situation that arose in her life eventually found a close association with her husband.
“I have got something to show to you”, said the unwelcomed visitor.
“What is it?”, said Amna.
“It is something, you really would want to know about- it is about your husband”, said the lady.
“If it is tragic, turn around and leave. I don’t think I possess enough courage to hear any news of that. I am shattered as it is”, said the battered wife.
“Well, nothing is tragic. It is dependent on the way we think about a certain situation. A white light passing through a prism can yield seven colours, and therefore, every tragedy that occurs can be understood in a million ways; in a more positive light or in a more negative light. More than anything, it is dependent on the eyes of the beholder. It is he who makes the choice; the choice between the two sides”, said the strange lady.
“So you are here to give me the tragic news, and you are trying to console me with the peculiar explanations. Thank you very much, and now you may leave”, said Amna.
Amna slammed the door, but suddenly a thought struck her. Ignorance is bliss, but ofcourse she would regret not listening to this old woman. Curiosity always won against this woman’s intellect, and she reconsidered her options of speaking to the Gothic woman. For all she knew, Bilal may have sent her. She had to make a quick decision. The clouds had started to gather, and the skies were going to pour any second. The Gothic woman may leave in a hurry, wary of the impeding harsh weather. She leapt to the door and twisted the knob. The gothic woman was seated now, looking fatigued, as if she had left her out for hours.
“I knew you would come back. This thought has bothered you and affected your life on a day to day basis. You were not going to waste the one opportunity that had sprung up to know about whatever was happening. Your life was not going to get any better even if you ignored me, as your life anyways was going to continue to be a mess. Therefore, don’t be surprised that I decided to camp here for a while, before leaving”.
Although these thoughts did not occur to Amna, she knew this lady was telling the truth. Her life had been hard, with thoughts about this particular incident dominating her life; thoughts that had completely broken her, made her hold on to the past.
“You look tired. Why don’t you come in? Would you like something to eat?”, said Amna. She seemed like a completely different person altogether; not the person she was just a few moments ago. All of us have the capability to change, provided we have the right stimulus to trigger that change. An impulsive decision had made her abandon this lady, who was here to give her the very significant information. Opportunities like this surfaced on a day to day basis, but we were not willing to avail them. Our impulsiveness had made us immune to opportunities. Though they were always there, we were always willing to eradicate them. Impulsiveness entailed a lot more attributes on a conscious and a subconscious level. Prejudice, bias, hatred, societal norms and ignorance were some of the few elements of impulsiveness. Although people spoke of them, they failed to see that within them. Maybe, Amna was just one of those people too, but then she did realize. The realization that dawn upon us constitutes the most important foundation of our enlightenment, and Amna was too in the learning process, confronted with the hardest phase of her life. The change in her brought about by the appearance of the woman had been greater than the stagnated progress she made over the past few months.
“You look dishevelled, and it is completely imaginable”, said the lady.
“What do you know? And can you please stop being so cryptic. For god sake, can you tell me what is going on?”, said the disturbed wife.
“Patience is a characteristic; you are in dire need of. If I did not understand you, I would have not been seated here. I see this flower has wilted too. It waited patiently too, up until it gave up and died, yet the sun and the moon took turns to complete our days, and the cyclical systems continued its course.”
Amna gazed at the flower, trying not to lose her temper. She realized that losing her temper was going to annoy this lady further, and she quietly chimed in to the conversation, trying to sound interested in whatever this strange lady was saying.
“Well, I have brought a crystal ball. The crystal ball itself is not special; instead what it holds is special, like all the other things. Sooner or later, we have a tendency to drown our self in the materialism associated with things, and soon, we are deviated away from the real message and are caught up in the redundancies, we perceive to be the true meaning of life”.
Amna was silent, even though baffling questions were going to blow her mind up. Why had this lady brought this crystal ball, ostensibly aware of the fact that this had a similar value to the other things, which existed within our lives?
Soon, after the weird lady said this, she lifted the white apparel to reveal a crystal ball. It took a second for Amna to realize what she was looking at. Stood in the middle of the crystal ball was Bilal, headed towards a light; the shiniest and the whitest light she had ever seen. His face emitted a radiant glow. She gazed hard at the scene that appeared in front of her, to make sure she savoured every moment and memorized every single moment, in case the crystal ball did not display this later on. She was in awe of the moment. Happiness of this nature had not been encountered in her life since Bilal disappeared. The exhilaration associated with these images, sparking certain feelings, had a magical impact on her. The clouds had started to clear as well, and the sun peered out on to the ground. Simultaneously a thought occurred to Amna. Although she was not aware of the mysterious presence of the woman here, she was not concerned about it, for she knew that this lady had brought her beloved Bilal back to her. Bilal did manage to keep his promise.