Monday, July 1, 2013

"That Miraculous Moment" - a short story.

“That Miraculous Moment”
Written by Kulsoom Hussain

A short story.

The newborn baby’s cries woke up the dazed middle aged man from his sleep. As his feet touched the cold floor, the crying become louder, and with a sigh he pushed the door open and somehow, with force, brought a smile to his 3 am face. The late night baby feeds were more rewarding than those hangovers he was troubled with just five years ago. Carefully, remembering the words of the nurses, he held the baby close to his chest and sat on the rocking chair. Back and forth, back and forth the chair moved – and so did his memories of the last five years.

It all started five years ago. His eyes would have caught the attention of any person on Earth. The green in his eyes changed between hues of grey and brown. His eyes - that’s all a women needed to see, to love the man who blinked those beautiful features.  But I didn't love the man with those beautiful eyes, no, I fell in love with him and everything he had, everything he was and everything he was going to be.  The way he moved, the way he thought, the way he smiled and laughed and the way he looked at me when I was walking down the aisle.  That was the moment I realized that I needed him in my life and that my life would never be the same without him. But I never thought that he needed me the way I needed him or that his life would change if I were never there, I just never thought about it that way.  That was my mistake.

She walked with flair but didn't know it. She had a way of getting people’s attention, but not because of her chasmal beauty, but because of her personality. Her elegant manners resembled somewhat of a Victorian woman, with the grace and sophistication she beheld. She was quiet and many assumed she was shy but that was a disguise for her logical mind. She was more than what met the eye and I knew that she would be perfect. Her childhood wasn’t anything special and she never thought of herself to be special either but the people around her thought otherwise. Building walls around her and pushing people away was her defense mechanisms, something she used as her strength rather than weakness. However when she would love, she would do so like a child who loves their mother and when she cared, she would do so like a mother would care for her child and that’s what he needed. He needed to be loved and taken care of. 

“She left me alone, okay! I’ve told you that she left me and she didn’t have a choice. I know that but she could have stayed you know…she could have stayed with me and we could have gone together. It’s – it’s just not fair” his voice cracked into hiccups and tears began to surface his green eyes.  The green eyes that once mirrored happiness and contentment were now shadowed with pain and regret.  “It’s been three years. Three years since she left you and you know that you have to move on. And I’m not in any way, telling you to move on to someone else but you have to place you’re trust to someone else now. It’s time to move on.” He looked up with disgust in his eyes. “Move on? How can you tell me to move on from the one thing that kept me alive and happy? The one person who understood me and loved me! I can’t do it and you know what? I just might never be able to ‘move on’”.  His heavy voice echoed through the plain white room. He got up and threw his coat around his once toned arms and fled the scene. He needed to be alone. He needed her.  He ran across the street, which was jam-packed with yellow taxicabs, hailed for one, and asked for it to take him to the one place that he knew he would feel okay.

Fresh flowers accompanied by tears and regretful memories were the usual ciphers of a graveyard. At least that’s what she understood. After four years of coming to the same grave to ‘mourn’ the death of her loved one, she began to learn the different ways of grieving from observing diverse people. Once she saw a catholic funeral take place and she quietly stood behind a grave that had a large angel on its head.  She saw the way they buried the dead and the words they spoke. Everyone was so calm and not a single tear fell from the eyes of the spectators. ‘Was this a funereal or a gathering of family and friends and free food?’ she thought to herself ‘. ‘It was the latter’, she decided. One thing that was common for all funerals were the people.  Family and friends gathered to bid their last farewell to the dead and it made her laugh sometimes. All those people only ever met for weddings or funerals but what about the things in between? No one ever asked and even met up after their last goodbyes. Graveyards brought nostalgia and people often tucked away the good memories whilst entering this place that reeked of death, regret and pain assuming that they would be ripped away with all their happiness but for her, this very place made her reminisce the good memories, the times when she felt genuinely joyful about life.

He saw her perched on the steps that led down to the dried up pond that the graveyard had installed months back. The summer heat absorbed all the water like the heavens reaped the souls of the people in the graves. Her brown hair was tied back into a ponytail and her crème coloured coat was stained with the dirt from the steps. She didn't seem scared of the fact that she was in the middle of graveyard; in fact she seemed pretty relaxed. Perplexed, he moved forward to the grave, he had come for and put down the bouquet of assorted flowers and stood there, in silence, those memories flashing like one of those old fashioned projectors.  He remembered their first date and when she had told him that she liked different types of flowers rather than a bunch of the same coloured and same scented flowers – and that’s how she always was. She didn't’ like to have the same things twice unless she absolutely loved it and it made him feel grateful that she chose him to be the one man in her life. Suddenly, a light, airy voice brought him back to his stark reality. “Family or friend?” she asked. “Uh? I mean, sorry, um, family – wife actually”. ‘Damn, too much information’ he thought. “I am so sorry. I hope she finds peace” her voice fell into a whisper. That was the first time anybody said anything about her rather then him. His green eyes lit up after a long time and he gazed into her hazel brown eyes. There was something about her that made him feel calm. “Yeah thanks” he smiled and asked who she came for. “My friend, well um, fiance  she said. “I hope he finds peace”. She smiled and looked into his green eyes that had a hue of grey in them. She felt somewhat comfortable with this complete stranger and she felt the walls she had built begin to tumble down and in a way, in a peculiar way; she was all right with it.

The strong aroma of coffee filled the room and hustle and bustle of people ricochet the huge coffee shop that had just opened. The two acquaintances made their way through the 5 o’clock rush, fortunately finding a table by the window. She took off her now stained crème coat and wrapped it around the chair. A waiter approached and handed them a sleek new menu and waited by their sides for their orders. “An ice tea” they said in unison. A brief moment of amusement filled the awkward meeting. “How long were you married for?” The abruptness of the question seemed to tighten his facial expression. She noticed and diligently tried to change the subject but before she could he answered. “Seventeen years”, nothing less, nothing more. “Wow” was all she could muster up. “How about you? How long were you engaged for?” “Two years” her voice trailed off into the memories that were pleading to be spoken, but she closed her mouth before another word slipped out.
The wall clock mounted on the counter of the coffee shop ticked away and the two friends reminisced their lives with smiles, laughter and tears. “She was different, that was the first thing I noticed about her and the thing that made me fall in love with her”. That was all he needed to say to establish that he still missed her and he always would – but that was the thing about love, you can’t just stop loving someone because they’re not in front of your eyes anymore, the memories will always be alive. She placed her hands over his for the mere fact that he wouldn't feel alone and he didn't withdraw. Their eyes met and in that moment, they both shared a similar thought – miracles can happen anywhere.

The signature red double decker buses drove the streets of London giving the bleak, grey ambiance a burst of colour. He tightly grasped her hand in panic that he would lose her. She acknowledged his fear and clutched his hand tighter. Her brown hair flowed behind her and she waved her hand to hail a taxicab. The diamond in her forth finger of her left hand flexed the sun’s light as she got in to the taxicab followed by the man she was in love with.

I stood back and glanced at those two completely different people. In their journey of pain and loss they grew and learnt that to love again isn’t a crime but rather a miracle. It took them time, but now I can go peacefully and with contentment, to the heavens that are calling me and the stars that await my presence, with serenity in my heart, mind and spirit, that the man I loved for seventeen years is now in the hands of a beautiful women that will love him and take care of him like I would have. 

If you enjoyed reading this story or have any feedback, please let me know down below in the comments section. Much appreciated, Kulsoom x 

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