Saturday, 24 March 2012

Not just yet...

By the time you decided to make an entrance, I was already in love with you. I remember how daddy held you as if you were something breakable. That was the first time I saw him crying and he kept saying ‘she’s so tiny...she’s so tiny’ and that, I remember, made me laugh through tears. You made everyone in the room teary. Even your grandpa, the proud military man, couldn't help a few sniffles! 
And when everyone had left and daddy had finally stopped crying, you opened your little eyes and looked up at me from my arms. And then, you smiled.
For a moment I forgot everything else in the world. It was as though only you and I existed, in an empty space, separated from time. And I wished with all my heart that that moment wouldn’t pass.

 You know the best gift that god gave to me? You.  Before you were born I was not so sure. When your mom would gush over baby clothes and talked for hours about the colours she chose for the nursery, I would sit there and just think how my life is going to change once you come. And when you came it did. It was as though something had cut off every other link that I had with the world. At first I was scared to hold you when mama counted your fingers and toes. You were so tiny, so delicate. I didn't want to crush you.
But someone else did.

Growing up, I always looked up to you. I knew that you were there for me. Yes, we did fight. All the time. But I knew that you wouldn’t let anyone else harm me. I remember how you used to say if anyone can bully my sister it’s me…You were always possessive, you know!
 I never told you this, but the day you first wore the hijab I was so proud of you. You looked so contented, so serene in that beautiful blue silk scarf. I envied you for your courage to wear your faith with so much pride. Mum and I had so many discussions, when you weren’t there, about wearing it ourselves. But we never could. 

I am struggling and I can't find you. I wish I could talk to you. But this is not you. Who are you? 

You were my neighbour. My classmate. My best friend. We go back together so long that I don’t even remember a time when I didn’t know you. We played house together (You always wanted to be the Husband!), we chased Mrs.Norman's cats together, we shared our dolls and clothes and shoes.  You were at my place as much as you were at yours. You were the first to know all my crushes, sometimes even before I did! 

I was so proud of you when you finally made it into Med School after all that hard work. I was sad too, that we were going in different directions. But I told myself you would come back. And we would be together again. But not like this. What happened? I was your best friend, Why didn’t you tell me? 

I saw you first at the supermarket. I hated you right then. How could you smile at me after hurting me so bad? How could you wear that thing around your head when it symbolizes the death of so many? You were the reason my brother went to Afghanistan and never came back. He was the only one I had and you took him away from me. What did he do to you?
Why are you in my country? Why do you come here and mess with my people, our jobs, our culture? You've made my world alien to me.

couldn't take it any more.You deserved it. And I had to let it out. And it had to be done with the same towel that you wear around your head. You had to go.

 But why didn’t you? Why are you lying there with your eyes closed, mocking me from under all the sheets and tubes and needles? Wasn’t it enough you took my brother, do you have to torture me too? Why do you make me feel as though I’ve done something wrong? No, I haven’t. You did this to yourself. No, not me. Not me.

Why don’t you wake up? Open your eyes even. Tell us you’re there. Don’t leave us just yet. Don’t make us switch you off like some machine. I can hear you breathe and I can feel the warmth of your hands. Baby, just wake up and look at mama. Your sister and daddy haven’t left the prayer room since they visited you. I can still hear their sobs in my head. Come back to us. We love you. Come back and we’ll fight against it all together. Just come back. Please, come back.

The doctor told us there’s no point stretching it now. He said you’ve already gone and just left your body here. He said you’d be happier if we let you go too. But how can we? How can I?
I can’t do this. I can’t kill my own child. No, I won’t do it. I would never forgive myself if I did. But if you must go now, then it’ll be at the hands of the one who got you here. He’s going to switch off the machine. He’s going to be the one living with this till the end of his sad life. Let him remember forever that he is the one who extinguished your beautiful soul.

But don’t worry, honey, we’ll see you soon.