So long


I’m in a moor. There is nobody around. It is quiet. I am lying in the earth staring up at the night sky. It’s the darkest shade of black I think I’ve ever seen. Do shades of black exist? I see the moon, the stars, and from the corner of my eye, one star brighter than the rest. Every once in a while I glance back at it and it seems to be getting bigger. I’m drawn to it. I’m an intoxicated young woman running through dark, empty alleys searching for her blighted lover. I’ve become so absorbed in the captivating night sky that I don’t find issue in its ever increasing size. Eventually I doze off, and when I wake up next I realise this star is headed towards me. I close my eyes. Moment of impact. Everything’s gone silent. I open my eyes. I’m still in the moor. But now there’s a gaping hole in my heart. The size of a crater.

 *  *  *

I’m on the outside of my life, everything is happening before me; I’m a spectator in my own life. You talk to me, but I only wish to turn my face towards the window. You don’t understand what I understand. In my 7th floor room in Budapest, my window looks out on a major street called Kerepesi út, which followed, visually at least, takes to the other part of the city, called Buda. I can see the Buda hills from my window, and especially at night they are all lit up, the entire street is lit up, the buildings on the street are lit up. But to me it’s a bleak spectacle.

 *  *  *

My biggest struggle this year was self-sufficiency. To become financially self-sufficient, and to become self-sufficient in the way that I needn’t consider others when making my life decisions, but I failed on both accounts. I think I’m on the road to becoming financially self-sufficient because I decided, instead of staying in Doha and working, which would have been the easier thing to do, to continue my education. Now I have a clearer idea of what I think I would like to work as. There’s been a regression in the latter kind of self-sufficiency. You know what made me love my time in Edinburgh so much other than the natural beauty? The independence. I was free to walk the streets without feeling watched. I was comfortable being alone on top of a hill on such a foggy day that I could not see a distance of more than four steps around me. I was self-sufficient. I did not rely on friends to have a good time or for class notes. I was fine, I was by myself, I was alone but not lonely, I was happy. I didn’t need or want anyone. I sacrificed this independence to some extent a few months after my return to Doha. And then some more, and then some more. So much so I feel when A left, he took a part of me with him. But I gave out of love. I understand now I wouldn’t have been weak if I’d given up. Strength is in walking away from painful situations, but I don’t have that kind of strength. So I was walked away from. I can stand up for my values, I can stand up for my family and friends, but I cannot stand up for myself when I need to.

 *  *  *

I started running. My mind is racing. How do I hide amidst cars? The way people were rushing out, I thought he was behind them. I thought I was going to get shot in the back of my head. I was just minding my own business, feeling a bit lighter following my major haircut and having made some purchases to treat myself. Police rush in, screaming get out of the way. Nobody else is bothered. Part of me wants to follow the police. The other part of me reminds me my car will be here any moment. Isn’t that strange? Shouldn’t the other part of me have been the sensible one, said no, Azka, that’s idiotic, you don’t rush towards danger. Why was it being practical instead? I am careless with my life.

 *  *  *

‘All it is will be what it was.’ Pain does not understand the concept of time. It is stagnant, deep, dark, waiting. Isn’t it supposed to hit me in waves? I’m trapped in a still lake instead. The stuff of my recurring nightmares. In my nightmares, I find myself drowning in dark, bottomless bodies of water, gasping for air and thrashing the water for help. You see me but don’t help. This time I don’t want to return to the surface. Let me be.


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