Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Its evening, sun is about to set for the day. Orange color is spreading all over the clouds as this is the way sun plays holi with them. Birds are chirping happily and have already started going back to their nests. Few of the houses already have lit their lights before sun could completely disappear. It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone. But today there is someone has come to see Cynthia, she hasn’t seen for many many years. It’s Rafiq. Cynthia is not her real name. It’s Shabana. Half Christian half Muslim is she and it is Islamic rituals that she still follows even when she was married in a Christian family. Now since she is alone after her husband Cyrus died in an accident at work when a big piece of wood fell on his head about 2 months back. She never has missed him as she never loved. For all the years she was married to him, their relationship had always been only the physical one. She never felt emotionally attached to Cyrus even when he always loved her so much. It is not that she does not emotionally feel attached to anybody at all. She did love a guy when she was 16, she still does and it’s Rafiq. For 15 years when she was with Cyrus, she always used to think of Rafiq and imagine him while having sex with her husband.

 And today when he really is here in her house, sitting in front of her on sofa, sipping tea, at the other side of a thin curtain, she can’t imagine her happiness. She loves it when anyone calls her by her real name. He was in town for business and when he heard of her husband’s death, he could not resist himself to share the condolence. He’s 35 and unmarried, he always tells his friends and everybody that he does not have time to get married because of business and family but in reality he loved Shabana and could not imagine marrying anyone else. He was afraid that he won’t be a good husband if he marries any other girl. He can not forget that night when they were naked all night in an abandoned house in the neighborhood, 18 years back, neither could she ever. Before they could realize the depth of their relationship it was very late. Since then he has always been waiting for her all of his life. But today he is here not for her. He is here only to display his condolence, nothing else. Before coming to meet her, he knew it will be tough for him to control his affection and feelings after seeing Shabana but he trusted his determination.

She has just finished the evening prayer after taking a bath, smell of her wet perfume is all around. Rafiq’s heart is racing; he is struggling hard to catch his breath when her perfume is filling into his nostrils. He smells the tea instead to avoid her perfume which was dragging him towards the same desire he has been hiding inside from years. There is some strange spark in her eyes, and she is staring at him from behind the curtains while he wishes to hide himself under his skin and run away. He knows that it’s not his fault that her husband is dead but he can not help himself from feeling guilty. However at the other side, she desperately wishes to tear down the curtain and sit in his lap just like a child, just like she used to, 18 years back but it’s the rituals that she can not even cross that thin layer of curtain. Widows are not supposed to go uncover on a stranger for at least 6 months from their husband’s death as per her family rituals.

They both are glued at their places; don’t have any idea as to what to say, how to tear down the curtain.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. I really like the story you’ve created. It has some nice tension going on. I would encourage you to find a native-English speaker to either do a beta read or else edit it for you. I think it has some nice potential, but the second-language influence is obvious and a little distracting. Good start, though — keep writing!

    1. Neeraj says:

      Thank you for your suggestion, I appreciate your visit.

    2. While I agree in terms of comprehension, he has grasped the language quite well, well enough to establish his voice and style which most find to be the hardest to uncover about themselves.

  2. Hira Nazir says:

    So much beauty in one piece. There is this soft glum feel in this narration, that exists through out and steel your heart, fine execution, sir, a rapture, an art.
    Esp, the way you penned down the scenario in the very first paragraph, complete exaltation!

    1. Neeraj says:

      Thank you so much Hira! It was an effort to practice and learn some narration. I’m glad it went okay. 🙂

  3. globalunison says:

    I can make so many arguments on this story but lets not be critical – I liked the tension you built and how you portrayed the feeling of love, affection and desire. =)

    1. Neeraj says:

      Lol.. I know it lacks technicality 😛

    2. globalunison says:

      Nah, the concept of Islamic rituals is contradicting lol I wouldn’t expect you to be perfect that is why I didnt want to critique but otherwise splendid job! I liked first three to four lines the most! You can write good narratives, I can see the potential =)

    3. Neeraj says:

      Hmm.. Thank you.. I’m learning the narratives by these short stories.. you’ll see them often now 🙂

    4. globalunison says:

      Seems like someone has plenty of time to write lol Will be waiting to acknowledge =D

    5. Neeraj says:

      Hahaha… kinda yes.. I guess I should’ve added a note in the end saying everything’s mere writer’s imagination 🙂

  4. This is beautiful, so much tension and passion admist a meeting of tea. I love it, you progress very well.

    1. Neeraj says:

      Thank you! I really appreciate your comment !

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