That red chamber has changed over the weeks...not the same any more...not at all...it has locked its doors...( no more ventilation )...the air has turned stagnant... the cobwebs have dwelled in every corner of that heart, billowed down like curtains...the walls are leaking some of that crimson liquid though not enough to wake it up ...the pipe is coated with corrosion ...dripping small drops to the centre of it, where the remnants lie ...poor heart! There has to be a strong wind to come ...to change...to open the doors and windows ... a rain to wash clear that heart ...it has to be someone to fix it! And that someone is gone, forever. He has lost her. His biggest nightmare has come true.
He laid down under his sheets avoiding every calls and text messages from her. It was tough to believe that she was gone. Umma has told him before. "Confess your love for her before it's too late." He smiled bitterly to that. His Maryam; The only girl he speaks with apart from his sisters and colleagues. The only girl that makes him smile and makes him feel special. The only girl that makes life better. The only girl he loves. She's gone, far away from him.
He would describe his sadness like death by a thousand paper cuts, for every time he remembered his beloved best friend it was another cut to his already damaged heart. None were enough to kill him, but overtime their accumulation bled him of the humanity he had once had. He once was gregarious and generous natured, now he was just gaunt and melancholy. When the tears weren't even half way done, Mahmud was empty. He couldn't have cried even if he wanted to. He hadn't experienced this feeling in years. The sadness was still there, but not raw anymore – now it was an empty unhappiness - the kind he didn't think would easily lift. He felt like maryam could surprise him with the most delicious cookies on earth and he wouldn't feel a thing. He looked around his room as if he was in a pit. His surroundings were exactly the same, but they gave him no emotion. How could that be? He needed emotion to feel alive, to feel love.
The door bell rang, getting his attention. It rang again thrice. He heaved a long sigh and stood up, feeling dizzy. He couldn't remember when last he had a proper meal. He went down the stairs and opened the door. "Good day to you," he said and walked into the house like he owned it. He entered the living room hands in his pockets. "Mujahid what do you want?" Mahmud asked tiredly. He has had enough of his brother's trouble.
"Oh nothing. I just came to make things clear between you and my girlfriend." He walked around the living room while talking. Mahmud chuckled dryly, listening to what he has to say. "So I've noticed that you have a little crush on Maryam which is so cute but heartbreaking because she's in love with another man, me." He smirked. Mahmud sighed, running his hand in his rough hair. He was running out of patience already but he didn't have any strength to make a scene.
"Listen to me very carefully now! Maryam is mine, she loves me alone so you stay out of this. I never want to see you close to my girl or their house!" He warned sternly. "You can't separate two best friends, Mujahid. She looks at me as a brother, so if you try to separate us she might end up hating you."
Mujahid laughed heartily. "What you don't know my brother is that Maryam has been crushing on me her whole life so it would be difficult for her to stop loving me or believe every crap you tell her. To avoid ruin your silly friendship it's better you stay away from her. Understood?" He raised his brows. "Have a wonderful day," he said tapping mahmud on the shoulder before leaving.
His heartache had rung him out until he was dry inside, no more tears would come. His insides still felt as raw as if a winter wind was blowing right through his skin. The last statement haunted him, taunted me, replaying like an echo. His appetite had dwindled to nothing. He kept the curtains closed so that I wouldn't have to witness life going on as usual. How could it when his world had crumbled?
"So now what are you gonna do about it?" Aydah asked worriedly. Maryam sighed fiddling with the bracelet. "He's not picking my calls or replying back my texts. I don't know why he's so upset about it. I know we never hide anything from each other but..." she paused and shook her head. "I just don't get it."
Aydah felt the urge to tell her that Mahmud is in love with her but she couldn't. It will make things worse. She was already in love with someone and in a relationship. It will make things worse for them. "Can you help me talk to him? Or accompany me to his house?" Maryam asked. "Sure, let's go."
Without wasting any time, they got ready and went to Mahmud's house. It was a short drive to his house. Aydah stayed in the car while Maryam went in. It took him more than five minutes before he opened the door. He groaned and tried to slam the door but she held it. "Can we talk? Please, I just need to make things clear." She pleaded. “Well your boyfriend has already done that yesterday. I know you guys are dating so what else do you want to tell me?”
“Please just give me three minutes to explain myself, please Capt.” He sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Fine.”
They entered his living room and settled down. She looked at his face; he looked sick, lost a lot of weight and looked very bothered. "I know we don't hide anything from each other. I'm sorry I didn't get to tell you what’s between me and Yaya Mujahid till you found out yourself. That was so not cool of me to be ignoring you that way. I'm deeply sorry Mahmud, I can't live without you. I've been suffering for the past few weeks that we haven't been talking. Please forgive me, and let things go back to the way it was. Aren't you happy that I've found love? You know I've never been in a relationship before, you're supposed to be happy for me and support me.”
"Why are you asking for my forgiveness? You did nothing to me. Ignoring you is just my choice. I did it just because I felt like that’s the best thing to do so it's better you let me be and concentrate on your relationship." He rose up from the sofa and sighed. "Have a wonderful life." Without glancing back, he disappeared into the corridors.
She rested her head on her palm. Streaming tears cleansed her red cheeks. Few droplets remained, forgetting their way as the path was swept from beneath them, consequently blurring the Maryam's vision with waves of sadness only the broken encounter. The salty release calmly flowed into her mouth so that she could taste her own sorrow.
Bitter. Unforgiving. Pain.
She stood up feeling dizzy and walked out of the house. Aydah took her home and made sure she was okay before leaving. Few hours later that day, Mujahid showed up.
"What's wrong babe? You look pale? Who made you cry?" He bombarded her with questions. She gave him a small smile and sat down opposite the couch he was sitting. "I just don't feel good but I'll be fine," she shrugged. "Hmmpp! It better not be because of my brother. What is wrong with the both of you? Are you in love with him or what?" He shouted. She looked at him in awe but ignored.
"C'mon babe," he murmured moving close to her. He sat beside her and held her hand. She tried to free her hand and move away but he held it tight. "Tell you what, immediately after my father comes back from England, I'll inform him about us," he stated beaming at her. Her eyes sparkled and her heart warmed up. "Are you serious?" She asked and he nodded.
"I just cannot wait to make you mine babe. You're the best thing ever." She bit her lip smiling. "I love you so much, Maryam," he whispered moving his face closer. He went for a kiss but she moved away. "My parents are around," she whispered. "C'mon, it will be for few seconds, no one will see us," he whispered pulling her close. He kissed her ear lobe trailing kisses to her lips. He gently presses his lips on hers and kissed her passionately. He sucked on her lower lip softly and bit it. They pull apart and take shaky, shallow breaths. Unable to contain himself anymore, he held her head in his hands and pulled her into a fiery and passionate kiss. She pushed him after few seconds to catch her breath.
He set up running his hands through his hair. He shoved his hands in his pocket, trying to hold himself. She run up and walked out of the living room to her bedroom. She jumped on her bed catching her breath. "This is not right," she whispered. She sat upright and touched her almost swollen lips. She has never kissed before, not even touch a guys hand but Mujahid... he has changed everything. She loves him but that had to stop no matter how he wants it. "Astagfurillah," she whispered.
"I still wont stop apologizing to you, mahmud. You are my best friend and my brother. No matter how you'll push me away I just... can't leave. You're part of my life, how do you expect me to just leave you?" She blubbered. He stood there looking at her. She wiped her tears furiously and walked away when he wasn't ready to speak. He felt bad for what he has done. But he was confused. He wouldn't stand looking at her with another man. He wouldn't stand knowing she's in love with another man.
He was pushing her away to have peace of mind. To prevent himself from dying. He wouldn't stand any of it. He sighed running his hand through his messy hair. He was still amazed that he could fight his heart and prevent it from failing.
Meanwhile, Maryam went straight to his stepmother to tell her what was going on. She didn't hide anything apart from what they share with Mujahid when they were alone. Umma was beyond shocked about her being with Mujahid but she never showed her. After Maryam left, she called mahmud I told him to come meet her.
He took a long shower before leaving. He met her in her bedroom waiting for him. He sat on her mirror stool and greeted her. His head low. She hissed and glared at him. "Was it fun watching Maryam suffer? Did it fill your cup with a cold drink? Did you get a buzz of power when she cried and begged for forgiveness about something that was not her fault? Don't answer. I don't want to hear what you have to say, how you make cruelty alright with twisted logic. She gave you love and you abused it. Am I angry? No. I'm highly disappointed in you Mahmud. Everything is your fault, you caused everything for not confessing your love for her. Stop punishing her for what she did not do. This girl cares about you more than you can imagine. You better look for her and make things right before you lose her completely."
That was how he felt at that very moment. He wished for a Time Turner so he could go back, rectify the mistake - the worst of all he had done.
However, He could not. Impossible. He had to live with it. Remorse etched at his heart. Guilt gnawed like a worm at the core of an apple. "I'm so sorry umma, I have failed you. And you are right, I have already lost her."
"You should not be apologizing to me. You should be apologizing to her and make things right. May Allah choose what's more best for you. I will keep on praying for you, Mahmud."