Dear Laiba Fatima…

I can’t believe it. I cannot believe that you are actually gone. I remember the day Arub told me about that brain haemorrhage. But the surgery was successful and you should have woken up. They were waiting, you know. All of us were.

I remember when I heard you had fainted during that test at the academy. The doctors said it was a brain haemorrhage and they even operated successfully, but then, dear, why didn’t you wake up?

It’s true we didn’t know each other that well. We didn’t even talk much. But you were there, a face eched in my memory, a comrade from my school. And when I read that message a few hours ago, I was so shocked. Laiba? Laiba Fatima?

Oh Laiba. As I sat there shaking with disbelief, my body trembling uncontrollably, why is it that all I could think of was that smile you gave me when I said salam? You were probably the same age as me, but still you looked so small… as if you were only thirteen or fourteen.

I remember that straight ponytail with those curly hair. That gentle, delicate voice as you discussed the exam afterwards. Oh Laiba, are you really gone?

Sometimes I feel as if I will remember this time as the time when I had no time for anything else. Not even time to mourn Laiba’s death. I sat there, trying hard to control my trembling hands enough to practice those physics numericals. Guiltily, i knew i had to study for this test the next day but somehow I felt so guilty that the World was still moving. The tears dropped from my eyes as my heart tore itself into a million pieces. Laiba, Laiba, Laiba Fatima…

And what made me even more guilty was the fact that I stayed at those numericals. I thought of how you must have done the very same ones before me, you always did like to keep ahead. You were the one who had all the brains. The one with the good grades in everything. 

I wonder, Laiba, if I feel this way, then how is Zerish, and Zobia, and all of them? And to think nothing of your mother, that woman whom I have never met, nor heard anything of, but all the same, how must she be? Losing her seventeen year old daughter?

Laiba I don’t even know you well enough to know what your ambitions were, to know what you were trying to be in life. But now, does that even matter anymore? Does anything even matter anymore? The one truth of life is death. And that’s where you are now.

Laiba I wonder what you must be feeling right this moment. I hope its happy thoughts. I hope you don’t have to face any of the hardships after death. Ya Allah! I pray with the sincerest of all prayers that you give Laiba a place in your heavens. I pray that you forgive her her minor sins. She had a good character. Allah! Give us sabr and patience to bear this, especially her family and loved ones. Allah! We are in no position to question your decree, so we pray. Allah! Please accept this. Who else can we go to in such situations? Who else has the power to grant? Allah! Rest her soul in peace. Ameen. 

Warmth

The water was cold. The one time she had counted on the warmth of the water to engulf her whole, to somehow soothe her, it was cold.

It wasn’t fair. Hadn’t the sun been shining on the water tank all day? Had the sun lost all its heat? Could it be possible that the sun felt as cold and numb as herself? 

No. At any rate the sun was supposed to heat the water. That was its job. The water was supposed to be boiling hot. She was supposed to complain about that. Was it normal to feel as if her entire blood had clotted in this heat?

She waited a few seconds before she bravely endeavoured into the cold shower. She hoped that somehow it would get warmer. Surely it must, it couldn’t be this cold. It just couldn’t.

She could feel herslf shivering but at the same time felt nothing at all. Numb. Then she remembered she was probably tired. She had been up for so long… And she hadn’t had anything to eat, either. She was probably low on energy.

Trying to be as brave as she could, struggled to keep her hands steady as she reached for the shampoo. The lump in her throat kept getting bigger and bigger until she decided it would be better to cry here, alone, than outside. But that feeling of numbness wouldn’t let her. She could feel the storm building up inside her… waiting for the wrong moment to come out. Well, she thought, i’ll just have to artificially initiate it. But as she did so, the muscles on her face seemed to be stretched too much somehow. It felt too artificial. She couldn’t do it. It was too much. She needed warmth.

Trials…

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly the help of Allah is near.”

 -The Quran, [2:214]