Abraham, a guy now in his 30s with long matted hair, untidy grey beard, draped in an old ragged blanket, wanders in the inundated labyrinthine streets of his hamlet. There has been a heavy downpour for two days continuously that has depeopled every street.
There’s no sign of humans except a pack of stray dogs and distressed Abraham making his way through it. Homeless Abraham reaches near a ruined house that was once a home. He sits in one of the corners and looks at the cracked walls on which the words of “separation” have been engraved.
It reminds him of his heart. Now there’s queer silence inside this debris only Abraham can hear is pitter-patter and the word ‘Fiza’ he has been murmuring since the day when people started calling him ‘Mentally unsound’.
Abraham, an infamous teen boy during his early school days for being dumb. Some even called him ‘silent guy’.
Quite different from other guys, he wouldn’t talk much and never liked socialisation. When he got admitted to school he made Aatif his best friend, their friendship lasted for 10 years and ultimately bade farewell to each other when they left the school. He was never good at studies and that would always lead to the wrath of teachers and parents on him. He had no interest in studies and never even tried for, once to be good at it. He had been there for 5 years then and it seemed like ‘being in a prison to him.’
When he got enrolled in a new class he was happy as he got new books and uniform till then he would get them from his elder brother. That year many students left school and many new faces joined.
Fiza asked for a handshake that nervous Abraham couldn’t refuse. As his hand touched her soft skin, chills went down his spine. He felt as he was then on the ninth cloud. The conversation ended up with Fiza giving a last look to poor Abraham as she approached her bench. On that day he didn’t wash his hand, he thought it would lead to the loss of essence that Fiza’s touch left on it. For the next few days, he kept staring at her, couldn’t even once blink his eyes.
Eventually, he had fallen for Fiza. He didn’t know when it happened, maybe it’s love at first when she gave him a look a day ago and that’s what generally happens with teens, they fall for little thing that gives them utter happiness so happened with Abraham. He would only think about Fiza in a classroom, playfield, canteen, home and even in the washroom. He learned from somewhere that she was a genius and it’s the turning point in his life where everything changed for the dumb guy.
He started working hard, he became enthusiastic about his studies. Ultimately he groomed and put everyone in a state of amazement when he made it to the list of toppers. Teachers started praising him, it was then, he received the attention from Fiza. She started talks about studies and other issues with the guy who was once the dumbest in his class. Abraham would always look for her. If he didn’t find Fiza in the classroom he would rush to the playfield and other places to get glimpses of her ‘Beloved’ but when she used to approach him, his heart would skip a beat.
When she was absent any day Abraham would declare that day ‘worst’ for himself. Alas, there had been so many worst days in his life. It continued for the next 7 years. He couldn’t gather the courage to confess his feelings to her but kept waiting.
One day somehow he asked her to meet at the place where they had met for the first time ‘Last Bench’ in a classroom. Fiza came to the place where Abraham was waiting for her. There he confessed his unrequited love feeling to her expecting the same from her. But there ‘Wait, for the right moment’ she uttered. A word of distress, separation, pain and agony.
It came as a bolt from the blue. Abraham felt disheartened at that time. He got a lump in his throat and said ‘Ok, I will’ patiently. It was the time when their batch had to leave school and from there, paths got separated.
A bitter farewell Abraham got. He had to start a new journey with new faces who had different interests. Abraham tried hard to find a soul that would resemble Fiza’s but all in vain. He started living a new life.
He would mostly spend time talking to the mirror. He would talk to it, share secrets with, because he had no one to talk to, except it, who would listen to the distressing story of his life. After 6 years, He gathered the courage to call Fiza, as he had got her number from her best friend but never dared to call her as he would think that a phone call might disturb her.
Finally, He picked up his phone, dialled the number and the bell rang.
“Hello, who is this?” Fiza on the other end.
“Hey, Fiza how are you?”
“I am fine. Who are you?”
“I. .. Am Abraham” Abraham again blushed and stuttered again, but Fiza tried to calm him down. They talked about many things family, people and mostly past moments they had spent together in the school.
In the middle of the conversation, Abraham thought to tell her again about all the things that he couldn’t tell her at school and that happened after that. Next, he did it“ Haha, it’s just reel life. Come out of it. I respect you and your feelings but I should say you I too have got a life I have a choice, stop depressing me. There are so many roadside Romeos like you after me. Move on. ” Said Fiza as usual and made Abraham numb. He became heavy-hearted, wanted to hang up “Ok, I too respect your choice, your opinion. Yes, It’s easy and good for me to move on” said Abraham with a depressed smile that none could notice. With this, both bade goodbye to each other. It was the last time when both of them talked to each other and that too 10 years ago. He has been singing laments of Heer and Ranjha since then. He has been in Wait for 22 years now. Just one difference is then he used to wait for Fiza but now it’s Death.
Hailing from central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Saqib Manzoor studies journalism from the central university of Kashmir.