fic·tion /ˈfɪkʃən/ –noun
1. the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.
2. something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story.
3. an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.
Naseemah. The layers of kohl she applied this morning had gathered on either ends of her eyes, giving her the appearance of a warrior after his hardest battle. The ends of her straight black hair had found its way out of the tired bun she had made and hung instead out of every curve, prying open her breaking head. Her fringed bangs had, however, stayed in their place, adding the sole bit of order to her system. What had she done today? Her thoughts found her voice. Well, not much, the writer answers.. just buried a stranger.
A stranger, you say? Why, dear Naseemah, would you go to a stranger’s funeral? You don’t exactly seem like a necrophiliac. No, no. Nothing of that sort. A friend, actually. Well, a friend’s friend. What happened to her? She decided to be an idiot and learn how to fly. Oh, that’s sad. Children these days… they don’t seem to understand where dreams stop and realities begin. I still blame the movies, the writer shrugs it off. Another stranger with the same story. Oh great. Well, yea, I guess so. But I won’t be able to sleep tonight. And why is that? I feel responsible.
Naseemah. Her tall frame was huddled under her favorite fleece throw. And as she pressed her knees to her chest and closed her eyes, she couldn’t help but see the picture of the dead girl’s face. Would a word have made a difference? It was all just a misunderstanding. If only she had let me explain. It was a silly idea but that was all it was… an idea. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It was supposed to get better… for them. But it’s over now, the writer comforts. It’s all over. Relax. It’s only a stranger.
A stranger, you say? How can one be responsible for a stranger’s death? Have you ever seen a person break? Well, no. I wouldn’t say I have. Have you ever seen a glass shatter? Yes, of course. It’s the same and yet, different. A person can be dropped multiple times, much more than a regular glass can ever be but the way they shatter… it’s just the same. Okay… well, what did you do? I dropped. No, I accidentally made someone drop the glass. My friend, that is. She was his, you see. Oh, like an affair you mean? No, just a friendship. But I feel responsible.
Naseemah. Her shaking fingers clutched on her black sweatpants and she slowly examined the fraying red nail polish. The girl’s nail polish was half-gone too. Pink. And no one had bothered to reapply another layer. What color would it have been? The writer wonders, perhaps blue. It seems like a nice color to be buried in. She should have been wearing a sari, with stonework on the pallu. She gave the writer a look. Why can’t you be serious? Don’t you understand how serious this is? Well, I guess I didn’t understand either. Until now. Oh, fine. Serious- mode. So what happened? Where’s the friend?
A friend, you say? How is one a friend? If he is one to me, she was one too. Okay, stop getting delirious. But really, you’re an outsider. You have nothing to do with people’s reasons to fly or sail. What could you have done? I could have offered to stop, to leave, to show him how we girls think. I could have talked, understood, listened and solved. I had the ability to, more than anyone else; I knew what was going on. One can’t ask a girl to be grateful that he’s with you while still not having any consideration for you. It doesn’t mean anything- the label of a relationship. What is a friendship then? And what is a relationship? I should have answered that for them first, with my actions. I am responsible.
Naseemah. The poor girl’s strawberry pink pillowcases had a lachrymal stain in the shape of a pear. She could have been anybody: a stranger, a passerby, a waitress, a bus driver. She could have been anyone who saw the girl that day. It was no one’s fault, the writer whispers as she pats her jumbled head; these kind of things are a circle of sorts. It doesn’t start in a day. It is in a person for years- this little piece of a poisonous fruit. It drops the seed, each story adds the water and the final one makes it blossom but… what about its growth? But still… Do you think it’s true? Do you think.. I am responsible?
Go to sleep, Naseemah. It’s not true. Uncorrected words are responsible. Silences are responsible. Lies are responsible. Empty promises are responsible. Expectations are responsible. Apathy is responsible. Envy is responsible. Idiocy is responsible. Idealism is responsible.
But people never are, especially in the case of a stranger.
What would you do if someone decided to die and you were somehow a part of the reason?
I’d slap myself in the face; then, I’d go find her and give her the same wake-up call.
People don’t fly, dude.
That’s why we have birds.
“Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.” – Chris Cleave.