“You think that you are respected, loved and trusted by all, but think; is it true? You used to be beautiful, loving and caring, but look at you now! You’ve turned into a replica of the women you despise!”
They were in the middle of a heated argument instigated by Zara’s knowledge of yet another affair. “It’s been six years, how could you still do this to me? I loved you enough to marry you, to forgive you, to keep faithful to you at all times, and this is how you repay me?”
She was the epitome of beauty even in rage. Her green eyes blazed with anger as she said the words she hoped she would never have to say again.
“I had warned you when you married me. You had yourself convinced that I would change. You’re the weak one, what could you, what can you do?”
As she heard these words a fire blazed up inside her.”I’m leaving; for good!”
“Are you really? I doubt that.” As he said this he moved closer to her and caught hold of her waist. His face was only inches from hers. “I would like to see you try. We both know you can’t run away. I own you, and everything you have. You can run all you like, but you’ll come back.” She struggled to free herself from his claw like grip. Her anger had grown to a point she didn’t know existed. “You’re weak and you know it. Who would support you if you really decided to leave-Kabir?”
His smile was mocking and the mention of Kabir only turned her anger into fury. With her free hand she picked up the ceramic vase and smashed his head with it. He crumbled to the ground screaming. She didn’t wait a minute before she smashed it against her head for the second time. This time, it stopped the screaming, but it also stopped something else; his heartbeat.
The silence after the screaming was peaceful, scarily so. She looked at what she had done but it did not scare her. She knew everything was over. Her only hope now was Kabir.
She dropped the vase as she suddenly realized what she had done. She went over all that she had endured for the man she had ended up killing. She had distanced herself from all her friends, she had turned into a trophy wife, she had killed her unborn child, and she had seen him cheat on her over and over again; this all from the man she thought could do no wrong. It was true, she had married him because she loved him, but the kind of marriage she had, killed the real Zara long back. She was now, just a pale reflection of what she really used to be, a mere shadow.
She felt the pain creep in slowly. She loathed, hated, and despised the man lying on the ground, but she had loved him for so long she never realized it. A tiny part of that love was still a part of her. Her coat was covered in his blood so she calmly took it off and threw it aside. Beneath the coat she was wearing the most gorgeous gown one could ever imagine. One could easily mistake her as a devil dressed as an angel by the look on her face. The evil was finally out.
As she turned around she saw what she had never expected. Kabir was standing there, shocked out of his mind as he saw the woman he loved, take another’s life. Without saying a word, she walked out of the study and into the house.
As she headed for the street, she heard him follow her…
In the dead of the night she walked; her eyes wide open but empty; hollow. If anyone saw her they would think it was a ghost. Her skin was striking; coffee like, and the moonlight made it glow. Her brown hair rippled all the way down to her waist. Her green eyes were different; unpredictable, but the tears in them were unmistakable. The white gown made her look like a bride, only her face gave her away. She was in pain, it was true but through the anguish an eerie calm could be felt; a calm which never existed till just then. She had been like a storm for years, never tranquil, never peaceful.
As she walked down the lonesome street all she could hear was the violent wind and footsteps. Those footsteps were strangely comforting. He was right behind her like always…
Yes, he still followed her; how could he not? His love always got the better of him; it won in the end. He had never left her alone even when she had asked him to. She was a part of his very existence; the missing puzzle piece, even if she did not know it.
The one time she looked back he recognized the agony in her eyes, those perfectly almond shaped eyes. He could never predict her next move, but he always knew how she felt. It had always been the eyes which gave her away; he knew where to look for the truth. He had seen pain before but this time there was something different, something out of place. He was used to seeing her hysterical, angry, frightfully happy but never in seven years had he seen tears silently splashing down a vacant expression. It had been seven years since he had been in love with Zara. Their relationship had been complicated from the start. She had never taken the risk; she had never taken the leap he had. They were the closest friends one can imagine but he loved her like she could no longer love. His love grew over the years and she knew but like always, the princess loved someone she should not have and that was how the story began…
She was moving towards the lake, he knew she would go there. It was the one place; the only place he had ever seen her calm. Water always calmed her. As she stopped in the usual spot, he stood beside her and took her hand. His grip suggested more than friendship; gentle but firm. It captured the very essence of their toxic relationship. He was there; always. It would have been so easy. Tonight she did not speak…No words were spoken; only feelings were felt.
The calm water had become suddenly fierce; the contrary of what had happened to Zara. He turned to her and looked into her eyes. She saw his eyes, but she couldn’t read his expression. That wasn’t unusual. He knew her better than she knew herself but that did not stand true for how much she knew him. He kissed her and suddenly she knew what was coming her way. Kabir had kissed her before, but never like that. It was as tender as a goodbye…
His eyes filled with tears as they stood beside each other, her head on his shoulder. His love was undeniable but what he had witnessed had destroyed his very soul. Sitting there in the light drizzle, anyone would have mistaken them as a love struck couple, little did anyone know the truth.
“This…this was the end you always talked about. The story, our story is finally over”, Kabir said. The torture was audible in his voice.
After a long, painful silence she managed to say “I know”. Her voice broke as the tears flowed. Minutes passed and the drizzle turned into rain…
She had stood there for long enough; contemplating what to do. The man she had loved and detested; was now dead. She had killed him herself. The man, who loved her, was a witness. He had decided to walk out on her. The reason she had been alive for so long was that she believed that if there was one person who cared enough to miss her when she was gone, she couldn’t go. Her parents had died years ago, she had pushed all her friends away and now no one who could care existed. Her pain had reached the peak; she couldn’t take it any longer. There was no one, no one who cared and no one who would cry. She had finally lost; she was broken. This was it; the time had come. She walked towards the water.
As her foot touched the surface of the water, a chill ran through out her body. The water was ice cold. A thousand needles were piercing through her body as she walked further. The wind was stronger and the water was putting up a fierce fight against Zara; it did not want her to ensue further. But Zara couldn’t lose, not now. She moved further and further, pushing against the current as hard as she could. She could feel the water in her mouth, in her lungs, in her blood. She screamed but only out of pain. She wasn’t worried about anyone hearing her; the thunder drowned her voice out conveniently. As the water continued to fill her chest she slowly drifted into the unconscious.
As she did so, there was only one face flashing through her mind; Kabir…
It was four in the morning when he walked towards that very spot. He was getting married today. It had been eight years since that night he last saw Zara. He knew what she had done; he had identified her body when it was found. This was her eighth death anniversary. He could still smell her scent when he stood in the place he had last spoken to her, where he had last touched her real self. He had no one to blame for her death but himself…
As he was thinking about her he closed his eyes and thought about her as he always did. The memories came rushing in…
The first time he ever set eyes on Zara, he was only eighteen. He was simply a young boy in college who met the girl of his dreams the second he set foot in the real world. She was standing in front of the gate, visibly terrified of the new life awaiting her. Her green eyes twinkled with anticipation and fear at the same time. He wasn’t the only one staring at her, she was, in fact the most beautiful girl he had seen till now. Every male eye in the surroundings was on her. That very moment he knew that if not anything else he wanted to befriend that petrified soul so he could help her out in a place he knew she would have trouble fitting in. All he wanted was to be her friend…at least then.
They were in the same class. He had never been so grateful about anything before. She was nothing he had expected. From the previous time he had seen her, she seemed reserved, quiet and mature, but today in class she was bubbly and she radiated a sort of happiness. She was passing out a note to all the students, probably to get friendly with everyone, when he saw it. A scar on her wrist, not unlike his own. He grabbed hold of her hand to examine it more carefully. He didn’t realize what he was doing until she yanked her hand free.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize I was being rude. It’s just that I have the same sort of scar. I was in a car accident a year ago and I needed to get my bone replaced. How’d you get yours?”She had visibly cooled down once he apologized, but at the question, she started to blush, probably out of shame and muttering a few words, she walked away.
That was their first encounter, and as fate would have it, they kept being pushed together. He could see the first time she laughed at a joke he cracked, he could see her hair tied in a small knot and her tongue out when she was working hard on a project, he could see every memory, minute or profound moment in front of him, as he stood at the bank of the lake.
There had always been darkness in Zara. Kabir had known from the very start; the second he saw the reaction to the scar, he knew. He knew, and as time passed on, he realized that the darkness was deep, deeper than anyone thought possible. She was not a masochist, not completely. She took great pleasure in inflicting pain as well. As a whole, she loved the concept of pain. It was quite possible that the reason why she fell in love with a man like Shehzaan was because of this obsession. He felt the chilly breeze on his face. Everything around him started to transform. The water started to churn, the wind started to howl her name; it was as if the whole world was calling out to her. He sensed her, right in front of him.
“It wasn’t you Kabir”
His eyes snapped open. There she was, as beautiful as ever. It was surreal. The woman he had loved, whom he had lost, she was in front of him. She was wearing the same gown and at that moment he realized exactly what was happening. She had come back.
The eyes were the same green ones, the hair, the skin, the tragically beautiful face; it was just as if she had never left. He could see tears in her eyes, but they were different. They were glistening, as if pearls flowing down her face. She was as mesmerizing, if not more, as she had always been. She lifted her hand to touch his cheek; her hand was ice cold, and her touch was fluid like.
“You kept me alive for as long as I was. What I did, was over my own choices, my own regrets.”
She was smiling; only slightly, but you could see the happiness in her eyes. “Aina deserves to have you wholly. You love her, but you are oblivious. Embrace the truth Kabir; you are allowed to.” With this, she slowly started to fade away, only the wetness on his cheeks proved she had been there; they were her tears.
He knew now why he had come. Zara was the past, Aina is the future. It was up to him to decide which he wanted to live in. He would always love Zara, she was part of him he could never forget; but he could give his heart to Aina; he just had to try. That day as he walked towards his bride, he saw her for the last time. In Aina’s eyes, he found the beauty, the tragedy, the love and the mystery of Zara still alive. It was the last time he truly saw her.
He wanted to live for the future; he really did. When he saw Aina, he saw the love she had for him, but he also felt a torment, the torture and the horror of losing Zara. He realized that he only saw a reflection of Zara in Aina, and though she was as beautiful a soul as Zara, although she loved him more than he could possibly imagine, he could not do it. Not to her, not to himself and especially not to the memory of Zara. It was that memory that had helped him live for the past so many years; he could not insult it by connecting with someone so very much like it.