Passing Cloud- Short Story

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He batted his eye lids continuously to chase away the sleep creeping into him. The mechanical noise around him had no power to stop him falling asleep, but the ache in his heart had defeated his desires of a comfy bed and a peaceful sleep. He watched the lifeless body lying on the bed next to him. The oxygen mask could not hide the wrinkles of sufferings in her young face. Her heavy eye lashes were shut tightly as if the dark rings around her eyes have not left room for them to open. The rhythm of her breathing made his breathing difficult. He thought the next moment he won’t be living to breathe. The thought forced his eyes to check the monitor above the bed headrest. Changing its digits more often, the waves of her pulse rose up and down. Beep of the machine annoyed him; he couldn’t sit there anymore, for he knew the truth. The lifeless machine will stop any time; it will stop leaving no troubleshooting options to the life. A warm drop of tear wrestled it’s way through his eyes. His fingers briskly rubbed them off.

His eyes ached as a result of staring at the monitor for hours. But he had no choice; his email account was flooding with unread mails, business mails and notifications from his friends. He ticked most of the mails to delete without viewing them, for he knew what they said. As the clock struck he jumped on his seat, one after midnight and he was still staring at the computer, trying to sweep and clean his mailing account.
He breathed out a heavy breath. It has been few days and he could not read a single mail. He shook his head and closed his eyes for a second, but closing his eyes closed the gate to the world he was living now and opened the door for the bitter truth he did not want to live in. The realization soon made him open his eyes. He painfully stared back at the screen, his fingers shook as he tried to move the cursor. Scrolling down, his eyes stopped at the bottom of the mailing list, the sender’s name gave a shiver to his soul. His lips twitched slightly, mocking his helpless thoughts. His upper lip caught between the gritting teeth while he waited for the message to open.


Hi Honey,
Assalamu Alaikum,
Hope and wish you are fine as always with the grace of Allah. How silly I am to type a message to the person whose breath can be felt while I typed this message, you are hand’s distance but still I feel like you are miles away from me. What am I doing waken up at this time?
Just want to say that I love you the very same way I did before, I’m sorry for hurting you with my sharp words when we had a row or two. It was not meant to hurt you but to bring you back to your commonsense. All what I feel now is that, my bad temper keeps you much away from me. But still I feel lonely when you neglected me, had time to talk to others and little to share with me. Sometimes I wished if I was your mobile phone or the television, so you would feel better watching me.
Please do forgive me, for pointing out those mistakes of yours. It is not that I hate you, but it is because I love you, I want to spend every single second with you for I know this life is short. I fear to face the truth, the bitter truth in life. Today or tomorrow I won’t be there for you or you won’t be there for me. But still, I’m wrong. I should not hurt you.

May Allah guide you rightly, bring you under the shade of the truth. May Allah give you happiness alone, and keep you smiling always. May Allah give you a highest rank in Jannah and grant you with a beautiful palace and fill it with laughter and joy. May He forgive your sins even the size of mustard seed and accept every good deed even the size of an atom. May Allah protect you from the greatest enemy and make you a person that shaitan fears to walk close to and a person whom Allah will love, Ameen!

That will be my duas for you, no matter whether you feel good or bad about me my dearest husband, and yes, I know even you pay little attention to me, you never betrayed me or will never hate me, it is just that you show less and store much in your heart.
Love you always,

The computer screen blurred when his mind brushed the past. That was just another day to him, and for her. A bitter moment it had been that, he as usual ignored her when he lied down next to her. It was the best way to neglect her when she annoys him with her attitudes, she expected too much. He cannot spend the entire life making her happy, giving up all his desires. Why did she want to start a quarrel on that very same day, the world cup finals!
“Wish you had more time to talk about us than watching at that game!”
She had mourned when he switched the television. The cheering noises of the crowd streamed through the television and filled their small apartment. He frowned at her. Paying a deaf ear was the best reply to her nonsense.

“wonder how you become deaf all in a sudden! Ah! Now he’s not deaf anymore…so answer, I don’t mind!”
Even before she could complete her sentence the noble rang and she snapped. He picked the phone as if he was the only living being in the house. The kids were fast asleep and who else was there? As usual it was a client. The anger vanished. His client was happy, so was he.

“How silly I am, talking to a person who keep on ignoring me? This is the last time and yes, I will never talk to you!”
She said tossing her head to a side, and then grabbed a bottle of water and strode into the room. His lips curled hearing her swearing. Wasn’t that what she said yesterday and day before?

On that night, when the match was over he walked in to the room and had been relieved to see her sleep hugging their little daughter. Although he felt sad for her, he had promised himself that he would make her smile tomorrow.
That was the day she had typed this message, drifting back to the message he thought painfully. Why had he waited for tomorrow? Why couldn’t he wake her up and say that he loved her? Why did he waste his time watching that match, without spending few more minutes to whisper something she would like? What made her feel miles away from him when he lied just next to her? Why? His heart throbbed; a lump of lava burned in his throat making him difficult to swallow.

“We are sorry, but she is not cooperating!”
When he heard the doctor his gaze rested upon the woman lying on a hospital bed. His sharp teeth bit his lip to hold his pain. He felt a patting on his back but he didn’t bother to take away his glance. He watched her, with clouding eyes.
“Why did you do this to me? We need you,”
He whispered. His shaky fingers grasped her frozen fingers. He rubbed as if he could give back the warmth those slender fingers had before. The fingers which knew to stroke his hair when he desperately needed someone to care for him, the fingers which hurriedly wrapped his lunch, the fingers which tenderly ran over his kids’s cheek, the fingers which had the power to sprinkle love when sadness crept into family, the fingers which were furiously had pushed his hand away when he had hurt her….the tears he tried to hold slid down freely. When his tears fell on to her hand, he felt her fingers move. He squeezed helplessly.
She slowly opened her eyes. He bent toward her. The oxygen mask moved an inch while she tried to greet him with a pale smile. His grip tightened. Her eyes looked tired as if she was pleading for a rest. There had been a time he adored those beautiful eyes. There had been a time he admired her beauty, but as time passed he was tied with more duties and had less time to spend with her.
She had been lonely when he had gone out, seen the world. All her world had been his home with his children. She had lived as a bird whose wings were cut short, for she had sacrificed many of her desires to please him and his family. All she expected in return was love but had he satisfied her with what she wanted? He loved her, still he loves her. But the ego has stopped him showing the love for her. Responsibilities blinded his eyes and held him tight not letting her know how important she was. Days were spent as there will be many years to live together. But how short the time he had spent with her? This was life, as regrets filled his heart he could feel how guilty he was. The guilty conscious made him helplessly low down his gaze.
He heard her weak voice. He swallowed the painful thoughts and looked at her, confirming her children will be taken care with love and love alone. He nodded trying to hold his tears, but he failed. A tear drop rolled down from her eye and smudged on the white pillow.
“I will, I will take care of them…I promise you!”

She lifted her right hand to point him. He bit his lip. How much love does she have for him and all what he did was ignoring her. He hugged her hand and wept, for he did not know what else to do. He missed her, he already was missing her. How can he live without her presence?
He felt her fingers running through his hair. He caught her right hand too and kissed every tip of her frozen fingers with endless love.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry…forgive me…i neglected you”
His voice trembled as he said pleadingly. What if he had listened to her? What was she complaining about? She wanted him to pay little more attention to the family, she wanted him to discuss with her before he took a decision regarding her family. Why had he been so selfish? Why had he not given chance for her to talk? Not because he thought himself superior, but he had thought she would not oppose. She had never opposed him with anything. She had been mourning yet finally she had supported him with his decisions, by giving him even a penny she saved.

She struggle to talk.
“why? Why do you have to leave me…I can’t …
He tried to speak but something heavy was stuck in his throat, it pulled every string of it down giving him a severe pain. At the very same time the beeps of the machine increased. She found it difficult to breathe. The gap between the breaths stretched, watching her struggling he forgot to breathe. He screamed. His grip tightened her fingers. The waves in the machine began to change. The staff rushed in to the room. He watched them helping her to survive, but she was not helping them. His eyes veiled as he took a deep breath.
Watching her suffering was painful. He had known her more than a decade, but she had been the other half of him. She had been his best friend, though they had bitter moments in life. She had understood him and sacrificed her life to please him and his children. She was too young to have a heart attack, but this was life. Death is for sure, someone in his mind whispered. How easy it had been to neglect the closer ones and please the strangers? How easy it had been to excuse a stranger for his faults and punish the one who was much closer? How easy it had been to give priority to worthless things and neglect the ones who crave for the love of ours? His mind blamed him; he watched her exhaling the last col breath out with a swollen heart. She had gone; leaving him beside, how can he express his love for her now? He kneeled down hugging his face, hiding himself from his guilty conscious.
It has been days, no one to complain, no one to quarrel and no one to annoy him with mails and messages, but still he missed them. He wished if he had given time to listen to them. She had been a passing cloud. He had been under the shade of her, feeling warmth and cold but then she had moved…he was left alone, watching the empty blue sky. There will be many clouds in the sky, but will not be the same cloud he had seen, loved and adored.


© Zeneefa Zaneer, December 2011.

Chapter 6Book Review- Ductrinors by Papatia Feauxzar

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