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He came down the next morning, his mind still clouded by the fight he had with his mother. He had never fought with her over anything in his entire life.
He had to make things right with her before anything else.
He ran straight to the kitchen and gave his mother a bear hug.
"I'm sorry, Ammi." He muttered.
She softly patted his head and said, "You know I can't stay
angry with you for so long."
He nodded, relishing her warmth.
"But Asad, please don't do anything stupid."
He moved away from her stiffly and nodded. "Yeah."
He ate his breakfast that day, noticing the fact that Zoya still wasn't at the table. Asking about her would make him sound so unlike himself and so he didn't.
As he sipped his coffee and read the paper, the awkward silence that filled the table just seemed familiar to him.
His mornings were back to normal. This was the way his life was supposed to be.
It's hard to fall in love with someone.
But it's harder to fall out of love with someone when you realize that there's no way it's ever going to happen.
That's how I felt, at least.
The only way I could fall out of love with Asad was to stay away from him. Maybe if I did that, I would realize how stupid he was and how my feelings for him were nothing but momentary.
Maybe that way he would forget about my meaningless existence.
Why does God have to test me like this?
And as I sat on my bed watching Asad's car pull out of the driveway, I tried to subdue the pangs in my heart.
He wasn't made for me, not even a bit. I had always been proud of my accomplishments, my modern outlook, my behavior… everything.
And here I was like an imbecile, falling for a man who had utterly no respect for me, let alone love.
These were testing times.
It had been more than a week now, I realized since I had seen Zoya properly. I had seen glimpses of her these past few days.
She was never at the table for any meal, never sitting in the hall with my family. She was always alone.
My house had gone back to being eerily silent.
Gone were the laughs that I could hear from the door, the tinkling of anklets and the feminine perfume.
And the emptiness that used to comfort me before now made me feel cold.
I was eating when I heard Asad's car pull in.
I couldn't let him see me.
Sometimes I didn't know whether I was doing this so he could miss me and want me back in his life. Or if I was doing this for my self-respect.
Because whatever this was, it didn't make me feel happy.
It made me feel weak because despite what Asad thought of me… he had become a part of my life.
A part I couldn't let go of.
In my dreams, Asad would come running back to me; tell me that he had been wrong about my character and that he wanted a second chance.
But the real Asad hadn't noticed that I had been ignoring him for over a week. He gave a damn.
I ran out of the table ignoring Najma and Dilshad's looks, surprised at how I hadn't finished my kheer. They knew something was up.
Without a thought, I washed my kheer and my dreams into the sink.
He walked into the house and the first thing he heard was the tinkling of anklets up the stairs.
Goosebumps ran up his body.
He put his bag down and ran to the kitchen.
His mother and his sister were seated at the table and smiled when he walked in.
"Who was that up the stairs?" he asked.
His mother ignored the question, "Come and eat fast, Asad."
"AMMI." He said evasively. "Was that… you know…-"
His mother calmly set his plate at the table and gestured to the chair.
He took a soft breath and said, "Ammi, was that her?"
His mother looked up and he was surprised at the sheer disdain she had on her face.
"You can't even say her name, Asad! What is wrong with you? She has done nothing, absolutely nothing to you and here you are, not uttering her name like it's a curse."
"No, Asad. I want you to know that she does not deserve your respect. In my opinion,
she should have just stayed here at the table. But no, she doesn't want to be
two feet near you! And that is your fault! You are so-"
I had stopped listening somewhere through the conversation. "Did she eat?" he whispered.
His mother stopped the rant and his sister softly said, "No." before leaving the table.
"Why?" he asked. He was dreading the answer.
His mother gave him one hard look.
"You don't care, so you don't need to know. This is what you wanted, for her to be gone. And now, she is. At least I know she will be."
He gripped the table, beads of sweat forming on his face.
"I hope you're happy." His mother said and walked away.
He drank a sip of water and looked around himself.
And all he saw was darkness.
The light that used to fill the room during dinner usually, that light? It had vanished.
That light was Zoya.
I hope you all liked it. :) Read and review!
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