A short story.
He had been sick for nearly over a year now but the doctors were hopeful of a full recovery. At the check up the week before the doctors had said he had improved dramatically. No matter how many specialists and doctors told her it was going to be okay she was always scared that one day there would be a phone call or a knock at the door.
The day it happened the sun was out, the grass was freshly trimmed and the bushes carved into statues of glorious ancient Greek goddesses, from her mum’s handy work. Rozwan was sitting at the table reading the newspaper when she got the call. The ringing of the telephone pierced her ears leaving her muscles paralyzed for a moment. She walked over to the telephone one foot in front of the other, hesitant but willing, as though her destiny was on the other end of the line. “Hello,” her voice echoed into the phone. Her breath pounded against the plastic like a drum. “Hi, it’s Joanna Reid from the north shore hospital wards. How are you today?” The lady’s voice was routine, as though she had practiced those lines a hundred times in front of the mirror before the show. This frightened Rozwan; it chilled her bones and made the time around her stand still. “Arez…” was all she managed to say. “I’m so sorry…” the voice traveled through the wires from one suburb to another passing every house, road and human on the way as something as insignificant as sound waves, yet those same insignificant sound waves held the power to change her life forever.
Rozwan was a beauty. When Arez first laid eyes on her he knew she was the one thing in his life that he was not going to give up on. Arez believed he was a failure in life because all he had ever done was give up. He gave up school when he couldn’t achieve a grade above the average C. He gave up on his parents, while they were trying to make their unstable relationship work, when his mum sent the marriage lawyer to their house to pick up her belongings. After that he gave up on his dad when he became addicted to alcohol and later passed away due to alcohol poisoning. But Rozwan changed all that. She made him see that he could achieve anything, so long as he didn’t give up, without even trying.
Rozwan, on the other hand, loved Arez because he was so different to her. They were completely opposites in every aspect of life and that had been a major problem in their relationship. But over time Arez had made her see that this was a good thing because it was like a puzzle, they fit together perfectly. She could still hear him saying you’re my other half, you complete me. Rozwan was the kind of girl who smiled when there was nothing to smile about and lived her life believing that there was no limit to love. No ending. Until one day, one phone call and a mouthful of words, spoken by a stranger, changed her life forever.
Although Rozwan was quite an emotional person she never actually listened to a song where the lyrics made her cry. Like, there songs that are sad and bring tears to your eyes and plant a lump in your throat that makes it hard to swallow which then keeps your appetite at bay for a few days. But never had a song actually made her cry with its words… until today. She has heard this song so many times before but for some reason today it hit a cord that she had buried so deep, in fear of it taking over her life. It was as though a dam being filled with tears broke under the pressure of those few words…
She was washing the dishes when she heard Homer Dizeyî sing “…beyadî aw hamûe cey cwana, birdarêm, birdarêm….” next thing she was on the floor with tears streaming down her face, her vision blurred by the mist of her tears. And the whole time she was thinking its okay, I’ll feel better after I cry, I always do. But she didn’t. After her body had dried out of tears she was still crying inside. Her heart was still breaking. And he still wasn’t there. He wasn’t besides her telling her it was ok. That everything will be alright cause he was there to catch her if she fell, to dry her tears when they welled up in her eyes and threaten to run down her face again. She attempted standing but had to hold on the cupboards for support because from dizziness and nausea. She raided the cupboards with soapy hands. The tap was still running in the background. The song was still blaring from the speakers but all she could think about was to stop the pain. Then she found it. It was in the long cupboard in the right hand corner of their tiny kitchen. She went to take one but then a hand gripped her arm and when she spun around, startled, she was faced with her mothers eyes, full of grieve and fear of the unknown. Without saying a word, she carefully released Rozwan’s grip from the pills and placed them back into the cupboard making sure they were put back into the exact same spot they were taken from. As though to make sure no-one knew of this incident. Then looking down at the floor to avoid her eyes she walked out of the room leaving no trace of her existence.
Her mother had always been a strong person. Rozwan looked up to her, loved and admired her for her strength and courage. Her mother never treated her like a daughter but more like a friend. No matter what happen in Rozwan’s life her mother was always there to guide her and support her in the decisions she made. When Rozwan’s dad passed away after having a heart attack, she saw another side to her mother. A side she never dreamt she would see in a strong person like her mother. Her mother became fragile and vulnerable. She was weak all of a sudden and just cried at the drop of a hat. For the first time in her life Rozwan needed her mother to be strong for her, needed her to be there, to tell her it was going to be okay but instead she was faced with a confused stranger. Later her mother was diagnosed with bi-polar depression and for the first time in her life Rozwan’s mother needed her.
The sun was going down beyond the water. Shades of purple and pink, orange and red with a touch of yellow were reflected in the lake. She needed to get away from it all. The house, her mum and the pain. There was a secret lake hidden deep in the bush around the block from her house. Arez had found it years ago but only took her there when he decided to propose to her. It was like some kind of proof that he loved and trusted her. It was his way of promising her forever.
Memories hovered over the park and if she lifted her head to catch a glimpse of the life around her they would jump out at her threatening to break the strength holding back the tears. Instead she aimlessly studied the park itself, taking in every detail possible hoping the information overload would push the agonizing thoughts out of her mind. She noticed that mist appeared from the waterfall and the movement of the water was calm, like a movie in slow motion. She noticed things, that if she pointed out to others they would think she was mad. As she looked further down the lake she saw that in the middle of the water stood a rock with a bird waiting patiently on top, watching the lake as though he were looking for something that he knew was not there. Watching the bird she felt as though she was watching herself looking for the piece of her heart that had been stolen from her body and was now just empty space. She turned away no longer able to watch her pain reflected in the eyes of the bird. Looking back now she had seen it coming but she just did not want to believe it. It was as though they had ripped her heart out and drained the blood then placed it back in her chest to beat for its life. She remembered it like it had happened yesterday.
She felt her stomach cramp, the pain pinched at her insides and she crouched over kneeling by the lake. She splashed her face with some water to regain colour and as she leaned over the crystal clear blue water the reflection of a girl stared back at her. The reflection moved in a wave with the flow of the water. The empty face of the girl was slowly fading away. The girl’s eyes sparkled with tears and her face was gently grieving. As the image of the girl disappeared, the bird sitting on the rock appeared before her flying over the lake. This image was disturbed by tadpoles dashing through the ripples in the water. She got up and walked along the dirt tracks near the edge of the water, which felt like clouds under her feet. She imagined if this is what it felt like in heaven.
About halfway down the stream she stopped, took in a deep breath and looked at the beauty around her. Surrounding the lake were mountainous hills covered with tall trees, like skyscrapers in the city. The lake sparkled like a giant diamond. Sometimes even nature’s beauty can not make ones sad lips curve slightly upwards. She watched as the leaves fell from the trees and tumbled down to the creek until they got caught up in the movement of the water, like the tears that fell from her eyes and tumbled down her cheeks. Her eyes followed the leaves as they flowed down the stream like she was watching her own life pass her by.
As she was walking down the stream she noticed that the land surrounding the lake was covered in freshly cut green grass and crispy orange leaves that emphasised the presence of autumn. She thought about how it felt like just yesterday that a shirt and two jumpers were not enough to keep the body warm and to her surprise she realised how much time had passed by without her even noticing. Passing a stand of trees she heard a bird whistling loudly. The tune stopped her in her tracks because it brought back a familiar feeling. It was as if the bird was crying and singing at the same time, as though it was lost yet somehow at home. She could hear her own soul singing the words, of her broken heart, to the bird’s music.
Arez was a courageous, caring man who had one ambition in life, which was to love and be loved in return. He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a husband and a future dad. When he found out about his illness he went through a variety of emotions. From being confused to being sad. But he was never afraid, not of death nor of dying. Losing her was the only thing that ever scared him. He had vowed to be a loving and faithful husband, he promised her his deepest love, fullest devotion and tender care for as long as he lived and that is what he did.
The buzzing noises of the tiny creatures in the ground blended in with the noisy yet so peaceful environment around her. The water trickled down the rocks ever so gently. The wind blew her soft hair into her face and it caused goose bumps to appear on her skin and made her shiver a little. As she sat under a tree she looked back at the gently moving water and a stack of still stones lined up across the lake. It was almost as if they did not want to disturb the peaceful motion of the water as it flowed over the rocks and down the stream. She wished that the blood flowing though his heart and down his veins had not been disturbed by the fatal illness. She wished, just like those still stones, that the illness had not disturbed his peace. She picked up the closest stone and threw it against the water. It splashed everywhere, the stone was displaced from the line of stones and the gentle flow was no longer there.
After he had passed away she had tried to forget him, to block him out of her mind. No matter how hard she tried to let go there was always something there to remind her like a silly joke or something on the T.V. It was as though something inside was always telling her not to let go. So she went on thinking about him. He was the last thing she thought of before going to bed, he was the only thing she dreamt of during the night and he was the first thing she thought of when she woke up in the morning. He always used to say: Behind every great man there lies an even greater woman and you my beautiful queen, holding her hands in his and kissing them one by one, are the great woman behind me. Then carefully recreating her lips in his mind he would close his eyes and press his lips up to hers then, as though to finish his story, he would whisper in her ear Without you I am nothing, I am no-one.
She sat under the tree as the day went by and the sun came out. The feeling of the sun’s energy warmed her back but she felt colder than ever. Her train of thought was disturbed by a whistling tune. Suddenly, the thought of not being alone was frightening, but to her surprise it was the bird. This time it was not alone. The beauty of the bird beside it was blinding. It started to sing along but the pitch was high and it startled her. A shiver ran down her spine. It sounded like the telephone, the call that changed everything. She touched her stomach and caressed it. She knew she would survive. Remembering once again that a part of him was still alive, still breathing inside of her.
Written by Anonymous