I could see him. He appeared pensive whilst I tried to construe the silence between us. His eyes were gleaming when he looked right into mine as if he was able to see past through me. I could feel the presence of people around me as if there was one big occasion but this could have been just a figment of my imagination as all I could see and recognize were his beautiful and inquisitive eyes. He was holding me like I was a newborn child. I have always enamored the way he has looked at me. This look, the one which made me fall in love with him the first time I saw him when he came to our door-step wearing his damp shoes, with snowflakes kissing his socks. He stood at the threshold with the same gleaming eyes and wearing a smile so beautiful that I didn’t recognize he was a stranger who had just moved into our neighbourhood. He wore the same look when I gave him a peck on his cheeks for the first time under the chinar tree which was dressed in blanket of snow; the look he had when we used to make love; the look he had when he held our son while I lay right beside him on the hospital bed, drained of all energy after going through the labor but invigorated by the touch of his lips on my cheeks. But today, it was something different. He looked anxious and his eyes seemed wet.
I mustered strength and asked, “Why are your eyes wet? Is there anything that you want to tell me? Why are you looking at the ceiling when I’m asking you questions? Now you are making me angry. You know how much I hate when you try to fool me around. Oh! now I understand. You are worried because winter has set in and it might snow any day from now while we still haven’t got our roof fixed. Yes, I know last year our neighbours roof caved in under the weight of snow. Its’ all going to be ok. Oh! you want me to stay with you, is that a question? Of course! I’m not going anywhere. We’ve known each other from days when we used to build snowman right outside my house. Oh! C’mon now stop crying. You are making me nervous. You ask me if I remember the days we spent in each others company? Are you trying to distract me? Of course! Every detail of those moments is engraved in my conscience.
I remember the brief walk we used to take around the lake when the sun was just about sink behind those snow capped himalayan mountains as if it were playing hide-n-seek with its other planetary companions. Both the animate and inanimate objects of the universe would start mocking at our ignorance of the feeling hidden inside us. Fireflies, like thousands of burning dots in the shadow of the thicket of deodar trees in the distant would dance to the tune of music composed by camaraderie of rustling leaves, crickets in their secret hides, and cracking of dry twigs under our weight. Smoke emanating through chimneys of the houseboats like a menacing viper sparing its hunt for a day would too get engulfed in the madness. We would walk down the road in silence, only to be broken by faint and distant buzzing of a bee or flapping of wings of chukar zooming above our heads. Some days we would frolic the very same roads as if we were reliving the child within us and some days we would simply cherish the blessing of us being together. I know you could hear the sound of my heartbeat and see the bead of sweat sliding down behind my ears when your fingers were locked in mine.
I don’t know why but I feel like holding on to you as if everything around us will be sucked into nothingness except you and me. As if the mountains that saw us spend our childhood, adolescent years, and married life will cave in under the weight of snow. As if there will be no pain, no sorrow, no happiness, no joy in the world. As if the gods have grown tired and will drop the strings attached to us. I long to be with you and freeze this moment as if there will be no breath of life in this universe ever again. I feel like a heavy burden has lifted off my chest. Look! The sun is covering us under its golden blanket as if it were putting up one last fight against the onset of winter. I sense your fingers interlocked with mine. But why is it that I cannot feel the touch of your skin? I feel cold.
What? Speak a bit louder as your speech is getting inaudible. I’m not able to hear you though I can see your lips moving. I am concentrating on the redness of your lips whom I’ve caressed umpteen times and want to feel them again on me but there is something stopping me from touching it. The presence of people in the room is getting stronger. The sound of silence is deafening me. I’m really afraid now please tell me what is going on? I am trying hard make out the human shadows of various sizes crawling on the floor but I can see no one. I can hear the faint and distant cry of our child and call of my Ma but I can see none of them. There are feeble noises that I’m unable to distinguish. They sound ghastly. I am scared. Please make these people go away. Hold me tightly and never let go of me. I just want to be with you. I see that the sun has finally lost its battle against the winter clouds and it seems that we have the first snow of the season. Please, stop crying! Yes, I’ll always love you too and I’m there for you. Hold me and never let me go. I’ll be with you in this life and the next. I’ve closed my eyes now and want to sleep in your arms.