- 17 Aug - 23 Aug, 2019
The Unbidden Love
- 10 Feb - 16 Feb, 2018
The Blue Mountain café had a rustic feel and an earthy bush ambience. The setting sun was making its way across the interior overlooking the fields of the valley. Hordes of cyclists were stopping by for a quick meal after their tiring run.
She was stirring the coffee amidst its sweet scent wafting through the air, when she heard the most beautiful symphony calling her name out.
Mahir, he still looked like a deity with his hard, chiselled face, resembling that of some ancient Greek statue. Those strings of silver lining in his hair possessing such strength of character and wisdom. Sometimes, Seher wanted to curse him for his masculine confidence that was more persuasive than his glamour.
Then their eyes met with a singular directness of gaze. In those few silent moments, everything was told. Something sparked between them which wasn’t to be extinguished afterwards.
Breaking the enchantment, Seher passed him a smile as he sat across her on the metallic chair. Years of wait and anxiety was visible from their faces. So much was left unsaid yet, they aren’t able to put forward the right words, as if their tongues were knotted with tight strings.
“How is work?” Mahir inquired. She smiled, her same breathtaking smile which once was Mahir’s treasured possession. A time when he wanted to wake up next to this beautiful smile and share his whole eternity with her.
“Work is going well,” Seher emphasised. Mahir responded with a smile.
“How are your kids, they must have... [coughs twice]... all grown... [coughs again]... up.” Words were barely mingling along with Seher.
Mahir hurriedly poured a glass of water handing it over to her. “Are you okay Seher… do you need more water?” Mahir worriedly inquired.
“It’s just age Mahir, nothing else,” Seher passed along a weak smile.
Mahir was indeed gazing her intently but not as before with almost overpowering admiration. This time he can sense something different. Being such a confident conversationalist, Seher won't act out of insecurity and has no problem letting people getting a glimpse of the real her. But today, her eyes were darting around the room as a means of hiding.
This unknown tension between them was eating him out.
“Kids are fine, all grown up now busy in their lives,” Mahir replied. Did they make time for their father is the question that Seher was quenching to ask, but she refrained.
All the conversation between them was pointless. They knew that nothing they said makes sense. It felt like simple snippets of the long messages, which reflected how perfect they were for each other from the very start. Right now, they were just there, lost in space and time, contemplating at each other talking about random things.
It wasn’t the same 20 years back when young lovers Mahir and Seher were immensely in love. Being the kinder garden heartthrobs, they had vouched to love each other till they breathe their last.
“Here, let’s lock it together. 14 Feb 1997 marks the unbinding love of us crazies Mahir and Seher,” and they laughed till the stars shined. Little did they know that destiny has its ways.
“It’s just a business deal Seher, I promise I will divorce Rabia once things get settled, I can’t run away from this please try to understand,” Mahir tried to convince Seher.
“Mahir, marriage is not fun and games. You can talk to your father about it! He can’t just push you to marry his business partner’s daughter? It’s insane,” Seher cried her eyes out but fate wasn’t on her side.
The dreadful day arrived when Mahir tied the knot with Rabia convincing himself that his bride would be able to understand the situation at some point. That never happened. Their rocky and troubled matrimony ended after six painful years. By then, Seher was long gone never to return.
“It’s funny how the first sip of coffee touches your soul and replenishes a few shreds of sanity while the last one leaves a bitter taste,” Seher’s beaming eyes were waiting for his response.
Mahir wanted to pour his heart out. He wanted to tell that she was the most astonishing person that he had ever encountered. His heart forced him to shout out loud that his hours, feelings and experiences are flat without her alluring presence. He wanted to confess that he still loves her.
“Seher… I…. I wanted to tell you that,” tensed Mahir gulped for air when he was suddenly interrupted by her.
“No Mahir, no kind words of yours can ever ease my pain. The love we have shared was special. You parted ways and I am forever left with the question of ‘what could have been?’” The concealed tears were running across her cheeks as he stood, staring at her with blank eyes.
He closed his eyes, travelling along the time through his mistakes and guilt of every decision he took. Among the howls and the diminishing thoughts, he witnessed expressions. Expressions that depended on statements.
“Let’s walk…. one last time… please,” the pleading words felt like a dagger stabbed in Seher’s heart as she stood up for their concluding memory together.
The hunting silence between them was an indicator before parting where everything has been left unsaid.
Seher caught a glimpse of the lock gate. In her mind, she travelled the ecstatic minutes, seconds and moments she and her Mahir lived which now seemed ages old now. Mahir took the rustic golden key out of his pocket and looked at Seher with a strong steady gaze. There lurked an invitation in his dismayed eyes.
“So this means that our love is cinched forever till this padlock, is here right Mahir?” The young Seher jovially used to ask Mahir every time they passed by it. Today is the day when their love, sealed for many years is about to be annulled by their own hands.
Mahir didn’t have time to say anything. It happened so fast, he didn’t have enough time to assess the moment. All he knew was that he couldn’t stop hugging back his dear Seher. She wiped down the tears running down his freckles. The sunlight enhanced the beautiful golden strands of her soft hair dancing around the elated brown eyes.
A glistering light circulated them as they blended into each other under the large oak tree that had a sunset shade of orange signifying the beginning of a new day.