An unfortunate man, the one who is condemned to have no children, is terribly imprisoned in his own misfortune. Nowhere a hope for revival, for help from luckier stars. He must live his life, afflicted by his misfortune, and when its circle is ended must resign himself to it and not start out again to see whether, on a longer path, under other circumstances of body and time, the misfortune which he has suffered could disappear or produce something good.

Franz Kafka

“She still smells of my past” he thought, seated on chair before her in her room .They both sat speechless as their hearts were still licking the memories lingering on their skins. At last she spoke after a long stillness with smirk, one is often supposed to pretend when one wants to beguile someone. She said to him “You are still the same as you were on the day you left me”. She pronouncedthese words with gravelly tone to bruise him,just to make him repent the moment he made the decision to thoughtlessly disregard her, to make him cognizant of fact that he could not be in inferior estate then this, though she knew he was not the same. The guy who left her was lad whose eyes though not abundant with of aspirations but were still gorged with hues of life,whose smile was gallant enough that no one could fathom its dauntlessness and whose teeth, when he smiled gave every possible evidence of his youthful ardor. The man sitting infront of Sanjha was quite different. He was man whose eyes wereimbued with years of  besotted dejections,whose smile withered enough to be comprehended  as bereaved  and his teeth simply shown the signs of man who had been betrayed by his own youth.

When he heard her say“You are still the same”. It agitated him and imperceptibly created ache infused with emotion of remorse.Perhaps he knew how much she had suffered, perhaps those words of her made him return to their past.

Saleh contemplated Sanjha intimately to the extent where sight gets blurred. He kissed the beauty of his goddess and eulogized her every organ. They made love like a dew drop on window first she abandoned herself to him silently then he slithered in her anatomy and utterly devoured himself in amaranthine pneuma of their love.

They lay beside eachother. Suddenly Sanjha spoke, looking straight into Saleh’s eyes “You know Saleh,we will create world of our own someday, when we will be one, every perspective will be mutilated. Look at our fellows, who ridicule our love by yelling statements like it is only a phantasmagoria, mere trick to delude oneself. It is a sheer idealism just to shun the practicality of life. We will justify our love someday. We will be together forever .We will reinvent our love in marriage and in the form of our children.”She breathed these words with great surmise of a human beingwho was going to vanquish her rivals.

He heeded her words with his old ordeal for he knew that destiny never concedes love to get concluded. He pretended a candid expression on his face but her words had made him weigh himself in his own prejudices and then again a truth which was entrenched in his existence opened its jaws and began to gnaw the reality of his love,began to shred his fantasies. She slept beside him. He exerted a great deal  to tell her that what she fancies can never be actualized,  not because he thought of the world or because he had not loved her but because he could not enchant  her with the charms  of matrimonial life.  But his truth had forfeited his courage to make declaration to her. His reality had occupied him so much that it appalled him now.This truth had always tormented him from the day he became conscious of his love for her .He had made several attempts to tell her but he always ended up in the same turmoil.

Saleh and Sanjhaboth were classmates and they shared same concernments. They both were avid readers and ardent love makers. What had brought them close together were their tangled tribulations,their presentiments about life,their social botheration.No doubt our educational institutions are perfused with such discomposures,such inner contretemps, such psychological afflictions but who can deny that these places are lavishedwith fertile loves. Noone can controvert that if heart of love beats somewhere on earth then those abodes are our Universities.

Sanjhagrasped the index finger of Saleh and said “Someday I will write a memoir on our love making with depth like Gibran, ecstasy like Anais and romance like Henry miller”and then she smiled with slight shyness on her own outspokenness. Salehalways simply replied her with grin “I will read it sitting next to you”and she would burst intolaughters. As her chuckles echoed in his ears, it reminded him of his dismal fate. Each time she laughed, his mind educed that if she continued to be with him her fertile laughter was going to be deceased .This thought took him to his ineffable depths.

And times Saleh was alone, he only thought how he could avowSanjhathat he was not the one with whom she could gratify her dreams. He was a man with impoverish fate .This considerationvexatedhim .Sometimes theonly incapability of something can make us  feel so wretchedand dejected that nothing  can relinquish that suffocation .The suffocation of not being integrated as a being ,the suffocation of ceaseless self-condemnation. But that night he congregated the stamina to tell Sanjha, the truth.

Saleh and Sanjha were sitting together in the corridor of department. After a great deal of mental commotion Saleh mumbled “Sanjhawe cannot become one”.  The sentence left Sanjha inert. It seemed so to her that soon walls of corridor will clash and will incline upon her.

“Why he is avowingsuch a loathsome thing? Don’t he loved me? Had he drowned   his promises into lethe? Ishe not determined to endure the provocations of world? Had he postulated the Derisions of our fellows? Had he considered the love as plain escapism?” Even after being glutted with so many questions, the only one word which dragged itself out of Sanjha was sigh of bewildered perplexity “what?” At that moment she felt her throat encumberedwith a huge tear which she could not swallow.

Saleh imitated “Yes Sanjha, we can no longer be together we cannot become one…” Saleh still wanted to impart the truth that he was sterile but the density of his infecundity hefted him so much that he only saw himself lied under the incubus of his reality.He wanted to yell to her that he was sterile. Itwas the only reality of moment, she should apprehend but he couldnot speak anymore. Silence submerged his words.

Sanjha kept beseeching him over and over in those days to tell her the truth.She kept speculating Saleh “you don’t love me?What had caused my love to be extinct in such a way?” But Saleh was drenched in quagmire of emotional inertia .He never spoke to her again albeit they both confronted eachother everyday. Watching the inertness of Saleh,Sanjha herself became reticent, she thought of Saleh as ruthless person and condemned him of his iniquity out of her despair but this despair could not let her abhor him. Ultimately they both became silent and their silence still prevails in the corridors of University.

Silence of this room was parallel to that silence which still hovered in the corridors of University. Even the lapse of hundred years cannot diversify the relationship of silence between two people.  They met after the six years.

“Why he searched me out? Why he seeked me after six years? Possibly now he had came to contrite his neglect?”All these questions engrossed mind of Sanjha.

So she asked him “Have you came here for expressing the compunction of decision you did six years ago?” She said to him with such apathetic look in her eyes that for moment he thought the women sitting infront of him was not the same girl whom he loved.

“I have camehere to make a disclosure Sanjha. I have came here to proclaim the truth which had disintegrated my dispositions for whole of my life.”

“Disclosure?” Sanjhathought, which sort of acknowledgment now he had cameto make after 6 years?

She auscultated him.

Saleh went on “Sanjha, there had not been a day when your absence had not ailed my existence, there had not been a moment when your memories had not thrown my being, inch by inch into deterioration .Ask those nights of longing who had witnessed wakefulness of these eyes whom you confront so indifferently, ask those wounds who had languished for panacea, ask that deathlessness which had been craving for elixir of life.My reality had still detained me like it enslaved me yesterday Sanjha, but today I had assembled valor to put a hand on conclamation of embarrassed mouth of my reality and I came here to speak of my bareness. I had always been sterile Sanjha! Unreproductive or infecund as world puts it. ‘Sterile’ this isthe word where my all affliction is enshrouded Sanjha.”Saleh paused,his eyes blazed with melancholy.

It seemed to Sanjha that he will soon shriek but Saleh restrained his sighs and continued with utmost constancy of 6 years “I listened to you when you said of matrimony and spoke of children, though wenever had shame sharing anything with eachother but I had seenyou cleaving to your fancied exuberance. Iawed destruction of your mirth, Iawed its termination.”

Sara watched him carefully while he spoke his lips quivered like a teenage boy who was trying to clasp his tear to stumble on his cheekhoweverhis face had attained dauntless features of mature man.

“But if you had told me ……..”  Sanjhabecame deliberate for a moment. Her throat after the six ears again hindered with huge tear.

“I had wanted to Sanjha but I felt it would torment you .It would torment you more than it had tormented me because it was you who saw the fertile dreams,it was your fertile youth who was in love with me,love with a man of infecund destiny.”

Sanjha knew that what he had just uttered was true and their truths anguished them but what afflicted Sanjha was another reality. Now she wanted to make a confession but her strength had abandoned her.

Her throat gulped the heavy tear and eyes poured it out, the image of Saleh got obscured in liquidity of her eye. Her voice begin to shudder in deep silence of her soul. A benumbed smile appeared on her lips, a dept of the dysphoriaof six years and she told with tears in her eyes “I married after two years of leaving University. I had not desired to, but my family who paid me a great dept, a debt that they sustained me as girl, enforced me to be married. I was indebted, I married Saleh…..I married.”She uttered these words with such a forlornness in her voice that it seemed that she was carrying this burden of misfortunes with her every moment.She paused,her voice wasnowplethoric with sobs.

Saleh watched her, as he saw her fragility was vulnerable to a man whom she still loved. This thought consoled him a little for it assured him that she still loved him.

Sanjha kept on “from four years I have been sleeping with a man like mere piece of flesh without soul. It is not the bed on which I make love, it is the graveyard where I get inhumed each night without any burial and he keeps on slaughteringme with his promiscuous osculation. You know, when for the first time he stripped me out of my veils and he made love, his apathy amazed me. He did not bothered to look at my face for once and when he knew I had not appeased himwith pleasure of my celibacy. He loved me more recklessly on bed. I cannot translate hysterical animosity in his eyes when he makes love to me, as though he shows me he had triumphed my body. I cannot tell you his exultation when he subdues my whole existence every night by burking it in such inhuman way. Who will disimmure me from this suffering? Who is censurable for my Anhadonia on conjugal bed? Will you pay back for all those nocturnal desideriums? Who will be answerable for that fierce flare of yearning for you which had been protruding my veins even after sleeping beside my spouse”All tears appeared in her voice vanished suddenly. Tears ceased flowing from her eyes.

Saleh watched towards her now. The death of each expectancy was evidence that the zephyr of that room had changed.

Sara spoke again but this time, there was a quietudethat comes after a desolation of everything “but in these four years Saleh….. in these four years I never had a child.”

Saleh’s face became ashen as though someone had schlepped all the blood out of his body. His eyes were stalked, he just glared at Sanjha with nothingness on his face as every feeling, every grievance, every delinquency, andevery lamentation had slammed into his face leaving a void.

Then she explained to Saleh“I thought perhaps it was me,where the seed of fertility lacked its soil but Saleh, it was not me…….. It was not me.” She discontinued for a moment and then again uttered “You know what Saleh?  He too, never spoke of his bareness to me.” After saying these words Sanjha contemplated the agennesic lines of her palms.  .

Saleh was silent .Thousands of words were still swaying in air but simultaneously there was nothing left to be said.

He stood, Sanjha glanced him. Something appeared on his lips perhaps the sterile smile which he had restrained from years to be revealed and then a sterile laugher occupied the whole room.

 

by: Saba Zain