Thunder roared and lightning struck.
Ominous, dark and vicious clouds filled the horizon like a thick blanket. I rested my back against the wall and sat on the floor with my head bowed down. I could hear aunt Naila wail loudly and others whimper.

Melancholic shadows took hold of my life as I lost my parents while I was fifteen years old. I could not believe that life would become so ruthless all of a sudden.
Two months passed away. Aunt Naila decided to make me her daughter and asked me whether I would like to live with her. Since my childhood, I have always seen aunt Naila as my mother. Her captivating personality and loving nature left no room for refusal and soon I became a part of her family.

Aunt Naila and I used to spend a lot of time together. It was the month of December, snow covered the mountains like a cotton bed. The weather was cold and light breeze mesmerized me as I was reading a book on the roof top of the house.

After a while, I felt someone behind me and as I turned around I saw aunt Naila. My smile widened and I embraced her passionately. We sat on the bench and I curled my fingers around her thumb as my head rested on her shoulder. She kissed my forehead and brushed my hair with her fingers. Breaking the silence, she said, “Sweetheart, are you happy with us and in this house?”. I replied while looking at her intently, “Yes, aunt Naila. You are to me like my mother.”

Aunt Naila’s daughter, Hiba and I gave our final examinations about two months ago and were now eagerly waiting for the result. Both of us, aspired to become a doctor one day and so it was crucial that we scored good grades to get admission in a well reputed medical college.

Our result came on Monday morning. Aunt Naila’s husband, Muneer Uncle went to the college that day and received our results. Hiba and I woke up immediately and he handed two small sized packages to both of us at once. Our result cards were placed in it and nervousness instantly aroused as we started to unpack them. As I saw my result card, tears of joy blurred my focus. I thought about my parents instantly. Somehow it made me gratified to think that they must have been proud of me if they were here. I firmly believed that they must be rejoicing up there for me, too.

However, I could not ignore that Hiba was grief-stricken as she did not score well enough. Tears rolled down her red cheeks as she sobbed. She was thoroughly heart broken. I knew that consoling her at the moment would be of no use so I went upstairs in my room and closed the door. Suddenly, I heard hurried footsteps approaching my room and the door slammed open. Aunt Naila stood there and gazed at me with furious eyes. I had no idea what was happening so I stood there waiting for something to happen next. She came towards me with clenched fists and snatched my result card from me. She tore it into pieces at once, leaving me completely astonished.

My overwhelming heart sank and no one could possibly fathom the depths of my broken soul at that moment. For a moment, I thought it was not my aunt or the beautiful soul I have known for years and for a moment I refused to acknowledge this person, who was my everything but maybe from now onwards nothing at all. She did not need to say anything as her enraging eyes cursed me and resented me for scoring better than her daughter and making her cry because according to her I am not supposed to hurt her or be good enough than her in anyway. I wish that I could have known these unsaid rules before and I must not have tried to become a better version of myself that my parents wanted me to be. She scolded me out of jealousy and told me not tell my result to anyone in the family or else Hiba may get hurt.

Boiling with rage, she slammed the door on my face. I stood alone in the room speechless as if it was a nightmare. Sunlight poured into the room through my open window. My hands trembled with shock and my insides crumbled into thousand pieces.

I always considered myself lucky to have aunt Naila as my mother until this day, for I understood that it is never other people’s fault that they hurt us. Unfortunately, it is me who realized this late, that sometimes it is not the people who change, it is the mask that falls off. Miserable and humiliating thoughts about my self-worth and my life clouded my brain and engulfed my soul with sentiments of fear and dismay. A dark mood came over me and I broke into tears considering myself an unfortunate orphan.
After a while, I rose up hastily with my trembling body when, somehow, it felt like God and my parents wanted to talk to me from up there and silent revelations of wisdom started to enter my mind, conveying the much-awaited message to me.

I knew that from now on life would not be the way it has been with aunt Naila. I knew that things would change drastically and may make me even more frightened with its unpredictable ups and downs but at the same time I also knew that I am determined more than ever to go ahead and to move on with life.

So, I stood there behind my window and my wet eyes gazed at the bright, golden sun and the floating white clouds with wonder. I finally received the last revelation that wished me luck for the journey, I was about to take. I smiled with a heavy yet satisfied heart, for I knew, that it is just the beginning.

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