The unpredictable night of 15th August left a scar on my life because that day I closed some open doors for myself, moreover, my son belonged to someone else that day.
Hadi was a beautiful son. His skin was as soft as cotton with hazel eyes that reflected absolute carefreeness. He had inherited those eyes from me, which made me very glad. His wave of laughter would echo in the house and make us grateful to God for the blessing that we had. I would intentionally loose in the games we played so that he could be proud of himself and I could get a moment to see the smirk stretched across his clean face. He would throw tantrum if we ever refused to play with him and shortly after me and my beautiful wife Sumaira would be hiding behind the chairs and he would be looking around for us.
Those were the contented days of my life. It seemed as if my life was a part of happiness. However, who knew that soon these days would change into worries and doctor appointments.
One night Sumaira fell seriously ill. She started to throw up for days and those days turned into weeks. I became tormented worrying about her condition when her waist reduced rapidly and handfuls of her hair began to fall. In one of her last months, she seemed totally dejected and devastated my life. I wanted to console her but words were never enough. Her disease seemed to have no cure. No matter how many medicines she took, her health never even slightly improved. Hadi would usually peek into the room with a hope that mama would be fine. This hope was crushed when one night Sumaira slept and never woke up again.
Sumaira left me alone in this hollow world too quickly. Her absence made me isolated and stillness surrounded me. Whenever I looked at Hadi, Sumaira would come in front of my eyes. No matter how hard I tried, the harsh memories would always float in my mind. Tears never stopped shedding; however, life went on.
I gave up too quickly. I left Hadi in an orphanage, thinking that he would find better guides that would enlighten his future. Soon, I received the news of his adoption. The realization that Hadi would be calling some other man his ‘baba’ made me guilty of my decision. A scream was always trapped inside me but words never left my throat. Leafing through the album of Hadi, it made me concerned about him; however, a voice inside my mind told me that he had people to look after him.
Time flew and I got employed as a guard in an art gallery. My job was to look after the meaningless paintings from day till night. It was one of the most renowned galleries in the whole city. Many exhibitions would take place due to which my duty hours were quite prolonged.
Before going home, I shot a glance at the paintings. One painting that was placed at the intersection of the room seized my attention. It depicted a boy, probably in his teens, he was a carefree and full of life lad who was roaming the streets of New York. My eyes scanned the picture. My legs froze and eyes became still when I saw the name, Hadi Cheema. Memories of my past started to haunt my mind. Although it was quite unbelievable in the beginning but melancholic emotions and fresh memories augmented my doubtful intentions regarding the name.
The chuckles and giggles echoed in the gallery which made me which made me more conscientious about the gallery. The exhibition was a big success for the owner. On these occasions, he would wear black pants with a crisp white shirt tucked in and a black coat on it to escalate its agility.
Participants flooded with anxiousness were standing in the corridor waiting for their dreams to come true. I was walking attentively pretending that I was giving my duty but actually my only desire at the very moment was to see the face of Hadi, what if he is my…
Roving in the corridor, I bumped into a participant who jumped and turned around. ‘Oh, I’m sorry sir, I was actu…’. My eyes caught the name of his badge. It stated Hadi Cheema. My eyes moved from his badge to his face, my feet paralyzed with shock. Those hazel eyes could never be mistaken or erased from my memory. Tears of regret welled up in my eyes and I stood beaming at my son, who in utter confusion walked away from me.
Thereupon I realized the price of my mistake. It was not Sumaira whose absence made me feel isolated in reality they were my decisions that ruined my life forever. Sometimes wounds are healed with the passage of time, but this wound only got deeper and fatal with the passage of time.
Written by: Fatima Ijaz