Stories about love

The only reality in a world of make-believe

They say if you look at a person long enough, they will look back. It was a cold winter night. The kind where frosted beams of moonlight ascend as an enchantress and cast a spell with a mystical silver wand. Cool air driving away heat faster than bodies could replace it. The whole world slowed down under flossy, dove grey skies and people wrapped their arms tighter, pulling shawls, coats and themselves a little closer. Breaths became visible, almost tangible, under sporadic streetlights, as late autumn leaves crunched like sugar under hurried steps. The carnival crowd kept flowing in waves closer ...

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The final goodbye

My biggest secret was the letter written by my former husband, that now sat in my nightstand’s bottom drawer. The letter that had come along with my divorce papers. The letter that was my guilt, my regret. Even if I tried, I couldn’t ignore the fact that we had been dishonest. Salaar had always been a good person – kind and considerate. The biggest proof of this was probably the fact that despite my many shortcomings and mistakes, my husband had chosen to divorce cordially. But he had also chosen to lie to our parents about what happened rather than ...

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My only escape

April 2018 I am an old woman, almost 75-years-old. My bones are weak, my skin is wrinkled, and my hair is a mane of silver. A pile of medicines cover the top of my bedside table. Most days, I don’t feel like eating them. Death weaves itself around me. I see it everywhere – in fallen leaves, in the rain, in the shadows, in people. My time here is almost done, but there’s a task still unfulfilled. Before I close my eyes forever, I have to tell my daughter the truth about my life, and her life. I’ve kept it hidden ...

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It all started with a so-called wrong number

I come from an open-minded household; however, my beliefs about relationships and marriage are very traditional. I disapproved of love before wedlock and looked down upon affairs and relationships. I got married young to a man much older; he became my friend, lover and confidant. Even after having children, we are inseparable. It was only when I found out about my husband’s affair that I broke down and my whole life seemed like a lie to me. I still chose to forgive and forget considering my values did not allow for a divorce and I chose to stay with him. ...

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It was meant to be, yet it wasn’t

On this beautiful summer morning in the Sultan Khel village, everything was in bloom. Flowers lazily tumbled along the pathways, butterflies and bees buzzed at blossoms, and the spindly green trees rose impossibly high into the clouds. For this day, Noor chose a pale lilac shalwar kameez strewn with floral embroidery, and wore her sparkly new golden heels underneath. Her black hair cascaded down her back in waves, and her big brown eyes twinkled. Noor looked beautiful – a vision to behold. No wonder all the village boys were after her. She opened the windows of her room, and breathed a lungful of ...

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Kamran, a soldier eternally

The heavy breathing, bewildered expressions, and tears welling from the eyes of the three people surrounding Kamran saddened him. He didn’t know what to say, how to respond, what reasons to give. After all, he was clueless himself. The silence was silently injuring everyone’s hearts from within. This silence had to be broken, and thus Kamran spoke in the most wavering voice. “Why won’t any of you say anything?  Isn’t it enough for you all that I’m finally here?” No one knew how to answer. Finally, after a long pause, Ammi spoke in an almost inaudible voice. “Yes beta. Of course, we’re ...

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Nadia, the painter

Nadia unlocked the door to the art studio, the hallway was empty and silence ruled. It was really early in the morning but this was the only time she would get to work on her semester project. Trying to balance the coffee holder in one hand, bag on her shoulder and keys in the other, she pushed the door open with her shoulder. Rushing to the nearest table, she put the two coffees hurriedly on the top before dropping her bag on the ground. She exasperated almost as if she had saved the day. Closing the door behind her, she ...

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A father’s ode to his daughter on her wedding

As I walked you down the aisle holding your hand, It reminded me of a time when I once waited at the other end, Eyes affixed on the beautiful bride approaching me, Counting each second for the perfect moment to engulf me, I never saw the pleading eyes of the person giving away my bride, Otherwise, I would have the consolation that this was a customary ride, With bitter happiness I saw your groom waiting to receive you, Watching you with love not even a quarter of what I have for you, My eyes moistened, my throat went dry, My heartbeat became faster as I resisted to cry, Pleading ...

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Why is the Wagah border ceremony a competition of nationalism?

It has been 70 years since India and Pakistan emerged from a single, coherent geographical unit as two sovereign nations, and both states do their best to remember and reaffirm this. Every day at around 4:30pm, the Wagah border prepares for a unique ceremony, wherein the soldiers stationed at and near the border gates on both sides re-state the identity of India and Pakistan as sovereign nations, while their people cheer for them. As the dusk sets in, it is time to lower their respective flags, but both countries do so by giving a warning to each other. The gates ...

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The woman with hands of gold

I always gushed about how my Mother’s hands were beautiful; though, all wonder had ceased as I realised… Her hands tenderly held my vulnerable self as I opened my eyes in this big-bad world; her face comforted me, there was an angel in this world Allah had sent me down to, I was in safe hands. Her hands determinedly raised me to my tiny feet, every time I fell to the ground in the attempt to walk; her will to support me still gives me strength from then till today. Her hands would swiftly push my swing as she pointed towards the ...

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