Just a scene I crafted out of my imaginations - my idea of love.
The sun, peaking through feather-like leaves of an Indian lilac, felt warmer still. Its warmth seemed to seep through my skin, rushing into my blood. The sand all around was turned into gold.
'Where is he,?' my mind kept wondering.
Every now and then, someone would pass by the mound. Their shadows were becoming longer, with the descending sun.
'What if somebody climbed up to this mound and caught me with this sack on my side? They’ll find out about our plans before time. And what will happen then?' I felt a chill running through my veins, when I thought of that.
My only consolation in these long hours of waiting, were some floating late-afternoons we spent here.
We were sitting together silently, right here, under the same lilac tree. The wind was wild, as it always is. It kept swirling through my dopatta, and I kept trying to pull one of its ends over my face.
And there he was, looking at my face through my sheer dopatta, endlessly.
Whenever I looked back, my eyes were locked by his silent gaze that used to say it all. There was something in that gaze that swept me off my feet. It wasn't admiration, but a sense of belonging. It wasn't bewildering fondness but a familiarity. As if he knew me inside out, since ages.
For hours, there were no words spoken between us - just the clinking of my bangles and the sound of wind swishing through my dopatta, and his shirt.
The wind, now devoid of his scent, softly stroked my hair as I looked towards the scarlet sun. 'He was supposed to be here before evening.'
There, at the edge of that well, I sat watching him - his strength, his muscular arms, as he did all my chores. He breathed heavily when exhausted. The mop of dark hair on his sweat-drenched wide chest, peeped through the unbuttoned collar of his shirt.
I handed over a chalice of water to him and he drank it all in a single breath. He smiled as he handed the chalice back to me - a face that smiles easily, with some charming lines formed around his eyes and mouth.
Eloping is an unpardonable crime in our clan. The consequence is lovers' heads being axed by their own families – a centuries old tradition here.
But we’ll manage to escape this. We’ll catch the bus that sets off in the late evening, straight to Karachi. They say it’s a very big city that it takes a lifetime to find someone lost there.
In the distance, a cuckoo sings its quiet song as the sun disappeared into the crimson motifs on the sky. The lilac tree turns dark. The birds are all flying back to their homes.
'There he is, with a lantern. Thank God!'
'But no, why is he holding an axe?'
'It’s not him.'
'That’s a familiar turban.'
A heart sinks deep into the darkness of a desert.