I was about to leave for the graveyard when he entered my room and stood behind the door.
He looked pale, so weak that only his head was visible.
“I won’t go there. The sun is searing and there aren’t even any trees,” he said as I wore my shoes.
“There isn’t any shade here as well”, I came and stood beside him.
“Are you going to come to the graveyard?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied.
We were standing in the shade of the mosque. “There is no room left in this graveyard,” he said when I was about to say something. I kept quiet.
“Anyhow, no one knows which route our season may take,” he looked at me, expecting me to say something, but I still kept quiet.
“Look Meeran, I’m all alone after Mehergam’s death.”
Tears welled up in his eyes as I looked at him.
“We get life only to lose it,” he said.
“Let’s pray”, as he raised his hands for prayers, I noticed the dark tan on the back of them.
I recalled the day when both of us were sitting at a cafe to take tea. He looked at Javed Arzoo’s painting hanging on the wall and said, “Look at this painting. I feel like I’m being carried away by those waves as they are doing to that boat. Who knows where I and you will end up after some time!”
He was eight years younger than me and I liked him more than anyone else. Whenever he saw something its entire sketch reflected in his eyes and heart.
I remember what he said after seeing Rahim.
“He loves loneliness as much as the loneliness loves itself.”
Rahim is still lonely. No friends, no family and no home.
I liked such chatters. He often told me: “Your shoulders would get weary but the season of the dead will not end.”
The funeral prayers were long over, no one was left there. There was no trace of him either. I came by the grave and looked around but could not find him.
Seeing him after such a long time, I shouldn’t have said, “There isn’t any shade here as well.”
One day, I asked him jokingly, “What do you know about yourself?”
He replied in no time, “I won’t have a grave.”
Whose grave is this where I stand now? Only footprints had been left, but no one was there.
All my friends said and regretted that he shouldn’t have left us so soon. That it wasn’t his time. That he was so young. That eventually we all would die but it wasn’t his time.
I decided to leave and headed towards home. I didn’t know whether he was dead or had gone on a journey, because I was chit-chatting with him in this graveyard a while ago.
As I strolled further from the graveyard, his voice echoed louder in my ears, “I won’t go there. The sun is searing and there aren’t even any trees.”
And I kept replying, “There isn’t any shade here as well.”
As I looked back, there was nothing to be seen except for a dust storm and one could only hear the neighs of a horse.
Even the graveyard couldn’t be seen.
Jalil Baloch lives in Germany, studying for a Masters degree in English Literature from George August University. He originally belongs from Turbat, Balochistan. He taught English language there.