Aisha’s happiness had reached to the point where she was no longer being able to contain it in her little heart. But what could she do? She was happy. After one whole month of planning, finally she was going to the long piqued outing with her cousin sister, Maisha. Usually Aisha doesn’t like citing that Maisha is her ‘cousin’ sister because she believes Maisha is more than that in every sense; she is more than a real sister; she is her soul mate.
But not everybody has accepted their relationship with this same enthusiasm or understanding. Aisha’s friends and distant relatives have seized every apt opportunities from time to time to eye their seemingly puffed up relationship with mockery and pretense. For a long time it would be beyond Aisha’s understanding as to why people would think she can’t love Maisha like her real sister. But eventually she realized that despite her countless efforts, people hold on to their own criteria of judging relationships. For example, these people around her, they judged relations with blood and affinity, not with love or propinquity.
Maisha is four years older than Aisha is but she is rather happy about it since it comes as a perk of receiving amazing gifts every now and then. More than half of her bookshelf is filled with books gifted by her this beloved sister. Each book’s front page contains short complimentary messages written in her usual perfect cursive handwriting. “You are one in an infinity,” for example. The glittery ink sparkles brightly but what sparkles brighter is this message itself that washes her heart with surges of love and gratitude every time.
That made Aisha wonder sometimes if Maisha’s love had been reciprocated with equal sincerity and devotion. Aisha loved her sister, in fact she was the closest person she had. But did she make her feel special the same way her sister did? The countless Eid gifts, birthday cards and New Year greetings did all have on them written ‘to the best sister on this earth’, ‘to my most favorite person’ and all but was she able to make her realize the gravity of those words? Because Maisha was truly, in every way, her best sister and most favorite person. Funny how she never really took the time to ask these questions.
But anyway, why was she digging up all these all of a sudden? Wasn’t she about to set out for the ultimate outing with her highly acclaimed sister? And where was she, by the way?
The clock on her wall struck almost 4 bringing close the end to the long period of waiting. Maisha must have reached close so Aisha decided not to waste any more time and get ready quickly before her sister arrived.
To avoid depletion of a potential eternity, Aisha had already chosen the day before what to wear. So she quickly put on her favorite bright blue tops that was embedded with white rosemary gemstones. She then tied half of her hair into a small bun, letting the other half fall loosely over her shoulders. Dabbing a thin lining of kajal in the waterline of her eyes, she looked at the mirror and said to herself, “Ready!”
Aisha was just about to call out to her mom to say that she was going out and that is when her mom, herself entered the room.
“Hi Mom, I was about to call you, I’m going out with Maishapi-
“Aisha,” her mom interrupted in an ominous fashion as if she was being put through severe pain for uttering this one word.
“Mom, what happened? Why are you looking so pale? Everything alright?” Aisha’s fear and tension was unmistakably evident as well.
“Sweetie, it’s about Maisha. She-she j-just had an accident on her way here. She’s been taken to the hospital.”
Aisha heard what her mom said but a sudden dizziness hit her that made her feel unmindful of the existing situation. The ground beneath her seemed to quiver, making her lose control and fall on the ground instantaneously. She was still breathing, rather heavily in fact, but she felt like someone had plucked out the soul from her body. In one moment Aisha’s entire world was whirling in daze and panic.
She then felt a sudden push on her quivering shoulders and heard a distant voice asking “Will you go to the hospital? Are you okay, Aisha?”
Hospital? Oh yes, of course she’ll go. She has to go. She has to go and confront the implausible reality of her sister lying unconscious on a hospital bed.
The next moment Aisha looked around, she was sitting in the car with her mother and few other people. Voices filled the air but she could only catch fragments of what they said. Deep injury. Loss of blood. Struggling for life. They were not speaking in a different language but Aisha could not get hold of anything that they said.
Looking over the glass panes, Aisha could see another day.
25th July, Maisha brought her a new book.
18th August, Maisha promised her to take for an outing.
1st September, Aisha’s happiness had reached to the point where she was no longer being able to contain it in her little heart. After one whole month of planning, finally she was going to the long piqued outing with her cousin sister, Maisha.
Today it is still 1st September but the day has turned into a suffering in the last few hours. Aisha is not crying because more than pain, deep anger and regret has welled up in her heart. Anger as to why her only sister, her one true best friend had to face this. Regret as to why she let each of the past days go away without letting her sister know what she meant to her.
Moving past anger and regret, reflection dawned upon Aisha that may be such is life or such is human. Having all the blessings taken for granted, it is only separation and deprivation that makes the dearest dearer. Because today sitting beside the window panes, the only thought breaking Aisha’s heart was whether she’d be able to tell her sister for one last time “Mishapi, did I ever tell that you are one in an infinity?”