Everywhere I go life and death hold hands like two of the three strands of a braid, pulling at mine. Telling me it’s time.
It’s time to let go.
Don’t go yet, please.
It’s not time yet. You can stay. There is room in my heart for another lifetime. We can still live that. We can sleep under the shade of the trees in a world where the shadows will be so long they won’t seem to end. We will drink from the rivers that pulsate under our patches of gardens. You will build your home on the nearest riverbed and you will work hard and patiently. It would be as if you were back right where you left me here in the dunya. When you finally will start looking for me, it will be the trails of jasmine that will bring you home.
It won’t be hard. The maps would be easier to memorise there. For who can forget the memory of a place which no eye has seen, no heart has dreamed of and no soul has imagined. Will you ask about me? I wonder what you will be told. They’ll look for me in the many Ayeshas there and I’m not sure where I will be or if I will be at all.
If I am, you will find me at the beach near sunrise. There will be shells, remnants of the lives we have lived in the earth we left behind, and there will be flowers scattered in each wave as it pulls me in, asks me to let go.. I will release my firm grasp of the ground and I will feel myself being taken in by the ocean as it reaches out and caresses my face. Like a friend who I met in another lifetime.
I will be waiting. As I am now.
Don’t go yet. There is still room in my heart to house another lifetime.
There are people who fall asleep in my city on nothing but the bare ground. Where are they now? Is it cold outside? Have they found the warmth of good company.. are they sound asleep in the comfort of loved ones.. can they feel angels settling down beside them as I remember them in every half-remembered dua.. will they awake to the fajr azaan tomorrow?
It will be the last day of this year and you will sleep under the same sky as they are and we will dream of the ocean and the waves and us heading back to the shore with salt on our skin and the scent of the sea on our palms.