I wish I was a painter so I could paint this night. You look like nature’s wet dream. I don’t have the skills, but I do have some words in my pocket. Let me throw these pebbles at you; one by one. The night is lifting its curtain, running away from the sun that is praised for its heat and light in a world where power matters. The night is our friend. We are only comfortable sharing our secrets with her, because the night, like us, is weak, underrated, always ridiculed by poets calling it a symbol of despair and hopelessness. I have found more warmth and light in the night than I will ever find in the sun. The night is more humane and relatable; it is made for sinners like us. Poor poor night, always on the mercy of time. Now, that the night is losing its breath, and the moon is moving its tongue away from your face, I thought I should write something in your laptop and save it for you to read later, for the times we will only be able to make love through words. Do you know, that while I am writing this, I am looking at you as my fingers type? A writer always needs an aspiration or, perhaps, an illusion. Illusions will keep this world alive, as reality is not ours; it was written by indifferent gods who never cared about us. Was Lav Diaz right when he said that the only two answers we have are our hunger and libido? Well, if he believes this to be right, he is lucky. My eyes have never seen the real, while the world around me always boasts about being realistic. What are their realities? Jobs, marriages, a TV show where they can laugh in tune to the wit imposed on them: they are sure about their righteousness. I know that I will always be wrong. I was wrong when I accepted my fate. I was wrong when I didn’t. What is the correct option for us? What option do we follow? Am I really free in pursuing these options? Where is my option to be born as a woman, to feel as a woman, to write as a woman, to live as a woman? Where is my option to change my face and make a new identity for myself? Where is my option to go back in time and write some new mistakes for myself? I wish I had the freedom of not being free. I wish I had the freedom to go back and become a worthless, wasted droplet. Causes, effect, reasons, consequences. Ah, these boring terminologies! I want to live with no memory, with no words, with no indoctrinated versions of morality. Even my over-reaction to these moral chains is a result of the morality I was lashed with. I was supposed to talk about you. I was supposed to talk about us. We were always one; I want to talk about our choices. This is my last chance to talk to you, so after going through all the pictures in your laptop, I am struck with this urge, this desire to write about the conflict between our freedom and our “truths”. Look at you! You always believe in the true essence of freedom, but now that I am writing in the background music of your snoring, it has struck me how you don’t have control, even, over your sleeping pattern. You knew this could probably be our last night together. You knew these moments would perish like the old trees of our city. You knew, and you wanted to stay awake, but you couldn’t. Let’s not get into our age-old debate of “freedom from want”. Baron d’Holbach must be very proud. Why did we fall in love? Was this our choice? I think it was the screaming of the void created by all those Bollywood films. Youth was knocking at our hearts, and cupid was merciless. I loved your laughter at the academy, even though I hated people laughing. I couldn’t make any sense of all the laughing, but why did such a stupid normal, biological thing appear so seductive on your face? I don’t think falling in love was an option or a matter of choice. If love becomes a matter of choice, then what is the point of it? There was probably someone writing our story and pulling the strings of our hearts? How could it be possible that the song you shared with me on my phone was the same “Hey there Delilah” that I was humming on my way to class? You appeared beautiful to me, but are you, really, beautiful? Was I in love with you, because you were beautiful, or did you appear beautiful to me, because of my love? I think we won’t ever find the truth to these questions and, perhaps, that’s the beauty of it. But then again, what’s the truth anyway? And what is beauty? Was your beauty an objective truth, or was my love lead by the preconceived notion of beauty, cultivated in our minds by our old Turkish and English masters? Was it lust that brought us together, that forced me to sell my cellphone and you to sell your mother’s ring, so that we could have a moment together in a hotel room? I think we should be forgiven. We were determined to be together. It wasn’t something we did. It was, all, fate. Or perhaps, it was us. Did we really have any choice? We needed each other like flowers need water to nourish. Don’t you remember the first couplet our bodies formed? What a perfect “matla” it was. And tonight, the ghazal is finished. A ghazal that took ten years to complete. Was it our choice to initiate the ghazal? It was our choice to live or die. What would anyone choose when there is no third option? At times, I think fate is a beautiful escape for us. We put the burden of our decisions on its shoulders. At least, that’s what I thought when you told me about your decision to become pious and leave this world of sins. I still have the copies of sermons I received from you, along with your wedding card that I received the next year. I must tell you I never liked your husband at first sight. One of the reasons was that you chose him over me. Why did you? I will never know the reason to it. Perhaps, the long-distance relationship between us, or perhaps, fate. But that was one of the reasons. The primary reason was that he appeared too honest to me, too pure. I can never stand such people who overdo it. Such people become boring, eventually, although boredom is an over-rated pleasure now. My worst fears finally proved true when, fortunately, he chose to leave you for a “better” woman. Or perhaps, he didn’t. Fate made him do this. Why did it take you so many years to call me? “Why” is that question that has made me write this letter for you. Why do we do things we never intend to do? I searched for you in every woman, yet I never felt anything. The women who cried with me, the women who laughed when I cried loving them: the thirst never satiated. The thirst that you left with your choices, blaming it on fate. The thirst which lead to seas and rivers of my undying thirst, though I knew when all I needed was a drop from you. We met eventually, because we were supposed to, even if fate had other plans. I am not in favour of choosing to marry again. Marriage is not for people like us. We are aware to a level, now, that we can’t be tamed anymore. Your child doesn’t need a father. Suffering for the sake of his security would be the worst thing you will do to him. You can choose life over death this time. The truths that are scaring you were never pre-determined. Will you ever learn to say no to fate? My dear, I am leaving you with your beauty and loneliness. You can always talk to me; that’s up to you. The pain of leaving you is always intense than the sense of fulfilment I have in your arms, but not meeting is not up to me. I wish all the misfortune for your marriage again. Fate will lead you to me if you don’t choose me; we can’t leave each other. I am like a mirror to you that you can stand naked in front of and stare at, to look at your scars. We will have to come to each other, for that’s what destiny is. We need to breathe to stay alive. Farewell, my death! Published in Daily Times, June 28th 2018.