There are hundred billion stars in the entire universe or maybe more than that, each with their own story of transforming into a sparking speck in the space or submerging into the dark. Just like that there are billions of humans in the entire world, everyone carrying their own distinctive story, their distinctive sufferings. An average person can only see thousand to million faces in their lifetime, leaving behind so many stories. It takes 220 years of life to witness all the masks the people are carrying around.  

Luckily, she was one of those million humans too, she was a story I could witness and read. I found something in her vacant eyes and hollow laughs, that thing kept tugging me, pulling me towards her like a magnet. I found myself on the bench beside her too often, I gazed her while she gazed the humans surrounding her or passing by for a second.  

Was it attraction, or infatuation, or maybe obsession? No, it was more than that. It was love, a kind of love which was above a physical connection, a love beyond the yearning for skinship. I just wanted to know her story, I wanted to know why she was so miserable, what she was carrying, and along the way love sprouted in my heart and it bloomed within me, invading every cell of mine. Maybe it was when I shared her silence for the first time.  

That day I sat there, silence shrouding us. She was busy doing her job, reading the people. Her gaze was so piercing, sometimes it felt like she was looking for someone, someone she lost in the crowd, so I asked her, 

“Why you watch the people with such longing, must there be something you are looking for?”  

Sonder - A Silent Story

“I’m lost. When I look at the people, it seems like they all carry a piece of me, which was submerged in the air long ago. I feel like I could relate to them, I can feel the sorrow beneath the smile, I can see the yearning for love under the distant façade. When I try to comprehend them, I feel alive.” she replied while gazing into nothing, hurriedly like she was running out of time.  

I felt brave after her words, “Are you alright?”  

After a long pause, she uttered, “I might be somewhere, in another life or universe.”  

“Why do you look so gloomy?” Another inquiry spilt out of my mouth.  

“I can’t tell, when I try to talk about it, I feel thousands of needles probing my throat.”  “It’s painful.” She whispered the final words while looking straight into me, her voice quivering, filled with pleads, eyes still vacant. We fell into the silence again. 

 I could tell her story wasn’t unlike, but it made my heart ripen in my chest, ready to be plucked by her sorrows.  

I fell in love with her silence, a silence so eerie, so filled with words.  

Now I look into the empty place beside me and wish I could see her one last time; I try to find her lost pieces mixed in the air and try to conjure her. She’s gone leaving behind her dust of memories in every pore of my skin, while every chamber of my cells recalls her story.

By  Yashfeen Baloch

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