I Do Not Forgive You, And I Never Will

Updated: Jul 18


Dear Rabia,

I must confess I never really mastered the art of writing letters over the years, even though I only started when you went to Jeddah and we had that phone call. I suppose it is only fitting then, that my last earnest letter for the foreseeable future is to you.


I can not lie, this is more of a cenotaph than it is a farewell, I do believe we have had enough of those by now yet here I am, writing this at 1:06 am on a May morning, it would be 11 where you live and you would be getting ready for sleep that, you know, would come hours later. Even though I have begun to forget your routine, I have started to wonder what you would be doing at such moments, have you replaced those moments too? Blekh, it does not concern me anymore.


You always told me I took great joy in explaining the bleakest songs and art pieces I could find, I do hope that you understand I was not taking joy in spreading the bleakness; our last fight was over how you believed I was too pessimistic, I don't think I was or am, I think we have grown in two different branches, maybe I don't think and that's why I'm writing this right now.


I have added the last mail I ever wrote to send to you personally but never had the courage to.


You need not respond to it, in fact, I fear I don't expect a response. If my fear is true then I beg that you disregard what has been said and instead convince yourself that the entire contents of this mail are as follows:


I hope this letter finds you well and in good health. It finds you enjoying life and living as you have always wished. It finds you in your house as Madi or Eman asks who it is from. It finds you such that all you can say is that you can't really figure that out either, yet still I hope it finds you with a flicker of warmth alongside it. I hope this letter finds you on happy days and sleepless nights. On hot, sunny days and in cloudy, rainy hours. I hope this letter finds you with your feet freezing and in moments where the AC does not work. It finds you in the calm countryside and in bleak urban apartments. It finds you when you feel full of yourself and also when you feel insecure. It finds you living freely and at ease and I hope this letter finds you when you are surviving relentlessly. I hope it finds you when you are filled with such hope that the hope this letter carries feels minute. I hope it never initially finds you but roams around the world only to bump into you by chance.


And I hope this letter finds you for the hundredth time, and a millionth time.


How are your sisters, how are your friends? I saw them at an event I was at and for a moment was stuck in place because I could vaguely see you there as well. How is Meera Ji? Have you renamed him? Do you still love him as enthusiastically as the day you got him? I hope you do. How are your mother and father? Most importantly, how are you? Everyone leaves before you know it huh? That reminds me, long ago, do you remember? We promised to sit and watch a meteor shower together. No stars ever shot by did they, only time. To be fair it doesn't really matter, you have changed so much and I'm sure you’ll change some more. I never really enjoyed waiting for that meteor shower to arrive, it seemed too far-flung into the future. Hey, do you remember the Iceland trip and its modifications? The restaurant bookshop deal? Do you realize that I still leave a wall empty in my room for you? Do you remember how I tried to set you up with that red hair unknowing that you two were already together? Do you remember all the ill-fitting advice you gave and how we laughed about it later? Have you forgotten the joke you made and the number that reminded you of me? How we never agreed on who bro-zoned first? The naming bet you overheard? I still regret being alone in Abbottabad to watch the stars on that clear night and stand by what I hoped to say then, that there should be stars dedicated to wars like ours. I don't think this silent and desolate field left behind does justice to what we went through or the time we spent. Do you still listen to the songs I sent you? Do you still remember those that you recommended to me? Do the bathtub movie and our double ending still pop up in your head sometimes? Maybe your trip to Pakistan and our visit to that park? Or perhaps the first cigarette we shared in Shaheer’s car? Someday perhaps we both will forget the Great Sushi Disaster but till then I bid you a soft epilogue and defend that you are a goddess in those dresses. Maybe the love I once had is gone, maybe the moments we shared, before it developed, pale in comparison. But I must profess, somewhere still aching with hope, that I still wait for the next meteor shower.


Is this cheesy enough? Maybe it is. Ok, I'll take this moment to say, thank you for all the changes you brought into my life but I do not forgive you, and I never will. You killed the person I loved in the name of progress and I do not want you to forget that. Yet this is farewell.


Till this mail, through all odds, somehow, finds you.


Still without a bathtub,

Arsalan

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