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The Virtue Called Strength

I have grown accustomed to believing in the impossible within the last few years. While stars were still very bright and nights the same, there was an indescribable ache in my heart. I liked to believe that as an excuse to why my knees gave away every time they played our, or rather your and my, song on the radio or why my heart couldn’t help but jump at the sound of your name. No, don’t get me wrong, I am not that same person who would be ready to open that door to you when you came home but my heart was still its stubborn self.

I still remember the pair of tired eyes that woke up to greet me when the first ray of sun just sped over the city. I had just finished the morning prayer and sighed as you gave me a half-smile. I frowned; I had never understood the reason behind your reluctance towards praying. I shook my head as I sat down next to you and looked the other way, grim. I was about to voice my anger when I felt the touch of your fingers on mine. All reasons lost, I succumbed to your side, exhausted of mentally preparing for the fight I knew would have started. You whispered an apology and promised you would start from tomorrow. I leaned back against the headboard with my hand in yours, a wave of serenity washing over me. You said I looked beautiful and obviously knew what was coming when I opened my mouth to speak-
“Shut up, you do.” you had spat.
You would think I had gotten used to those words after two years but the feelings were still fresh. I responded with a sheepish smile as you got up to tidy up the mess, that eight hours of sleep had given birth to, for work. I put down a plate of scrambled eggs and pancakes on the table and looked at the clock. And within minutes, I heard the clatter of the wind chime and the loud thud of the door.

That was how my days always started. As more time passed, I felt something nag me, my conscience maybe. Every time I closed my eyes, I reminisced, memories of my father and what he had said in the last few months he had lived. He asked me to always follow my heart. On stale mornings when the sun would sleep and the birds rest, I would sit by the window with a cup of tea and think of his words, they would rekindle a dimming fire inside me. I knew this was not the life I wanted. Every time I thought of what you might have to say about me working, since you already were, I would fall down and crumble but the warmth of the fire would nourish the faith that I had lost and in its place, grew strength. I remember applying for part-time jobs and anticipating replies. And that one night when I seeked your support, you turned away. You said there was no need and even though I knew you were just insecure, the bruise deepened. My mind had started to recollect things, promises and rings, and somewhere along, my heart started to recognize that unfamiliar feeling, I had heard of it, it was called disappointment. And soon enough, these thoughts materialized to words and we were saying things we would have never meant if one’s smile still possessed the same virtues. Every word that escaped these lips was a battle cry to another woman’s ears. And when I finally found it in my heart to ask for you back, I saw a flicker of resentment in your eyes. I made a silent prayer and asked for patience for I was not one to give up.

Funny enough, that’s where following my heart brought me today. Five years ago, being away from you would have seemed impossible, and the present mocked that very statement. Five years ago, I was naïve and thought my heart needed support to survive. I had wondered if you were the reason I was what I was. But five years later, though the golden sun lurks behind the cotton clouds and the paper flowers hide behind the emerald bushes, my mornings are brighter. Because, five years later, I realized people do not make us who we are, we do.

And thanks to you, I know I did.

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