Written by Nevaeh Huma
I laid there helpless as my lover took her last breath.
Love; what a funny little word. Holds the power to make or break a soul. It requires expression. Expressive souls tend to be more open to difference in intensity of love, depth of love and the contrast of love and hate (often disregarded because it’s been granted the pleasure of co-existing). Expressive souls are also allowed to believe themselves, that’s what allows them to live vividly. But how can an entity break out of its cage when the world controls the chains?
I remember the night I felt this emotion, one I could not explain nor understand. It was a calming night, breezy and quite. We were in her room, her room that engulfed you in a floral hug as soon as you entered. That’s who she was.
”Could you pass me the brush?” she had asked and I passed without hesitance. Some of the residue of that brush had dripped on me and she apologized profusely, which I obviously didn’t understand because that wasn’t her fault, but that’s just who she was.
”I am so sorry, I didn’t think that would happen!” She exclaimed, almost too nervous.
”Would you calm down? It’s just water, relax.” I said and giggled right after to let her know it’s not serious. She had smiled at me. That smile that I loved so much. I kissed her on the forehead as we continued painting together. What she doesn’t know is the reason why I gave her what she needed (starting from the slightest of things to incredibly important things) and didn’t mind anything that happened to me while doing so is because she gave me what I needed the most; acceptance. She was my home, my hope, my courage. She made love seem the most natural because that’s what would come to you immediately when you’re around her. She was my life and I had wished I could have given her mine on that fateful day.
30th June, the last day of pride month. The day that was supposed to hold great pleasure for me, got turned into the day I wish would have ended differently. Maybe today would have been better.
It was a Wednesday, sunny all day and ending with a full moon. The day was hot and the night was dark. We had joined the ongoing parade in Dhaka city. A parade taking place for the celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and our recently granted freedom. Or so we loved to believe. She and I walked side by side, hand in hand. Our hair’s tied. Mine with a black hair tie, her’s with a bright orange ribbon.
That was the last I would set eyes on most of the people present, the last day I would see their bright smiles and hopeful eyes, and the very last time I’d be able to hold the hands of my gorgeous lover.
My lover, where to begin with her? She and I had known each other for exactly seven months and 14 days prior. How did I know this? I fell for her the second I saw that happy and bubbly girl, laughing loudly and clearly for everyone in the cafeteria to see. She was the greatest human I’d seen. It’s hard to forget the moment you found the love of your life.
She and I connected brilliantly with each other. We melted together when we hung out, blending into one strong, bright, rainbow concoction that put us on a euphoric high.
She and I were similar to the sun and moon. People often compare the significance and beauty of those two elements, I’m here to contrast them. The sun, brilliant and bright. The moon, mysterious and dark. The elements together create the comforting depiction of requited love. Love that favors the bold and feeds the expressive. Love that feels right. She was my sun and I was her moon. Her bright orange life warmed everyone, and my dark existence calmed them. And just like the giant star in the sky, no one wanted her to leave, especially not me.
”And I stubbed my toe walking down the stairs. How does one do that? I was walking down the stairs, what the hell?!” I exclaimed as I was yelping in pain and on the ground. My pain vanished the moment I heard a sweet voice, laughing at my agony though, but really sweet nonetheless.
”You’re an idiot, the biggest one yet.” She laughed louder after saying that, simply because I probably looked the most offended I’d ever been.
”Alright miss, get dressed. We’re going out in 15 minutes.” I stated strictly before leaving to ice my toe that throbbed due to the pain and had turned really hot. I loved her laugh with everything in me, brightened up my day with how warm and happy it was.
We had left the house moments later, joining everyone in our recent victory. She and I walked side by side as we heard the laughs of some people right behind us. We all foolishly believed this was going to be our next chapter. A chapter of acceptance, a chapter of freedom. But wow, were we wrong.
It only took a few hours for a large group of people to show up. One by one they exited their vehicles of choice. Private cars, buses, trucks al flooded the street that was once covered with confetti, ribbons and flags. They’d exit, and with sticks, guns, machetes and teargas shells in hand, they charged at us.
The screams. It still haunts me. The screams of the first people that were hacked to death, bleeding as they’d plead for mercy. Some of them charged back, defence triggers awakening the warriors in them. Unfortunately, even warriors fall sometimes and so did they.
”RUN!” We heard someone shout from the back, and without thinking twice, everyone ran away from the main scene. She and I ran fast, not turning back and just escaping our deaths (or so I would love to believe). We had entered a building, exiting from the back of it, entering an unknown alley. Her hand was tightly holding onto me, tears running down her face.
She trusted me with her life, I wish I hadn’t betrayed her.
Suddenly I heard someone chasing us. Rubber sandals hitting the ground repeatedly as they ran, a giant wooden stick in hand, one which was covered in blood. As was everything else. The person’s shirt, hand and forehead, all screaming out the existence of all the people present in the parade today. We ran faster at his sight.
And before we knew it, disaster struck. We were cornered by four people in total, each of whom had a weapon in hand. What I hadn’t realized is that they had appeared from another alley connected to us, and it was too late for us to escape them.
I felt her arms tighten around me. She was sobbing right then. Her grip getting tighter as they inched closer, menacing laughs and terrifying stares. We were cornered and charged at. We were helpless.
Her arms, tighter now as she sobbed into my chest. My heart was beating fast, not knowing what to do now. They came closer to me, her arms are tightening even more now. And then I felt it disappear completely as we were tugged away from each other.
Her scream. That one scream, overpowered the rest I heard all night. She had her eyes on me as they lifted their wooden weapons and came down on me with all the anger they had in them. One after the other, my body broke and fell, hitting the ground hard. I felt blood trickle down my forehead, onto my white blouse. No need to worry about stains when you were being punished.
”Let her go, PLEASE!” she shouted with incredible strength, sobbing loudly as she watched them punish me. Punish me for what? Simply wanting to be myself it seems. It didn’t take long for them to turn their anger on her, pinning her down this time.
I wish I could say I don’t remember much, but I remember everything. It’s hard to forget the moment you lost the love of your life.
They hacked her, machete slicing effortlessly through her soft flesh. Her skin splitting as the blood spilled right out of her.
”No, stop! PLEASE!” This time I shouted with everything in me, that resulted in them coming down on me again, hitting the back of my head hard enough for my vision to blur. I lost my sight partially that night. All I could remember after that was the continuous beating for me and her muffled screams.
No idea how long it was but they left right after they had gotten their unexplained anger out. Though lacking explanation, it wouldn’t be the last for them.
I held on to my consciousness a little longer, watching them walk away, their rubber sandals roughing the ground up as they left her and I alone.
It took a lot in me to muster up the courage to look at her, and there she was. Covered in her blood, eyes open. She was still breathing, sobbing slightly as she saw me. Her eyes were swollen and red, she sighed silently, her pupils were dilated, the pupils that stared at me as I tiredly got up and crawled over to her. The cherry red liquid covering her all over made mine boil and ache at the same time. But I made it to her somehow.
And there we were, together once again. We were shaking in fear, realizing that this is where it all ends. We fought for each other but we couldn’t make it. We realized this is where the author of our story decided to drop their pen, letting us bleed and cry on the streets, together. The strength in my body gave out as it finally realized what had happened and couldn’t hold on anymore. I laid down beside her, still staring at her, realizing yet again that this is it. This is where we end.
Many days ago, I had finally understood the intensity of my feelings for her. Her smile, her hobbies, her jokes, her life, everything could have been mine to keep. Her laugh. My, oh my, her laugh. That laugh that reminded me everyday what was truly worth living for, that angels do exist and one was right across from me, near tears as she clutched her aching belly and let out her natural sounds.
Everything about her was perfect, don’t get me wrong. But damn, that laugh. I still hear it everyday. She appears in the middle of the night, in my head, in my room. Her voice, as melodious as it may be, hits me hard. Every night I hear her. The same giggle, same accent. The same jingle of her gold anklets.
She and I had it all. Had the world envy us when we were together, and pity us when we weren’t. Yes, we were just that pathetic without each other. I missed her every second.
I was always waiting to be with her all the time before all this. Always, without a doubt in my mind, I’d end up right outside her class. Waiting to have her near me again. I was cold, I needed her heat. She’d often complain about me spending my time on her instead of doing my work, focusing on myself. How could I have told her she was all I was? That her heart was the only thing beating in me? We attracted each other like a dandelion and a blessed honeybee. Bees love dandelions, I was lucky enough to know she wanted me back.
And if you are thinking we talked all the time, you would be right. We spoke and laughed, fought and learned, and kissed and teased regularly. But sometimes we’d sit, read books, paint together. Everything we did made sense to me. The best part of us was not evident in the pictures we took or the long conversations we had, it existed purely in the soothing silence as we expressed our arts separately. No words where needed to be spoken, just a smile from one heartbeat to another, and we were set.
She was an incredible artist too, by the way. All the strokes, all the colors, every single one of them told a story and I desperately wanted to be in at least one of her chapters. And I had my wish come true, only not in the way I’d want.
I desperately wish the story was different.
I laid there helpless as my lover took her last breath. Before she closed her gorgeous eyes for the last time, I felt a tear slip from my ducts onto her hand which I held tightly in mine. She saw that and her already teary eyes allowed one to drip from hers. I had reached forward and caught it in my index finger right before it hit the ground. That was the last of her I’ll ever have.
And there we were, bleeding together, crying together. Our tears on each other.
And right before she sighed for the final time, I had told her something I now wished I had told her while she was still there with me, in my arms. Warm and cozy, instead of all this. I wish I could have said it to her a couple hundred times before all this.
”I love you”. I let out and she slightly smiled, building up the strength to nod and utter out her final words. The words which have been tattooed in my brain for now and forever. Words that are the only reason why my heart is beating today.
”I-I love you t-too.”