ZERO POINT is an uncensored digital interchange on art, culture, and politics for Pakistanis and the subcontinent.

Inside the Widow's Bag

Inside the Widow's Bag

Dripping eyes, trippy mind- congested thought, running nose- soaked clothes, burnt hands. She stood, unwary of what she was, or where.

Her extraordinary light brown eyes, brunette curls, embroided suit and uniquely freckled face said something. A statement, maybe, but more of a testimony. However, nor the eyes neither the curls said anything. It was the messiness of curls, and the dark circles below those magnificent conspicuous eyes that depicted the real state of her mind.

She was standing at the Lahore train station with a dark blue bag. A small back pack that looked rather too sporty for her. With a parachute-esque exterior and some random threads of fabric creeping out from the zip and sticking points- the bag made a rather obnoxious addition to her already demented look. She was lost, not in an orthodox fashion though. Deep in her eyes, one could see a longing to walk but her body refused to move. Twenty six minutes, twenty six minutes and thirty seven seconds to be exact; she stood at the same place. Paralysed, stranded and bound by some magical spell.

“Honey, I’ll be back by ten,” He said.

“Don't be late, and bring the money for Ahmed’s school fee from the ATM- tomorrow’s the deadline” A gentle voice replied.

“Yeah yeah, got that all in my diary” He screamed back rushing through the front door of the house.

“Him and his diary, pffft” She sighed to herself.

Nineteen days and eleven hours later- another double knock on her motel door rendered her another reason to panic. It was a letter from Ahmed’s school. Owing to the lack of payment, he had been removed from the school’s register. Her twelve year old son, infant daughter and shattered self had some three thousand and twelve rupees left in the bank account and nine hundred and seventy rupees in hand. Out of which, twenty five hundred were to be paid to the motel manager by Monday noon or they were to evacuate the premise.

She emptied her account, paid her due and vacated the motel room honourably since she could not afford it longer.

“Hi sweetie, you're late for dinner. And no, you're not allowed to get me one of those roses from Mansha” She spoke through her antique family phone. Without a hitch, smooth as a wave, she put the phone back without waiting for a reply.

The phone rang again and her heart pounded. Not of fear but of love. As it pumped adrenalin into her excited body, she picked it up. She didn't say hi, nor a hello. Just picked up the phone- intent to just hear her husbands comforting deep voice.

“Hi? Hello? Anyone there?” A rather alien voice perplexed her mind.

“Yes?” She replied after seven seconds of silence.

“Is this Mrs Zuhaib?” The sound continued “If so, I have some news for you regarding your husband”

The next few minutes must have been havoc and hell, an ultimate chaos for her mind.

But only her mind?

Composed, and stable- she walked to the morgue and confirmed the identity of the deceased.

The headline on “The Khabr” read “ ‘We killed them because their fathers killed our children. You slaves of the west must wake up and denounce the Americans or prepare for passionate Resilliance’~ Mullah Khamenai Hanfiah”

Indignantly, she tore that soft sheet of paper and threw it straight into the bin.

Vengeance isn't sweet, not when wreaked by an innocent soul hunting revenge.

Thus, alone, conflicted, lost, shattered, trapped and bound- she finally moved a part of her body: her thumb. A movement that could only been seen happening as a shadow beneath her right pocked.

The widow’s bag bore many things, much too many for its size. A certainty that her sister would get enough reparations to raise her off spring, an incitement with a lead to follow for future widows of the sort and a guaranteed one way ticket to meet her grave-bound husband.

The love shall live on, the hosts shall not- never, like this!

We All Come in Different Shapes and Sizes

We All Come in Different Shapes and Sizes