Chapter 5 – The first year

“Today, she would have been a year old” he whispered to himself. It was past midnight and the there was no light around him as he lay still on the bed. Distant sounds of the city were softly breaking the silence around him. He reached for his phone and held it close to his face letting its bright light pierce his eyes. He stared at the screen, blinking as little as his watery eyes would allow. A lone tear slowly made its way down the side of his face leaving a trial of sorrow. He kept staring at the phone without moving. There was a cool breeze outside, which was making a soft whistling sound as it passed the slightly open window and ran across his room. He had a profound smile on his face and sleep was long gone from him.

He had spent the last year, counting days and trying to come to terms with his fate. He gathered as much information and as many images as he could. He wrote countless words on every surface he owned. He spent his time preparing for the day he would see the tree again. It was growing, and soon it would be beautiful and perfect. There was anger inside him. Anger against those who deceived him and took away the tree from him. There was good in him though, for he had forgiven them. He did not seek vengeance. Instead, he chose to forgo all the torment that had been set on him. He was strong, but not strong enough to be kept away from the tree; and that was an everlasting torment, designed by those who failed to trap him in their webs.

He blinked but his eyes were no longer moist. They were empty, just like the smile he had. He ran a finger across the screen trying to feel her. She looked a lot like him and that always gave a certain comfort to him. He began noticing the breeze and the city noise seemed louder now. “I hope you have the same heart your father has. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, it will guide you and someday you will find your way back home” He whispered again, “I celebrate your first year alone, but I know someday we will celebrate one of your many years together”. He looked at her beautiful picture on the phone one more time and then put the phone against his chest and closed his eyes.

Chapter 4 – The continuing desolation

He stood in the middle of a never ending landscape. Vast flat fields over barren land. All around him, he could see nothing but the drying earth and the scorching sun high up in cloudless skies. The rest of his journey will be through these unforgiving lands. Every day, he will wonder about where he is headed. Every day he will wonder why does he always feel like there is something missing. An endless walk which was more taxing on the mind than on his legs. A weary traveler he has become, yet he cannot turn back. For as he moves forward, the ground behind him is no more. The sands of time devour his footsteps. The path he walks is only known and remembered by himself.

There are many things one cannot hold on to for a life time. Regret is one of these things. But what sort of regret is warranted? I ask this questions from myself often. Should you really hold yourself responsible for the actions of others? Should you continue to regret and continue to blame yourself for the unfortunate outcomes made possible by others through actions you could not control? At what point do you accept the reality and try to overcome everything that put you in a state of constant regret? A continuing desolation consumes oneself slowly. Perhaps the most unfortunate lesson I have learnt is, that only those who have a clear conscious are the ones who are affected by this desolation. The latter have a plethora of justifications for their actions, most of which are illusions behind which they hide while deflecting all responsibility and blame.

What is regret anyway? Especially when we are told to believe in destiny. I feel constant pain, constant hurt and constant desolation because of being unable to hold you while those who forced this, hide behind their illusions. This will always be my burden to carry. The other day, I came across a passage in a book. To quote it; “Destiny, I feel is also a relationship – a play between divine grace and willful self-effort. Half of it you have no control over, half of it is absolutely in your hands and your actions will show measurable consequences . . . ” I have done everything I can for you and will always be willing to do more yet I have no control over a lot of things. This is why, I leave you and your future in the hands of our Maker.

Chapter 2 – The delinquent father

It was the twenty second day of March. The year was 2019. He woke up with a strange feeling. His world was colourless and he lay in his bed, trying to gather his thoughts. He did not have much to look forward too. Lately, he had not been interested in anything at all. He lay there quietly, soaked in his anhedonia. He did not want to do anything or see anyone today or for a long long time. He wondered what was different about today though. Alien emotions and discomforting anxiety was taking over him. While he did always feel like withdrawing from everything, something unusual was brewing inside him. He sat up and tried to shake it away. Like every day, he began pushing himself to getting dressed and going to work.

He had barely gotten up when he received a message. A message that shook his entire world and he almost collapsed. Frozen and broken, he tried to control himself. He held his face in his hands as he lay lifeless again. A cold darkness overcame him. Every feeling in his physical existence was gone. All he could feel was being cast into an endless abyss with nothing to break his fall.  There was a light far away in the darkness around him. A light he could not reach. A light he had to let go. What was the message? He repeated the words to himself while his tears burned against his skin, cascading down slowly. He had just become a father to a beautiful baby girl. A daughter he could not see or meet.

If he wanted to, he could fight for it. Fight against those who stood between him and his daughter. He let himself suffer. He became the delinquent father. He told himself, that no matter what they did to him, no matter what she did to him . . . He will not separate the child from her mother. Even if that meant never being able to see his own daughter. This was the most painful decision he had ever had to take. Imagine giving up your rights for the people who caused so much pain for you and robbed you. For him, it seemed selfish to fight for his right to be a part of his daughters life if it was going to make her life harder.

He has not been able to sleep properly yet and may never be able to. Whatever you will be told and taught, I can only imagine. You will only hear slander about your father. They will instill hatred inside your heart for him. But he passes his days knowing that there is a God above. He passes his days knowing that his blood runs in your veins.

Chapter 1 – The year of storms

It was a quite night. The trees were still under the night sky, as if afraid to make a noise. The ground was silent and there were no stars above. Just a lonely moon, behind the dark clouds peeking down. He sat quietly on the stairs of his porch, as if behind a curtain which drowned all the noise around him. He felt like he was alone, with only the silence to keep him company. It seemed as if time had stopped and everything he cared for no longer mattered. He sat there, staring into the endless night and letting every thought his mind ever carried scream inside his head, for no amount of pain could intimidate him now. In his loss, his heart started to turn into stone as he let his thoughts carry him into a hopeless dream. 

Life is always full of impediments and difficulties. For, him the past year was much like a never ending storm. A constant, relentless onslaught of difficulties. Of all these troubles, the one that really took a toll on him was his failed marriage. He had been lied to, deceived, used and threatened. But the disintegration of the abusive marriage was not what brought him down. The slandering and constant black mailing was not what he feared either. He endured all these storms until this very night. He gazed at the peeking moon and wondered if he will ever see his child. He could fight against everyone and everything to get that chance. But just because he could, he thought deeply and questioned, should he?

In many societies and cultures, men lose so much when a marriage ends. I’m talking about the good men, who are honest, hardworking, sincere and who go out of their way to make things work. I’m talking about those who meet people who take advantage of their honesty and their sincerity. I’m talking about those gentle souls, who repeatedly forgive even after being hurt in every possible way. In the end – they rarely find support. They are left alone, abandoned and they lose material things as well as their mental well-being. They are seen as weak if they try to reach out. They are just expected to bear all the burdens even in death . . . Why?

He was being manipulated and being drained in every possible way. He held against everything. He waded through continuous waves of relentless abuse. But the day they tried to use his unborn child as a bargaining chip . . . he broke. He broke in a way not many of us can imagine. He stopped caring for everything. He let them take whatever they wanted but he finally decided to end things. Little did he know, the storm was just beginning. Till the day she was born, he had to endure a lot more. The very place he sat this silent night, had been a war zone a few hours ago. His house was run over and his family, his home and his life was being threatened by the very same people he used to call his family. How much time does it take to see through the lies and recognize who people truly are? For him, it took over an year . . .