“Karim, this is not right. It’s almost like you’re giving up on your life.” He remembered the anger he felt while his mother was talking him into his operation while he was having his lunch in his hospital bed.
“I’m not giving up on life, mom. I’m fighting this cancer, and it won’t get the better of me. I just chose my battle. If I don’t choose this, I would be giving up on my gift.”
“Life is your gift, Karim. God gave it to you.”
Karim was feeling exasperated with his mother constantly bringing God into this.
“And he could take it away.” He was trying his hardest to suppress his anger.
“God is testing you, you just don’t see it.”
His hands clutched his plastic spoon and it almost broke in his hand, as his temper was slowly rising. He did not answer.
“God is merciful and fair, Karim. He wants to see your strength.”
At this, Karim burst into shouts. The spoon in his hand broke, and he found himself throwing his dish across the room.
“Well screw this merciful God! Go pray for him for hell’s sake, and make sure to tell him to leave me the fuck alone!”
His anger was shooting, his voice was rising, and for the first time since his accident he allowed them.
“Where’s fair and merciful here? I just had an accident that almost killed me!” His shouting broke into hysterical laughter. “And this fair God of yours decided his comedy show needed more of my stupid drama. And in comes the cancer.”
His tears were swelling in his eyes. But he would not allow them. He would not allow this God make a weakling out of him. He would not prove him right.
“Don’t mention God just because you’re feeling helpless. I’ll get through this, and I’ll laugh in his fucking face when I do.”
His mother was in shock. Her eyes widened, and her mouth opened unable to take in the blasphemy her son was screaming.
“What in God’s name—“ She started, but she suddenly fell silent. And Karim fell silent. And silence became the new mother and son language. The talks were dropped. And the operation was no longer brought into discussion.
The following days were torture for Karim. His hospital room flooded with his father’s criticism and his mother’s crying. And soon all these became noise. He did not for even a second waver from his decision. He was risking his life for the sake of his writing. And it was all right with him. All he wanted was to start with his book. He might not have time enough, so he wanted to use every second to contemplate, and to write. But his parents would not give him that space, or the silence he needed.
In almost a week, Karim could stand up. He had to go through excruciating sessions of physiotherapy, and his legs were slowly regaining function after the accident. But Karen was nowhere to be seen, or heard of.
Karim tried to call her so many times he was almost losing his mind. He was getting worried about her. Whenever he asked his mother, father, or all of the friends who came to visit him about her, they said she was fine. But none of them said a word about why she hasn’t come to see him. None of them told him what on earth could be wrong.
He left her messages, posts on her facebook wall, and tried every conceivable way to reach her, but it was as if she’d disappeared. At first the worry was what took his mind. But later he was frustrated, and angry as he started to remember their conversations just weeks before his accident. And then he figured it out. Karen had finally decided to leave him.
In a few weeks, Karim was discharged from the hospital. He would finally go back to his normal life- or almost. He wanted to look for work. But he remembered he soon had to go through chemotherapy. Writing was all he had left, just like it had always been.
While he was packing his things from his hospital room he fell upon so many of his belongings that reminded him of Karen, and his mind was almost nearing insanity from her desertion. What the hell was she thinking? He went back in his memory to the last few weeks before his accident. He remembered he’d told her she seemed distant lately. And she’d always denied it. He had felt something was wrong, but had decided against believing the feelings he’d had. And when they made love, he would be reminded of the passion they had had, and all insecurity would vanish away. But now? This confirmed all his fears. She had finally, at his darkest hour, decided to cut him loose.
His heart and mind were in complete turmoil, and he fought against the idea of going over to her house after his discharge to tell her he’d never imagined she’d desert him, at least not like this, not when he needed her most, not when she was the only person in the world to bring back his sanity. But he stopped himself. He had far more pressing matter to think about: His cancer, and his book.
As he walked out of the hospital he felt a small, ironical sense of freedom. And he got into the car. His mother got in the driver seat. In silence, she turned the car on. In silence she drove. In silence they sat all through the ride home, and in silence he went inside his room with a million ideas thundering through his racing mind. In silence his mother prepared his food. In silence he lied on his bed, thinking about everything he’d been going through. His accident, Karen, the cancer. He could not bear that outter silence, the more it surrounded him, the more his insanity kicked in. He sat for a long time almost losing his mind. But then his heart raced as he figured out the only solution for it. The only cure.
He got up, closed the door and locked it. He started pacing back and forth in his room, trying to think of how to do it, and what would the easiest way be. And what would happen after it’s all over. What would people think, or say? He sat on his bed, he walked in the room like a mad-man. And suddenly he froze. There’s no point in over-thinking the matter. He would do it, and screw whatever people might think. There was no other way.
He sat on his desk, opened his laptop, stared at the blank page for a minute, and then started writing the first chapter of his book.
The world was outside his window. He ignored his mother’s knocking on the door telling him his food was ready, he ignored his phone constantly ringing. And for the first time in years, he felt himself complete as the pages filled on his screen. Three hours passed and he was smiling. Happiness filled his insides, and a sense of euphoria devoid of all his problems tingled his emotions. Karim was writing. He was fine. He was happy. He stood up to stretch his back. He picked up his phone that he long had put on silence. He looked at the screen. And he was thrown into the world he had deserted for the passing hours.
“9 missed calls. 3 messages.”
All of them were from Karen.
[… to be continued]