Every Friday I spend two minutes before the Imam climbs up the pulpit stairs preparing a prayer. I usually find it difficult to condense my wishes in a sentence short enough for the very few number of steps he takes to reach his stand. Some Imams have enough awareness of people’s hearts they usually take pauses along that special, few seconds journey, and others, well, either forget, or cast the whole matter in a hole of nonchalance. Certain Fridays, the Imam is late, and I’d be stranded in a row eagerly honing my senses towards his impending presence, and, I believe because I hadn’t deserved it, he passes me by and flies up there without my notice, and my prayer gets lost to my dismay that way.
Sometimes I concede to dividing my prayers across future Fridays, especially when my heart is heavy with a handful of them, and I steal more seconds and spend them on prioritizing: do I give this to my future wife, to my father, or to me? On a general scheme, my Friday rostrum wishes across the past four years were quite equally divided between my asking for forgiveness, praying for my wife, or for my father’s well being. I’m saying quite equally, because entire months in the middle were won by her, my non-existent, beautiful, graceful and infinitely bashful wife.
Now let me get a bit linguistic. When someone tells you they’re praying for someone, you usually understand that they’re wishing them something upon God, but when they pray for something, it means they’re wishing the very thing upon Him. When I say I’m praying for my wife, it means I’m wishing her existence upon our Creator. You’d think I’m selfish, but you’d be wrong; in my mind, and by some uprooted logic, or a rooted desire, she is good enough the praying ought to be for her (existence), and my (wishes). God hasn’t answered either yet.
Three years ago I visited a Cashmere shop in India and thought about buying a scarf for my future wife. I was too cynical by then for that sudden thought to manifest on spot. A year later, I walked up to a blonde girl in a French mall by the Opera in Paris, and told her to pick a simple cashmere scarf for a lady. She smiled back the challenge and we browsed through the shelves, and I walked away with a very neat package, folding in my dream encounter. I went back home, wrote a very long, heartening post, and bid my gift farewell and left it in the safe confines of own closet, and heart, and let it wait, with me.
Six months went by before that scarf surrendered itself to feminine hands, and submitted itself to the scrutiny of the female mind, yet to the warmth of such a heart. By a sad twist of fate that swore itself in secrecy, however, the endeavor had to roll back, cracking two chests in the process, and the cashmere, disheartened, folded itself together if not in haste, then in frustration, and found itself back in my cold closet, and heart. This time, though, I conversed with it and asked it whether we shall repeat our wait. It replied with a pink mumble, a retreat, and a vow of unsettled, breathless silence. It accused me of precipitation, and asked of me not to sacrifice love’s wisdom for love, ever again. Like a disciple, I heeded the vestal’s words, and left her to her lot.
On the top right shelf of my closet she now rests, at times breathing in diamond shine, originating from a top left chamber in the same closet of broken dreams. Down below, lies a returned gift. Up above, remains one that was especially made, but never presented. The emblem, dear readers, lurches on my writer’s heart, often in painful pangs. Alhamdulilah.
In an effort to untie the intricate knot lodged inside my sigh, I even made a book after the cashmere scarf, and maybe that didn’t heal anything.
But then I ask myself, all those months later, with eyes so eclipsed with fatigue.
Why have my prayers not been answered?
Might be continued,