As narrated by Deeyanah:
I’m speechless for a moment, my mind now running in the overdrive I expected was coming.
I open my mouth, but no words come out.
Daanyaal finally turns to face me, hurt reflecting in his eyes.
“Leave me alone,” he says, his voice barely a whisper.
“Daanyaal…” I say finally.
“Go away Deeyanah,” he says, cutting me off.
He remembers what I had really hoped he wouldn’t..
“Please don’t,” I manage to say, swallowing the lump in my throat.
“Leave again. Break your promise again.”
His words slowly tear open my heart, ripping it apart until it physically hurts, causing tears to fall from my eyes.
A heavy silence fills the room. We look at each other, crying yet offering each other no words of comfort. 11 months of unsaid words have passed, destroying the good relationship we once had.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper, covering my face with my hands.
But sorry is not going to say unsaid words. Sorry is not going to fix broken promises. Sorry is not going to change our unenviable fate. Sorry is not going to mend our broken relationship. Sorry is not going to take Daanyaal out of hospital. Sorry is not going to grant forgiveness.
Sorry is not going to change anything, simply because it is not enough.
“Why did you leave?” he asks.
“I left because I was a coward,” I say, hating the fresh sting of tears in my eyes.
“A coward of what? What were you afraid of?”
I lift my head at his unexpected questions.
“What do you mean?” I ask softly.
“You left, didn’t you?”
I nod, not meeting his gaze.
“So what made you leave?”
“Everything happening at home,” I say, uncertainly.
“Well, what is happening at home?” he asks.
I frown, thinking carefully before asking my next question.
“Daanyaal, how much do you remember?” I ask.
“Whatever I told you when I woke up and now this. All I know is you left, you left me. I don’t why, and I want to know why,” he replies.
“So, you still don’t remember what lead to all.. all this?” I ask wiping my eyes then gesturing to him on the hospital bed.
“No, I don’t,” he says.
A sigh of relief escapes my mouth. But the relief is soon washed away when I realize that he still doesn’t know the truth, because not telling someone the truth can be the biggest relief, but at the same time, the biggest guilt.
“It’s driving me insane Deeyanah,” he says, his voiced laced with frustration. “What aren’t you’ll telling me? Why am I even here? Why did you leave? Why has my mother not even visited me yet?”
I take his hand in mine, my heart aching for him.
“Listen to me,” I start, but again he cuts me off.
“No, Deeyanah, I don’t want to listen to you!” he says, distress clear on his still slightly bruised face. “I don’t want to listen to you because you’re not going not tell me what I want to hear.”
“What do you want to hear, Daanyaal?” I ask, sighing.
He’s silent for a bit, probably thinking.
“I want to know who I am,” he says eventually.
I frowning, not quite understanding what he means.
“Well…. you’re my brother,” I say, unsure of how to answer his question.
“Are you my only sibling?”
“No,” I reply, hesitantly. “I have a twin.”
“That’s cool. Is she annoying as you?” he asks, smiling slightly.
“No, she’s as strong as you,” I reply, my own lips lifting a little as my mind wonders about Dayyanah.
“Are both our parent alive?”
Though I wish Paapa wasn’t.
“Are they cool?”
“Well, you had to be in bed at 8:00 every night sooo…”
Silence falls again, Daanyaal deep in thought.
“Why am I here?” he asks after a while.
“You asked me that yesterday,” I reply. “And I told you.”
“You said because I need to be. That’s not an answer.”
I involuntarily push back his cuticles, still holding onto his cold hand… the one with the drip attached to it.
“If you be strong and get better quickly, as soon as you come out of hospital, I’ll tell you,” I say finally.
“Can you bring our mum when you come tomorrow?” he asks.
And once again, his words hit my heart.
Don’t feel. Don’t feel. Don’t feel.
Think about something else.
How do I tell him no? Where and when will I get the courage to tell him the truth.
“I’ll see,” I lie, forcing myself not to dwell on it.
And then it’s quiet again.
“Is it normal to get so little visitors when you’re in hospital?” he asks suddenly.
“Urrm.. I don’t know…” I say softly. “I’ve never been in hospital.”
“You didn’t have to go to hospital for that?” he asks, pointing towards a long scar along the elbow I leaned on.
“Nope,” I reply frowning slightly.
“That was just from a small scratch along the corner of a table. Don’t know how come it even left a scar,” I explain honestly.
“Was it sore?”
“Not really.. I don’t think so,” I reply, smiling.
“Is the one on my forehead going to stay forever too?”
The way he asks this question makes me realize that although he is 12, after waking up from the coma, he has been speaking much like a younger child. He might need speech therapy, too.
“Probably,” I reply. “Does it hurt?”
“Naah, it doesn’t,” he says, rubbing it slowly. “But it looks ugly. I hope it goes away.”
“It’s not ugly,” I say, much too quickly. “Scars aren’t ugly.”
“You’re just saying that to make me feel better,” he mumbles.
“Do you like things that show achievements and accomplishments?” I ask him.
“What do you mean? Like what?”
“Like trophies, for example.”
He frowns, probably searching his memory.
“Yeah, those are cool,” he eventually replies.
“Well that’s your trophy for accomplishing life’s hardships successfully. You’ve got yours before me, too. How cool is that?” I say smiling at him.
“Well this is the ugliest trophy I’ve got, if I’ve even ever got trophies in my life!” he says grumpily, but smiling nonetheless.