بخش 87

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 87

بخش 87

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Kimya

KONYA, DECEMBER 1247

Bold, boisterous, and intelligent, Shams of Tabriz knows a great deal about love. But there is one thing he doesn’t know anything about: the pain of unrequited love.

The evening Desert Rose dressed me, I was full of excitement and an audacity I didn’t know I had in me. The soft rustle of the silk dress against my body, the scent of my perfume, the taste of rose petals on my tongue—it all made me feel awkward, but also unusually brave. Back at home I caught my reflection on a pane of glass. My body was neither rotund nor milky, and my bosom not as ample as I would have liked, but I still thought I looked pretty.

I waited until I was sure everyone in the house had gone to sleep. Then I wrapped myself in a long, thick shawl and tiptoed to Shams’s room.

“Kimya, I wasn’t expecting you,” he said as soon as he opened his door.

“I had to see you,” I said and stepped inside without waiting for him to invite me in. “Could you please close the door?”

Shams looked puzzled, but he did as told.

When we were alone in the room, it took me a few seconds to muster my courage. I turned my back to him, took a deep breath, and then, in one quick move, removed my shawl and slid my robe off. Almost instantly I felt the weight of my husband’s surprised eyes on my back, from my neck down to my feet. Wherever his gaze touched felt warm. But that warmth, whether it was real or imagined in my excitement, was quickly replaced by the coldness of the silence that descended upon the room. My chest rising and falling with apprehension, I stood in front of Shams as naked and inviting as the houris in paradise are said to be.

In the pregnant silence, we stood listening to the wind outside, howling, raging, and wailing through the city.

“What do you think you are doing?” he asked coldly.

It was quite an effort to find my voice, but I managed to say, “I want you.”

Shams of Tabriz walked a half circle around me and stood right in front of me, forcing me to look him in the eye. My knees buckled beneath me, but I didn’t budge. Instead I took a step toward him and pressed my body against his, squirming ever so slightly, offering him my warmth, the way Desert Rose had taught me. I caressed his chest and whispered soft words of love. I drank in his fragrance as I moved my fingers up and down his muscular back.

As if he had touched a burning stove, Shams jerked away. “You think you want me, you think you do, but all you want is to pamper your bruised ego.”

I put my arms around his neck and kissed him, ever so hard. I pushed my tongue into his mouth and began flicking it back and forth, as I remembered what Desert Rose had told me: “Men love to suck their wives’ tongues, Kimya. They all do.” His lips tasted like blackberries, sweet and sour, but just as quickly as I thought a swirl of pleasure pulled us together, Shams stopped me and pushed me away.

“I am disappointed in you, Kimya,” Shams said. “Now, could you please get out of my room?”

As harsh as his words sounded, not a trace of feeling grazed his face. No anger. Not even the slightest irritation. And I couldn’t tell which hurt me the most: the sharpness of his words or the blankness on his face.

I had never felt so humiliated in my life. I bent down to take my robe, but my hands were trembling so hard I couldn’t hold the slippery, delicate fabric. Instead I grabbed my shawl and wrapped it around myself. Sobbing, gasping, and still half naked, I ran out of the room and away from him, away from this love that I now understood existed only in my imagination.

I never saw Shams again. After that day I never left my room. I spent all my time lying on my bed, lacking not so much the energy as the will to go out. A week passed, then another, and then I stopped counting the days. All strength was drained from my body, ebbing away bit by bit. Only my palms felt alive. They remembered the feel of Shams’s hands and the warmth of his skin.

I never knew that death had a smell. A strong odor, like pickled ginger and broken pine needles, pungent and bitter, but not necessarily bad. I came to know it only when it started to waft around my room, enveloping me like thick, wet fog. I started running a high fever, slipping into delirium. People came to see me. Neighbors and friends. Kerra waited by one side of my bed, her eyes swollen, her face ashen. Gevher stood on the other side, smiling her soft, dimpled smile.

“Goddamn that heretic,” said Safiya. “This poor girl has fallen sick of heartbreak. All because of him!”

I tried to force a sound, but it didn’t make it past my throat.

“How can you say such things? Is he God?” Kerra said, trying to help. “How can you attribute such powers to a mortal man?”

But they didn’t listen to Kerra, and I was in no state to convince anyone of anything. In any case, I soon realized that whatever I said or didn’t say, the outcome would be much the same. People who didn’t like Shams had found another reason in my illness to hate him, whereas I could not dislike him even if I wanted to.

Before long I drifted into a state of nothingness, where all colors melted into white and all sounds dissolved into a perpetual drone. I could not distinguish people’s faces anymore and could not hear spoken words beyond a distant hum in the background.

I don’t know if Shams of Tabriz ever came to my room to see me. Perhaps he never did. Perhaps he wanted to see me but the women in the room would not let him in. Or perhaps he did come after all, and sat by my bed, played me the ney for hours, held my hand, and prayed for my soul. I’d like to believe that.

Nonetheless, one way or the other, it didn’t matter anymore. I was neither angry nor cross with him. How could I be, when I was flowing in a stream of pure awareness?

There was so much kindness and compassion in God and an explanation for everything. A perfect system of love behind it all. Ten days after I visited Shams’s room clad in silk and perfumed tulles, ten days after I fell ill, I plunged into a river of pure nonexistence. There I swam to my heart’s content, finally sensing that this must be what the deepest reading of the Qur’an feels like—a drop in infinity!

And it was flowing waters that carried me from life to death.

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