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Short Story: Shadow

Written by Tayyaba Aziz & Saqib Hussain   After 30 minutes of struggling to focus on work, Moosa finally gave up. He stumbled in hi...

Sunday, 28 August 2016


At a local café on her favorite spot Rafeya could see the beautiful beach. She was staring into the emptiness, slowly sipping on her coffee all alone.  Right then her childhood friend Sabiha taps on her shoulder and startled her.

“Oh you are here!” She says with a warm smile spreading on her face. Her friend who was sharp looking, smartly dressed tall girl, replied, “I’m here but where are you my darlin’?”
Rafeya passed a sheepish smile and continued gazing at the beautiful site outside the window as if it wasn’t enough to take it all in once glance. Thinking if she came prepared for the persuasion that was about to come up. For a moment they just sat there breathing in all that nature has to offer. As if lost in the sound of the waves and the frequent distant sounds of seagulls and the feel of the continuous cool breeze kissing their cheeks. 

Sabiha who was now staring at Rafeya, breaks the silence, “I’ll be straight to the point, girl”, then she bangs her palms on the table yelling, “ARE YOU INSANE?!”
People from other tables stopped and stared. Sabiha who didn’t seem to care, went on “this was your dream! Girl what is wrong with you? Isn’t this how we always defined our freedom?”
Rafeya looked up at her friend but before she could say a word, Sabiha continues “Freedom was never a stupid escape or a need to keep going, freedom for us was just freedom. You would regret your decision of giving up on your dreams for others.”
Her friend pause mid sentence as Refeya’s expressions turned from contentment to deep pensive one. As if she is far away, redoing all the mathematics to reach a sane decision. Busy in constant verification alongside, absorbing this new perspective shown to her.
Rafeya could feel her friend’s eyes on her face waiting on a response. She pulled out a glass jar from her purse and placed it on the table. The jar had a beautiful butterfly inside it, fluting and struggling to come out.
 “What is that? And why is it in your purse?!” Saibiha gasped.

Rafeya speaks up for the first time with the voice unusually calm, “Sabi, Define the word freedom for this butterfly. Tell me she doesn’t think of it anything other than getting out of this jar. Tell me her dream of escaping the jar is less important than the gardens and the flowers right now? ”
Sabiha just sit there dumbfounded. Rafeya went on with a Mona Lisa smile set on her face now “yes we had dreams larger than life but they are far less than my kids and my spouse now. My definition of the word changed. My family is my freedom, the significant dream and purpose that defines me.”
Sabiha who was now more sad than relaxed, faked a smile and looked away. Rafeya moved forward and place her hand on her friend’s and whispered “I can’t come with you now but I will always be here to support you. You go and live it up for both of us, Sweetheart”

Sabi smiled at her friend and pulled the glass jar towards her. She opened the jar and they looked at the butterfly flutter away. They sat there in silence which was more comfortable than ever before. Letting themselves be a part of that breathtaking sight of the sea.