Short Story Entry by Maria S Haneef, 22, SUNSETS YOU PAINT


To the most beautiful,

One of the things on her bucket list is to witness the sunset from a skyscraper. I didn’t ask her why or even bothered to know the reason behind it. You know I wasn't a nature-lover but, she is. Just like you, she wakes up half an hour before sunrise and sits on the roof to feel the first rays of the golden sun. You would close your eyes, envelop the warmth, and breathe in the fresh air and she does the same. I sit with her just to see the way her eyes twinkle and her lips curl up into a breath-taking smile. I am still not a morning person but I don’t mind waking up along with her just to see her happy. She reminds me so much of you, it's crazy. 

Today as I stood near the glass window of a skyscraper and I wasn't able to look ahead of me but when I heard the excitement in her voice, I couldn’t resist. I slowly opened my eyes and I saw that the sun was about to set. The sunset never looked so deadly to me. Like blood spilt all over the sky.  I remember, upon witnessing sunsets like these, you would say, probably the artist who painted today's sky wanted to experience with distinct colours and that's why the sky is in an unusual colour than the normal blue. 

A tear escaped from my eyes as I watched the sun's disk continue to disappear below the horizon. It would come back the next day as brand new. The sunlight will reach every corner of the earth eventually. But not immediately. Likewise, one day, I hope it will reach my heart too. Till then, I will spend my days in dark and my nights in solitude. The sun will never rise as it did on the days when you were by my side. The sunflowers you planted in our backyard have also given up on living. I didn't water them. I left them in the same state as you left them behind.

I didn't want anything to bloom after you passed away. For the sun may rise and a new day may come but I was still stuck on the same day. The day of your funeral. On that day, I saw the kind of sunset you used to describe in your poems. I believe, on that day, God let you paint the sky.

I have become a victim of time ever since. It seems like time is passing away like sand slipping away from my fist and I have no control. Simultaneously, time is going awfully slow and every moment that I get to live without you is excruciating. Every breath I take is suffocating. Our home doesn’t feel seem like a home ever since you have left. Your paintings on the walls call your name. Remember your favourite picture of us? The sun was setting behind us and we were smiling towards the camera with not a touch of worry about the future. I want those moments back. I want you back. The places where I go without you haunt me. I’d never want to be anywhere if you are not here with me. But I remember your words on the deathbed. You asked me to live. You told me to watch all the sunsets that you were going to miss. You told me to be there for her. For our daughter. And for you, solely for you, I will continue to live. With our daughter, I will continue to witness all the sunsets that you paint.

And to her, I will narrate about how much of a brave and empowering woman her mother was. I will make sure she knows that she has your brown hair and brown eyes. That she carries a sunset of her own too. I will make sure she grows up to become a woman like you. She will be a woman who is always ready for an adventure and she will never be afraid of her heart being broken. 

And when she will live the most precious moments of her life, from her prom to her graduation and until the day she gets married. I will let her know that she will always find me at every fork of her life. I will never let her feel as if she is missing anything without you by her side. It will be harder for me to fill your absence but for you, I will go on.

I am writing this to you, my love, as I write to you every single day. I miss you a little less than tomorrow and little more than yesterday.

 yours truly.

  • Tak Shabnam   10/22/2021 9:53:12 PM

    Beautifully written🌸 Maa sha Allah💞

  • Anum   3/12/2020 1:14:35 AM

    Such a beautiful piece of art 💜 Loved the words.

  • Ayesha    3/11/2020 9:38:31 PM

    Reading this felt like I was watching a sunset 💖 ما شاءَ الله

  • Marhaba   3/11/2020 6:59:37 PM

    MashaAllah beautifully articulated

  • Furqan   3/11/2020 5:50:46 PM

    Very well written. Haven't read something so good in a really long time!

  • Ronnie   3/11/2020 5:00:35 PM

    poignant Maria really pulls on the heart strings ..well done

  • Nabeela Begum   3/11/2020 12:32:14 PM

    Wow, baji, wow. Just....mashallah. I CRIED LITERALLY, it's so beautiful and heartbreaking. Now I'm like, noooo I want it to be continued, I don't want it to be so heartbreaking, but then its realistic and should be the way it is. Some things are beautiful the way they are, and this is so beautiful the way you wrote!

  • Kristian   3/11/2020 10:25:25 AM

    This is amazing, Maria. Thank you so much for your submission!

  • Hajira   3/11/2020 4:40:39 AM

    Such a soul-stirring story. 😭♥️

  • Khullood    3/11/2020 1:19:09 AM

    Wonderful maria, loved it❤️❤️

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"Somebody once told me that I should try to make a difference in the world and not be just another face in the crowd."

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