“As I reached the upper steps of the staircase, I was petrified beyond imagination. As I took a few more steps towards the door, I said meekly, “Ilma? Are you alright, pari?” before opening the door with a creaking sound. And then, I saw her sitting on the bed, facing the window. A faint ray of sunlight was falling on her and it filled the whole room with a touch of calmness even though my mind was rushing with thoughts. Thoughts that mingled with each other, making me feel like a very powerful yet a very powerless person. I was still scared, scared of facing her, scared of looking into her eyes that are an expression of her thoughts. I suddenly felt very weak, difficult to even take a step further.
After standing in the same position, trying to get back the strength, the unexpected happened. She turned her face. The face that once had the glow of the sun with the blossom of a cherry, eyes that told a new story of happiness and joy every day, had turned dull like an autumn tree. A tree that tries to look self-fulfilling even when it is incomplete. She called me saying, ” I was waiting for you, I knew you would come”. This made my heart sink. What if I had not listened to my wife and visited her. Maybe I would have shattered her last expectations too. Maybe I would have given another chance for the world to call me a selfish brother, a brother who couldn’t stand by her younger sister when she was going through the most painful days of her life. Maybe it would have been difficult to live with the heavy weight of that guilt.
But I was happy that she still had expectations from me, even when I had been the worst brother, a brother who left her just because she followed her heart. Even when she had the courage to leave the house at such a young age, just to follow her dreams, to stand up to her expectations, I had failed her. The brother she loved and trusted more than anyone had left her alone.
These thoughts kept me occupied as I moved towards her, taking each step carefully and nervously and sat down beside her. She tightly hugged me and all of a sudden, all my thoughts vanished in the air. Suddenly, the heart felt lighter and the mind felt very calm. It was like someone had thrown a huge bucket of cold water, washing away my guilt, sadness, and anxiety, all at once.
It made me realize how she must have felt when she had sold her first painting, when she had organized her first exhibition, when she had opened her art gallery, when she had received all her awards. Like the guilt of leaving all she had and following her dreams, had finally been lifted. Finally, she was able to prove that her struggles were worth it all.
But I knew that now she needed me, even when she had everything, she needed someone to take care, to make her the perfect cup of coffee like I used to, to get her favorite ice cream like the olden days, to give her all the love and care she had been away from since so many years and help her get back her health. It was a happy moment and a tear of happiness just trickled down my eyes and I immediately knew, there is nothing greater than the power of love and the courage of following your dreams. Everyone has the power to dream but only a few have the courage to get up and work to make those dreams come true.