KABUL — Life is like an ocean and every sorrow and every bit of happiness is deep within it. But when life moves on, memories never die.
Simran, a 17-year-old girl, who was a first-year college student. She lived in her own world. When everyone gathered around each other, Simran would sit under the pine tree reading her Urdu book. She would think about her father, Omer Hyatt, and his wine bottle. Whenever she would ask him for her allowance, he would hit her on the head with the bottle.
Everyone called Simran “Bird Nest” because she would sit in one place and get lost in her thoughts. She was beautiful enough but never showed her beauty. She was in her father's angry, tight grip and couldn't imagine ever getting out of it.
Since her mother's death, she was entirely paranoid by the prospect of being alone and poor. Her mother had died of cancer three years before. Simran still remembers when she was 14 and her father would come home drunk late at night and beat her mother. Simran would stare at those heartbreaking moments and shed tears, in silence.
As Simran was thinking about her life and walking towards the library, she heard someone crying. It was Farah, the daughter of Sultan Ahmad, a local rich man whose only concern was money.
Simran put her hand on Farah's shoulder and asked why she was crying.
“Who are you and why do you want to know? Go and take care of your own business,” Farah said.
Simran stood hopelessly for a moment as tears made a chain of pearls. She decided to move on and not bother. But as she took two steps forward, she heard Farah call her back. Simran turned her face and glanced at Farah: She saw the face of a friend.
“Will you be my friend; my best friend? Would we share our joy and sorrows?” Farah asked.
Simran didn't think even for a moment. They cried and cuddled each other.
“My mother died in a car accident last year and today is the anniversary,” Farah said. “I don't know where my father is. Probably busy in a business meeting somewhere. Since my mother died I understand life is very ugly but it shows its ugliness in a very beautiful way.”
“Yes, but I haven't seen its beauty yet,” Simran said. “When I opened my eyes in this world I got lost in the fights between my parents. And since my mother's death, I've been stumbling along a road that is dark and lonely.”
They talked about their troubles as they reached the main gate of the college.
“It's true that our destination is different but our path is the same. As best friends we will prove to the world that life is really beautiful,” Farah said.
Farah asked how Simran got home. Simran said by bus. Farah insisted to take her in her car and Simran couldn't say no. They drove passed grand buildings and got closer to neighborhoods that smelled of wine, poverty, fear, and hopelessness.
The car stopped in front of a small house made of raw bricks on a tiny street. Farah knew how ashamed Simran felt but Farah said nothing. Simran's father saw his daughter getting out of the car; as usual he was ready to torture her.
When Simran opened the door she found Omer Hyatt looking like a mountain of sorrow.
“Who was she?” he asked in a tough voice.
“My friend!” Simran answered as she entered the house.
The word “my friend” surprised her father. It was unthinkable that Simran had found a friend. But day by day Simran and Farah's friendship got deeper and and deeper until it transformed into love.
Is that so strange? Love is not just between the opposite sex. You can love anyone anywhere. Love is a color that glazes over everyone.
As time passed, Omer felt sorry for his behavior. He understood that his daughter was like a glowing candle that could lighten up the world. She wanted to follow her dreams.
Farah and Simran completed their degrees together. By then, Simran didn't need to suffer her father's cruelty; she was working part time for a newspaper. She wrote stories that touched people's heart. Farah became an architect and designed buildings for several large companies.
One day Farah was offered to do a project in America. She didn't want to go but Simran insisted. Farah didn't come back until 10 years later. During this time they were in contact but a month before her return, Farah didn't call Simran. She wanted to surprise her friend.
When Farah arrived, the first thing she did was to go to Simran's house .She knocked on the door and after a while Omer opened the door .When he saw Farah, he started to cry like he was burning in regret. Farah thought maybe he was crying because of all the cruel things he had done, so she didn't say anything.
She asked about Simran. “Let's go see her,” he said.
After a long drive they reached a graveyard. Farah was trembling in fear. She felt like a dead body standing in front of the graves. She found herself in front of a grave that had a green flag above it with the words “Friendship never dies”. Farah screamed and lost herself in her own voice.
Simran had died of cancer.
In her memory, Farah built a cancer hospital and named it after Simran.
Farah continued her successful career. I have reached the peak and feel the fragrance of Simran's love and friendship in my success, she thought. She lived alone and knew she could spend her life under the shade of Simran's memories.
Wazhma Frogh is an Afghan woman working in Kabul for women's development projects. Writingn is her hobby.