'walk' is the third chapter of Distances, and the continuation of Friends. make sure you read Friends before reading 'walk.'
From that day onwards Altan and Aylin got unusually close to Ahmet. Altan getting close to him was understandable because he was his childhood friend and his neighbor, but the same couldn’t be said about Aylin. The three of them began to walk back home together.
From then on, I never saw Altan with any of his punks. All he was with was just Ahmet, Aylin, and me.
We would play badminton in the playground together at lunchtime. Ahmet and Aylin were good at badminton, but I was not, and neither was Altan.
“C’mon bro, you need to try harder.” Ahmet used to say to Altan all the time. On the other hand, Aylin was calm. She would smile watching Ahmet teasing Altan and sometimes Altan would smile too.
Every Sunday, we would walk out to the market of Izmir together. We would eat, and roam around the market and parks. We used to do whatever we were able to do. Altan would always force us to eat his favorite guava-flavored ice cream, which we all hated.
“There is nothing special in Guava, why do you eat it?” I asked Altan once.
“I don’t know, i just like it.” he used to say.
it was Altan who would pay mostly. We had fun together, and gradually, I came to like him. those walks played a role in recognition that Altan seemed to be a normal boy like I was. He was not as careless as I used to think of him. Those walks still have their influence on me.
Time was passing fast. After our farewell, we would be at different places, in different colleges with different friends. But it was the first time, I was going to miss someone other than Aylin.
I had never felt this feeling of friendship before, but now I was. I was feeling something different, something unusual, and something strange. Even though I didn’t want to give up Aylin, but my heart was at peace for some reason. I didn’t feel the same uncertainty and desperation as I used to feel before, though she used to walk with Ahmet the most.
Ah! Her deep, dark-black eyes, her smile with those perfectly lined up moon-lighted teeth. But I couldn’t understand why they treated Ahmet the way they did.
One day, while Altan and Ahmet were flying a kite in a park, Aylin and I were sitting side-by-side, talking.
“Look how small is a human being.” She then paused for some seconds looking at Ahmet, and then proceeded, “A human being is nothing.”
“Why? What makes you think so?”
“Ahmet is at the last stage of the tumor. I doubt if he could even make it to the graduation ceremony.”
“What!” I exclaimed with total shock. “How do you know?”
“His mother is a friend of my mother’s. She told me that they had advised him to spend his last days entirely with his family, but he had refused. I knew that he was close to Altan, so I told him all this; to convince Ahmet.”
“Altan talked to him, but Ahmet had his reasons. He wants to die as everybody dies. He thinks if he stays at home, her mother would die a thousand times on seeing him. So, he stays with his family in the most feasible way.”
And this was the unusually everyone’s favorite, trying to live his entire life in some days.
“Act as you used to. Don’t over-emphasize.” Aylin said looking at me when Altan and Ahmet walked to us. we too stood up and began moving.
“So, what do you do the most time at home?” I asked Ahmet.
“I pray so that Allah; who is Ghafur (Forgiver) would forgive me for whatever sins I have committed.”
So, this was his milestone. You know when a man hears that he just has, say one month to live, they don’t live that month, they rush. They want to do everything in that month. They want to wrap up decades in that month, but meanwhile, they forget the world itself they are doing this for.
You know, the difference between a cart and a train is that via train you reach your destiny fast, and via cart, you enjoy every bit of your journey. An enjoyable day is better than a rushed year.
Ahmet was enjoying this world by processing slow and having a milestone that needs not to rush. He just wanted to die a normal death, repenting every day; believing that due to this the life after death for him was going to be as beautiful as imagined by no mind. He was happy with both his life and his death. He was satisfied and what does a man need more than that?
I thought about myself. Look! Death is sudden, I can die before him, but I have never repented for the sins I have committed. I was not going to have a beautiful death like him. That day shocked me from my core, and I said to myself, ‘How small is a human being. A human being is nothing.”
“Do you guys pray? Five times a day!” He asked.
“No. but from now on I will,” I said directly. Altan was a bit hesitant to say no, but he repeated my words and Aylin too.
“So, I guess death is going to be a reward for all of us then.” He said and in a split second fell, backward.
End of chapter 3; walk, Read chapter 4 HERE
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Written by Waqar Farooq
Edited by Ayaan Ashraf
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