# The Forgotten Name of Love – Chapter 2
When he regained consciousness the world appeared shrunk and hazy through his eyelashes. A red and blue light was flowing through numerous uniformed men walking all over. At the far end where the oblate sky met the oblate skyline, he saw a hazy crane with a water dripping car in its arms. He tried to look more closely. But a seething pain started in his eyelids when he tried to pull them apart. Soon he started feeling a pain in his chest, back, thighs and hands. He wanted to raise himself up, but he sensed it would be a useless and painful exercise. So, he lay there still and on his stomach with his limbs spread out, his clothes wet and cold. And as he lay there, he tried to think. But he wasn’t able to focus his mind on a single thought. There were far too many pictures floating in his billowing brain.
A few moments later he heard footsteps approaching him. He tried to bend his eyes to see who it was. But he couldn’t; the pain was too dominating. He could only see two shining black boots. When they had come sufficiently closer, they stopped.
“Hi! I am with the local police. What’s your name?” The officer said squatting on the ground. The black shining boots belonged to him.
It took him a few seconds for the question to sink in. And a few more for him to recall it’s answer. What was it? Haroon? Yes, Haroon. That’s it. He said his name surprisingly aloud. And precisely at that moment it all fell into a proper sequence. The entire evening came flooding in front of his eyes- the art show, the cryptographic flirting, the drive, the old man who came out of nowhere and the final plunging of the car into the freezing water. It was now all clear like daylight. The only problem was the accompanying thought that came with this vivid recollection. Where was she? As far and as wide as he could see, she wasn’t anywhere. Was she alive? What was her name? Suddenly, it hit him like a blunt knife- he did not even know her name.
“Is she alive?” he stammered raising his head.
“Who?” The officer asked without lifting his head from the pad on which he was scribbling something.
He wanted to ask him where the beautiful lady, who sat with him in the car when the mishap happened, was. But that would be too long a sentence requiring a lot of pain. So he tried a shorter alternative. “She was in the car with me.”
The officer raised his head, settled the cap sideways, looked into Haroon’s eyes and said, “We found no one else in the car. We carried out the procedural searching of the entire river. Found no body.”
Haroon wanted to tell him that there must have been some mistake somewhere. She couldn’t just disappear. He wanted to beg them to search more meticulously. But before he could utter a single word they plucked him up from the ground and placed him on a stretcher. The stretcher was then put quickly on a van which started rolling like a wind.
An entire day had passed when he opened his eyes. He saw the white hospital walls, flowers on the table, the blue striped curtains and the spinning fan, but all he could think of was her face. Haroon closed his eyes. What had become of her? Had she crawled out somewhere? Had she been washed away to the sea? Only that the river was very shallow at the Long Beach Bridge. And it was even very slow, being in its last stages of maturity. So it would be very improbable for that to happen. He tried to remember what had happened after the plunge. But he could only remember moving his limbs against the water. The water was as cold as winter and as hard as a stone. And this image seemed to cover the rest of his memory.
He was busy in his thoughts when he saw his friend, Mash, walk in. Haroon tried to force a faint outline of smile on his face. His friend was carrying a bunch of flowers.
“So, how was your day?” Mash said as he changed the flowers in the vase.
“Blinked it away!” Haroon said in a very slow, weak and low voice.
“Yesterday you asked me to look up for someone. I checked the gallery records. The lady who had checked out with you from the exhibition was one ‘Felicia Taylor’. After a little digging, it turns out that she was a reporter with ‘The Global Daily”. I found out her residence and went there. She hasn’t been home since two days.”
“They must be very worried.” Haroon said sadly. He seemed to be lost in some thought.
“Who?” asked Mash.
“Her family members.”
“Well, she doesn’t have any. Not even close relatives. Even the neighbors didn’t know her very well. Apparently she moved to this town just a few months ago. Her husband died of cancer a year ago, according to one of my friends at ‘The Global Daily’.”
“No one’s looking for her?” said Haroon in a voice as surprised as himself.
“No one.” said Mash. It was so direct a reply and so absolute that it seemed to leave no doubts in the listener’s mind.
Haroon looked at Mash with eyes that seemed to be swelling with pieces of gratitude. The fact that very few people were affected by this mishap, gave Haroon a feeling of dispersion of some of his inconvenient thoughts. Of course, he was too embarrassed to feel relieved about this.
“By the way, thank you.” Haroon said gratefully, “for the flowers.”
Mash knew that it wasn’t just the flowers he was thanking for. The idea of having minimum people affected by this unfortunate mishap was almost a sweet thought for his friend. He knew it. He also knew that if it this lady had a family, the guilt on his friend’s shoulders would have multiplied proportionally. Of course, it was useless explaining to his friend that it wasn’t his fault, without making him guiltier about it. And as far as he knew him, guilt was a disease that ate his friend inside out. And that meant that he shouldn’t be telling his friend the last piece of information about this lady. Of course, he was sure. He shouldn’t. His friend needs rest.
He looked at Haroon and smiled. Haroon was settling his pillow. Yes, he wouldn’t tell him that last piece of the picture. It wasn’t something very important or any way related to where this lady might have disappeared. But then, it would trouble his friend a little. So it was better that he would keep this to himself.
“What are you thinking?” It was Haroon. He was looking at him.
Mash was visibly startled. “Nothing! Just some stuff!” Mash said, trying to sound casual. But he wasn’t able to.
“Is there anything else, you want to tell me?” Haroon said getting a minute clue from his friend’s voice.
“Nothing at all!” Mash said. “Anyways I got to go. Will come around in the eve. Call me if you need anything.” Mash then smiled and went out of the room.
As he came out of the hospital and lit a cigarette, the trying thoughts came back once more. And this time it was from a different perspective. This is what life is all about. To learn and grow. If he hides this last fact from Haroon, it would be like taking away his chance to learn from life. And isn’t life all about facing what comes around in our pockets. He extinguished his cigarette and threw it away.
The next moment he was standing in front of his friend.
“Forgot something?” Haroon was surprised.
“Well, not actually.” Mash said. He didn’t know where to start.
“Yes?” Haroon said pushing away the pause.
“So, I find out her address and go to her residence. I knock but no one opens it. Only, I hear a faint sob coming from inside. I strike the latch a few times but still no answer. The sobs, meanwhile, grow louder. I call out the lady’s name and ask if she is inside. And at that I hear footsteps approaching the door, and with every footstep the sob getting closer. When the door opens she is still sobbing, it seems. Her eyes are swollen being soaked in tears, I guess. There are dried marks of trickling drops on her cheek. Her hair is all undone. I ask her whether Felicia Taylor is inside or not. She tells me in a very soft voice that she isn’t home, suppressing her sobs as she speaks. She then asks me breaking into sobs, “Do you know where she is? I haven’t seen her since two days.” I reply in the negative and ask her whether anyone else was in the house. She informs that she was alone. I see a deep fear and longing running through her face when she says this. I ask her if she would like to call any friend or relative to which she says that she has no friends or relatives. Her voice was deep and full of sorrow. She keeps sobbing and I can almost visualize that her throat must now be dry with the sobs. It wasn’t hard to guess from what I saw, that she had been crying since yesterday night. And she seemed so frightened. She was the lady’s six years old daughter.”
P.S. For ‘The Forgotten Name of Love- 1’ or recap click here The Chess Of Eyes