Zain and Zoe’s innocent and pure love story is full of cherished memories, infinite hope, and an unbroken promise that brings them back together. A girl was standing in the silence under the magical sky on a starry night, with her eyes having millions of memories and flashbacks.
The darkness and depth of the night were soothing the souls with its spell-binding silence. The pale crescent moon shone like a silvery claw in the night sky. A group of stars with lazy eyes scattered around the moon. The gauze-like clouds were floating in the sky, which seemed to hide the ethereal fairyland of the palace pavilion. The distant sky connected with the earth formed a beautiful scene of heaven and earth. The air was impregnated with the aroma of love and lovers. It turned the world into paradise for all the people whose hearts beat for others.
In that dreamy place, Zain could hear what Zoe wasn’t saying. Zoe had a lot to say, but she never uttered a word. Zoe’s silence had its own language, which only Zain could understand.
“What happened?” Zain purred.
“N-Nothing,” words choked in Zoe’s throat.
Tears were pooled on Zoe’s eyelids. Everybody was waiting for Zoe and searching for her at home, but nobody knew where she could be. The following day, Zoe’s family was leaving the town forever. But she had her heart there and didn’t think of living anywhere else.
Zain knew that whenever Zoe got upset, she went to their secret place where stars meet and greet their presence. The site always took them on a magical journey, and they no more depended on the words. So, he went there and saw Zoe’s bicycle stranding.
Zain and Zoe had been best friends since childhood. They didn’t know when their friendship got coloured in the magical colours of love. They found their love and friendship in each other, but they never expressed it. But their whole day went meaningless when they didn’t see each other. Zoe thought it was merely their affiliation until her family decided to depart from the town permanently. Zain knew that he loved Zoe to his soul, but he never uttered.
“It isn’t the right time yet,” the thought always crossed Zain’s mind whenever he decided to express his love.
Zain’s heart was also downhearted, but he masked his emotions to make Zoe feel lighter. He clutched Zoe’s hand firmly and sat beside her under the starry sky.
I can’t live without you,” Zoe said, her voice laced with a tinge of melancholy.
“But we have to,” Zain replied glumly. “We will never be together ever,” Zoe expressed with the thought chilling her nerves.
“These stars, the moon, the night, our promises, our laughter and our tears will keep us together till the last breath,” Zain said, overwhelmed with a feeling of emptiness.
“I need a hug from you to let you know that my heart is beating for you,” Zoe said, with tears rolling down her cheeks.
And they hugged each other more tightly — it was the best moment.
They spent the whole night with each other, engulfed in each other’s arms in the starry night. The distance was too much in their true love, but they knew it would be bridged. They knew they would miss the morning sights, noon quarrels, evening walks, and night conversations. But it was destined.
Zain and Zoe promised that no matter how far they would be from each other, they would live for one another and meet again at the same place.
“Look at that star, Zoe. It is you. You will shine in my heart the same way. Your love will show me the path,” Zain pointed towards the star that was shining brightest in the sky.
Though it wasn’t easy, the promise to meet again under the same starry sky in the presence of the moon made Zoe’s departure bearable for both.
They both rode their bicycle and left.
Years passed by, Zoe and Zain never contacted each other. Though they lived miles apart, their hearts beat for each other. On Zain’s every birthday, Zoe went to the market to bring a gift for him. Zain also did the same, hoping that he would hand over all the gifts to Zoe when they met. They had piles of letters for each other.
After graduation, Zoe came to that town and went to Zain’s house directly, exhilarated with the anticipation to see Zain after trillions of moments.
She rang the doorbell. It seemed as if her heart would pounce out of her body.
“Who’s there?” a shrilling voice came out of the house.
“Zoe,” she could barely speak her name.
'The man came out. Zoe inquired about Zain, and the man said that Zain’s family had left the house for the last five years. Nobody in the town knew where they had gone. Zoe’s excitement faded away, and a storm of disappointment wrapped Zoe’s heart and mind.
“I will never meet him again,” the idea of not seeing Zain chilled Zoe’s spine.
With no hope, Zoe went to that secret place to inhale the bliss of the moments she spent with Zain there. She was standing in the silence under the starry sky with her eyes having millions of memories and flashbacks. The sky was the same, the stars were glistening, the moon was shining, the night had the same dark wings, Zoe had the same passions. Everything was there, except Zain.
“Zain, you are not here but you are everywhere in me,” Zoe sent out these words into the universe.
Zoe was wiping her tears when she felt Zain’s presence. She turned around and couldn’t believe her eyes. Zain was standing there.
“Zain!” Zoe exclaimed unbelievingly.
They hugged each other as if their bones would crack.
Zain came there every night in the past ten years with the belief that one day Zoe would come. And he pointed towards the most glistening star with a heartily smile on his face. “I told you, she will come one day,” he said.
And their love story became immortal under that starry sky.
(Moosa Saleem is a writer, filmmaker and music composer from Srinagar, J&K. Views expressed are personal and may not necessarily reflect the views of Outlook Magazine)