“Sinking” by Maida Sheikh, Lahore

Lahore,Love and Heartbreak August 18, 2011 10:00


PenTales Pick of the Day- By: Tiffany Colon

Often times being in a relationship, falling in love, can feel like drowning.  This is an analogy that has probably been used often amongst us.  What Sinking does is take that analogy and make it haunting and beautiful.  Find out what makes it all worth it with this piece.

as shared at a PenTales event themed “Love and Heartbreak”

The water crashed around her ears and it was all blue.And it was chlorinated. She kicked up and his worried face glanced at her from the shallow end. Maybe diving into the deep end hadn’t been a great idea.She had been way too confident at her ability to swim. Fck.Drowning was not romantic. Especially when your swimming buddy could not swim. 

It was funny how one of the first thoughts in her head was ‘Ha!So i did forget how to swim!!’  Some how, perhaps it was luck, or maybe it was her sheer desire not to look utterly stupid, she managed to get to the 6 feet mark and thats when she felt his hand around her arm.He yanked her towards himself, worry in his eyes, and admonished her:

‘What the HELL were you thinking?Going into the deep end, no practice in ages, i forgot to swim and you just thought you could get into a pool and remember it all, OH PLEASE, don’t you dare do that to me again, i mean i can’t swim, i can’t save you,WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??Please,please,please don’t do that again…’

As his voice became softer, he pulled her closer to him.At first she struggled but then she lost all control and decided to lose herself in his embrace.He was warm. The water was cool.


Dirt is probably the same as water.

When you’re buried 6 feet below the ground, the dirt crashes against your head. She figured that the same loneliness she felt beneath the water, the man under the ground felt the same. Maybe things were not blue and chlorinated, but the dirt functioned the same way. Except you couldn’t kick up. There was no one to pull anyone out. 

She pulled at her scarf and began to pray. After a while, hot tears and questions to the deceased flowed. Of course there was no reply. There was anger and resentment and she let it pour out. As the anger ebbed, and the resentment was buried away,she felt Peace return slowly. The prayers came to her lips slowly too. She began to brush away old flowers from atop the marble, and used a piece of cloth to clean the tombstone- his name, date of birth, date of death, names of his children, all shined black for a moment before they dried. 

‘I really want to know why you didn’t give me a chance.What did i do wrong…why…what did i ever do to you?’

She sighed and began to walk away. It was all over. 

Days and nights passed, events happened that made the world seem so cruel. Bang bang bang and things died away,people lost lives and their families lost support. She prayed.She tried to pray more, but there was a dead part of her, no matter how hard she tried it was like she was sinking beneath water and then dirt. Thoughts crashed into her brain. So many thoughts- consuming her, eating her. 

She found herself leaning on his shoulder too much and she remembered someone else. She saw another face in his some times. When his lips touched hers she tried to forget it all but wept internally.She felt like cold marble. 


‘I can’t save you if you drown…i can’t swim…’

‘Don’t save me, i really want to drown.’ How could the water be so calm? Terrifyingly calm. 

The sun’s rays beat down on them. She stepped into the deep side, and watched his face. He thought she was bluffing, well, she’d show him. After taking in one last, big, gulp of air she jumped into the deeper end of the pool. She jumped up a little first, put her hands in the air and willed herself to sink. As she descended into the water, everything looked blue.

And she sank.

When he realized she had been in earnest, he tried to reach her somehow. He saw her rise and take mini puffs of air and then make herself sink.His stomach churned. He knew it all- everything was wrong for her.He had always felt her pain burning all around her- it was her aura. Sometimes she’d replace her pain with materials but it was never enough. So she finally decided to sink.

He managed to get to her while still holding on to the edges of the poo.He used his long legs to grab hers. She was still kicking which made him a little more confident.He had an advantage, being bigger and heavier and he managed to pull her to him. Water coughed up her lungs and he held her close.

‘If we have to sink, we’ll sink together, you hear me?’

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