Dawn in Srinagar, misty apple-scented air, time rolled into the endless stretches of a grieving Dal lake and I am the 'desi' with 'phoren' Zdenka walking along the lake as lovely things start to become visible in the sensual yawn of daylight stretching its arms to cover the mournful Zabarwan hills in the distance. We are fully available to the morning's extraordinary ceremony- the enticing rustle of golden Chinar leaves as they fall from the sky, the careful warble of fearful birds and the drunken stupor of exotic flowers- and then we see her. HER. Was it the sunlight or just the chaos of her subtle smile? Was it the shadow's shade or the golden inscription of a love line on her dainty palm? Was it her light covering my eyes with the smoke of a thousand cathedrals? I felt I was entering a room of the sun where sunflowers stretched their arms like pleading prayers. She was so beautiful, almost mythic as if the moon had lifted her off the earth and placed her on that dainty boat. One look into her eyes made me wish for another poem, another poem for the woman I saw blossoming in her, another poem that would make my heart sing, another poem that would bring me alive. The poem just stuck in my throat. Words would not do justice to her. She kept looking at me. I kept looking at her. Kashmir was bleeding in my heart. Kashmir was blazing in her eyes. We were walking on burning walkways. We wanted to smile but the smile froze in our eyes. All of a sudden words seemed so overrated! All of a sudden words were not enough! I just wanted to go down on my knees and cry. I wanted to hold her close to my heart and tell her that I was sorry. I was sorry that her world was bleeding to death. I was sorry that the air between us was so deathly cold. I wanted to tell her, "anyone who truly loves, always comes back. I will always love you. I will always come back."
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