Fiction Friday

Awakening, Spiritual. (not a fiction)

I was a third year resident at the hospital when I started having uneasy thoughts about my father. He was in India and I was in St. Louis MO. I would spend time praying for his health and would get some solace through that. And whenever I received letters from home, there was no mention about health issues at all. He sounded happy and busy as usual.

On the 14th of March 1974 I was in a meeting with the department and came out to grab a glass of water. Alice the secretary said, “Dr. Ali Western Union wants to talk to you. They have been on line for a few minutes”. I felt like my legs had turned to granite and concrete. I knew that I wouldn’t be hearing anything good. My heart kept a rhythm of “My father, my abba, please don’t let me hear anything bad about my abba.” Why would Western Union want to talk to me? My heart beating at a horrible rate, I walked into my office and picked up the phone and in a weak whisper I said “Hello?”

“Dr. Ali, I am sorry I have some bad news for you. We have a telegram from your sibling in India. It reads, ‘Our father passed away early this morning.’ I sat at my desk stunned in disbelief. “NO,” I screamed. “It cannot be. I just received a letter from him yesterday to congratulate my daughter’s birthday. When was this telegram sent?” “It is dated March 15th”, he replied. “Well then it cannot be true. It is only the 14th here. There is some mistake somewhere. My father was healthy.”

“Dr. Ali, I am really sorry for your loss, the date in India is already the 15th”. I apologize for this news, but it is the truth. The telegram is signed by someone named Atiah. Do you recognize the name?” In a weak voice I said, “She is my younger sister”. The guy was so kind. He wanted to know if he could call someone for me, to help me.

This was the reason why I had such premonition and unease for so many weeks. I have always had these feelings whenever things are supposed to go awry. But this was so bad and so untimely and so consuming even for the way I feel with premonitions usually.

It was the worst of times for me. I had no one in this country to reach out to. Everyone was in India, and I was so alone in a country where people looked at me as a foreigner and didn’t have much to do with me. The Niagara of my tears kept me drowned in grief. I called my mother, and it took many hours before the call could be connected. What grief and sorrow in her heart there was, when she said, “My daughter, the crown from my head has now fallen to the ground.”
And then something profound happened. I was at home a couple of weekends later, and trying to put my baby to sleep in my arms. My tears were easy on my cheeks, and suddenly I saw that the old fake Fichus plant in the corner near me, swayed. The leaves were rustling. Everything was quiet at home, no air and no windows were open. I kept staring at that plant. And suddenly the entire room was filled with a fragrance that I cannot describe. A million bottles of Arabian perfumes couldn’t compare to the fragrance I felt all around me. I started sobbing, because I knew that my father had come to touch me, and tell me to have strength and courage. When I went home to visit my mother, the same fragrance overpowered me in one of the verandas where I sat with my mother one day. When I asked if she was able to smell the fragrance at all, she said “NO, not at all!”

It has been so many years, but I still feel him through the truly heavenly fragrance every so often. I have traveled all over the world and have purchased the most expensive perfumes, but none can match what I sense and feel when my father visits me.

I am sorry this post is so long and wordy.

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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16 Responses to Fiction Friday

  1. It was the holy fragrance sign of the presence of your father, always present near you,Zakiah . What a wonderful tribute for your father !
    Love ❤

    • Zakiah says:

      Dear Michel,
      Thank you for understanding. I knew instantly that it was my father who had come to lay a hand on my heart. What else could it have been.? It has been so many years, and I still sometimes feel him around me. I am now, older than my father when he passed away. He was a great man.
      Love, ❤

  2. slmret says:

    This is a wonderful story of the bond between you and your father. May he come back to visit you again! Very touching, and worth the read (never apologize for the length of your posts!). Thank you for sharing it.

    I’ve had similar experiences, some with my mother, who somehow knew my errands while she was in the last couple of weeks of life although I had not told her where I was going, but also with other relatives. My cousin fell in his yard and hit his head — I had a vivid dream within a couple of days of that happening. Most recently, I was worried about when I was to see the dentist again –thought it was in May, although I’d just seen her in March. It turned out that my previous dentist died about the same time as my worries — I think he paid me a visit.

    • Zakiah says:

      Since I wrote this, I have had so many people say similar things about their own experiences. Until now I had just kept it bottled up. I am glad I got brave enough to put to words my feelings. Thank you Janet for sharing your own experiences with me.

  3. This has me crying.
    I believe those who love us do come and visit us to let us know that they still care about us! How wonderful that your dear father continues to let you know how important you are to him…and I imagine he wants you to know that he is doing fine and that you CAN be strong. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this with us, SweetZ! It touched my heart deeply tonight and made me smile! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    • Zakiah says:

      Thanks dear Carolyn. You are right. He was a soft spoken person, a gentle man. He was a great person and molded so many lives through his work of teaching. He and I, we kind of understood each other, even though we were not very close to each other. My siblings had the upper hand always, but father, towards the end, realized things about me, that now I feel so good about. Thank you for a lovely comment.

  4. sunsetdragon says:

    Isotherms have said this has brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart to hear of th love a Father has for a daughter, to come back from his place of rest to comfort her. Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory,

  5. Oh = this is so beautiful and touching. Thank you for sharing this story.

    • Zakiah says:

      I am glad you had time to stop by and read this Matt. I debated a lot before I actually wrote this. Facebook has a Friday Fiction program where some of us write. I took the challenge for the prompt and decided to write about father. I am glad I did.

  6. rudyhou says:

    this is beautiful, zakiah. there are many local stories here, where people could actually smell a fragrance when encountered a spirit. and sometimes, the fragrance would linger for days. i believe in these stories. yes, i do think your father may have watched over you and paid a visit. you must be his favorite.

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