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19 September 2005 @ 01:17 am
Missing Nadir.  
The house was very quiet as evening turned to night. I was quite tired, indeed, and I found my bed made and waiting for me in my room. Well, our room, mine and Nadir's, but he was off at court and wouldn't be back until the morning. He'd been gone for a few days, all ready, and it was always trying, for everyone, when he was summoned. He hated it, there, and I hated what it did to him.

Sometimes we would talk, foolishly, of moving elsewhere...out of Persia, even. To India, perhaps, or Egypt. Sometimes I would joke about moving to England, France...dress up in overlarge costumes and parade myself about, with my face bared. We laughed about such things, often...but quietly. When you live in a country wherein a visible lock of hair can earn you a beating, you learn to jest softly about such things. Not that any such thing had ever happened to me, of course...but the danger was there.

I slid my bare feet beneath the smooth, cool sheets and made myself as comfortably as I could do, without my husband. It was always so empty, without him...cold and lonesome, with nothing but the pillows beside me. I wrapped my arms around my torso sadly and rested my head in the safety of the pillow. Nadir...
 
 
 
Nadir Khan, Darogagreat_booby on September 19th, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC)
This was my fifth night away from home, away from my darling wife, swelling six months pregnant with our first born. I would never forgive the shah if he made me miss the birth of my son, but Rookheeya assured me that he would not, and that if he did, I should simply ask permission to stay behind until it was over. I hoped it wouldn't come to that.

She would no doubt be in bed, all ready, or at least I hoped she was. I had told her not to lose sleep waiting up to see if I would be home before my scheduled time, but I could never be sure that she'd listen. I was very rarely home early and almost always late; I hoped, this time, I'd at least be on time.

I was exhausted but found it difficult to sleep away from my bed, and what was more, away from her warm body and sweet smell. I had grown so accustomed to it over the years, which barely summed up to two, if even that. But we would have been inseperable, if not for this horrid job and all that it portends. If only the shah had no interest in me, and did not constantly call upon me as though I were his grand vizier or personal manservant. Even Darius was allowed more freedom, it seemed, except that he often accompanied me on these trips. But what else did he have to do? We didn't talk much, but having him with me made me feel at least a little more at home.

I asked if he would please make me some tea, as I couldn't yet sleep, and picked up where I'd left off in my book. It wasn't very intetersting, and even if it had been, my mind still would have wandered, no doubt, to her. I pictured her sleeping, her soft, dark hair spiralling out over the pillow, covering it like vines blanketing a rock. She was always so beautiful when she slept, so peaceful and lovely. Thinking about it made my heart beat faster with joy and ache at the same time. How I longed to close my eyes, open them, and find her there, beside me. I would have cried. I would have praised Allah endlessly. I would have kissed her, over and over, and told her that I loved her. Yet I remained alone, staring blankly down at the pages of my book, small droplets of water blurring the writing.

After the tea, of which I could drink only half, I decided that I would at least try to sleep, for I was to be at court very early the next day, and then just after that, I was supposedly going to be allowed to return home. I only hoped that would be true.
Katukatu on September 20th, 2005 04:39 am (UTC)
The night passed without much event, though I did awaken once, due to a mild nightmare. But by morning, I'd forgotten it, and thus I woke up to a pleasant breeze ekeing in through the window. I smiled in the morning sunlight, the sunlight which would soon bring my husband home. I stood without too much trouble, holding my swollen belly as if afraid it would fall off in the excitement of getting to my feet. Moving about was getting more difficult, and I thanked Allah that we had able-bodied servants about the house to help with the chores that I usually took upon myself.

"Mastaneh," I called, as the kitchen welcomed me into its bright warmth, "Get everyone up, would you? I'd like the house to be in good shape for when Nadir gets back."

The head of the help pressed her hands together and bowed at me, before bustling off to waken anyone who was still asleep. Myself, I began doing something light - cooking. Nadir tended to be just on the polite side of ravenous when he arrived home from court, and I always preferred to cook for him, myself.

Soon, the whole house was brimming with activity, the floors being swept, the food being cooked, the rugs being aired out...even the child in my womb was kicking at my stomach; it seemed he was as excited about Nadir's return as I was.
Nadir Khan, Darogagreat_booby on September 20th, 2005 07:38 am (UTC)
I had been pacing back and forth like a caged animal for the better part of three hours. I kept resisting the urge to poke my head through the door, and the sounds I was hearing wasn't making it at all easy. With ever moment that passed, every shriek, I became more and more nervous. Periodically, I fell to my knees and prayed to Allah that my wife and son would both make it through this ordeal safely. I had heard horror stories about young mothers dying in childbirth, sometimes taking the child with them...Oh God, I couldn't bear it.

Then I hear a cry louder and more intense than its predecessors, and there is a flash of red behind my eyes, so vivid that it's almost tangible. And then the cry subsides and gives way to a different kind, more shrill...the baby. My son!

I burst through the door, my worry subsiding, the happiness rising around me like a vapor. I have a son!

But as soon as I see what lies on the bed, I can no longer feel happiness. My wife is dead, and I've never seen so much blood in my life. That is saying something, considering my profession. And the crying has ceased, all is perfectly still. The midwife stands beside the bed, looking down silently at the mess, her apron and hands bloodied, tears in her eyes.

+++

My own cries pull me up from my sleep and into the bright sunlight streaming into my room. I drink it in in and gasp for air, trying to shake off the horrible nightmare. Ever since I learned of Rookheeya's condition I have been plagued with similar dreams, but none quite so horrible as this one.

I wiped the tears from my eyes with the back of my sleeve and got out of bed. I had overslept, and the shah would not likely be happy with me. I hurried to get dressed, not even stopping for my usual cup of morning tea. I hoped I was not too horribly late and that the shah would be merciful, so that I could get back to my wife. I couldn't get the disturbing images out of my head, and I wouldn't be completely comforted until I held her safely in my arms. I couldn't wait to be home.
Katukatu on September 20th, 2005 07:51 am (UTC)
same idea i had XD. you rock.
It only took a few hours to get everything prepared, and soon the house was as spotless and tidy as if the shah himself was coming for a visit, which was a ridiculous thought, indeed. I was humming an old Persian lullaby to myself as my hand absently stroking my waxing belly. My poor feet, despite their aching, were carrying me back and forth throughout the house, so that I might pick at a little something here, dust a little something there...keep myself occupied until my husband's return. The morning was well past, now, and afternoon was making its debut...surely he'd be here at any moment, wouldn't he?

A sudden cramp in my stomach quelled my pacing, and at my sudden cry of pain, Mastaneh and a few others came immediately to convey me to a nearby divan, and proceeded to all but smother me with cushions. Before I knew it, there was a cup of tea in my hands and a blanket over my legs, and I really wanted to exclaim that it was only a little cramp...but I did not.

"Thank you," I did manage to say, as the final cushion was wedged between my head and the backboard of the divan. "Thank you, I'm fine..."

There was a sound at the door, and I'm sure I was held forcibly into the impromptu nest of pillows to keep from leaping to my feet to answer it. One of the servants hurried to attend to what was certainly Nadir, while the rest of them continued fussing over me, despite my vague attempts at discouragement.
(Anonymous) on September 20th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC)
Neat! We have similar ideas about somethings! XD
The meeting had been breif and unstressful, and due to certain...complications (he did not get into specifics, of course, but I had a sneaking suspicion they had largely to do with his wife), the shah had also woken up late, and was not there to meet me. I was so relieved as I stood there in the empty throne room, waiting. For once, I was grateful to that horrible woman for delaying her husband, and I was sure that nothing she ever did would be to my benefit, again.

He sent me away from the palace with instructions to simply stay near, for he didn't yet know when he would call on me, again. It was nothing out of the ordinary, and I was glad that I would not have to report back, immediately, or be sent on some mission on his behalf...probably.

Darius and I arrived home just past one o'clock, a little later than I'd said, but I'm sure Rookheeya would understand. After all, we'd gotten to a later start.

The servants greeted us and took our things, but there was no sign of my wife. A pang of worry peirced my heart, and I was suddenly very afraid for she and the baby.

"Where's my wife?" I asked one of the servants taking my cloak, much more panicked than necesarry.

"She is just in there, master," they replied, gesturing to the room, adjacent to the entryway.

Without stopping to ask if she was all right, I rushed forward, past the clutter of bags and the confusion of servants, to find out for myself.

She was reclining on a divan, being fanned and fussed over, and though she smiled brightly when she saw me, and shooed the servants away, I would have been lying if I'd said that I was completely without worry.

"My darling, are you all right?" I asked, all but falling to her side, and taking her small, sweaty hand in mine.
Katukatu on September 20th, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Neat! We have similar ideas about somethings! XD
"Oh, not you, too," I laughed, as my sweet husband grasped my hand, a concerned look on his handsome face. "I'm fine, love, I don't need to be fussed over. I just had a little cramp, and I'm fine. Now kiss me," I added, and he did so. It felt so nice to be with him again, even if he'd only been gone for a few days.

Nadir gave me a sweet smile when he sat back and pulled himself to his feet. "I missed you," he said, offering his hand to me. I accepted it, and let him tug me into a standing position and put his arms around my ridiculously swollen form. He sent a loving glance at my belly, which was poking him rather prominently in the stomach. "And hello to you, too."

"We're both glad to see you," I said with a broad smile, and the baby chose that moment to give a little kick. Nadir's grip on my arms tightened affectionately, and he gave me a laugh so joyful it was almost disbelieving. He bent down again to claim my mouth with his own, and I laughed into his lips as he did so. What a dear man.

"I made lunch," I said, finally, "If you're hungry..."