Fatima hopped on her horse excitedly and straddled her legs against its sides.
‘You know what I am thinking? We should make this a horse riding competition. I think I will win!’ She giggled excitedly, then gave her horse a gentle kick that propelled her into action.
‘Hian!’
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Umar watched as her hair made love to the wind, the strands fell free once her scar was taken by the wind. They rose and fell with each move; her laughter caressed his ears, sending sweet thrills down her spine. She was so beautiful underneath the reddish rays of the evening sun; she was so beautiful that the weeds in the field paved way for the queen and her golden horse. Fatima was an angel, she was a glorious sight, and Umar felt it was time to tell her the truth.

It was time to share with her the burden. To burn the candle and let the fire melt away the secrets that held them bound. It was time, pour out his soul.

‘Come on Umar, what’s wrong? You should ride harder. I’m going to win this!’ She gave her horse another kick, the animal drover her wildly towards the far end of the ranch.
Obviously, Fatima wanted Umar to join her in this evening chase, but he was in no mood for horse riding, it wore him out easily. So he took his time, making his horse to gait majestically as they both watched the queen flying midair, till she reached the end of the ranch.
He enjoyed staring at her; Umar enjoyed looking into her mesmerizing eyes. She was a goddess, his goddess and his whole duty was to worship her and offer her the sacrifice of his love.
‘What’s wrong Umar? Are you alright?’ Her brows came together as she watched his tired face in confusion.
That was a good question, was he alright? He had no answer.
Umar was alright, partly because he got to see her every day, and that for him was hope. He had faith that one day she would be his’. He was not alright because there was so pain that came with carrying a secret so delicate like the secret of love.

‘I am fine.’ Umar replied gently, and then got down from the horse to join her.
‘No you are not, come on, talk to me.’ Fatima sounded so concerned, and he was overjoyed to sense that concern. This showed that she truly cared about him.
The white clouds were travelling back to the palace where they had came from, giving way to the purple and dark clouds which came to take over. The reddish sun smiled down at the friends while retreating to her apex in the sky, giving way to the silvery beauty of the evening stars, which were starting to pop up in the sky.

‘Look at that…’ Umar pointed at the sky, he was showing her what she meant to him.
‘So beautiful,’ she whispered. Her eyes gleamed from observing the fine things of nature.
‘That’s who you are, beautiful.’ Umar smiled.
His heart was thumping against his chest, creating a rhythm of its own. His blood pulsated, his ears drummed. His emotions had finally spiraled out of control.
‘I have something for you…’ Umar dipped a hand into his pocket.
‘Really?’ Fatima was surprised; she wondered what her best friend was up to.
Umar nodded, and whispered, ‘Yes.’
He told her about the gift, I told her how he had sold some valuables to get it for her. Fatima rolled her eyes when he said this. She knew that Umar was a wealthy man and he could afford anything but she still showed gratitude.
‘I can’t believe you’d do that for me…’ her eyes watered up. At that point, Umar felt like taking her into his arms and kissing her breathless. He wanted to adore her face with kisses.
He would set his lips first on her forehead, then the apex of her nose and then her luscious lips where all his desire lay. He loved her and he wanted her to be his’ forever.

Umar pulled out a little box from his pocket and offered it to her. She was hesitant at first, filled with wonder and confusion, but she later took it and on his command flipped it open.
The look in her eyes got Umar excited, she had not expected this, she was stunned out of her mind, but what followed next seared his heart into a thousand pieces. The look on her face would haunt him for a long time.
‘I don’t understand…’ She closed the box and stared at him.
The fire in her eyes had died and it was replaced with anger and resentment.
‘It’s quite easy to understand pretty one, I have always loved you. I have carried you in my heart like a prayer, I worship you as a deity and I am ready to offer my life as a sacrifice to this cause, to this love…
I know you feel the same way about me but you were hesitant because maybe you were shy or you weren’t sure of what I felt…but I know you do care about me.’ Umar explained his intentions in a rush.
Tears sprung up in her eyes as she glared angrily at Umar, ‘What are you talking about Umar? Yes, I care about you and I love you but not in that way…I don’t love you like that, how could you even think of that? We are friends…’
‘Fatima, I know you are tensed up and that’s why you’re saying this, but we are compatible, we’ll have a happy marriage and kids…’ He had wanted to say more but she snapped at him.
All his life, he had never seen Fatima so angry at anyone in his entire life. Her eyes reddened, her nostrils flared and the corners of her mouth quivered.
‘There is no marriage between us and there can never be. How could you do this Umar? You are my best friend and I trusted you. I thought you understood the value of friendship. I am so disappointed in you, how could you even attempt this mess? Now you’re going to ruin our friendship forever and that’s on you…there are some boundaries you do not cross, and you have crossed this one.’ She threw the box on the floor, and mounted her horse.
‘I can’t believe you’d do this, we are friends, best friends! Why did you have to mess things up? I never wanted to lose you as a friend.’ Fatima grumbled as she eyed him angrily.
Umar was dumbfounded, he had been certain that things would turn out well. He had not expected this.
‘Please Fatima…’ Tears stung his eyes.
She cast him one long look, then tightened her grip on her horse reins and rode away without looking back.
‘Fatima!’ Umar called to her, but she had vanished with the whirlwind that started at the middle of the field.
His queen and her golden horse were gone. Umar was left here alone now, with his heart trampled in the dust. He was alone now, he had lost what was most important.
And he feared that he would never get it back again. This was love, this was pain.

To be continued…

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