I am standing across the road from the tall building of Stormy Hospital. I look at the vast expanse of windows and wonder if one of them is the window in my brother’s room. The last time I ever saw Usama was twenty years ago. We had been arguing over our father’s will and one angry word had led to another. Both of us had stormed off before either of us resorted to settling the matter with a fist fight like we used to in our childhood.
Life had taken both of us to distant cities and amid the chaos of work and family neither of us had tried to get in touch with the other. I thought time had hardened me until I received a telephone call from my sister that Usama was in the hospital. He had just had a heart attack. For the first time in twenty years I felt fearful that I would lose my brother. I took the first available flight to Lahore and thereafter found myself outside Stomry Hospital.
At every step inside the hospital I wondered how Usama would react to see me. Quenching the doubts in my mind, I finally located his room. Visiting hours had just begun and his wife and children hadn’t arrived as yet. I creaked open the door and saw my brother sleeping on a narrow bed, surrounded by beeping monitors. Feeling brave, I stepped in and walked toward him. He still looked the same except now he had deeper lines etched on his face.
I stood beside his bed not knowing whether I should wake him up or not. All of a sudden his weary eyes flickered open. He then closed them again and then opened them again.
“Farhan, is that really you?”
I nodded my head and held his hand, momentarily at a loss for words. Then emotions flooded me.
“I’m sorry I took so long to come. I should’ve come earlier…”
Usama gripped my hand tighter and said,
“I should’ve come earlier too. We both should have. Twenty years we waited…but it’s never too late. You’re here now.”