The more the years passed, the closer the day that had been marked by the prophecy was. At the young age of six, Atif had been pointed by the finger of the goddess of unions, who predicted his only future.
‘You will only know real love from the hands of the one who gives you the purest blue rock, twin of water drops’.
Without another word and before Atif could ask, she disappeared through the door. Twelve years later, he still remembered every day the words of that elongated woman with a sweet face.
‘Why don’t we go next to the river to have our picnic?’
‘You know I don’t like it one bit there, Atif’ answered Suré.
Suré and Atif had known each other since childhood. They had been raised together, playing with the leaves that fell down in autumn and throwing snowballs at each other when the skies blessed them in winter. Atif always proposed the best plans: it was true that the sights of the river during the sunset were unmatched, but for a couple of years they had been interrupted by the children who carried stones out of the water.
‘We can look for another place, but that one is the best during twilight…’ the boy shrugged.
‘I know. But seeing those kids is horrible. They are not playing in the water, they don’t want to be there’ said the girl. Her beautiful brown eyes were darkened by the memory of the poor children.
Days after, young Atif was around the market when the most beautiful girl he had ever seen appeared in front of him. She was the new florist’s daughter. She joined lilies and daisies in the same bouquet, knotting a stunning yellow bow around their stems. With one hand she handed the bouquet to a lady wearing a wide-brimmed hat and with the other hand she took the coins.
Atif, in a moment of bravery, approached the stand and examined the flowers.
‘May I help you?’ asked the golden-haired girl.
‘Er, yes. I would like some flowers’ his nervousness was visible from miles away.
‘Well, there are many types here. We have roses, carnations, baobab flowers, daisies…
While she pointed at each one of the flowers, Atif caught a glimpse of a little plaque on her apron that read “Deva”.
Since that day, Atif visited the market every morning, leaving with a single flower, different every time, from Deva’s stand. The appearance of the boy did not go unnoticed by the girl, who everyday waited excitedly for his arrival. At the tenth tulip he bought, Atif mustered the courage to ask her to go on a picnic with him.
Going back home, he had the perfect idea: they would go looking for stones in the river. Maybe the blue rock will appear on Deva’s hands and their future would be perfect.
They arrived on the banks of the river. Both rolled up their trousers and got down to work. The children looked at them with interest: they had never seen anyone but them inside the river looking for stones. Deva thought it was a game that consisted of finding the most peculiar rocks, but she saw Atif very frustrated when, after a couple of hours, they only managed to find granite and some orange rocks.
‘Look how pretty this stone is!’ said Deva. Atif turned around excited, but he frowned when he saw it was only some yellow crystal.
When the Sun disappeared among the mountains and the Moon took its place, Atif surrendered.
Suré was transplanting sunflowers in her garden when Atif arrived. Suré’s garden was one of the most beautiful ones the boy had ever seen. It was always cared for and full of flowers that overflowed with colour. It was rumoured in the village that Suré’s family could do magic with the elements: this was true. Atif had known his friend enough years to have seen tomatoes and dandelions bloom from her hands a couple of times. What caught his eye the most was the colossal tree behind her house.
‘I don’t know what to do anymore. She is beautiful, I just want to see her but things are not going as I would like.’
‘Maybe it’s not destined’ said Suré, taking a sunflower from the pot she had had in her house for days.
Atif started thinking. He wanted it to be destined. He bent down and started helping Suré.
‘What have you been doing these days? I’ve barely seen you’ he told his friend while throwing soil into the hole that had been formed in the ground.
‘Not much. I’ve tried to look for ways to help the children in the river, but I’m not so sure I can do anything’ she wiped the sweat on her forehead.
‘Why don’t you open a flower shop? You have pretty flowers in your garden and you could give them some part of the money’ offered the boy.
‘Because I like to take care of them and see them alive. Besides, I don’t think that would do, I’ve seen the adults take the money they make selling the stones and they don’t even give them coins. At least the baobab is blooming tonight, that’s comforting’ answered Suré.
‘Deva has baobab flowers in her stand’ said Atif, remembering the unique flower the florist had pointed at the day they met.
‘She has what?!’ Suré raised her voice. The pot she was holding shattered onto the ground.
The boy was alarmed by his friend’s reaction.
‘Baobab flowers’ he repeated.
‘Those flowers live for only a couple of hours and they bloom every twenty years! Who in their right mind would even think of killing them?! Look, I thinks is better you left. I have to practice some spells’ Suré got up quickly and led Atif to the door.
Things with Deva were not going as he expected. He rarely went to the flower stand as every time he went they ran out of things to talk about very quickly. It seemed more and more that that love was not destined to be. Atif no longer saw with the same eyes the shine of her hair and her eyes. This love only brought him pain.
He went out looking for Suré, whom he had not seen in a week. When he got to the door of her garden, his friend was exiting her house with a smile on her face.
‘Atif! I was just going to look for you!’ she said happily. ‘I have been perfecting my spells these days. Look what I have achieved!’
She took out of her pocket a small blue rock shaped like a water drop. The cut of its sides reflected the light of the Sun in a hundred different colours. Then, he realised it. Remembering the prophecy, Atif looked his best friend in the eyes.
‘I’ve done it with pieces of coal… I’ve been practising transformation spells until it turned into this pretty rock’ explained Suré. ‘I’ll give them to the children so they won’t have to be looking into the river all day long’.
They went silent, the boy’s eyes fixed on the blue diamond.
‘What has gotten into you?’ asked the girl, worried about her friend being so quiet.
Atif found the words he had so desperately wanted to say for such a long time. He told her about the prophecy the Goddess of Unions had made when he was just a child. He spoke about the blue stone shaped like a water drop and true love. He said that was why he had taken Deva to the river. After listening to Atif, Suré spoke.
‘But, how did you think that the children’s rocks could talk about true love? Those are born from their suffering. The only ones that can talk about that are those who are born from the heart.
And seeing the meaning of her name reflected for the first time on the face of his friend, it was clear to Atif that real love does not make anyone suffer.
- ‘Atif’: name of Arabic origin which means “the one who understands, the one who is kind”.
- ‘Suré’: name of Tarahumara origin which means “the one with a heart”.
- ‘Deva’: name of Sanskrit origin which means “the divine”.