Cynara- The Goddess of Love

Afifa Zaheer
4 min readMay 2, 2020
Art by Robella Arham

“I have been praying to God,” she said, looking down at her feet and playing nervously with her fingers. “I feel this void in my life, the void relating to the desire of having a partner, and it’s not that I am unhappy but sometimes, just sometimes, I feel lonely.

She spoke with such softness and sincerity that I could not help but think of how little we know people around us. Those who seem strong, independent, successful, have-it-all-together; experience emptiness in their lives too. My mind was racing through multiple questions that I wanted to ask her, but I stayed silent. I knew it was not my moment, it was hers.

I was raised in a Christian household. I grew up attending church every Sunday and learning the value of patiently waiting for God to bestow a partner upon me.” At this point, I can tell she is undergoing a wave of nostalgia. A certain kind of sadness has taken over her eyes, nobody else can tell because she wears glasses. But I am only few feet apart. “There is just so much that I can explain about myself to people. Some of them really make the effort to perceive my life and not judge. While others look at me with disgust and roll their eyes at me.”

You would think that in this age people don’t have the time to pry in someone’s affairs. No, this world will look at you with hostility. People will twist your emotions and have you feel ashamed of your choices. “This feeling creeps up on me when I least expect it. I could be eating food at a restaurant and suddenly my mind is fixated on that couple sitting on the other end,” she continued, “rejoicing each other’s company and in those moments it feels like I am choking on something; I keep gasping for air but only pain arises in my chest.”

Our lives have a pattern, and as you grow old you walk through the same pattern but with different mindset. Pain has been inflicted upon everyone. It’s a universal emotion. The more pain one goes through, the more guarded they become. More scared they feel of trusting people and letting them in on their insecurities and troubles. Similarly, the void of companionship is the one that lingers in our lives when we haven’t been able to find the right person.

I met him at my church when I was twenty-three. My parents had been pushing me to get married and start a family. He just happened to enter my life at a time when I was desperate to be with someone. So, I did what was expected of me. I gave myself in to that relationship and became delusional. We may have had the same religion but everything else seemed to fall out of order with him. Still, I pushed and managed to stay with him for a year until…”

Eremophobia- the fear of isolation or loneliness.

You know what they say in during therapy, your emotions are valid. Everything you feel, desire, experience, has a reason and can be worked on. Then how can we work on this void of companionship in our lives? There is only one way; you keep taking your chances, you keep loving, hurting and learning.

“After twenty-five years of my life, I have finally understood that love can’t be controlled.” She let out a sigh. “Because love is not a forced emotion, it’s a pull that you feel towards someone so strongly that your mind starts desiring it. That’s the beauty of love, as much as it hurts, it heals too.” Pausing for few minutes she turned her head and looked outside the window. “Have you ever felt that excitement when you meet someone unexpectedly and connect with them?”

“No!” I murmur disappointedly.

“It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world. Yet, you don’t have the courage to fall in and out of love again. You feel you are not strong enough to take another blow of unmet affection. Still, every nerve in your body is telling you otherwise. You seem to keep gravitating towards them.” Tossing her hair to the left she takes off her glasses, wipes the smudge caused due to unforeseen tears, puts them back on and smiles with her lips part.

“I am sorry, I didn’t mean to burden you with my emotional outburst.” I look at her in bewilderment, I don’t want her to stop. I need to know the rest. “What then?” I ask.

Fate is a complicated thing and God has its own ways of sending love in everyone’s lives. Some get it later than sooner. You will find yourself hopeless, agitated and pessimist about ever finding a companion. But you have to remember that somewhere, someone, is feeling just like you. And when the time comes, you’ll cross paths. You both will feel scared, because you both have been hurt. But don’t let that get in the way of exploring the chances of having a life together. Because at the end, chances are all we have. A chance to love, a chance to live, a chance to fight for someone, a chance to feel happy or a chance to learn again.”



Afifa Zaheer

Writer | Poetess | Financial Consultant. A South-Asian Woman Mastering the Art of Metamorphosis as an Immigrant.