2019, Proses

Graves are for dead, dead are for graves

“You are keeping him from forgiveness because you don’t want to let go of him. This is your excuse for keeping his memory intact – the wound doesn’t even exist anymore!”

“What rubbish! No. The wound does exist, how can it not? I can fill all my heart but that tiny void. His grave. And he must pay for it. If not here then there. But I…” she paused for a moment: “I must keep him answerable until then.”

“Dead use graves. Let him die for once.”

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2018, raw and rough

Midnight call.

Hello. I need help again today.

How many people ask you for help on this very day?

Well, hey, don’t put down the phone during any minute. I have so much to say.

I feel like crying today. I feel like crying a lot. I don’t know. Remember that person?

You know, I was very happy today. I was very happy until later when this started. You know, I would have closed everything down, shut myself to the sweet escape but right now, I am talking to you. Because I’m so done with running away. I run to reach the same place every freaking time. I am so done.

Hello? Please say something else. I know you get me. I know you understand. I am already breathing, I am not dying. And by the way, I can never actually commit suicide, like ever. Inshaa Allah as well but like never.

Okay, I am listening. But I am not done yet?

You listen to me. I wrote my first poem today. It was so painful it was exhilarating. 

You listen to me. I wrote my last poem today. It was only painful.

You listen to me. I never intended to take it all so seriously.

You listen to me. I miss every dead person on earth tonight. I can feel the graveyard wind inside me. The sad laughter of the sister killed for honor. The sad laughter of the struggling maid. The sad laughter of the parents of the raped child. The sad laughter of the fallen bird. The hollow dread of a Justin Cronin novel.

I haven’t read in ages. I have a viva tomorrow. Remember I told you I loved exams for their distracting power? I don’t right now because it’s not working.

I can hear his chair creaking. I know he is sitting in the last room by the staircase with a pack of cigarettes. You know I hate cigarettes. But how would you know? You’re just a therapist. A listener, that’s all. A dead phone line.

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2017, Passages

She held his little shirt in her hands for hours. Sometimes she would put it to her eyes, as if its warmth could soothe those burning coals. Then she would rub it across her face, inhaling its scent again and again, even though it was now stale red:  of dried blood. Most of the time she would just hug it, in grave silence or passionate tears, so she could maybe feel him there. And only if she could feel him again, hold his body, swear to God she would never leave! —God knows this. But he still called him up.

loss

Aside
2015, My Writings

Father’s Day

When the baby was given in her hands, the mother let out a scream of joy. A flood rolled down her eyes and laughters full of life and love echoed all about. She was standing on the gates of heaven.

When the baby was shown to the father, he refused to pick her up. A daughter, oh? Not mine. He stayed as quiet as a ghost until they were in the hospital ward, and only became a devil when they reached home. This, he pointed to the bundle of new breathes, is not to live here. Take the filth away!

That day, a TV set broke. A row of perfume bottles was thrown to the floor. A knife was shown to threaten the weaker sex. Curse words were gifted. Tears were shed. Hell visited house.

That day, mother didn’t leave. That day, baby didn’t weep. That day, my father didn’t sleep.

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2015, My Writings

My dark man. (2)

December 29, 2014:

“It is not I who accepted the Dark Life. The Dark Life accepted me.”

He sat on a rock, his head bowed and hands resting on knees. “I did not want to be what I have become. But I like it now… It suits me. I feel I am where I belong. It is Real. It is Me.”

I was sitting before him on the road and there was no one else around. When he said these words, I looked at him. I wanted more answers, and I was searching for them in his eyes. They are windows to your soul, after all, but somehow his soul was a locked corridor now– the key to which was unknown to even himself, I suppose. Read more.

“You don’t know how it’s like to be what you are not.”

“I sure do. I have known you for so long and never uttered a hint about you. That is the same thing in a way, if you see.”

He turned his head. I stood at a distance from his seat: a log placed in the middle of the road. An empty road– our secret place.

“No,” he whispered. “You cannot see the sea in me. You can only see the waves.”

“I can see the sea,” said I. Then taking his name, I continued: “And I can also sense a storm. Please confide in me now, let it crash me down if it so must. Break me because I need you.”

For some time he said nothing. I walked closer to him and sat by his knees. Putting my hand on his lap, I asked him to look at me.

He did. His eyes were red.

He was crying!

I can’t say how it broke me into bits to see him unwrap himself out of that favorite strong shell of his, but I begged my eyes to not show. I was going to be brave, for once, for him.

“I got defeated, ¦_. They took away my child. You should have heard how he cried, how he wailed! I don’t know what to do. Can any man be as helpless as I am now?” Each sob pierced my heart as I heard him speak.

“My baby was snatched away. They ripped open his chest right there. He died among a crowd of brutes. His soul – it didn’t find a flower bed on exiting, but got trapped in a tube of viscous blood instead. It makes me cry. I could do nothing but watch, and watch I did as they pinched his little fingers away. My breath stops when I think of what I saw, but I saw and I am living. Why am I still living?”

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2015, My Writings

Destined.

“Abba ki death ke baad ziada sukoon hae, nae?”
(This place looks calmer now that dad is gone, no?)

“You think so?”

“Yes.” she nodded.

They were older now. Older and distanced by a time so long and tough that it had practically torn apart every and any chances of reconciling. Standing by the giant glass window, she looked out at the world outside which had now accepted peace. The world which had decided to move on, as it always does. Where ever she looked there was peace, except in her home: her heart.

“Look here at me. You think life is better now? Show me if your eyes say that too.”

“No,” she silently whispered. She clutched the silver pane with both her hands so he won’t see they were trembling. Stupid fingers! Stupid eyes! How they reveal your weaknesses to wrong people at all the wrong times…

He stepped forward. “Aena! This is not good. You have to talk to me. I have come to take you. I am going to make things right like we want!”

“This is not what I want. Hessam, this isn’t it.” She shook her head.  “I have come out of it and you should too. It’s high time we start respecting each other’s independence and just let things be.”

“What do you mean by that? I am not stealing away your freedom or anything. All I want is you come and stay with me and Rebya now. I want you to be happy!”

“Why? Why live with you when I can live with myself on my own? First I had ma, then dad, and now you want to boss me? Please, NO! I am happy the way I am and I am glad our ways are already parted. We can be free and drive our lives the way we want!” she said.

The color of his eyes changed. Was he hurt? Perhaps. But he shouldn’t have been… After all this time, he deserved nothing to be hurt about. All pains were hers.

“See, I understand your want for freedom.” He said after a while. “And I am not going to be an obstacle between that. You can come with me and do what you want, live it your way. It’s just that I feel you should be with me, and not alone over here. How will you deal with everything? We have both lost something precious Aena. It’s a hard time for both of us.” Looking at her, he said with a voice laced with sincere emotion: “I want you to know I am with you!”

“Precious, Hessam. How precious it was for you!” she laughed in her heart while resisting her urge to laugh out loud too, crazily. She wanted to laugh until her insides hurt. But she would do that once he was gone, her mind decided.

“They are both gone but we need each other, Aena. We need to gather back the moments we have lost. Sometimes I miss you so much, God, Aena, you remember when I taught you how to ride a bicycle?”

Aena looked at him surprised. Why must he bring back the memories now? Now?

“Remember when you had finally learned it you would keep nagging me to let you ride us both to school on that big grey one I owned? We both sat together and I was so proud, and a little embarrassed, but mostly proud (he laughed) and then I bought you a pink one on our birthday so we would both ride on our own bikes.”

“Our birthday,” she breathed.

They had birthdays on the same day. Because God-the-good had decided to hand them out their fates on the exact day and instructed their souls to go down then into their mother’s womb… But Hessam will go half an hour before you, Aena. Okay? Just thirty minutes.
Hessam had gone half an hour before Aena. Aena had waited thirty minutes after Hessam. He had left her earlier because it was so destined. There was joy everywhere.

He was saying something. Probably about the bicycles or the school or their birthday. She wasn’t listening until he called out her name.

“Yes, yes. I remember. You don’t need to use this against me now, it won’t change my plans, alright? Don’t try! You shouldn’t try!” her voice raised despite her trying to stay calm.

“I am not changing your plans, Aena. I am just surprised how much YOU have changed! You are so cold, so different, Aena. Don’t you hold any compassion for relations as close as blood’s anymore?”

“No.” She shook her head vehemently. “I carry no compassion whatsoever. I have a heart of stone, if asking for a right to be free makes you think of me as that. I have cared enough for everyone and now I want to be my own responsibility. Go, and let me live!” her voice was strong and came from somewhere she didn’t belong to. It was indeed different, he thought, how his sister had grown up so much and become so… brave.

“I am my own responsibility now,” she repeated– softly this time– as if trying to coax him… Hoping deep inside her heart he won’t agree. Hoping he would somehow ask her to drop the facade and end this drama so they would both cry and tell how they’ve missed each other and how it was impossible to “let go” now that they had already let go of so much. She thought of the pens and chocolates he bought for her, when they were young, and how ma would make them both parathas before school. How dad would hand them out sikkas (coins) for their daily expenditures from which they’d both buy cones.

“Yes. You are right.” he said slowly. And moving towards her he put his hand on her head. “Time has changed, my lovely twin, and it’s not your fault. You have every right now to change time as per your command.” “I am proud of you, Aena. You are one brave woman. I shouldn’t be selfish to ask you what is against your will. And I am sure you will handle your life pretty well, inshaAllah. Just know that I am always there, always a call or email away. I will come to you whenever you want, and so would Rebya. We all love you and you can come to us, too, whenever you feel like it.”

He smiled. She managed one too.

“I know that bhaiyya. Thanks.”

He kissed on her forehead, erasing for a minute whatever these years had collected between them, and whatever hardships she had bore alone.

 

After that he was gone. Gone forever to his land where he lived with his wife a happy life. Aena had apparently given him permission to be the man he was; the satisfaction seeking which he had come back. Now he was free of the burden he was carrying before, and gone because Aena was free and happy, and very settled in her ancestral home! She had peace, he thought, and now he would too.

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2014, My Writings

My dark man.

“It is not I who accepted the Dark Life. The Dark Life accepted me.”

He sat on a rock, his head bowed and hands resting on knees. “I did not want to be what I have become. But I like it now… It suits me. I feel I am where I belong. It is Real. It is Me.”

I was sitting before him on the road and there was no one else around. When he said these words, I looked at him. I wanted more answers, and I was searching for them in his eyes. They are windows to your soul, after all, but somehow his soul was a locked corridor now– the key to which was unknown to even himself, I suppose.

“Are you satisfied without having any friends?” I asked.

“You are my friend!” he replied with a smile. I will never forget that smile.

“I know that,” I said his name, “but I am not always there around you, right? I never know where you are, what you are doing, how you’ve been. I worry about you. Who takes care of you when you’re not here? No one. And if that wasn’t bad enough, you don’t give an inch importance to yourself either. Why?

“I don’t need to. I am happy and more contented with my life than you can imagine. I don’t need these things. Care, look-after, love; these aid other people… People who can’t live without people, who depend on other humans and emotions as a weakling depends on crutches. I have come far from that now. It makes no sense to me.”

How would he know what “weaklings” were truly like, I thought. People need people, they need these “crutches” to walk around this world. Why doesn’t he get it? Or more importantly, how did he overcome this necessity?

He was at ease with his lifestyle, and he meant his words more than any of us could. He could see beyond his time, and yet no future thought worried him. He could look in a glance at his past and go through his early details in a minute– yet he was one whom you’d never find regretting or complaining about his choices (or their causes), or taking pleasure in revisiting his memory lanes for that matter.

He was not normal. Yet he looked more saner than many, some times. That was perhaps because he had given himself to his goal: it could either be absolute good or absolute evil that would complete your life and give meaning to your otherwise worthless existence. He had found ‘It’ in evil.

“Would you come back to meet me again?” one asked.

“Yes. But it will take longer this time.” other replied.

We both smiled as he got up and held out his hand to me, which I gave without a moment’s pause. Standing face-to-face I tried yet again to search him in his eyes, as if their color would light my way too and I’d be able to find a clue. He stepped closer and put his hand softly on mine, slowly whispering a “no”. Maybe he thought I could really do that if I tried?

He turned around then, and started to move away. There was the famous S-shaped scar at the back of his neck which always looked fresh and red, and was so deeply cut a wound that it pained me to only look at it. I followed him with my gaze, thinking of what he was and what he could never be, until tears blocked my vision and I smiled to let go.

[Okay, hellooo. I was having a real hard time connecting words but I also badly wanted to write a story-sort so here goes. Let me know what you think of it!]

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2013, By the roaring waves!, My Writings

Rose’ adventures in Thunderland.

THEY WERE ALL LOOKING FOR HER. Yet there she was, silent, somber and hidden. Unaware of the anxiety her absence was bringing to her guardians, she sat quietly on the swing and moved with its movements.

‘What on Earth am I going to do? Where shall I look for her?’ asked Jasmine worriedly.

‘Don’t worry Jass, we will soon find her.’ Cabby answered. But he was just as worried as Jass, and feared what could happen to them both, or Jass alone, if they failed to find her.

The swing moved merrily. Round and round it went, and Rose who sat there silently, was soon lost admiring the vivid, brilliant colors of her surroundings. She had lost grip of Jasmine’s hands, but that was not her fault really. It was hers, who was too busy chatting and laughing about with Cabby.

‘Oh what nose does this elephant has! And look at those stripes on the tiger’s body! I love this orange tiger so much!’ exclaimed the little girl.

She struggled to climb at the top of it while the swing moved, but thud! She fell again and again while trying to get over that slippery tiger.

‘I don’t like you tiger!’ she said, and ran towards the yellow bear.

‘Oh Winnie! You look so adorable in real! Have you got any honey today?’ asked Rose as she suddenly remembered that she felt hungry.

Pooh didn’t answer but Rose kept standing, waiting. Tears welled up in her eyes as she discovered that none of them would speak to her. Maybe they were all angry at her, but why? She could not understand.

‘Mr. Giraffe! Will you speak to me?’ she went to the yellow animal with black spots all over. ‘Oh look, how long your neck is! May I touch it?’ she questioned, but failed to receive an answer. Soon she felt lumps in her throat and looked at her whereabouts. She was all alone in the zoo they had brought her to, and no animal would speak to her.

Jasmine on the other hand, paced apprehensively. She didn’t know where to look for her or Cabby, who had told her he’d return soon, and that too with Rose. It had been about twenty minutes since he left, and Jasmine’s heart filled up with fears. The gatekeeper had already come by twice and warned that the gates closed by at seven-thirty sharp. What was she to do, if Cabby failed to find Rose? What if he came to her alone, and Rose? What will happen to that little girl? She shuddered as she imagined what the future might hold for them.

‘Pooh! Tiger! Mr. Giraffe! Won’t anyone of you talk to me? Why, does nobody like me? She questioned again, as tears rolled down her cheeks and the figures blurred in her eyes. ‘Horsey? Elephant? Dear Bunny? Will you not talk to me either?’ To her despair, none of the animals replied. They were too unkind, and too hostile.

Suddenly the merry-go-round began to slow and eventually it paused. She looked at it with horror. What had just happened? Were any of those animals sick? Or were all of them going to die? Her eyes stared in disbelief and her heart swelled with emotions.

Cabby returned to Jasmine and told her that Rose was nowhere. And while he was telling that, the incharge came yet again to suggest maybe the girl went outside for popcorn or something and that they should call the police.

Cabby agreed to that and asked Jasmine to relax.

‘We will find her very soon, Jass. Let me call the police.’ He also ordered the man to bring her some her cold water.

‘What is there to relax for, Cabby?’, sobbed Jasmine. ‘I have lost her. My sister’s daughter, her only glimpse. What will I tell others? How will I answer them? And how will I live myself?’ –

They suddenly heard a scream. A child’s scream.

‘ROSE!!!’ she shouted and started running to whatever direction she presumed the sound to have come from. ‘ROSE! Please Rose. WHERE ARE YOU?’ Cabby followed her, running north-east. They ran and ran, and kept running. From there to here and here to there, but couldn’t find her. Soon they reached the smaller gate which opened to a garden. A garden with swings..

‘She must be there’, Jasmine cried and bent to get in.

They quickly divided their paths and began searching her. Night had fallen completely so theyrelied on their torches to show them way.

‘ROSE! Are you here dear Rose? Can you hear me? Please answer!’ cried Jasmine as she repeated her name again and again.

But Rose was nowhere.

‘Jasmine! Head to the left.’ Cabby shouted.

‘What? Did you find her?’ she asked hopefully. And she sighed and smiled; relaxing like a traveler stranded in desert when an oasis is seen.

‘No. I did not. But look here!’ he pointed to the merry-go-round which was silently stuck and frozen at its place.

Jasmine looked unbelievingly at the floor – and to Cabby and the floor again. Then she bent down and picked up a few scattered beads with teary eyes. A few blue beads from a bracelet Rose wore fondly. Rose’ bracelet. Lost Rose’ bracelet.

Where was she now?

……………………………….x…………………………………

A fictional story based on the photo would be great (Who is this little girl? Where is she? What is she waiting for? Where is her family?), but we also look forward to non-fiction posts inspired by the photo. How does the image make you feel? Does the girl remind you of anyone in your life, or of yourself? Are you as scared of the unidentifiable green creature as we are, and is that a nose or a beak?
 
The story was writen for a WP challenge, and it needs revisions. Criticism is welcome.
© Maria Imran * Randomly Abstract*
 

Other entries:
Short stories / Merry-go-round

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