storm

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Storm

Published February 12, 2015 by sidmary

THERE

On that hot summer’s day, the woman was was dragged out of her house. The area was deserted but for this group of people- and it was day. It was so hot, one could barely stand being out in the sun- and it was desolate.

The woman had a baby in her arms to whom she clung as if her life depended on it. A look of naked terror and horror adorned her face- and yet she was brave.

They led her to the center of the wide lane beyond the house where the ground was coarse and burning under her feet. Dust and sand settled on it for there was no wind.

They took the baby from her, and she tried to hold on, pleading and screaming. The baby was crying too now- writhing- extending his arms towards his mother, and bawling in the fierce grip of the men. His face was soaked, and her tears fell readily to the ground. One wondered why leaves did not sprout where they fell- but tears are salty…

They held her by the arms and pulled her away, and it took three men to do so. She looked at the angel’s face, then looked away. She looked up at the sun which glared down upon her without mercy, and she looked at the sky which was blazing white, and hurting her eyes. She then looked to the horizon, where far beyond the line of her vision, there were other people and other children.

She then looked at the ground and fell on her knees, covering her baby in his royal mantle from heaven by her body.

Somewhere afar, seas, and crimson blood, and rain and love and pain washed ashore in wild, furious and passionate waves that reached deep into the earth and high up to the heavens. The sun suddenly dimmed, as if a switch had been turned off, and the waves slowly receded, losing their tumult in their mournful sorrow.

HERE

“How very tragic,” said Saima, scanning the newspaper at the breakfast table and simultaneously dipping a piece of toast in her tea.

“What darling?” her husband looked up distractedly, sounding vaguely concerned.

NOW

Saima went to the office after sending her children to school. She had a long wearisome day, and came home late in the afternoon when her children were quietly playing in the playroom, attended by their nurse.

She washed up and fell into bed, thoroughly exhausted, for a long nap.

As she slept, dark clouds gathered on the horizon far far away.

Occasionally, a passerby would stop and look up towards it, a frown creasing his brow, before he would busy himself again. A few television channels and even news-reporters did a short report on the weather condition, assuring the people that there was nothing to worry about. Some of the newspapers too published a short column on the conditions the next day. When Saima saw them at the breakfast table, she said again: “How very tragic!” and her looked up, a frown creasing his brow, vaguely concerned.

LATER

The storm brewed and brewed, and the clouds darkened, and no one knew how, but suddenly they were upon the city, darkening everything.

It was not a storm- it was apocalypse.

The sky tore apart in flashes of bright, white light, and the sky fell onto the earth- but it was crying from more than anger- it was crying from hurt too…and it was as if it was not the sky pouring down, but the sea- and yet, leaves did not sprout, because it was the city, and all the paths were graveled.

The wind howled in every ear, and they all heard- probably for the first time ever. People came out of their homes, and for the first time, they saw too.

Saima gathered her children in her arms, and ran towards the closest, widest expanse of plain land: the mosque. There were already so many people there, one could almost be sure it was apocalypse.

She looked about her, the terror in her heart peeping at the world from behind her eyes. These ran now over many words plastered on the walls. Disjointed words leapt into her visions- words that said “faith” and “brothers” and “body” and “pain”1. Words that said “haraj’ and “bloodshed” and “bloodshed”2.

She closed her eyes, but the mist gathered and her face was wet. The ground shook beneath her feet and she held her children to herself in a vice-like grip. Her eyes were still closed and her children held onto her in terror.

The sky still raged, the wind still howled, and the ground still shook. They reminded one of the seas, and crimson blood, and rain and love and pain, all washed ashore in angry tumult…

–Sidra Maryam

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