Saturday, December 4, 2010


The thump was not feminine. It couldn't be. Could it?
She took another arduous awkward step towards her chair. She could not believe how cumbersome her movement had become. She was sticky and sweaty like summer humidity and felt like there was not enough air to breathe. Although it was wintertime or so she thought.
The ripples of extra flesh were spread out everywhere like an endless highway.
She had long ago lost her voluptuous figure. She could not remember when it had gone. It was almost as if it had been kidnapped. One day she gagged when she saw her reflection. She did not know how many years ago had passed since then, and did not want to find out. Now, mirrors were one of her biggest fears.
Her breath was a labored heaving. She was scared to use her voice because it was quiet, and feminine. It was the only thing that had survived all this time unhindered.
Her shadow was alien even to her. She did not feel like she had aged as much as was apparent on her face and her body. Yet she had.
She wanted to hold back her emotional clenching whimpers.
The dark room was nothing but shadows. She was a slave to its walls. They had witnessed it all and this petrified her. The old rustic creaking wood with each decrepit step recounted her story.
She trembled as she pulled herself toward the drawer where her box was located. She thanked God that it was locked. She tried to deter herself because of the knowledge of everything that will come with it. She was starting to be panic stricken at the idea that she might open the box. She couldn't control her irritating shaking whines.
She held the box still hesitating to open it. She was burdened with regret, it is so heavy. It's like constantly carrying your children while always having your feet in quicksand and never arriving at your destination. She wished she knew what would have happened if she hadn't made these choices. Would she have had different things to atone for?
Or would she have been where she needs to be or at least where she should be? Her life had been difficult but whose life hadn't been? She had solely supported her three siblings. It's not that she was given a choice, there were no alternatives. She was the eldest and the sacrifice had to be her life for theirs. This is what she was meant to do.
There were three souls on this planet who are better off because of her.....Actually, only two souls. Samir was now in his parents arms. She wished daily that she could join them. Yet she feared dying alone and wondered how long it would take for someone to realize that she had passed. Would the stench of her rotting body be the first sign? How long would that take? If she wasn't buried right away, would that mean she would not go to heaven? She would end up in an abyss, lost with all the other confined souls. She was haunted by these possibilities.
To dissuade this rational she picked up one of Tamer's family pictures which he sent twice a year. Behind it was her sister Samia's graduation photo from university. She had gotten married to her university colleague and they have been living for years in the Gulf. She was alone now with the movie of her life being constantly replayed in her mind. Her unspent tragic life was continuously stabbing her chest like a serial killer that could not satisfy his hunger. Her heart so strained from all these years of blistering strife.
She mustered all her energy and opened the box. Her eyes swelled immediately at his sight. He was so handsome, so elegant, so perfect. He was everything she ever wanted and she never knew that she could love so strongly. He was her elixir to youth and infinite happiness. Yet he wanted more than she could give. He wanted her for himself and for her siblings to take care of themselves. She couldn't bear not living up to the responsibility that God had given her. It was her choice. She chose them. They needed her to provide for them. She had become pent up to her situation. Forever entangled in fulfilling the hopes and dreams of others.
She had heard that he also had waited for her for many years unable to love someone else. Then, hopelessness had overtaken him like the vast ocean. If she had chosen differently. Would she have had now a life of her own? Would she have had children, a husband, maybe even grandchildren? Would she have aged better, remained beautiful, taken better care of herself? Would she have been happy?
The easy thing now would be to die. She has done her duty, She was no longer needed, so why should she still breathe? All these emotions and this doubting are exactly why she didn't want to open the box.
She strained her wobbly body and started praying. She pleaded God, to grant her the patience and the understanding to comprehend his will. She begged God to let her understand his purpose. She supplicated God to reassure her that she had made the right choices. Most of all she prayed with all her might that God switch off the voices in her head. Her pleas were continuous like the radio station and she eventually fell asleep on the prayer rugs amidst prayer, tears, and repentance.
Today was just another day in her life. She no longer counted nor did she know what day of the week it was, not even what year it was. It was a day like every other day in her life. Her only company were her thoughts and they were her nightmare.

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