The winter sunshine is always a pleasant experience; fun as a child and a blessing against a cold class room. As a young man, it’s an opportunity to sit with your dear ones and enjoy hearty things, a sole companion when you are old.
She corrected her traditional shawl and looked at her green lawn. Filled with plants but sans flowers, it seemed so hollow, so barren. She smiled and gazed directly into the sunlight. What else she had to do. Being single it sometimes takes you back in the memory lane, reminding you of the life you always cherished and ponder over simple delights. It pushed me back too.
I was a teenager when I got married. They didn’t ask me my choice, my dreams. I was told, I accepted and I was his. From a village, I moved into that congested home. He whispered me praises and promises and that’s all. A simple village girl story, that became my life too.
Coming to this home was a new happy experience; I could see in his eyes the proud feeling and that happiness. While showing us this new place, he secretly looked at me as to ask how it was. I loved it. It was in fact returning to my reveries that I had woven once, of a prosperous life and a big home. I adored the big windows, spacious rooms, marbles, fixtures and modern outlook. The moment my son “Irtiza” ran for the first time on the lawn, happily shrieking and then stopping to send smiles back. I at once made up my mind. I would have a lawn here, with those creepers and flowers in it.
But then the house looked ordinary, the only thing that mattered was my son Irtiza. The iron windows appeared more dangerous to me, lawn was a place where he would always turn dirty, and stairs a no go area. A woman is so complex, she weaves so many dreams and at last, it’s just her children that take importance. The decoration of the house that once circled my mind had now been replaced by Irtiza. I wanted the best for him , the finest clothes, toys, food, books, school and everything. My fatigue would vanish, seeing him returning in that school uniform wearing a big bag on the back and that peculiar tired uninterested look on face. At times I dearly wished I was educated so I could help him. I admired him studying those books, coloring, his disorderly handwriting and a star prominent on his cheeks, a sign that showed his brilliance in the class. There was a time when colors and dresses amazed me. I used to stand in front of the mirror for hours. All I had in my mind was to look different. A praise would bring smiles but then it was all him. Seeing him grow and change, meddling through his dresses, arranging the room, preparing for his school, his belongings and everything associated to him was my life. Days turned weeks and months to years. There he was young, smart, mature and self-reliant man standing on his own feet, a respectable job, a car, dreams, aspirations and that sweet, lovely smile. Time moved swiftly without me noticing.
I don’t know how to describe you, the day, the moment, the place, the awfulness or the trauma I bore, the feelings that hit me when I was informed of his death. They knew it was too much for me so they carefully let it out in phases but to no avail. I had already lost myself. My heart sank; the black curtains fell before my eyes as I blacked out. Gaining consciousness I erupted, eager to see him. I refused to believe anyone, even the crying husband. My eyes deceived me as I saw him cloaked in white robe, bathed ready for burial. The woman that once objected shrieks and yelling of women on the deaths of their loved ones was madly crying, unaware of her surroundings and dress. She wanted this to be false. She begged him to open eyes and speak. They told me he was killed by a stray bullet on some sectarian event. I cursed the killer repeatedly. I shouted as if to convey my voice to him. I did not shed tears on my father’s death, but this felt different. It was my part, my body, my soul that was being snatched away from me. There on that bed laid my ambitions, sacrifices, love, life and the murderer crushed it all at once. A bullet had doomed it all.
I sat silently in the same garden without eating for many days, sobbing. The ground absorbed my tears, the same lawn where my son had crawled, took his first steps and shared my company in his last days. I sat there whispering and uttering my sorrows, weeping and recalling the memories. Sun shine is tedious; it lets you talk until you don’t want to. You feel the pinch of its presence but soon you decide to leave. The Sun saw him grow and witnessed me shatter. I took a sigh; the sunlight remained steady and present. Perhaps it knew the story already!!!