“Kariim..”

Her voice trailed with the fading lights of the day. He wasn’t coming back. Swallowing the huge lump in her throat, she started the other way, where her impending Fate waited to embrace her. She did pause to turn back, but he was long gone. There was no going back that way.

Life though, was kind to her. So was the husband they had chosen for her. Years passed in blissful quiet, with Kariim gently edging further and further away from her. 

***

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I was just 12 when I first learnt about Kariim.  An age too young to comprehend the Love that could survive crumpled up in an old yellow envelope, tucked away inside the cloth-bound cover of Mumma’s Qur’an. I knew then who I was named after. Somewhere deep inside, a voice told me that I should feel betrayed. She was still living in the shadows of her first love! “What about Papa?!”, the voice inside screamed. And I gave in – I hated her. That’s when the drift began.

Thirty years later, I gazed at Mumma’s wrinkled hand that lay slack between mine. Though my skin remembered her touch, I couldn’t recognize them. Time had cunningly crafted maps of turmoil in the contours of her skin. I wished.. oh yeah, I wished.. just like every son would. I wished Mumma would recognise me. But, her Life had run out of kindness after it took Papa away while he was still asleep, early one morning before dawn crept in with its grey whiskers. Mumma had since then phoned every single day when I left home after Papa’s funeral. Only.. I never responded. I knew something was wrong the day Mumma stopped phoning, but I dismissed it as the threshold of human patience. 

Thirty years later, an unforgiving son sat by his mother’s bed, hoping for forgiveness from a woman he had barely known. Tears collected in the long-dry pits of my eyes and I gave in easily. I cried for the years of lost redemption. I cried for my Mumma, and the love she had lost – first, the man, Kariim, who abandoned her, then, the son, Kariim,  who abandoned her. I could only sit beside her and hope wherever she went from here, the love she had given away in abundance, for a change, be returned to her. 

Dusk swept in with its crimson wings as Mumma’s last breath caught in her throat. Funny how the first and last breath of Life becomes a phenomenal struggle. And… Mumma was no more.

***

Minutes passed in blissful quiet, with Kariim gently edging further and further away from her. Death though, was kind to her.

There was no going back there. She did pause to turn back, but he was long gone. Swallowing the huge lump in her throat, she started the other way, where her impending Destiny waited to embrace her. She wasn’t going back. Her voice trailed with the fading lights of the day. 

“Kariim..”

***

Author’s Note: 

He told me this story, one moonless night,
Hoping the darkness of the night would hide his plight
There was no going back there – Mumma was gone
Unforgiven by the son she had borne. 

The events were too heavy a weight –
My aching heart could no longer hold.
And so I twisted, names and hate
And for you, reader, a tale I retold.

 

***

Photo By: Slava B

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This is an entry for Five00-7, a writing event hosted by ArtoonsInn. Check out the event prompt and guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/five00-7/

Use the tracker to record your rulfy progress: https://1drv.ms/x/s!ApiLwn00sMcLgw25_MChxGCrua9_

Thanks for reading.

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