We are pleased to debute a piece written by Mariam Al Bloushi for the theme of July “Sunset” We hope you enjoy this short story
It is never easy to return to the past you thought it was long forgotten between the pages of hurt and pain. But today, I shall. I shall return to where I once belonged. I shall relive and restore the memories of deluded grieve which I thought that I finally left behind. I have prepared a small picnic basket with food enough for two, I ironed and scented your favourite t-shirt and your casual jeans and placed them in a bag. I get my car keys off the coffee table, and head out to my car. I look where the Sun is at in the far sky.
“There is still time.” I say and with that, I start the engine and make our old house my destination. Who knew that after running away from fate all the time I would end up returning back to it? My fingers on the steering wheel were still shaking in fear of how our abandoned house looks like anymore. Is it damaged? Is it crumbled? And most importantly, has it demolished to become one with the solid Earth? I know that if that is what it would be, then I would be the one to blame. I shunned the world and us and tried to even give up hope to live.
The roads were silent and the only vehicles that were on it were sleepy truck drivers who have driven from one place to another. It was only five in the afternoon, and there was still time until the streets would be filled with employees eager to reach their homes and be surrounded with their families.
I wish I was the same for some reason. I wish that I was a normal woman with a normal life and a loveable and supporting family, not someone who would be the centre of sympathetic whispers everywhere I go.
Poor Hessa, she lost her husband in such a young age.
Oh good grief! Her poor parents will be forever burdened to carry her responsibility. Like come on, who would accept marrying a widow?
Who would restore her honour?
I dig my fingers tightly into the steering wheel and clench my teeth as I let their whispers cloud my mind with anger and frustration. I have been so angry at myself so many times, even angry at God for bringing me into this racist and close-minded world as a girl.
Astghfar’allah, I sigh in my heart and continue on my journey.
Finally as I take an exit to a narrow neighborhood, I see kids playing football nearby. Not much changed I guess. I go straight to meet with a tall standing white villa.
I am home, love.
I gave it a thorough look to just check if it is still in one piece, and knew that it was enough. I knew that I am not strong enough to step a foot into the heaven you made just for me and for the future children we will never have. I clenched my fist and hit the steering wheel as I try to get rid of this flustered feeling that burning my heart. Why am I so weak?
I leave the neighborhood and drive as fast as I can to an empty park nearby and reserve one of those palm shaded green hills. I placed the food down on the red coloured picnic rug quickly, and took out your clothes out of the bag.
I hope no one sees this, I think as I put your shirt on the moist grass and smooth out the hem of it, and then placed your jeans just where the shirt ends. I get up and look at how the clothes look like, and think of how tall you really were the lying clothes made this sweet illusion in my mind that made me want to cry so much. It looked like as if you are lying there on the grass, grinning at me from below and wishing to capture my leg and make me stumble upon you just for the sake of cuddling me. For a moment, it seemed like it was all real, until the shades of yellow and orange emerged from the Sun that was contouring the ends of the far horizon.
Sunset is finally here.
I sit and pour tea for you and me, as I remember how much you loved the way I brewed jasmine tea. I remember how much we loved taking calming picnics like this one, and how much you loved teasing me about having a baby.
But you cannot tease me anymore.
I miss how much you said that the Sun reminds you of me, that even while leaving its throne for the moon to be taken, it falls gracefully with pride till it rises again the next day to restore it’s honour with glory. You knew that I will fall. You knew how to predict me.
My love, it has been years since I have lost you to death. But you still beat inside me, and in every heartbeat my heart refuses to replace your name for the sake of my honour. Because you are my honour, love.
And until the last time I see the sunset in my life, I will always belong to you.
Author: Mariam Al Bloushi