A Mother’s Apology

I once saw a mother. A child lay in her arms. He skipped a breath.

She apologised.

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Just Ask

Leaning back into the chair once again, I continued scribbling notes on my lovingly fingered blue notepad as the awards drawled on. Organizations of great merit, people of great actions, communities of great spirit…on and on.

I had managed to break the monotony of the announcements with some enthusiastic conversation with my neighbor in the chair to my right. She was a middle age woman, of Christian background, with perfectly peppered grey and white hair and pair of dark brown spectacles perched at the edge of her nose. We talked of books and travel, schooling and languages, diversity and tolerance, and of course how she wound about coming to this event celebrating Muslim achievement in the nation. She asked me about my background, and studies and everything in between; and I the same. And oh, how we became fast friends in that hour of conversation!

And round about the time I had turned my attention back to my notes and her, contemplatively back to the stage, I sensed her turning her head towards me. Then very gently she said, almost tentatively, “And one more thing, you seem like a very friendly person so may I ask, why do you wear that on your face?”.

And under that, I smiled, because it’s sincere curiosity like hers that makes the world go round. I really do appreciate, that instead of shy glances and awkward conversations, when people just genuinely ask. Because, I really would love to tell you why. And that’s exactly what I said❤️

Sewed Lips

The fire crackled as its flames licked the point of the silver needle, blackening and coating it with a layer of crackly ash. A hushed murmuring could be heard, as the group of men gathered around gazed on intently at the calloused, olive hand that bravely extended itself over the unruly blaze. Cutting through the thicket behind them came a gusty current of chilly air that nipped the noses and cheeks of the onlookers…enough to bestow them with somewhat becoming ruddy countenances. The gale was also enough to send the flames of the fire dancing in its wake, like wild dancers, each blaze flung it’s burning arms towards the physiognomies of its crouched companions. It lingered upon the characters, as if searching for something, casting leaping mysterious shadows across each one. It was looking for the soul who’s limb was extended above it, holding a weapon within its scalding grip, in order to purify it. The fire found that man and shed its warmth upon him for so long that his face flushed, though he shivered in the layers of clothes that hugged his worn body. His dark brow, like the outstretched wings of a bird in flight, was furrowed in a knot of frustration, almost meeting above the bridge of his nose. His eyes were cast down, studying the sharp object in his hand, yet the silvery glaze in them, that reflected back the image of the flickering fire was enough to guarantee that his mind was elsewhere.

Suddenly, he withdrew his arm, breaking the piece of the circle with quick, jerky movements as he leaned back on his haunches. Parting his lips, he gently blew at the needle, cooling its charred tip and rubbing the ash off from between his sooty fingertips. He cleared his throat and broke the expectant silence that had fallen on the party, with a soft voice that trembled with the ardor of youthful vigor and passion. His tongue performed its eloquent melodies, but his fervor came from his chest as he spoke in his native language to the men around the fire. He reminded them of homes, and lands, people and places. He reminded them of Love and all its paths. He reminded them of sacrifice and life.

His voice rose to a shrill jolting call at some points, and then dipped to deep guttural reassurances at others. Then in mid sentence the soothing string of words stopped as his voice cracked.

His lip trembled as he surrendered to the wave of vulnerability that had washed over him and was threatening to drown him. A tear slipped down his check, slowly  trailing along his face, then falling into the depths of the beard that though it was thick where it grew, had a sparseness, betraying the fact that his existence had only been but a few  brief years. He hadn’t even had the time to proudly display it.

As the pained look slowly drifted from him, and his face was dry, he raised it to acknowledge the faces of the men as they had respectfully lowered their own. Rising, he handed the needle to a companion seated nearby him, who in turn threaded it with a string of blue fiber. Knotting the end with a quick double knot from his nimble fingers, he turned from his handiwork and looked towards his friend. He asked him if he was sure he wanted to do this, the answer of which was none but a fleeting impatient glance at the needle which he held. Finally he rose as well, his knee brushing over a couple of empty cans that littered the cluttered campsite. They went tumbling in the howling wind, clattering their metallic chimes until they were lodged inside a ditch nearby.

The friend neared the former, proffering the threaded needle and eventually confronted him, in his face. He tilted his chin up, allowing the firelight to play its game upon the boyish features it beheld. The arched nose, dark fringed brown eyes, high forehead, gallant chin and lips…the friend whispered something and then plunged the needle into them.

Not a grimace wrinkled the contour of the man’s face as the needle gracefully dipped in and out of the soft pink flesh, tearing and ripping its tight seal. Drops of red blood fell in the small cracks on his lips, staining them and the blue thread was no longer blue, but rather a deep purple. But it didn’t matter much anymore, because his friend was finished and the thread used up. This would be in the news tomorrow.

 

 

Some people choose to keep their lips closed and refuse to speak, while others feel the need to sew them together in order to be heard.

Speak up for the voiceless, because those who purposely refuse to, will one day pay for the wanton shedding of their blood.

Without a word…

The girl gingerly walked down the steps. In one hand she clutched a leather bag close to her chest.
She broke into a sprint along a gravel pathway, flying past green pastures speckled with plump animals lazily chewing grass.The crisp morning breeze flapped her clothes, as  she began her early vigil, greeting the pink streaked sky, greeting  the break of dawn itself.Her rosy face was upturned as she slid to a stop, kicking up dust at her feet.
She blinked her eyes, clearing them of the dirt particles now wrenching tears from her eyes, dribbling down her cheeks, drawing intricate patterns along her weather beaten face. Her vision now cleared; she looked up, and surprisingly her gaze met with the luminous, eyes of a magnificent black horse.
It watched her curiously, all the while chewing grass, not sparing a moment to fill it’s hungry belly. Suddenly, it tossed it’s head sending locks of silky mane tumbling.
Softly , it snorted, breathing air out of it’s flared nostrils. The girl scanned this magnificent beauty and noticed it’s back for the first time. It was pink and raw, scarred with the marks of a whip. She felt rage building up in her, “Who would dare harm such an amazing creature?”
She was so engrossed in the moment that she didn’t even notice the tanned hand that raised up and hit the horse on it’s hind-quarters. It reared up, dangerously close, screaming in pain .. It shied from the hands of cruelty and galloped away.
“And who might you be, lass? Messin’ with my horse, ay.”,a deep voice broke the shocked silence.
The girl had the fire of fury kindling in her usually serene gray eyes.She raised her hand as it trembled with emotion, and met the eye of the speaker of the words that she did not make any sense of. Her lips made no movement to speak.
He was a tall man, who had a gray beard, streaked with white. He wore a red kilt that just grazed above his ankles. He had bushy eyebrows that nearly covered his small eyes that had shrunk from years of squinting. He scrutinized this strange girl’s intense movements and appearance.
Who was she?
She had raven black hair,curling evenly,wreathing her face as it escaped from beneath a tightly bound blue scarf, dyed from the black mountain berries.
Her eyebrows were just beneath, resembling the wings of a bird, outstretched in flight. Making way for a pair of deep-set almond shaped eyes, gray in color tinted with streaks of green, fringed by dark black lashes.
She was a medium height person, her chin reaching well above the fence.But she had a curious way to make the helpless child feel her to be small,and the largest monstrocity to feel her to be intimidating.She had a very mystifying aura that sometimes led people to believe she was much more than just a youth of her age.
She had a lean stature, making it seem as though she was drowning in the folds and layers of her wispy clothes. She usually wore coarse,dresses woven out of deep colored cloths, blue, green,black, and brown. A heavy shawl was draped around her, engulfing her small shoulders. Atop that she wore a thick hide coat, with the fur turned in, when the weather turned for the worst.
Upon her feet were leather coverings that served as shoes, and laced up till her knee, often padded beneath it with strips of cloth to keep her warm.They were embroidered with glass beads of various colors and fringes. She donned upon that hard boots, slicked with animal fat to serve as water proof and to protect the hide underneath.
A sudden movement shattered the silence and a puff of air clouded. The old man’s head snapped up to meet the girl looking at him with an icy stare.
Her lips began to move, and white clouds drifted from them. Suddenly, a noise , a graceful tune played on her lips. Soft syllables filled the old man’s ears as she began to sing, an unknown. Then, as suddenly as she had started, she stopped.
She shook her head, as if in frustration, and raised her hand. Towards the hills she raised it, in an silent salute, to the silhouette of the black horse. With a lingering look at it’s figure, she turned at heel and began to walk towards the brightly lit horizon.
Somehow, something inside the old man stirred, he had a deep feeling that this mysterious girl would never come back again.
Just before path dipped into the horizon, the girl turned and looked back at the old man. Very slowly, a brilliant smile crept across her radiant face before she turned back again.
And as she dissappeared, the old man thought he heard the echos of her song, resounding through the sky. And as he listened closely, he faintly heard the outline of the name, ~Maria~