As soon as he said it, Karim’s father turned away and walked out of the room. His mother stood motionless, her eyes widened with shock and words were unable to form on her lips. Karim was speechless, and could not even look at his mother, or to say anything. It felt as though icicles were thrust into his body, piercing and jabbing, ripping and gnawing at his insides. The air became thick and breathing heavy. Chill ran through his every organ, and his body was unable to perform. His mind was in total blank, and he was almost unconscious of what happened next. He felt his feet slowly move, carrying him outside of the room where a woman stood silently, and into his own room, and closing the door. He felt his body sitting him down on a chair, for how long he sat, he could not tell, but he did feel his mind growing lucid as memory began to tangle itself into his sense. Why his father had turned from a loving man to what he thought to be an animal he no longer recognized, why he began to abuse his family, especially Karim’s mother. Why he was so angry and short tempered, why hell had broken loose inside their home. All those years he spent blaming him, hating him and wishing his death. All those years he begged his mother to leave him, all those years he thought his father was the reason for the family’s misery. All those years he thought he knew, he thought he understood. And in one swerve of a tongue, one movement of the lips, and one moment of truth and realization, everything changed, the whole world became vile, and filthy, reeking of lies and secrets untold.
Slowly, he stood up and turned off the lights. He shut his window and closed the curtains, he detested the manufactured light coming from the outside, and he hated the light the sun would bring when morning will come even more. In the dark, Karim’s tears began. In the dark, He stripped naked, threw his clothes on the floor, and slowly slid under the sheets. Maybe he could sleep the nightmare away. Maybe he could vanish somehow in a world of sweeter dreams. Maybe he would never wake up.
But tomorrow would come, it would creep in its slowly pace, forging pain until the very last of his days. Tomorrow he would face the world. Tomorrow, the colors would change, and the shadows would no longer veil his pains.
He wished the sun would stand still, never allowing morning to come. He wished time would cease and the dark would be his only comfort. But the stars would move, the clock would strike, and time would forever run. Morning would come, he would look into his mother’s eyes, he would remember the cancer that was creeping into his bones, slowly, slowly gnawing at his flesh, rendering his life and his gift into potent ash.
Sleep came creeping slowly. First his limbs surrendered with his mind still trying to emerge from the fog erupting in doses of grey, then his eye lids shut into a world of smoke, until finally, in lapses of unconsciousness, the material world was left behind and his mind shut itself into sleep.
Hamra street was deserted, and he was walking through a rain of ash. The silence was piercing and he found himself looking for a friendly face. He was unable to take a turn, unable to look back. He had lost control of his body, and it was doing its own bidding. Ahead of him was a blue light, and he seemed to be marching uncontrollably towards it.
For what seemed like hours he walked on, and the nearer he got to the light, the brighter it became and the lonelier he felt. He fought against his body. He wanted to go back, for the light seemed like an unknown scary place, but his feet moved on regardless of his fears.
He wanted to hold on to something. To grab onto to something, anything he could touch but his hands failed to fulfill his will. He started to panic as his feet kept moving forward. He tried to make a sound, to scream to call for someone but his voice fell short, the falling ash was blinding him as the blue light grew stronger, and drew nearer. His face would not turn. And he was feeling claustrophobic, as though bound with invisible chains. And the more he fought them, the more he felt their clasp upon his body.
Suddenly a loud booming sound echoed through the silence. The colors around him began to change, growing from pale to dark, then vivid, until finally settled for a shade of grey. He felt the invisible shackles clasp harder on his hands and feet and he was unable to move, while his mind tried to force him to move and break free. The blue light was almost within his hands’ reach. And it felt as though he could smell it. Slowly it was getting closer, and closer. The seconds passed and his heart beat furiously, he could hear the heaving of his chest in his ears. He wanted to break free. Run back and escape the eminent light. But the light was relentless, and he knew it would soon swallow him.
He closed his eyes, and a flood of memory erupted in his mind. There were so many things he wanted to say for those who loved him. So many apologies and amends to make. So many words to be written, and so many ideas to be transformed. There were too many regrets… But as he opened his eyes he realized regrets were futile now. There was nothing more he could do to stop what was to come. So he decided to surrender his attempts to fight his body.
Just then, he felt the invisible shackles release him, and he fell to his knees with his head turned low, tears streaming down his cheeks. It felt like an eternity when the ashes covered his skin. The light would soon take him, and he would allow it. He would accept whatever fate awaited. As he sat on his knees, he turned his face upward, and stared into blue.
His eyes glistened as a gentle breeze brushed through his hair. His senses no longer existed, and his body felt light and unburdened. His tears stopped, and his heart stopped beating as slowly, in a moment of silence, slowly, in a moment of lucidity, he felt himself being swallowed into the blue.
[…to be continued]