Huma listened to the leaves rustling to the song of the breeze. She would have pinned her ears to the tree if it would help drown the profanities and accusations. Afaf, her daughter, stood at the open window, having her fill of disgracing her own mother.
‘You are a horrible bitch!’
‘You abused me for years! Do you hear?!’
‘It’s a shame you call yourself a mother!’
The girl’s hands hit the aluminum frame, again and again.
Huma’s mind had learned how to seclude itself from the madness, but her heart lacked the intellect and will to disregard Afaf’s screeches. Every word was a nail hammered into the sensitive muscle. It bled quietly, in a mannered fashion, mindful not to aggravate matters more than either could handle.
But this was a lie Huma often told herself and it perished when Afaf eventually exhausted her anger and retreated to her room, banging the door behind her. And it was no different this time.
The shutting window, the heavy footsteps, the fading voice – Huma’s ears abandoned the leaves to follow the familiar pattern. The woman waited, the lump in her throat screaming to be released. Then came the sound that was sweeter than any fruit she had tasted.
It was over. For now.
The tears slid down, nor fast nor slow, the lump dissolved into shaking breaths. Huma had mastered the craft of silent crying. At times, her eyes refused to vent her heart’s frustrations, simply gazing at everything and nothing, the futility of it all.
As Afaf had grown, so had the girl’s troubles. Her mind could not find its balance, forever in turmoil, forever under seize, forever a mess that spread with every passing year.
Huma had always known her daughter was different. But how? But what? But why?
And the brave woman had not shuddered from finding answers to her questions, but sadly conclusions were elusive, deductions were unreliable, the pillars of science could not bear the weight of their suffering.
Medicines barely sustained the girl, counselling hardly uplifted her spirit, Huma became the enemy and Afaf’s only savior. A battle that was not fought for good or evil, its purpose never to be known or understood.
Huma did not have to place her ear against the door. Afaf’s jittery sobs were loud. The woman knew they could get louder if she tried to console the girl. But what she really wanted to do was scream –
Why don’t you try harder?!
There are others who suffer like you!
Are they wasting away their lives too?!
Time normally did what a helpless mother couldn’t, so Huma walked away and sat back down on the porch. The breeze, the leaves, the song, they were still there, but the peace had been disturbed.
Yet it could never be quiet. There would never be silence. The sounds would remain, distorted, unpleasant, foreboding.
Huma would have to be content with an earful of suffering.
A few laughs never hurt anyone. So take out time to smile and read a satirical piece written by me – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superwriter!
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