Siffar knew she had lived beyond her years. Those whom she knew, loved, and hated had moved on. Where to? This wasn’t her burden. She was already bent over beneath the weight of time and the tiresome length of her years. One hundred two wasn’t a small number. But she had lost count after ninety.
The wrinkles crowded her face, burying her once sharp features. She couldn’t remember her youthful looks but hadn’t forgotten the sighs and longing stares her beauty had evoked. A chuckle could still escape her pruned lips, but the tears were quick to silence it.
She lay on a cot that creaked and wobbled. Her spot in the corridor was fixed. The sunrays and shade greeted her as the day proceeded. It wasn’t her choice where she was placed. The younger ones decided that for her. Age brought despair and exterminated any choice. There really was no room for contentment. It was a silent wait for her breaths to end.
But Siffar kept herself busy. Though her arms and legs had little strength, her eyes could still see a great distance. And her ears never missed a sound or whisper. However, this simply added to her torment. What good were these senses if she couldn’t act upon them? So to soothe herself and entertain others, she sang like a songbird.
The words and tunes often blurred in her head but her tongue was quick to rectify any missteps. Though her voice had thickened, it could still convey the sweetness of melody. No one ever stopped or interrupted her. Her performances were silently acknowledged. Food and water gave her the strength to resume her tender renderings.
The clinking of coins and the dramatic murmurs made her sing a notch louder. Nothing ever came free in this world. It was a sad but fierce reality. Siffar had been a daughter, wife, mother, lover, and friend. But now she was nothing more than a relic.
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