on a Blue Afternoon
could not write more; an inexplicable numbness, it seemed,
had grasped her body. She got up, sat on the rocking chair
and skimmed through the newspaper. A train of thought shuffled
on, badgering her with an uneasy feeling. She knew something
bad was in the offing, something grotesque and grisly. She
stared vacantly at the sheets of paper she was gripping so
tightly. The small print from the newspaper hurt her eyes;
she rubbed them and looked at the newspaper. Everything was
across and lay on the bed. Nasser was awake but he did not
move. Shormi held him from the back and touched his eyes;
his eyelids fluttered. He grasped her hand and sighed.
she closed her eyes and saw Bobby walk lazily on the rag with
a kitten. It was drizzling outside and it would start pouring
heavily soon as she saw a wisp of cloud shading the skyline.
The sun was at its low, though it was early in the afternoon;
none of them could see anything. She and Nasser were wading
through what looked like a hill of sand; the cat followed.
Then the path grew musty and it started to rain heavily. They
looked up the sky; suddenly a flash of light came across and
they had to close their eyes, dazed and startled. They opened
their eyes and an oasis was on the horizon. They thought their
steps were so light that it was possible to fly; it was possible
to be both body and spirit. Then just as suddenly it had come
into being, the oasis dissolved into a dune. Without even
knowing where to go; where to hide themselves and from whom,
a man and a woman along with their cat walked through. They
walked days and nights and at times where day and night looked
and felt the same. They did not feel sleep; neither could
hunger touch them. They ate everything they got on their way;
they peeled the bark of dead trees and ate beetle-grubs, and
burped after having grasshoppers.
not stop when they reached that elusive oasis. They did not
cross the path of any humans; neither did they see any living
being. The yellow mosque that they came across was empty of
any human presence; she saw the dead, shrouded in cerements,
waiting for the funeral party to arrive.
out of the mosque and ran through the desert. They ran as
if there was no tomorrow. As if nsothing but their existence
(R) thedailystar.net 2004