Sometimes we lose ourselves in the music of the outside world to escape dealing with the lack of it within us.
Waking up from the light slumber I had fallen into, I put my headphones down and got out of bed. The coffee mug sat by my bed, half empty. I walked up to the window almost at a snail's pace and parted the drapes. The sky was lit up with a soft glow; soon the sun would hide behind a twilight horizon and then darkness would take over. There were birds to be seen.
So, what happens when the music stops?
No chirping of birds, no rustling of leaves. My gaze fell onto the streets. They seemed to be as devoid of life as the skies above; not a single soul was in sight. In just two week's time the city that I called home, the busiest city I had ever known, had been turned into a ghost town. A lonely rickshaw turned the corner and as I observed the old man on wheels my eyes began to sting. The man looked starved. How long has it been since he had a passenger? My gaze followed the rickshaw until it vanished out of sight. It was as though the gloom that had taken the city by storm had also somehow seeped into the hearts of all its inhabitants and it was in no mood for mercy. "How much longer can I take this?" I wondered.
"HOW MUCH LONGER MAA?" my daughter's scream broke through my thoughts. "What?" I asked. "How much longer do I boil this egg before it's done?" I shook my head and ran to the kitchen to see what trouble she was cooking up now. To my horror, my nine-year-old had the stove on and was trying to boil an egg.
"MOVE!" I shrieked. As I began to clean up around the kitchen she walked over to the counter and stood still, clearly waiting to ask something. "Maa?" she asked, "when can we leave the house again?" "When this virus goes away sweetheart," I said. "We're not the only ones, everyone's staying indoors you see?" She stared at me with a blank expression. I pointed at the single scar on her knees. "Remember when you fell off your bike and got that? How you had to stay in your room, be very patient and give it time to heal?" She nodded. "Well, the earth is sick sweetheart. It has seen enough. It needs to rest now, it needs time."
Running her fingers across her scar, she went silent. As I went back to cleaning the kitchen she looked up, "Maa, what happens when the earth gets a scar?" I smiled at her. "The music stops." I thought to myself.
Kazi Sabita Ehsan, a bibliophile with a penchant for overthinking about life. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org