And It never Came

Followed by dried sea weeds, he could see the path going towards the old squeaky wooden cabin beside the pier. Misty coldness carefully stirred with familiar scent of the sea,sightly sulphuric, rang a bell in his old mind. He cracked open the old door and went inside.
The warmth inside at once engulfed him and a voice struck his ear. "Giggles." How could he ever forget the mischievous giggles yet marvellously beautiful in its own way that always filled him with happiness. It seemed like yesterday when this could satisfy his desire for a complete day. Everyday.
A few sharp squeals drove him out of his world and he looked around. Wooden walls, termites infected with structurally patterned webs in the corners above with a few rats following the floor lines, all of it never made him sick. Armed inside the worn out coat he was wearing, out came a packet carefully wrapped. Unwrapping it, he took it out of his wallet. His long thin index finger dug in inside, revealing a little shinny metal, followed by the thumb in support. He moved it closer to him, eyes drenched. The golden metal old yet shinny with a small blue stone in the middle happened to be a ring. Their ring.
The air around was trapped in his lungs as he inhaled the sweet scent, the scent only he could smell out of the ring.
"Please come back early today, I have a surprise for you." "Honey i'll try my best, just this little extra work and we'll have enough for the next week." It was just another day when early in the morning he left for work but he never knew that upon returning a surprise would change his whole life.
He knew he was late so he rushed back to their cabin just beside the pier on the beach. "She must be waiting." He thought. "Hey she must be your wife, come, over here!" He heard a loud voice and followed it bewildered. And there was her world. She was lying on the sand, eyes closed yet a beautiful smile on her face, reddish cheeks, lips dried yet carefully carved, perfectly shaped. And then reality cascaded upon him and he scanned the other bodies lying around. Scattered garbage, wet sea weeds, destroyed wooden structures. "What is all this?" he asked himself unable to process anything. A few voices struck him which he over heard while returning, not much he could recall but a few words. "The sudden sea wave has left a few people drowned this afternoon, no safety measures were taken by the government, there's a tsunami warning." he could recall it all yet know nothing at all. Bending down on his knees he touched her hand, their wedding ring was still in her finger.
Eyes shining, the ring was still in the middle of his thumb and index finger. For 25 years, he waited for the tsunami that never came; that took his evening surprise from him; that he knew he would never know about. Just Today felt so different for him, he could feel calmness inside as if he would soon know the surprise she told him about. Wrapping the ring carefully again he walked outside the cabin and rested near a large rock. Cold yet cozy enough for him. The sun rose high up in the sky, a crowd could be seen standing near a large rock with a body of an old man lying next to it, drenched with the sea water, cold but it only seemed as someone sleeping carelessly carefree after a long time. Finally they met.

By Mohammad Ahsan Ahmed Jan



Life never grapples with anyone. How ironic it is, we take precautions for the most astronomical problem, and its the most atomic problem that defeats us. We plan of overcoming the tsunami and its a gas explosion that destroys us. We take treatments for cancer and its an accident that kills us. We pray for our loved ones to be with us forever and its a broken expectation that breaks us.
I, too, had dreams. Small dreams and big dreams. Not about being a princess or conquering the world. Just about conquering myself. Conquering hearts. Earning an identity. Its been ages since I am wrestling with things. Its been long since I have been searching. Searching for the place where I belong to.
I feel like a leaf lately. Its like I do everything important for survival of my plant, my family. And its the root that snatches away the credit. No. Not just credit, all the importance too. Why? Because the plant stands on it. But what about me, the leaf? What if I stop working? What if I let it die? But.. Can I? I feel for the leaf. Its a female with a him. And roots are a male with a her. And here too, the female is worth nothing.
"Mom! Stop acting so melodramatic" "Mom, please. You are embarrassing me." "Mom! Its my life my rules. Stop bugging me" "Mom. You know nothing. Stop telling me." "Mom! I am not a baby anymore."
My children are my flowers, and I am the leaf. I care for them. They come home late, I wait for them. They don't eat in time, I wait for them. They are getting into suspicious activities, I care for them. My flowers are too fragile, I don't want their beauty to fade away. But, my identity as a mother is lost.
"Stop interrogating. Don't be my mother." "You are my wife. You have no right to ask questions." "What is it to you?" "I don't sit home worthless like you. I earn." "Its your duty to do my work."
My husband is my stem, and I am the leaf. I love him. He needs to reach office in time, I take care of him. He didn't like the food, I cooked again, I take care of him. He earns, I save, I care for him. My husband is my world, and I am lost in it. But, my identity as a wife is lost.
"You don't have to study. Marriage is important." "Daughters look good in their house. And that is your husband's house." "You are not our son! Don't talk about job." "Learn cooking." "I am worried for your marriage, you are already 21." "Eat less, fat girls get rejected at first sight."
My parents are the roots and I am the leaf. I adore them. They spent their life raising me good, I want them proud. They struggle for me, I want them proud. I want to earn for them, they disapprove it, I want them proud. They don't like the idea of me studying longer, I want them proud. They want me to get married earlier, I want them proud. My parents borne me, I owe them my life. But, my identity as a daughter is lost.
"Girls don't do this." "You are a girl, have some dignity." "Such a characterless girl. She was talking to boys." "What benefit will study bring to her, she will end up being a housewife eventually." "She is so fat." "She is so dark." "God! She is not even pretty." "She is not a boy."
This world is a tree, and I am the leaf. They judge me for my looks. They judge me for my sex. They judge me for my appearance. They judge me for my age. They judge me for my activities. They judge me for being a woman. They neglect me for my dreams. They neglect me for my intelligence. They neglect me for my intentions. They neglect me for my spark. They neglect me for being human. The trees won. My identity as a woman is lost.