It had been a long day, I had traveled miles in the last three hours. And there I was, standing in a corner drinking in my surroundings. I was so determined to take in each and every moment and engrave it upon my memory wall. My brain hammering each detail deeper, carving away the edges, chiseling the curves smoother. Rain water pattered the tin roof above my head, blurring my view. But then I thought that even this blurriness was a detail that I should remember. I tried seeing through it and was glad when I realized that I could. It was a curtain that I could choose to draw, I don’t like veils unless they hide things that I have seen or know of.
Spread before me was a valley. In fact, I stood in the heart of it. A river split its heart in two. The rain and the river were the two maestros that night, competing, striking chords. One did the vocals while the other mesmerized the hearer with its symphony. I stood there, beneath the tin roof only, remembering the notes. My fingers moved to the music and then I spread them out stretched them before me and was generously granted the rain’s attention. So now I had it saved in my skin and my brain, the two organs that stay loyal to familiarity. Needless to say I didn’t try the river. The river was possessive. It owned the flesh that once touched its surface.
Far behind the river stood the mountains, that had started to blacken out with the dimming light. The sun was hiding somewhere behind them, sinking God knows where. The sea was way down, where I had come from. The valley was way above in the clouds. Earlier the mountains had looked like mounds of pudding with chunks missing from them. As if someone had recklessly spooned their favorite parts. The locals said, they had been that way since the earthquake six years back. Strange, isn’t it? The mountains remembered and refused to heal. The humans got over it and re-inhabited the valley.
With the sun gone, the mountains became one with the sky. The lights from some houses atop them looked like stars. And all of a sudden the magnanimity of the universe weighed down upon me, wetting my eyes. What were we humans, compared to the sky that resisted falling down and bore the weight of the sun or the mountains with wounds so large that took ages to heal. Still we have egos so tall that threaten the mountains with their height. We have prides so huge that even the sky must wonder, who was the God? The one above it or the ones underneath.
My brain, skin and my eyes. The rain was in my eyes next.
©2014. Habiba Danyal
And for Ghazala, because she’ll understand.