Tales

Zara (Part 1)

“Zara uttered her first coherent word in the 8th month,” her mom said as she spoke to her therapist. Her mother Zainab didn’t believe in the dark arts or superstitions of a similar sort, but Zara’s sudden silence puzzled everyone who knew her. Zara’s English teacher was the first to point out. That was the first time Zara knew that her silence was scary to people. “Her silence is acidic, pungent, makes my skin crawl. Something very bitter about her. It’s as if something evil has possessed her.” Her teacher whispered her words to the therapist. Zara was outside waiting for them to finish, the little girl was oblivious as her mother accompanied her home.

“Zara, darling, is something troubling you?” Zainab asked that afternoon at lunch. “They bully me if I talk and get me in trouble,” she said through her sobs. Zainab let out relieved laughter. Zainab and her teacher resolved the matter in school, and everyone moved on. From that day onwards, Zara knew her silence had to be a secret. She concealed it with all the noise that she could conjure up. She grew up to the most chirpy girl in the tenth grade. That episode sunk in the background as if it was a distant memory in everyone’s mind until that morning.

Zara came down with a terrible back pain radiated to her chest. It was as if a million horses were racing through her spine. She felt the hooves piercing her back. The sensation radiated all the way to her chest, and every breath hurt. Every rib stung when she moved. She threw up a couple of times. She saw a myriad of colors as she straightened herself. The nerves in her head began throbbing, and she couldn’t open her eyes. Zainab rushed Zara to the emergency.

Zara had a robust immune system unlike her younger brother Zaid. Zara was more like her father who was currently in Africa on a UN peacekeeping mission. Zara had always been her dad’s darling. Zainab didn’t bother him with details that would have him worry. Unfortunately for Zainab, she had aged prematurely with all the work and family stress. She took out her cellphone to call her husband. However, she decided against it. She was sure it was some viral infection.

As Zainab grew restless, a resident intern checked Zara’s vitals. She asked Zara, “Did you meet with an accident or did you fall perhaps?” “No,” Zara replied. The young doctor was baffled. She examined her back and her chest and found absolutely no external marks of injury. She walked out with caution to her senior doctor. “Doctor, her vitals are fine, but her pain seems mysterious to me,” as they walked to where Zara lay. The senior doctor had a daughter of Zara’s age. He knew that he had to handle Zara delicately. As it is puberty was already hard on them. Despite being a doctor, he was always fascinated with how women were a miracle of nature.

“Zara, you have to tell me the truth, did anyone beat you up, playfully or even unintentionally?” Zara merely shook her head to say no. At least from what he saw, the girl wasn’t lying. There was something icy about Zara that he could feel in his bones. She looked so beat up as if she’d never been able to wake up again but her eyes pierced through him. He felt as though he was in the middle of a deserted land covered with shards of glasses and all sorts of plant growth. He wanted to run and never return. However, when she spoke the doctor thought that the warmth had returned. He was back in the present.

The doctor gave the go-ahead for other diagnostic tests, and all of it turned out completely normal. Finally, they let her off with a painkiller injection. Zainab took Zara home, and Zara recovered in a couple of days. The mysterious illness appeared again, and they went through the same cycle with the doctor. The senior doctor was puzzled. But he never saw her again after the second time. She was on his mind for a long time.

To be continued….

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poetry

Wake up!

I will never forget 2014,

What an incredible year,

I fell in love,

Germany won the FIFA cup

And 276 girls were kidnapped from a school

Some of them never returned,

Never,

Somewhere just adjacent to where we live

141 children died in a Peshawar school

And then Christmas came

And so did a new year,

But the children were gone forever

A three-year-old molested

Much closer to home

A teenager murders a child

And we said 2018 is going to be better

Another FIFA World Cup

Stones hurled at school bus, not from the capital

Another gun violence kills 17

Some would never return home

Will they?

 

All in school,

What we call a second home

Oh what a miserable world do we live in

Where history matters more than our future

Where gun laws are as delicate as the trigger in AK-15

Where radical views matter more than a peaceful world

Where filthy hands don’t hesitate before making their way into a child’s vagina

What a time to live in?

where our fury doesn’t outlast a viral trend

Where a movie trailer has more people talking about it

 

First, they came for them, we said

Hey look, we are holier than thou

Then they came for our neighbors’

We said it’s not ours

Then they came for a kid on drugs

We made memes

And soon they will come for our children?

Why isn’t the fire lit yet?

Why isn’t there an outrage?

Why aren’t we out on streets?

Why are we so apolitical?

Why are we so indifferent?

We weep for son of God,

When will we weep for that of our neighbour’s?