Are You Our Mother? A Short Story!

A Short Family Story!

 Are You Our Mother? 

The door bell rang continuously and incessantly.  Trust these things to happen always to you in more than one of the ten cases, as soon as you enter the shower or bath the bell would ring!  These are one of the unexplainable things in life, it never rings before you get into the bath or shower, nor soon after you have finished! The person who was ringing the bell must be desperate, or he or she just wanted to make a nuisance of oneself.  Some have this bad nasty habit – they will keep the bell pressed till the door is opened or they will let the phone ring on and on till someone answers it.  It is okay if it is at home, but at the office too?

Tried to ignore it or let it ring, so what! Ring! Ring!  Simply she had to get out of the shower and open the door.  She was about to give the person outside ‘a piece of her mind’ when she saw who was ringing the bell – and that made her winch with shame and guilt.  The girl was hardly twelve, but she looked tired, worn out and much older.   Life’s experiences and troubles makes one mature fast – and get older quicker too in the process.  She was clutching the hand of what looked like her younger brother – hardly five or six himself.

The girl was very polite.  I am sorry to take you out of your bath – but we are new here.  We come from the village from the Interior.  We are afraid we may have got lost.  Our mother is waiting in the car with our uncle some blocks from here – and we had to cross the street to come here.  I am sorry – the girl apologised again.  Looked sad and distraught with her sad big innocent almost crying eyes.  All the time she was holding tight the hand of his brother – as if he would run away and play truant – and put her in great trouble with her mother. 

So what can I do for you?  – The wet dripping woman in her big white towel asked.  I am sorry – the girl said again – she was trying her best to be understood in her broken poor English.  Do you speak Arabic? – the girl finally implored the woman.  The woman looked young – she must be in her early thirties.  Looked like the age of her eldest sister or like her young aunty.  No, our mother told us not to get into the house.  Can you get our father for us?  No, I do not speak Arabic – I come from a non-Arabic speaking country.  Sorry! But I understand you – go ahead– the woman calmly said.

Your father? – The woman quizzed, puzzled and confused.  Your father?  She repeated herself the question.  Are you sure you came to the right house, my dears?   With the word dears, the girl started to cry!   The young brother consoled and comforted.  Do not cry sister, lets be brave and courageous, sis!  I do not understand – the woman implored – what is this all about, and why are you poor girl crying?   Tell me dear – why are you crying?  What is wrong?

Are you my new mother? – The girl finally had the courage to ask.  Are you my new mother?  Is our father here?   And who is your father? – The woman asked the girl.  My father is *RAR – he is our father!  We want to see our father – we want to talk to him and ask him some questions.   We want him to answer us! It is a family thing – we want to talk and ask questions to our father – please!

Your father is * RAR?   How is that possible?  He told me he did not have any young children.  Are you sure RAR is your father?  You are not trying to hoodwink me with your scam?   The girl cried again – this time loudly and profusely.  There, there, the woman comforted her – please, please do not cry!  You are also making me cry, see?   And the woman was crying with the girl together.  She could not control herself – the shock, the anguish and the pain – all of a sudden too – that was too much.  She did not want to hurt anyone – especially these poor innocent young children at her door. She had never wanted or dreamed to become in her life as a second wife. Her fears were now haunting her!

Our father – the boy was now speaking – finally.  He had left us at home in the village.  He does not come home in the weekend any more; he spends all his time in the town now with you.  Are you our new mother?   Yes – the woman said – but I did not know your father had young children.   He told me that all his children were grown up and had left the cuckoo’s nest.  Our father does not look after us anymore – he does not like us anymore.  Do we have another small baby brother or sister?   You know mother – the boy calmly said – we have not even food in the house.  Our mother is sick, and cannot work.  Only our aunties and uncles are looking after us – but our mother is proud, she wants dad to be responsible for us.  Not others!

No, I have no baby – the woman responded.  And I do not think I ever will with him anyway – with the way he has treated you.  No way!  I am returning home – this man tells too many lies.  I am sorry – please forgive me.  No, no – it is not your fault – both the children said together.  It is not your fault.  It is our father who is at wrong – not you.  We do not mind him marrying you – but why has he forgotten us completely?  Why?  Did we do anything wrong?

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Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

What is this?  – The man said as he entered the house – who brought you here?  The children were drinking hot milk with some cakes and biscuits.  They looked hungry – as if they have not had some food for quite some time.  Hello Dear – the man said to the wife – Do not dear me! – The woman was shouting and screaming at the top of her voice – you always tell lies and fibs RAR.   You are never to be trusted!   You always let down peoples!   I want nothing more to do with you now!  Please get me my ticket – I am going home!   I want my divorce – the woman screamed and threw things around at the place and at the direction of the man.  You always have lied to me – the woman screamed again at the top of her voice.

See what you have done – the father reprimanded the children.  Your mother is at the bottom of this again!  She never wants me to be happy; I deserve some happiness in my life, at least now.  The children were cowering – their own mother never did these things to their father ever before.  And they had never seen their father ever so angry before!   He looked so distant and sad – tired and worn out.

The bell rang again incessantly.  Nobody bothered.  The boy got some courage and got up to open the door, with all the going-on around the place.  It was his mother and uncle at the door!!  They were tired waiting outside. As the boy had feared, a bigger scene was now coming into the place! All Hell was going to be let loose now! As it soon did! 

By:

 

Majid Said Nasser Al-Suleimany

Short Story! – No Money For The Crayons!

No Money For The Crayons! 

At  first she thought she was dreaming – but the stiffled incessantly crying got louder! More louder now! She made a silent prayer to herself more – what is that crying? Who is crying? Is it a Jinn? A ghost? Who could be crying this late at night. She looked over at her husband sleeping by her side – snoring loudly!

The poor man! He had just returned from his taxi business – and the situation was not good at all! He had never seen things so bad like this before – not only people were not using taxis – but they continued to argue endlessly on the rates! Everyone preferred the mini-buses taxis – and the few National buses that sometimes – and infrequently – plied on the same routes! Early morning – after dawn prayers – he would take just a cup of tea – and start on his routes! Breakfast – if any – came far later in the day!

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Children Art Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

Against his will he had been given early retirement – and the pension was not enough to pay for the installments for the small house he had built from the mortgage loan he had taken! A distant relative had given him the taxi – on condition he got 50% of the returns – and the service and maintenance of the taxi was left for him to do!

Thank God I am a Believer – he cried from within him – and I believe in doing good things in life – otherwise I might have done things my family, friends and relatives would have been ashamed of me! Good things come to those that are patient – the Religion said to him! I must keep going on – even if the struggle and life is all uphill – and there was still no light at the end of the tunnel! I must keep going on – at least for the sake of my family – if not for anyone else!

** Umm Khadija started to get up from the bed – slowly and not to wake her sleeping husband. She sat by the bed – and listened intently where the crying was coming from. She was not imagining things – the crying was audible clear and real. It was coming from the bedroom of the girls’ bedroom. She was debating whether to wake her husband or not? What if the cry was from a Jinn? Could she handle such supernatural things on her own. She had heard of these stories before – but she could not believe it! It was now all coming to her – haunting her – and worrying her to the till!

As we Arabs say – beat your chest with your hand – and go out and see what it was all about? Why are you crying, my child? – she asked her eldest daughter Miriam. Why are you crying child? What is wrong? Pray please tell me – what is wrong – and why are you crying? Do you know it is late at night? These things are not good things to do at this late hour! It brings out bad things – and misfortunes – bad luck only! Crying for no reason! Why are you crying, my child?

To this the child Miriam burst into loud weeping – and the tears poured down her cheeks. Her eyes were red hot for weeping – even could be seen in the dim light of the room. Mummy – the poor child cried – I put off the Air conditioning.  Dad always complains about the electricity bill. We must help him – all of us Mummy! If I finish school – and go to College – I will help in the household – I promise Mummy – if I get my first job! Pray for us Mummy!

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Children Art Images – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

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Image – Omani Taxi – For Demonstration Purposes Only!

Child – are you crying for this reason? You are too young to take all these load on your shoulders – dear child – first pay attention on your schooling – and get good marks and results. All these things will take care of themselves – trust me child! Is this why you are crying now?

No Mummy – I feel so sad and sorry for poor dad! He has to look all of five of us – and we have a long way in school to help him! He always comes back from work – dead tired and worn out! Poor man – he tries hard to feed and look after all of us – with the poor taking he gets from his taxi! And all his pension almost all of it goes to the bank loan. Last month the electricity was cut – because he could not pay in time!

Mummy – the poor girl finally lets out! I had joined in School the Arts class as one of the social studies – extra circular studies. All of us in class are required to join one class or the other. You know Mummy – I like drawing, no? Yes I know child – the mother replied. So what is the problem, child? Mummy, they need us to buy crayons, paint box  and canvas paper! I dare not tell Dad – with all the troubles we have already, Mum … you know?

Mummy, you know in school – some of the kids come with very good sandwiches and meals – we come only with the Lebanese bread – with cheese only, Daughter – the Mother retorts – do not only look at those ahead of you in life – there are many others far behind you! I know Mummy – that is why I share my sandwich with my friend! They come to school always empty – and in break they all go and sit under the big tree – looking at all of us with meals brought – whilst they are without! The poor girl cried out again – deep and in pain – hurt read all over her face!

So how much does all the things cost? – the Mother Umm Khadija asks finally her daughter ** Miriam. I do not know Mummy – maybe between ten to fifteen Omani Rials! I dare not ask dad – last time I needed a Compass Box – he shouted at me! Yet a Compass Box is only three Rials at the most! I am scared and afraid Mummy – what can I do now? I like the Arts class – something close to my heart – and my hobby! What can I do, Mummy? Please help me Mummy? When do you need to buy these things? As soon as possible Mummy – because in the class I just watch the others draw. They do not share with me – and the Teachers are not really interested – if we draw anything or not. It is a class they have to monitor – that is it is for them only – Mum!

Okay I will get these things for you my daughter – do not worry about it. Tomorrow I will go and buy these things for you. Write for me what you need? In English or Arabic, Mummy? Does not matter – there will be someone in the Stationary shop for sure who can read Arabic. Do not worry child – go back to sleep now – okay dear child? Sleep now – you need all the rest. She kissed her daughter goodnight.

As she enters her bedroom – her husband Hamza looks at her. What is going on? Oh – it is Miriam – she had a bad dream – but now she has gone back to sleep. It is those horror films she likes to watch on the TV – how many times I tell her – but she does not listen! Let it lie – husband – she is sleeping now. You go back to sleep too – only a few hours to Morning Salaat Fajr (dawn) prayers!

Next day in the morning – Umm Khadija is at the Gold Shop. This was her last piece of gold left she inherited from her late Mother – and what was left from the dowry. As usual the Indian shopkeeper looked at the bracelet from a distance – disdain and disinterest fully manifested on his face. Nobody wants these types of all gold things – I can give you only thirty Rials for this! Surely it is worth more – Umm Khadija pleaded – to no vain! Look Madam  –  the retort sternly came – do you want thirty Rials or not? Please do not waste my time – I have other customers waiting for me! Now tell me? Okay – what else I can do?

As she walked away from the Gold shop – she was crying deep all inside her – with deep hurting pain and wounds – but at least her daughter can now attend the Art class – finally!

Footnote Sayings –

  • There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds!Laurel Hamilton
  • One thing that you cannot hide is when you are crippled inside!John Lennon

** All names are fictitious and any resemblances are just coincidental!

Take Care!

By  Majid Al Suleimany