By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, April 29, 2012
The dusty lanes are behind. They are so remote now. As the distance grows, all elements go through an ugly metamorphosis. Even the air once pregnant with the grass fragrance and the blooming flowers’ scent has become the “air” that the commons breathe not for exaltation but only for the sake of survival. The hills seem to be sliding away almost unnoticeably in the broad horizon, out of grasp and out of sight. They were once so close and more than just convex shapes in the landscape. The shores seem to be hailing from a far with queer hospitability. Out of hell, anything can be mistaken for heaven.
The fields stretched on both sides of the road that unrolled offering gracefully its paved ground equally to new comers and passers-by.” The fields were mine once, why are they so odd to me suddenly” She sighed in silence.
Her hand touched her prominent belly tenderly. It has grown bigger during the three last months. She felt the unusual plump curves. Peculiar euphoric warmth emanated from her insides. She could sense another being lodging inside her womb while humming silently the same soft melody that she used to sing in the crops fields. “What a relief!” She was away from him now. With a shrewd look on her face, she smiled and turned her face to the window. She will come back one day to inhale the same air again and to walk the day along in the fields, to rest for while under the prickly pear trees whose smell once invaded the place whose leaves once bounced back and forth by the gentle afternoon breeze. The wind had such ways with her black hair flocks. In those days, secluded in her loneliness she felt blessed in her communion with nature.
“Your ticket Madam”
She turned to the conductor with an empty look and handed him the tickets barely aware of his presence. She was fully immersed in an intense and colorful flashback of her childhood memories that the novelty of the whole situation solicited.
Suddenly, she frowned and closed her greenish eyes tightly like someone who felt an unpredictable pain attack. She hates the smell of blood. It is the only smell that can make her faint. That night was so unpredictable. She had spent the day peacefully while he was still in office. How could she foresee how that horrendous night would unfold cruelly like a stifling nightmare? He used his hands his feet to beat her. When she woke up, her face felt heavy with bruises. She sensed her cheeks cautiously with her fingers. Suddenly she felt such terror at the size of her swollen jaw. She pressed her hands gently on her eyelids and moaned with pain. Even in pain, she could not raise her voice.
On the roadside, the fields stretched still like royal carpets indifferent to her turmoil. In the beginning of spring, the farms were vibrating with life. The sheep herds trotted in quietude, going astray and picking up the pace when they were harassed by a skinny yet enraged dog.
She turned back and saw how the road swiftly vanished and how faster the distance between her present and her recent past grew longer. She loved the bus motion on the grey road pavement and those white short lines on the road that looked like a continuous stream of whiteness. She was desperate for a ray of light in her forlorn life. The audacity to make this trip aggregated incrementally throughout these years. One day she gathered enough courage not to face him but to elope with her small suitcase, with her much loved books and the most precious thing in her life, her baby. She whispered lending her rosy cheek on the window glass:” I want a new life”. It was a huge leap towards freedom.
She has never made a personal choice in her life before. Her marriage was arranged and she was compelled to accept under her parents’ insistence.” He is mature and cognizant of life, a good catch” Her mother whispered in her ears. The marriage rituals and festivities were dull and hollow to her. The noise around her sounded awkwardly piercing and unharmonious. She wanted to lose consciousness at that moment and so she did.
Their nights and days were dull. His absence alleviated her ordeal. In his absence, she could finally become that candid girl again. She could dance relentlessly. She could sing bashfully to the fields that saw her germinate into a joyful girl and bloom into a candid young woman. Her life had become a tedious sequence of labor cruelly punctuated by his arrivals and departures. His lunch, his dinner, his daily commands and his bestial nocturnal wishes. His whimsical anger was hideous. She remembered perfectly the way he shouts and breaks things.
The truth is that she never really wanted a man in her life. It was maybe too early or it did not bear a great significance but they all wanted her away from the village. An unmarried young girl was a threat to all. When he asks for her hand, nobody asked waited for her consent. They rushed in all directions to discuss the wedding preparation, expenses and did their best to make her ready and acceptable for her nuptial night. After the wedding, they rarely talked to her. She was embittered to see her family so eager to get rid of her. They delivered her to her in laws house indifferently her like an inanimate parcel. All the memories crammed in her mind and the tears glowed at the corner of her eyes.
At that time, she had just turned seventeen and knew nothing about the world. She knew nothing about men and could barely draw her dreams with a stick in the sand. But her father has a say, had all the say. Her nuptial night was an awkward event that she barely could place in the general course of events. Suddenly, she became alienated from herself and especially from her body. That night had shattered her into pieces and ditched her in a state of unconsciousness. That night, she knew that she lost the green fields, the most beautiful background she had in her mind was erased violently. Life took a new twist and the world became unrecognizable to her.
The bus stopped and the passengers lined in a short queue inside the bus waiting for their turn to get off. She reached a new city now. In her bag, that she has been packing for a months, she has put all her identity documents, her middle school certificates. Her sewing machine was packed somewhere in her luggage. She will earn her life. She will breathe finally with no fear. She will hear her voice come out of her throat unconstrained by his presence. And above all, she will look at the sky and will contemplate the free birds. She stood motionless looking at the birds springing nonchalantly their wings and flying above these unknown the lands, unimpeded like the breeze that lifted her lofty veil. She whispered a duaa ( prayer) closing her eyes for few seconds then walked her way.
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