Monday, May 10, 2010

Kauthar and the Old Hag

Kauthar was the type of person who baked brownies while wearing a crisp white shirt - very little foresight. Hindsight was always her forte though - she remembered anniversaries very well. Especially the sad ones. It was all Kauthar could do to push out those sombre memories from her conscious mind.

Instead of obsessing over her past failures, she tied herself down with work - a work that tired her to the bone. Physical pain was always the more acceptable one anyway; it was the sort of pain you could complain about without getting pitied looks of others, saying I am so glad I'm not you.

Over the last few months, Kauthar had come to realize that she was beginning to be set in her ways. She liked specific hijabs and wore them incessantly. She had owned the same pairs of shoes for years, and when their soles wore too thin, she'd quickly go back to the same store and purchase an identical pair. Her personality had matured into a calm, collected woman of a darker-coloured persuasion.

It made her angry sometimes, worried, upset to know that she had become who she was meant to become without consulting her heart or her logical mind. It had just happened this way.


Kauthar had reached the end of the subway line, distracted with her intense reading of The Book of Negroes. She slammed it shut with tears pricking at her eyes and got up angrily to leave the train. She noticed a small older woman slumped against the subway window, presumably dozing. her face was shielded by mounds of straight white hair.

Out of a natural desire to be useful, Kauthar approached the woman and nudged her gently while calling softly: Excuse me, we're at the end of the line. The woman would not wake - her body seemed to be frozen in a slump. Kauthar began to panic - what if the woman was dead? What if she had had a heart attack on the way home and nobody had noticed? So she shook her harder until the woman finally roused. She lifted her head up and stared incredulously at Kauthar and barked: "What do you want?!"

Kauthar reeled back in surprise. The woman's hair had fallen away from her face and her eyes were stony, squinted, and cold.

"We're at the end of the line, so I thought I'd wake you up" Kauthar muttered.

"Well why don't you just mind your own business and leave me alone?" the old woman hissed.

Kauthar turned around and walked out of the train, quietly blaming herself for trying to help.


Anonymous said...

poor kauthar. i hate it when that happens. when u try to help and it bites u instead.

these little failures in our attempts at kindness mar us forever - we are never the same again. i think we can all attest to this..when things like this happen, we ponder for a fraction longer before we proceed with out next kind gesture.

Let Go, Let God said...

Beautiful. I couldn't stop reading.

Anonymous said...

we want more of her wedding adventures!!!

Asmaa said...

Anon, precisely.

Let go, :) it wasn't that long a read ;)

Anon 2, why must Kauthar only have marriage adventures? Is nothing else worthy of being written about??