Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)
TITLE: Finally Change, Came
By Karuna Barla
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“I was just watching those kids mother.” I replied while being dragged back inside. Once inside, she let go of me and shut the door behind us. She did not admonish me further, just looked into my eyes, then walked away, disappointed.
My desperation to change my abnormal life had nudged me out on the porch, something, I had never done in twelve years of my life. Mother knew what I felt, coz she felt it too. We both didn’t have any friends.
“Don’t just stand here, go straighten up your room .” She commanded returning to the room as she noticed I had not moved from the door. Also, attempting to keep me from thinking too much and asking her questions.
I could not understand what was to straighten up in my room, yet I trudged away. My cot with a mat and camel skin blanket for the night were already folded. No desk with books to read, because I can’t. I never went to school. Whatever I know is what mother has taught me. The only other thing adorning my room was a thick maroon curtain for privacy, from the world. By day we hid behind our thick curtains and by night we camouflaged in the shadows of a low lit lamp while she told me stories from the Torah. Sometimes I dreamed of what it would be like to play with other kids and have friends and go to school.
The gentle clanging utensils took me away from my thoughts.
“Abu stay inside, I’ll be back in a minute.” mother informed as she prepared to go fill the jars at the community well.
She wore her shawl across her face as usual, so only her eyes could be seen. She had explained that it helps protect from sunburn from the dry desert heat. I had begun to realize it was just an excuse and many more questions now sprung in my head. Why no other women in town covered their faces so securely? Why doesn’t she talk with the women neighbors? Why does she go to draw water in the middle of the day when everyone’s home having lunch? All other women would chirpily walk together to the well in the evenings, but my mother stayed deep within the bounds of our shrubby house. What was she afraid to let me know? So many questions, but no one to answer them. Wish father was here to explain things to me. He left us years ago, for reasons I don’t know. Four other men, mother introduced me to, weren’t the kind of male role model a young boy could want. In any case, no one had stayed long enough to get acquainted with.
I walked aimlessly around the house, then sat by the window to wait for mother. The streets were empty except for the occasional rattling of wagons passing by. It’d stay quiet until the evening. All this thinking had made me hungry and she was taking longer than usual. I then spotted a figure running down the streets with arms waving and screaming. A woman, probably being chased as sometimes was the custom, I thought, but when she approached, I realized it was mother. I ran out to meet her and so did some of our neighbors.
“He’s here! He told me everything I ever did! Come see him. Could he be the Messiah?” She kept yelling as she ran.
I stopped running as I saw she was not in distress and was running toward me, with the most beautiful smile I had never seen. The tears of joy in her eyes spelled freedom, from the darkness we had been living in. She looked radiant.
Later that evening and for two days, the Man she met by the well came and stayed at our house. For the first time in our lives, we had visitors from near and far. Mother had to tear down the curtains so people could watch and hear Him from outside too. In the night we lit lamps brightly, so people could see His countenance.
When He left, people still kept coming to hear from mother- her experience with the Messiah. Our lives had changed, because of the Messiah - darkness was gone forever.
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