(A fictional piece by Irishasia)

He was coming back home again from home and it was confusing. To the world he presented a face of calm in every part of chaos and people had always looked up to him for that. He was what some call a ‘self made’ man, a man among men who had a successful marriage of decades with the kind of women his kindred were green with jealousy for and he could even have as many lovers as he pleased without any problem. In the eyes of the world he had the world. Everywhere he went people had automatic respect or hatred for him and sometimes they even loved him more than they loved themselves.

“Buckle your seat belts please and remember to turn off your cell phones…”

He did everything without thinking now he had done it so many times. He was a world traveler and it was like breathing to him. He had just come from Hajj and was in a hurry but modern technology, as fast as it was, was still not fast enough…

…she was gone before the plane’s wheels descended and touched the tarmac.

He knew this but he didn’t know HOW he knew it he just KNEW it and he was the strong man and he had the money to do all and he had made it just in the nik of time to…

She was young and so pretty! He looked up at her and saw the most beautiful woman in the world. He was so ashamed of his thoughts. He had watched his father make his mother cry when he wanted her to be more modern and had made her sit still…her long braid and her tears fell on the marble floor and he wanted to kill his father then. He wanted to save his mother from ever crying and he vowed to become the greatest success he could be so he could give her everything. He was so ashamed that he wished he was his father so he could take his fathers place and love her the way she was meant….

He shook the thoughts off. All his life he had been in love with his mother and never told a soul. No one knew. No one. Even before he reached puberty he knew he was going to hell for that alone and that he must have been destined to be a very evil person all his life and now he had just come from the Hajj and the timing of everything…

…yet life went on around him as if nothing had changed.

“…you may now turn on your cell phones and unbuckle your seat belts and welcome to…”

He turned the sound off again in his head. There was the day he met a woman who told him that all young people feel that way about their parents and that was much more normal than he thought but, by that time, he had already broken all of God’s Laws thinking he was going to hell anyway and might as well…

He had thrown rocks at the devil and run between the mountains and he had done everything he knew to do and he had taken all the people with him who could go and…and…again his mind went back to the last time he saw her. She was old and had lost all her teeth and the joy that lit up her face when she saw her oldest son transformed her into a young girl again not a woman almost 80 years old. Inside of him was an avalanche of tears that wanted to be released and flood the world because, for most of her life, the son she loved the most was the farthest away but she still loved him the most. That avalanche just needed one trigger…just one…but his face was stone as the baggage handlers threw his bags, filled with gifts for his family, onto the conveyor belt for him to pick up and he wondered how he had managed to walk into the airport without noting he did so.

“Sir? Sir are you alright?” It was a fellow traveler, a beautiful young woman who looked at him with hungry eyes and once upon a time a few days 1000 years ago he would have…No…just no. All he could see was his mothers face, young and beautiful, super-imposed on the face of the woman he knew he could have without any effort if he wanted her and…no! He was once more dropped into the abyss of whirling emotions and how he even answered her without raging and screaming like a mad man was beyond him. “Yes I am fine!” He snapped the words out and she looked scared and walked away swiftly while he had to remember to get all his bags as they went around and around and around and around like his mind…

“Uncle! Hey! Salaam’ alaikum.”

He turned around and there was his nephew. A serious kid. A good kid. In silence they picked up the luggage and they got a porter to help them take it to the waiting car and they gave him a few rupees. The driver made it in time to the Family Home where he had lived the first twenty of the formative years that made him into the kind of man he was now. The rest of his life he had only been able to come home to visit from time to time and that was really because of HER only. The house was full and they were only waiting on him. He had made it in time but not IN TIME. As tired as he was he had to keep going as he helped to carry the body of his beloved mother to the grave. He was to say the Salat al Janaza. He said it all somehow from just the way he had to memorize it on the plane and finished, “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” He felt like a hypocrite…

…he left with nothing but a hand-full of dirt and it suddenly came to him that most of his life amounted to what he carried in his hand. Still he could not cry. He knew they would call him heartless but they could not see that if he cried he would never stop until it killed him. He could not cry. She was gone from the world he lived in. The woman he loved most in the world. From that moment on he could not even speak of it at all. He would, silently, carry her in his heart the way she had once carried him, in hers, all the years he lived over 12,600 kilometers away from her.

His mother was dead.

He signed into his Facebook account. Suddenly he hated it. He opened his dusty Quran whose suras he had never bothered to learn to recite and began,

“Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen
Iyyaaka na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim
Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen

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