From my apartment’s balcony on the 20th floor, I’m looking at people as they pass on the road below. People, cars, everything looks very small from here, as small as a dot on a dice. In the past I would have liked to have vision to see the tall palaces and mansions people frequently talked about; to see children smile and adult emotion. But I never thought, gazing down, from the top of those palatial roosts, things would be this filthy. I now know why politicians and sovereigns always view their subjects as insignificant; because they never descend from their flayed illusions. They always look down at the people, while they hallucinate about themselves and their opulence.
I begin to detest being on the balcony, and come in to the dining room. I prefer to drink a love triage of past memory; the time I was a disappointed guitar player; and he was handling all my sorrow. I turn on the TV. For half an hour I wait, longing for a romantic song that will be my imagination’s adornment; but the news is about wars, terror, weapons, and killing. Will it ever end? Thirty thousand women in Darfur are raped in a single day. Russia has sold eighty thousand fatal weapons to Iraq. Damn! Iraq does not have eighty organizations to protect human rights, the environment, and social development, but it needs eighty-thousand destructive and murderous weapons. I almost wish that I lost my sense of hearing as well, so I would not have to hear anymore about injustice and defeat.
Had I known being sighted would be this difficult; I would never have permitted my eyes to be introduced to light. However, it wasn’t my fault; it was the fault of love. I drift back to that tender time when love, innocently became my sustenance.
Ugh, I cannot forget those days when I was a blind, guitar-playing girl. I played my guitar on the street, and people would throw change into my guitar box, or bring me water and something to eat. That was my life. I was trying hard to earn money for an eye operation. I pretended I could see, but on most evenings, some of the young men of the city – drug users, would rape my dreams, as Darfur’s women were raped, and steal my money. They knew that even if I went to the police, I wouldn’t be able to identify them, and they wouldn’t be found. I’m not saying that sometimes I didn’t think of them as beasts. For these reasons I am very cautious with human beings. It punctures my soul when I remember how those men, once tried to break my guitar.
One day, when they tried to steal my money again, I heard a man give them a good lesson with his elbow, preventing their thievery. He stayed with me until evening, returned me to my home, and protected me.
The next day I waited for passersby. I waited for people’s sympathy to help me towards gaining my sight. I felt a serene hand by head. It combed the hair on my right side with passionate rain, and gave me a piggy bank to put my money in. Ever since that moment, the hand would take me home, protecting me from those who spoiled my dreams and hopes. All of this, without knowing what this man looked like; what was his colour; whether he was a young or old; handsome or ugly. He was compassionate, which made him ideal in my eyes. Day-by-day his caring for me bloomed. He took me to the doctor. He was certain that my eyes would regain sight, if surgery could be performed. When news of my surgery was confirmed, he was carried by happiness. He said: “A burden has been lifted. Do not worry about anything; your sight is my duty. Soon, your eyes will alight on the wilderness and the world, or will light on me.” He laughed, and tapped my shoulders.
I was not so much interested in seeing the world, as I was in seeing him. I thought more about embracing my beloved with abundant love, than anything the doctor told me. When he heard how much the operation would cost, I overheard him say to the doctor: “Doctor, all that I have saved and collected throughout my life is not enough, but I will multiply the hours of my work day, and pay the entire amount within a month.”
He kept his promise. He worked three different jobs during the day. I would almost have preferred to stay blind, than expose him to this tiring routine. After two days, my dissatisfaction with the situation resulted in my illness I knew I could not live without talking to him, without embracing my love. He would talk to me for hour and hours. I came to call him my “dear, crazy man,” which might seem peculiar. But, in my encounters with many who have passed through these streets, I have learned that lunatics have kinder hearts, and deserve more love and appreciation than the others. Oh, how I wish the madman’s insane laws ran this world; there wouldn’t be wars or hatred between people.
Yes, he was dear to my heart because he was the only person who was able to ignite the lamp of my spiritual essence. I was eager to return to optical light to see him with my own eyes, this great person, who did so much to help me. We could play guitar together, a love we shared. My “crazy darling” called me the greatest guitar player. He was convinced of my future success, and promised he would support me when I became a super star. This would mean all of his dreams would come true as well.
Oh, God of love, how difficult that month was; I was glad when his work finally came to an end. But, even in the few hours that were devoted to rest, he planted hope in my heart. I did not believe the world of love and tenderness that engulfed me could exist. I felt sorry about the years I had spent blind and deprived of such kindness. I told myself I was mistaken, when I harshly mistrusted human beings and imagined that all people were like the mindless youths, who harassed me on the street.
The yearnings of my soul prevented me from thinking about the surgery. When the doctor announced the operation was a success, I was unable to express one word, in any language. No single word could express the happiness I felt after opening my eyes for the first time in my life. I saw his eyes first. The warmth and joy I saw in his eyes, made me drunk and I melted me in the lap of love. I did not pay attention to the rest of his features. I was certain that whatever he looked like would not affect my love for him. When my euphoria eased, I saw his features. It’s true the person before me wasn’t as handsome as I thought he would be, but in my view, features do not change the fact he is a human being I can trust. We married. Ever since that fateful time, I have looked for the signs that cause the crossing from one stage to another. Within the space of one month his personality changed and he became a different person. It was like changing white to black; good to bad and; bad to worse.
Oh Gosh, I am not sure how someone is able talk about the depth of happiness at length, but talking about this kind of pain is like trying to stretch a sentence beyond its limit. Anyway, I finally reached the conclusion that the man who I called my dearest, had stepped out of the circle of love he had drawn for us. After only one month, my fingers, which were once magic fingers, became the fingers of failure and weakness. My melody, which he said he lived by, became a threat. A perverted miracle had occurred and changed his words to lies; his actions to betrayal. I will never forget the many days, which passed without his breathing a word to me, or the days he was cynical:
“I regret everything I have done for you. My charity should have made you my slave. You should not refuse me anything, but you shamelessly talk about your rights and responsibilities what a shame! You are now simply a parasite and do not have any rights. You have received all of your rights when you had your eye surgery.
“Excuse me? What are you talking about?” I asked.
“I have given up my life: my time, my work, my family, my friends and relatives, all for you. No one would do what I have done. I was a stupid man to help you. Anyone else would kiss my hand daily for what I have done for her, but you do not.” He shouted
“For hells sake” I shrieked, “do we have a master and slave relationship or do you have a bond between a husband and wife?
“They are the same,” he argued
“You are wrong” I said in defiance, “You hid the fact that you grew up in a clan until after our marriage.” I opened the window to reduce the strong stink of herbal hair remedy that was on a bald part of his head, and continued, “When you offered to help me, I didn’t know you, nor could I see you. Whatever you did for me was of your own free will. I didn’t force you to do anything. I begged you a hundred times not to work so hard. I didn’t want you to suffer because of me”.
“I was senseless!” he snapped, “If had helped any other woman the way I helped you, she would have been kissing my hand daily. She would have spent her time creating wonderful works of art then forfeit her signature for mine.
“I do not understand what you mean. You want me to produce artwork and present it to you? That isn’t a problem; I have done that many times. If you have no respect for what I have done for you, then your memory is falling you and you have a moral problem,” I said
“You are a stupid woman, you don’t understand. If any other woman had produced art works, she would have published them under my name.” He retorted
“If you helped me because you wanted a hand-kisser, a slave, and fame, at expense of my work and myself, then I suggest you find a sugar mama. You have crossed the red line, and I am not interested in discussing this with you any longer
I do not want to remember that absurdity and its wounds, any more. I do not want to remember the times he acted as if he was the only one who could decipher my insane heart, and comprehend my feelings. I do not want to go back to that time, when my dream and trust fell down with autumn’s leaves. No, even I do not want to speak or think of it any more.
Now, I live blindly and have decorated my eyes with black glasses. During the day, at the usual time, I go to the street and strum on my guitar until evening. I do not want the benevolence man because in the end, it turns to hatred and rancor. I see sighted people passing by. Their hungry eyes are on the alert for the police. They are looking to know whether the police are around or not, so they can take whatever money I have in front of me. I laugh at them. These blind men will never know I’m not blind anymore. They imagine my smile is a request for money. I continue to laugh and smile, sometimes with caution and fear. I watch them with closely; to make sure they don’t plunder my dreams with their mischief. Those ordinary people will never know the truth behind my black glasses. I always laugh at these people and laughter becomes a big part of me. Nothing works faster than laughter to bring your mind and body back into balance.
This short story was a contribution to The Writer’s Gallery by the author. No edits have been performed by either editors of the site. Contributions are displayed “as is.”
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