Written By: Maryam Ahmed
“Can you hear that? ” Madeleine drew the curtain and looked at Aunt Anastasia.
“What ? I can hear nothing Maddy.”Aunt Anastasia muttered.
“There is something in the fiery wind, as if the storm coming noise.”
Aunt Anastasia didn’t look but said politely “Its not gonna come before winter dear and if it is we are going to leave the village.”
That answer wasn’t enough to satisfy her but she smiled, nodded her head and took her small step towards her room. She knew they have nowhere to go. At least her, she lived in this tiny village for generations. Such winter storm caused so many people to die, so did her mother. Last year the cruel vehement winter storm took her mother away. Nobody talked about it, nobody said anything about the people who are no longer found in the village. And its gonna come again, She knew it. She have seen the colors of cloud changing with every sun set. She heard blind Seth whispering the words every night in the church.
Every morning she saw him walking up towards the mountains quietly with his umbrella. She looked at him as if he knew all those secrets that clouds hold.
“He knows about it, he know all the secrets buried in the valley, how he go up there and come back with a smile on his face he is the only one here who knows half of the world”.
She lay on her bed surrounded by the darkness. Its one of those nights again when thoughts wander with wind. She tried to sleep but her thoughts didn’t let her. She had nothing but her presence with her taking her back to the past though her head was singing with the thoughts of storm but she is distracted by the lights coming form the church. She knew down in the valley Seth must be whispering to God.
She stood up and covered herself and looked at the moon, ducking behind the trees. She just wanted to fade away with it and disappear forever. Knowing nothing what is she doing she opened the door of her cottage and left without breaking the silence shrivel in the house.
“Cold, Its so cold.”
She rubbed her hand with a patch of her sleeve. She opened the church door.
“I know you are here.” She hesitated and held herself so silent but he already knew its her.
“You can’t see me.”
“But I know its you Madeleine. I could hear the silence, usually I know who its gonna be. I know you have sensed the storm. No one’s been out on it yet. I can smell it and look at the darkness of the clouds.”
“What’s gonna happen? ” She sat beside him, still not looking at him , staring in front of her, Wondering.
” I know why are you here, You see you’re caught in trap too. Isn’t it the fear of belonging inside you? I know every inch of the valley. I can walk as freely as anyone. Up in the mountains , I am trap in my blindness too”.
Madeleine held her breath. “But I can’t stay here, Can I ? “
He chuckled and she smiled with him, nervously.
“You have made a prison for yourself. But you can get out of it Madeleine. You can’t carry the burden with you for the rest of your life”.
“I can’t leave her behind.” Madeleine whispered.
“We all have something to leave behind.” Seth said. “She died a year ago. Don’t let yourself die with her. Tell yourself it wasn’t your fault. Its in your power. Open the door of your prison.”
She heard him say and could not control her tears and cried for the first time since her mother died. Every bone and nerve of her body cried out with sorrow. Seth held her hand and said nothing, offering no other comfort only his hand on hers releasing the grief that had been dammed up inside her. When at last the crying stopped he let her hand go.
“You must go home.” He said ” You can’t stay here. I’ll have to be led around like a child, But I can’t stay neither can you.”
“Madeleine go home.” He said softly.
She got up without saying a word. She took her slow step towards her cottage.
“Everything seems different. I have to let it go mama, Can you hear me? I have to let you go. I lost a part of me with you, the sense of belonging is still there even after you lay under ground covered with mud and flowers. I could hear you even in silence as if the world had stopped breathing. And now look , look at the the sky. I can’t stay here , forgive me. I am cold dry and dead inside. I have forgotten how to cry. It used to be so easy.”
She held her breath and felt as if she had found something that was lost in the numbness. She stopped and whispered with a smile on her lips ” Seth is right , We all have to leave something behind.”