Little Mother

Some said it was a miracle Yatimah lived at all, others whispered it would have been a mercy if she hadn’t. Umayma saw only the will of God, and the love of family. And the sightless eyes which recognized her in dreams, the voiceless mouth which spoke to her in those same dreams.

Umayma woke suddenly, her heart pounding, sweat beading her forehead. She listened intently but heard nothing out of the ordinary. Her father snoring in the next room, the kitchen clock ticking. The tinny sound of the old refrigerator. Yet something…..there it was again. A helicopter. A helicopter, and a whooshing noise, very loud…

….she had no memory of being pulled from the rubble along with her mother, only knowing what she’d been told of the events which followed immediately afterward. The hours of waiting at the checkpoint, her pregnant mother’s trickle of blood increasing in flow till she began hemorrhaging, agitated Arabic voices contrasted with bored Hebrew speech. As the pregnant woman’s heart stopped and her life slipped away, a medical student performed his first surgery – a caesarian which brought into the world a damaged child, a child whose only living relative would christen her Yatimah.

Aid workers thought the child might live a year at best, but Yatimah surprised them. Umayma bathed her sister and fed her, sang to her and slept beside her. In nearly six years of life she had never made a sound, yet the unseeing eyes tracked her sister. Yatimah seemed to hear quite well.

Umayma had been a good student who’d hoped to be a doctor one day, a choice of career in character with her propensity to bring home sick or injured animals to nurse back to health. A baby bird fallen from a nest, an abandoned kitten, a grasshopper missing a leg – all were loved and cared for. Her nature made her this way, and it was why she willingly and gladly raised Yatimah.Perhaps it was this nature which guided her dreams.

Yatimah glanced shyly at her sister, waiting for her to ask what the surprise was. Umayma pretended not to notice, wiggling her toes in the cool water of the brook. She munched on dates until she could no longer hold back her giggles. Yatimah joined her big sister in laughter then opened her hands to display a butterfly with wings of purple and gold. Raising her arms as if in offering, the sunlight glinted off the butterfly’s wings as it took flight, night quickly descending as the butterfly began to glow and rose to take its place among the night stars. Both girls hugged each other and spoke of secrets only the two of them understood.

Yatima’s skin was yellowish now, cool to the touch. The girl had eaten nothing for days, only taking small sips of water. Umayma brushed her sisters hair then changed into bedclothes, lying next to the younger girl. Gradually her breathing slowed.

The sisters held hands, tall trees murmuring greetings as the pair walked into a meadow. One dipped its branches to the girls, each of them selecting a piece of ripe fruit before sitting on the lowered branch of another tree. An owl seated on the same branch regarded them amiably before taking flight. Taking her beloved sisters hands in each of her own, Yatimah gently explains that she will not be returning this time. She will remain here.

Stricken, Umayma bows her head and begins to cry. The little sister whispers words of gratitude and courage, strength and hope, drawing wisdom from those gathered nearby, visitors and residents now visible to her but unseen by Umayma.

Following the burial and funeral service are days of solitude,  filled with prayer and thoughts of her sister. Soon the mourning period has passed.

The teenage girl walking up the road was a real beauty. The soldier returned her smile as she approached, belatedly realizing she hadn’t turned away from his tower. He frantically gestured for her to halt, the combination of a backpack and an odd smile causing him to panic. He fired two shots, one at the ground and one into her chest.

She reaches up to grasp Yatimah’s extended hand, gazing into eyes filled with adoration. Her soul rises up to greet her sister. A young man kneels next to her, finding no sign of a pulse. As the young man closes her eyes, he hears a voice whisper ‘Umayma‘.

Little Mother.

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About osori

Too old to know better.
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9 Responses to Little Mother

  1. Gwendolyn H. Barry says:

    There is an ancient saying; ‘that one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’. The wisdom escapes me… but the inevitable consequences of racism and repression, especially the circular warfare of it in the “holy lands” ever more becomes a smokescreen of control by ‘the other’ to engineer more profits and less individuality … Any more… these ceaseless heartaches loose impact and we acquiesce to the news, now. Until I read Oso. And then I remember my humanity, better. I thank the Goddess for you Bro… you make such a fine, good difference in my world.

    Take that with ya if Pete gives ya shit at the gates today… 🙂

  2. Norman says:

    osori, Thank you for this awakening on a Saturday morning here by the bay.

  3. oso says:

    Gwen and Norman,
    Thank you so much for reading. Sometimes we almost have an ‘information overload’ when it comes to human suffering. And sometimes the ‘little things’ such as a tale of an individual can remind us of the human toll. Even a story may help sometimes.
    thanks again.

  4. scaredstiff says:

    Confirms my belief that people suck. Not all mind you, just enough to make the world a miserable place. I’ve heard the meek will inherit the earth, not soon enough for me.
    The story teller comes through again. TY

  5. jackjodell53 says:

    A very touching story, Oso, and one which has left me speechless. There is a lot of sensitivity and beauty in your heart.

    • osori says:

      Thank you so much Jack, it especially means a lot coming from someone with your talent and ability. There are so many tragic situations in the world, we can’t track all of them so sometimes a reminder helps, even if its fiction.

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