The rhythm is that of the wind against the fallen leaves like a banshee wailing. Her mind syntonises with it finally as she picks up pieces of the shattered glass in front of her. There is no saying how much time the wind will continue to blow relentless. Her mind blows with the wind, flying high in the sky gathering momentum. At the same time her body continues to mechanically operate on its own. She carefully stacks the pieces of shattered glass in front of her and starts her daily work of repairing the window pane again.
She must have repaired it a hundred times yet every sunrise, the storm strikes at the same place again with the tree breaking through the window instantly killing her husband yet another time. Every day she wakes up again with the agony of knowing that she will again witness the scene of her husband’s death. The torture of knowing that initially numbed by the pain of his horrific death all she will be able to do is pick up the pieces of the shattered glass and start repairing the window as if to negate that it happened at all pursues her daily. She lives dreading the moment of initial sunshine which once made both her husband and her so happy.
She realises that she will never be able to grieve the loss of her husband as by the time she has finished repairing the window it is night time again and she falls asleep, exhausted. The first days that it happens, she does not remember exactly what has occurred but is only left with a sense of foreboding. Upon waking up that sense of foreboding slowly grows throughout the first week although it remains quite hazy. As time goes by , however, memories of the day before play back with excruciating precision.
She usually wakes up already knowing what will happen and totally helpless as she watches the events unfold. All she can do is repair the window in a wild and desperate hope that the next time, maybe at least once, it will not give way as the tree comes crashing through. Some days she would work her fingers sore until the nails almost peel and her fingers bleed and yet the next morning she would wake up to perfectly manicured fingers, her stomach tense with the knowledge of the oncoming onslaught.
Her mind soars higher as her fingers work swiftly repairing the window pane. She feels the moment when the night descends softly around her body that falls back on the bed. She watches as she lies almost lifeless her breath ragged as she struggles to overcome the sleepiness. Yet the slumber slowly overcomes her and her breath becomes more peaceful. It is the darkest point of the night now. Soon the killer dawn will strike again. She watches the body of her husband turn around and embrace her body.
Something inside her chest expands and she feels it stirring her body as she looks onward. The sun is about to rise and the winds are still howling. Her mind continues its wild jig with the winds. She knows that as the sun rises the storm will pick up strength and the tree will fall over breaking through the window pane. Her mind stills itself as the winds continue howling. The first rays of the sun pierce the horizon.
She opens wide her mouth and as it slowly rises she finally swallows the sun and the storm slowly loses its strength. Darkness falls all around as heat scorches her mind. She can feel the light exploding throughout her skull. She clenches her jaws as her mind maintains its stranglehold on the sun. The tree never moves again. She rolls her tongue softly over the blisters on her tongue. In the darkness beside her she can hear the soft breath of her husband. She utters a soft sigh and turns toward him holding him tight.
She walked through the swarming streets heading towards the beachfront. She smiled at the woman who crossed her path and touched her outstretched hands that were offering her a garland of jasmine woven with small roses. She took the garland and put it around her neck as her hair was too short to weave it in there. She paid the woman, smiled and moved on as the woman waved at her smilingly.
The sun was high in the sky but the sea remained grey as usual. She had wondered when she had first arrived at the seaside why the sea was always grey but had got used to it. It seemed like it had to blend with the darker colour of the rocks on the seaside. She thought back to the beautiful sparkling beaches in North Africa and wondered whether it was the pollution here that made the sea turn grey close to the coast.
She sat on a rock overlooking the beach and stared at the sea. The waves were making a gentle lulling sound interrupted from time to time by the shrieks of children jumping into the water. It was a joyous sight but somehow she could not help her heart feeling heavy. She could not get over the feeling that something had completely stirred out of control in her destiny, changing her future, and that it was not by chance. Barely a year and a half had gone by but it seemed like it was light years away.
Back home to keep the memories of those moments of the future she had glimpsed she had resorted to collecting falling leaves in which she mentally inscribed glimpses of that future. Over time, the future she had seen seemed to be slowly fading into oblivion and she would then take out the leaves to remember. Each leaf reminded her vividly of a place in time where she had been in thought and where she had lived an incredible adventure filled with love and happiness.
Her right hand felt for the small basket that was tucked inside her handbag. It was still there and she sighed a sigh of relief. She wondered how it could be so small and hold so much at the same time. She got up from the rock and resumed her walk but towards the canal this time. It was one of the rare places in the city where stagnant water was not necessarily a synonym of stench and rot. At some points it even looked beautiful with profuse vegetation and a small bridge-like construction.
The water was a sombre green. She walked to the bridge, looked over the edge of it and slowly emptied the small basket. The leaves fell into the water and swirled away with the current caused by the wind. She watched until they were out of sight and felt as though her heart were leaving with those swirling leaves. Yet she knew that she could not hold on to the leaves as a totem anymore. They had to disappear for what they represented to reappear.
Those moments of the lost future she had lived had to be reintegrated within her. They belonged to her and had to be a part of her again, not relegated to the role of externalised memories. Her heart warmed slowly with the returning memories that filled her being with love. It was as if the release of the leaves had opened a dam within her. The images cascaded in her mind like a whirlpool of sunny water as they filled her neurons. Tears of joy streamed down her face and wiping them she lifted her head and smiled up at the skies. It did not matter anymore that it had been steered away for it existed out there. It was forever hers.