And After Alone
(A true short story)
Md. Shahabul Haque
It startles me now to discover how readily her name comes off my pen as “Shahana”, for I have never spoken of her thus; not aloud at any rate as my mother, she was always something more than I can verbally express to me or to anybody of the whole world. It was a hot day, some two months back. I was near to face the reality. In one of my writings, I described reality as “Reality is too real to be realized”. But I wrote that sentence only for the sake of writing. And now I can realize. I meet with the harsh reality in that particular day, when getting a phone call I rushed to BIRDEM Hospital and the doctor in charge of the ICU told me to sign a bond. Still the conversation with the doctor peeps in my mind;
“Mr. Haque, You have to sign a bond.”
“What kind of bond?”
“Look, your mother has three rings in side her chest if we press on her chest the death can be unnatural and if we don’t do that then the death can be natural.”
“Then why do you want to press on her chest?”
(The chest from where I was reared up, she milked me, whenever I got hurt I used to hide myself in that chest………That chest of love, affection, sorrow, everything, that chest of pure maternity)
The doc replied, “Since we don’t have any other way.”
“No way at all?”
For a moment I was wordless, my heart stopped betting, all the cells of my brain was out of order. I took a look at my mom’s lying body, the lifeless, smile less, pale face. I was thinking about the past days, how strong I was, if anybody told me that “No way” I used to reply, “Create a way, everything is possible in the world.”
At that day I myself was unable to find out a way, I was sitting on a chair before the doctor, a very gentle person talking to me, asking as to my father. He was in Belgium.
A core of dreadful anger, against my father began to burn my heart………………………
After a lot of talk the doc told me to that my mom is already clinically dead. I was not in a position to believe my own ears. I was too absent minded to say “sorry” to the doc. The doc offered me coffee ……………….
After some time I asked him “Doc”, can’t she talk anymore?
The doc was staring at me with wonders. Keeping his mind strong, he said “Try to understand she is in COMA.” I heard that word “COMA” before but my heart got acquainted with the word newly again at that moment!
I said, “Doc, we all have to go to the almighty one time before or after but I want to hear at least a last word or even a single sound may be not meaningful, from her, can’t you try once? ” Then the limitations of human being attacked me. My little bro was playing in the corridor of the ICU. He came to me, sat on my lap, I hold him very strongly, promising in mind that I am not going to loose you at any cost. I tried to have the smells of his reddish hair, which I often do. He was talking to me in a voice of a parrot and taking a sharp look at me again and again. I could not stop my eyes to ……………………
Within a single moment, all on a sudden, I lost the control over myself, my mind. I said him “Let’s go down stairs”. He said “Go alone, I wanna play here.” I said myself play, yes play! The almighty is playing too. I came down and bought a pack of cigars… Started smoking……….I saw some of my relatives of my mother side are arriving, need to say that very high profile relatives, not having time to see a patient, a patient standing on the verge of death, a patient once who was their own sister.
One of my aunties says that my younger brother should not stay in the hospital. She took him with her, in that evening. And another two aunties stayed with me. I backed at home near about 11 o’clock as I was in the hospital for the last five days. Whenever I entered in to the home, I looked around, every thing was there, but that was not the sweet home, I knew just some days back. I felt I have lost something, who knows I had already lost everything, what I possessed for the last twenty five years. I lit a cigar …took the photo of my mom, in hand, sitting on her bed; I found her smells, the smells of her body. I closed my eyes, I was about to go to a dream of her, the phone rang. It was………..
“How is your mom?” (My mom not his wife)
“Can you back within tomorrow?”
“How can I?”
“Abba, She can’t talk, can’t recognize anybody, she is in COMA. Can you come tomorrow?”
“Oh! No, My Advisor (An Advisor of the caretaker Govt. of Bangladesh) is here, it can be at a high risk.”
The line cut off. ………………
I thought, Yea, certainly, an additional secretary, of a particular Ministry ….so many responsibilities, how can he come? I am a university student I should understand. Yes I should understand. After all he has a black and white relationship with my mom and I have to understand………………….
I was smoking, sometimes later, I promised, if he can’t come and burry my mother’s dead body, I will not burry him in future, and I will not let my brother too.
That night I took shower after three days, I was felling hungry. Nothing was there to eat. I again lit a cigar. At that night till five forty I just only smoke and drank some water. Then I went to the garage and got in the car, went to the hospital. The doc asked me to bring some injections, I bought those, then near about, eleven the doc told, and that “She can be alive for more two or three hours.”
The whole sky fall on my head, the doc suggested me to bring my younger brother, so that he can see at least mom’s face for the last time. I rushed to Uttara. I took him in the car, he was very happy to see me, I still remember, when I got out of the car, he came to me running, with his natural, and invaluable holly smile. On the way he asked me many questions. I was really surprised to hear that, that little boy of five was asking me “Bhia, if Ma, goes to sky will you cry?” I said, “No”, and then he said “Me too.”
When we reached at the hospital, it was too late. It was twelve fifty, when she passed away, she breathed, her last from that chest! And we reached at one seven.
Within next two hours everything, the coffin, the ambulance all was ready to go to Rangpur. In accordance with my mom’s will; I burried her beside her father and mother.
I can only remember, when returning, from the burial ground, my little brother, was sitting beside me, staring at the way back to the burial ground through the backside window of the car. I took him inside my arms, he hide his face in my chest, my shirt was drenched with his tears………….Then I looked back, I saw a sandy way to the horizon and nothing else, the sky and the land together. Perhaps, the earth and the haven together: the last stoppage of the earthly life of human beings.
It was a journey of six hours, in the whole way, only one sentence of J.M.COETZEE, from the novel “Disgrace”, came in my mind, “Call no one happy until he or she is dead”
Perhaps, my mom is happy, now enjoying the happiness in the haven, forever.
I returned Dhaka, with my younger brother, when I was looking at his eyes, a curtain lifted, so that I saw deeper, into the clear well of his eyes, and loneliness was there, the affection, the true love and the want of getting love for the rest of life, I saw a soft but a firm granite character of him. The sky I saw in the whole way was one, the way was one, and I was entirely alone and after that I am still alone………
Hi, I am Shahabul Haque, I have been writing on Jibhai for about 1 month, this is our site, and I am a part of Jibhai. Thanks