Friday, July 15, 2011

The Mother's Wish


Note:  I am now traveling until the middle of Ramadan.  This has been automatically scheduled to post.  All comments will be reviewed once I have access to a computer again.  That might not be until I return to Egypt.  Please don't let that stop you from commenting!  I'll be happy to read them when I'm able and thank you for your patience.  ~Yosra




A story from 1996


Rocking back and forth, the tired mother would feel her son's restless movements soon go limp. Her gentle voice in a lullaby would soothe her boy and he'd begin to breathe in and out as rhythmically.  Together, their heartbeats would slow. In her arms he would lay fast asleep and she would gaze at him as if in a dream herself.
“Ahh,” she sighed one day, “I wish life would always be exactly like this.”
It was a wish made with feeling, but without thinking
This is a story about a mother who loved her son very much. Every day after the noon meal, she would close the door to his room, close the shutter to his window and sing him to sleep. This was when she loved, for who among us would really want to remain frozen in time and unchanging?

No sooner had the mother’s wish been made than it came true. The rocking of the chair stopped instantly. She could only live within the moment she had been in, when she made the wish. Paul, a child of nearly two, asleep on her lap, remained asleep and motionless. Mother and child became living, breathing human statues unable to break free.
There is a truth seldom said: all of us; every man, woman and child, every beast of land and sea and air, is granted one wish every twelve moons. Astronomers of old had calculated the exact equation, but through the years their tablets had been lost or destroyed. Only one tribe in Malawi is knowledgeable enough to have calculated the day when your wish can come true. The secret is so closely guarded that no one outside the tribe can be told.
Paul’s mother had no way of knowing that, on that particular afternoon, her wish could become reality. She is truly not to blame for what took place. Wishes are powerful things and not trifles to be bandied about. No one had ever told her, as I am telling you now.
There they sat in the rocking chair; mother and son happy in the moment. That is how Paul’s father found them when he returned home from work. No one had greeted him at the door. No one had attempted to wrestle the briefcase out of his hand. No one had kissed him.
Right away he knew that something was wrong. Something had to be done. Someone had to be called. Though the two looked happy and healthy sitting there together, they could not move and could not speak. And when he cried, they could not feel the sadness he felt. They were stuck in a moment of happiness.
The operator summoned the police, the firefighters, and the paramedics. They could do nothing and left. The minister came with words of wisdom, and was of some help to Paul’s father. “The Lord works in mysterious ways. God’s ways are not our ways, “ she said. And the minister left.
Day after day, the scene remained the same. Paul’s father took time off from work to try to find a cure for the condition. He sifted through great scholarly books in hopes to have his family back to the way it was.
Paul’s father sat in the room with his wife and his child as much as he could. Often, it was more than his heart could bear. He would have to leave the room so he could collect his thoughts and gather his wits about him. He had felt bewildered at first, and then determined, and then angry, and then sad, and finally; defeated.
“I wish everything was back to normal!” he shouted one night in despair. He stood there motionless in the hallway. He could not weep, as his tears had all been spent.
It didn’t matter that he could not cry, as tears were not needed any more. There was a sound which startled him from his respose. The house had been so quiet for nearly a month. He jumped to his feet. What was that? It sounded so familiar to him. He turned his head towards the direction of the noise, and that’s when he saw it. The rocking chair was empty.
He ran into the room just in time to see his lovely wife carefully placing their only child in his crib. “Alexandra!” He exclaimed.

She turned quickly and with a finger to her lips whispered, “Shh...you’ll wake the baby.”
Paul’s father walked cautiously to the crib, and there under the covers, he saw his son sucking his thumb. It was a glorious sight. Everything had returned back to normal, and it didn’t take police, firefighters or paramedics. It wasn’t cured by a minister or by an author of a book. It was all done by a wish.

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