A Stroke of Fate [Archives:1998/01/Culture]

January 5 1998

“May you speed up, please? I’m really in a terrible hurry,” I kindly asked the taxi driver. He leaned at me and cried with a sharp accent; “It does not work man. Do I have to fly?! You see, it is crowded all the way.” I hardly tried to control my temper for it was better to arrive late than to have a fight with such a foolish driver. I just hoped to arrive before the seminar came to an end. I promised my friend that I would be present at her seminar when I ran into her yesterday. Her voice was full of happiness and she was about to cry remembering that she would be home again after four years of working to get a doctorate degree. She said that she would no doubt be home whether she is granted the degree this time or not… “Well?!!…” cried the taxi driver. I then got out and threw him 2 pounds. Suddenly, I heard her calling me from the other side of the street; “I got the degree. I made it Mahmood.” She was addressing me happily waving with some paper in her hand. She, then, without looking, crossed the street. It was a speeding mercedes car and…. ….. and papers scattered all the way as her dreams all scattered hopelessly in the air.
It was night.. the sky was dark and vast as if it were to swallow the poor city. “O, gloomy destiny, how cruel you are to pluck such a flower”… A horrible feeling of emptiness filled my soul. I was searching for tears to flow from my eyes but there were none. I put my loaded head between my hands and tightly closed my eyes for I couldn’t stand the image of that painful, bloody sight. “Open your eyes.” Some one was calling me from afar. His voice was deep and sad. When I opened my eyes, I saw her face fixed in the sky. One of her eyes was gone, with the other she was looking at me. When she was about to say something, the whole sight disappeared as my friend knocked the door and came in… “What is this supposed to be?!” with a surprise he asked me, seeing that many papers were scattered on the floor. I couldn’t answer for there was a big lump in my throat. I just clowned my head. “Isn’t this the research work of your doctorate degree?!” he digressed. “And suppose it is!” I carelessly answered. There were moments of silent then.. He was staring at me. “Why are you staring at me? Don’t you like me?” I scornfully asked. He was still staring at me as if he had heard nothing. “I don’t know you,” he answered in a hushed voice. He put his hand on my shoulder.. “I know that you still can’t believe what happened. But it is God’s will. We have nothing to do with it.” “Why then did she spent her best years running after a mirage? Why did your merciful god have her indulge at such a delusive labor,” I cried angrily “She will be rewarded,” he calmly said. “Don’t make me laugh, boy. I’m not in the mood.” He turned his face away from me, walked to the window and quietly looked towards the sky for a few minutes. “You know, it’s a pity about you, friend. You’ve taught me so many great things, but this time I really don’t know you.” His voice was down and tender this time. I opened my lips to say something I did not know and tried to catch his hand but he was not in the room anymore. … I felt as if there was something lying heavily on my chest. I walked to the window in dull steps and stood there looking at the sky.The stars this time were everywhere trying hard to light the earth in absence of the moon. There was some light sneaking warmly into my soul. I could not stop the tears from running down my cheeks and onto the floor. I felt that something unknown was uplifting me….. I did not know how it affected me standing at the window, but I started to collect the scattered papers from the floor. Daylight was finding its way into my life.
A short story by Ms. Nadwa Younis, Student of English – Sanaa University