Short storyLost his mother [Archives:2006/966/Culture]

July 24 2006

“I've lost my mom, sir.” The man wouldn't turn his face to him, but continued walking hurriedly and restlessly while the boy scurried to keep him abreast.

“I've lost my mom, madam

The lady glanced sideways at him and involuntarily felt her purse. The boy walked alongside her until he reached the starting point.

He had identified boundaries he shouldn't overstep as he stood on the pavement in front of the large store on the ground floor of a skyscraper.

“Could you help me, gentleman?”

The man looked at him with his hands tucked in the pockets of his warm coat and continued walking.

“I've lost my mom.”

“Oh ou'll find her, dear.”


Hot tears fell from his eyes. He had been determined not to fall prey to sadness and weeping, lest he lose his mental balance which, at such critical moments, should be utilized to survive the labyrinth of the wild city and keep his mother closer to the limits of the circle he had drawn on the pavement past the large store on the ground floor of a skyscraper.

He had to take a rest. He swallowed his saliva and recollected where he parted from his mother. Breath was coming from his nose and mouth, reminding him of a Spanish bull in a bullfighting ring.

Before leaving home, his mother had seen to it that he was dressed in woolen clothes to cope with the wave of frost. How kind she was! She checked him as he crossed the door's threshold with her, ensuring that he was in a good shape. She fixed the neck of his woolen “pullover” and tightened the decorated wool hat on his head. She made sure his hands were dressed in wool gloves.

He pestered her that they should take their bullying dog Maradona with them.

She said to him,

“We'll go to the city. It's a matchless city, son.”

“We always take the dog with us, mom.”

“To the suburbs, but this city is something different.”

“He'll stay in the car.”

“We will not take him.”

“Why not?”

“Lest he get stolen.”

“You scare me, mom.”

“We'll take the train.”

“I'd rather stay with Maradona.”

“I want you to brave another world.”

“Why? “

“For knowledge's sake. You've grown up omewhat.”

His mother smiled. He smiled too because he would brave this “another” world.


“Sir, could you

“Stay away from me!”

The man took him by harsh surprise, but he was resolved and resumed talking to him.

“I beg you no charity

The man looked at him askance.

“I've lost my mother. Please help me find her.”

The man gazed at him for awhile as he kept walking alongside him. He realized that the boy's outfit and appearance didn't illustrate that he was homeless.

The boy had a ray of hope, but then the man said, “She'll search for you and find you. Don't worry!”


He stopped for a short time, looking at the man as he bolted across the street to the opposite pavement before the pedestrian light turned red.

An old woman also was crossing the street, heading for his boundary-bearing pavement.


“Could you help me?”


“I've lost my mother. Lost her? No, she lost me.”

The woman paused, contemplating him, as her face showed.

“Oh, as much as possible, darling!”

He was too happy and joy overwhelmed him at meeting such a humane creature on this pavement.

“Where did you miss her?”

“I entered this big store with her and we walked around together. My mom was interested in buying her needs while I was amazed by the various children's toys that weren't on my mom's grocery list nd and

He was so fatigued that he leaned against the lamppost and gradually relaxed on the pavement.

The old woman took him by the hand and led him toward the large store, whose glass fronts were closing for the day.


He was huddled in the corner of the large store's entrance and his eyes grew drowsy. He wasn't used to staying up until such a late night hour. Although the lights still were dazzling, traffic was decreasing to some extent. Separate figures of people, most of them leaving bars, were staggering and emitting echoing laughs. His body started to sink and relax and the fingers of his hands bound around his knees began loosening.

He “startled” and his fingers rejoined each other, now at the back of his head, while his legs stretched forward. He told himself, “My mom he's a brave woman heroine he never despairs he has indomitable manliness.”

His fingers began breaking from each other quietly and slid down his head, ending up resting on his chest. He told himself in half-sleep,

“My mom will find me. Certainly, she'll search for me in every space, under every dustbin, at every turn and at every station

He sighed satisfactorily.

“My mom is a heroine. She's on her way to me.”

His snoring grew louder and his lips were smiling.

Jan. 20, 1988, Cairo

Zaid Mutee' Dammaj is Yemen's foremost novelist. He wrote a number of literary works and is most famous for his novel Al-Raheena which has been transalted into many languages.

Translated by: Shaker Al-Molsi.