The dark man in the kingdom of light [Archives:2005/871/Community]

August 25 2005

By Sundus Sallam
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Once in the kingdom of light, there was a very dark man… the color of his skin invariably distinguished him from all the rest… somehow he was just too obvious to merge with the rest of the people of the kingdom of the light… most of them don't remember where he really came from.. They just know he is there, and as far as they remember, always has been.

The elderly people in the kingdom say he came from behind the mountains, and since the law of the kingdom gives right of living to anyone regardless of his origin, no one could object to his settling down.. He built a wooden hut near the river, and he started making a living from selling fish, sometimes he carried water for the old ladies who didn't have anyone to serve them too.

He became a constant part of everyone's life in the kingdom, yet he never really became one of the people of the kingdom of the light, mothers used to threaten their children that they would become like him if they did not listen to orders, old men preached that he became this way because he committed a great sin, and stories never ended about his actual truth. The strange thing is that no one ever dared to ask him much about himself.

The little they knew about him was what he said about himself along with what the old men supposedly remember of his arrival to the kingdom long time ago.

He never minded being the favorite topic of the evenings, at least he seemed that he didn't mind, he would walk by the cafes every evening, singing a particular tune which the kids used to imitate, and give a light nod to the men who sat by watching and gossiping.

Then one day, they never saw him again. Just like he came suddenly, he disappeared suddenly. The old ladies whom he used to help were the first to realize his absence, then the kids of the kingdom, and soon everyone was wondering where he was. Some said he is hiding in his home, some said he was sick. And some said he just left the kingdom.

After one week of his disappearance, a few of the old men decided to check his home and see if he was dead there or something. When they opened the unlocked door, they could see that all his things were still there, as if he just left for fishing, intending to come back at night. They realized he didn't have any friends who might know what happened to him. And again the ladies and old men of the town made up their versions explaining why, and how he was gone.

Till day no one knows, apparently the women still threaten their children that they would become like the dark man if they disobeyed, although most of the children now never saw him not even once.

But they totally believed that their existed a dark lonely man, who used to hum a particular tune on his way back home in the evenings. And although some truly missed his presence, no one dared to say so, at least not in public. My mom keeps looking in the direction of the mountains every now and then; perhaps, she thinks, he will come back someday.

Perhaps he gave them a meaning for their existence being different. Mom says, if there is no night, you'd never realize the day. I think she is right. But she never told me who actually was the dark one, him, or the rest of the kingdom, I wonder.