By Maryam Abullatif Al Shawab
I was on auto-pilot, somewhere in the fathomless blue ocean of my mind which quickly became the only reality I could see, and my thoughts swirled like silver smoke spreading across the vast ocean. When I was younger the thought of an empty blue nothing scared me, but now it just seemed like a peaceful place to go when my emotions feel like tangled strings, choking me.
“Maryam, eat!” ordered my mother, snapping me back to reality where I was greeted by the shouts of brainless arguments piercing my ears. My brothers were fighting again. I took a sip of fruit juice, my mouth filling with a sweet acidic taste.
Half of Ramadan was already gone but it felt like ages before it would began. “Time, what are you rushing for?” I thought to myself as I absent-mindedly swallowed a spoonful of rice. My eyes automatically flew towards the flashing screen of the television, where I witness a dying man surrounded by concerned family members. He was talking about his will and whenever he was close to dying he would remember something he wanted, and informs the crowd around him. At some point, his wife got fed up and implied that he should just die already by forcefully trying to quieten him. The audience in the background laughed and the show ended, and I was left with the idea of death fresh on my mind.
And that’s when it hit me that I was alive but I won’t always be that way. At least not here: on earth.
I wonder how I got so distracted to the point that I forgot to remember the most important part of life: That it doesn’t last forever. Its sort of like being in a mall surrounded with ticking bombs but being too distracted by all the things like those adorable high heeled boots, the latest IPhone creation the world is crazy about or a heavenly piece of deeply rich chocolate cake with melting vanilla ice cream on top. That’s a kind of habit most of us humans have, we keep piling up on those little things until they become a huge mountain overshadowing the big important thing.
Suddenly the television screen goes blank and the room silent except for the sound of cloth wiping the leftover bits off the surface of the table but I didn’t mind as I wonder whether every person has thought about the things I wonder about or do I just think too much? Do other people just ignore those thoughts or does it never occur to them? And if it did, would they still be the same person?
I guess it does change something inside of us when we become more aware but we have a choice of whether we want to show that we changed or whether to keep it all inside locked way and pretend nothing happened.
It’s a bit frightening if you think about it; how on our own we all are despite the fact that we are all together. We all have our separate thoughts, ideas, dreams and worlds inside us that only we know about. That lead us to a different place and a different ending, and knowing how to be on our own whether it’s walking around in gigantic library or being lost in the vast blue ocean of our minds help us become individuals aware of everything.
That’s life and death in a way, it wants us to be aware and to notice things, especially life the craziest, most amazing, yet sad, confusing, peaceful, tough, joyful journey I’ve ever been through. I’ve lived 17 years yet I still learn something new in the time God gives me.
Meanwhile in reality, I was walking up the stairs to pray, the sweet taste of chocolate still lingering in my mouth. In my mind, I was above the surface of the ocean, breathing in the fresh air as if it were my first breath. It was nice to breathe after being caught up with so many thoughts. “What if our thoughts escaped through our breathing? And all the thoughts we had were just recycled by someone else? And all of us just add our unique twist to these thoughts?” My mind started to wonder into the world of ridiculous questions.
In the end, life is different for each one of us but the final result is all the same, and it’s not a sad thing to die young but a sad thing to die ignorant and without helping the world in someway or trying to. Another thing is read and listen to what the world has to say because something I noticed is that I expected life to teach me through experience what it all meant like in the movies but I realized that life isn’t like the movies. It’s pretty quiet and dull most of the times, but I’m ok with that (expect when I get really bored on holidays) because books exist and so do people that are aware of the world.