Endless Thoughts…

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.


Her Aura

By Anonymous Writer

Once I found out, I wrote my goodbyes, and prepared myself for the worst. Her place was already engraved in my heart, so trying to accept that I might lose her one-day, because of this specific reason was probably the most emotional train I ever was a passenger on.  “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ― Abraham Lincoln. My name is X and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, when I was only 4 years old, and I remember the experience as clear as day. During this experience I was competing for love and attention that I knew I wouldn’t get, because my mentor, my better half was having marvelous chemotherapy emanate within her bloodstream.

Admittedly, I counted the days, hours and minutes. Gaiety never seemed so distant.  When will I lay my eyes on her and not feel the need to look away because I could sense her sorrow telling me it’s still not time to take in her appearance, and scan her sickness as if I’m superior. But I was only her youngest daughter looking for an affectionate, tender touch from her mother. At that age I didn’t pay attention about how she looked like, I will always view her as my savior, my mother, as the most finest, exceptional lady I ever encountered. My eyes slowly rebelled and started examining her hairless head, her tiresome broken body, and her drowsy eyes, but my oh my did her skin glow like the moon, and her powerful, structured cheekbones carried her beautiful face up high like no other. I was astounded by her vibe, by the way she accepted this difficulty and decided to face the facts and act upon. Consequently, my mother was never one to dance around lies just to make her or others feel better, she was simply, compromisingly forthright.

“I got you flowers,” I said, as my hands reached inside my tiny, inconvenient purse. It was the second time I flied to her, during her chemotherapy journey in majestic Mumbai. Earlier that day, before leaving the house, I quickly picked jasmine flowers from our garden, carelessly stuffed them in my purse and rushed to the car. Once we landed, I was anticipating seeing my mother. I couldn’t wait until I throw my arms around her and give her a long awaited hug, and show her the pretty, young jasmines I got her. I wanted her to remember our house. The house that used to be a home, until her footsteps faded and her presence disappeared. I wanted her to reminisce on radiant memories that would only make her smile. “Thank you,” she said as she reached her hand out to take the worn out jasmines that weren’t given their privileges in my restricted purse. She held them close to her ravishing face, and a beaming smile instantly delineated her countenance. In addition, she pulled me close and kissed my cheek, as I was awkwardly positioned on her bed. I didn’t care; I wanted to relish the moment…. until I started crying and grasping her tightly, thinking maybe if I didn’t let go, everything would go back to normal. “This was never supposed to happen, this was never supposed to happen” that vacant phrase kept reiterating and echoing in my head.


         Granted, that was officially the last time my mother was accompanied by chemotherapy for an entire day. “Thank you for being a good escort” I said sarcastically, “you’ve helped us overcome.” We were all in raptures, screaming out of joy with no sound, happiness conquered and smiles were contagious. Undoubtedly, I cried from contentment, and said, “Finally, closure.” At last, after an extended period of waiting, I hear the footsteps of a lighthearted survivor, a combatant who defeated cancer, a woman flourishing with strong, incandescent hope and faith. She reincarnated the spirit and liveliness of the house, and I finally felt complete. I ran to her, hugged her as crystal-like tears rolled down my eyes, although it took my brain a while to acknowledge that she’s back, for good. “Mum!!” I cried, “You’re finally back, you look so beautiful.” “My dearest daughter, I missed you so much” she said as she stroked the back of her hand on my face. Unquestionably, I rushed to prepare her some hors d’oeuvre’s, before lunchtime, so I took out her favorite olives that were garnished with garlic, olive oil and a hint of chili pepper. Then I added some Gouda cheese slices, and cut them up into squares. My mother was always a dairy fanatic and she always found pleasure in the little things, which made her more appreciative as an individual. Her simple snack was completed and I poured her a refreshing glass of Hibiscus, the floral essence of which she loved

In a nutshell, experiencing my mother slowly being torn down by cancerous growth, cut me up into a million pieces, as if my soul was dispersed in a sea of depression. I had to stay strong in order for her to remain secure. The last thing a sick patient wants is an emotional, unstable family member. She needed us to be her rock, and oh boy did we deliver the Grand Canyon for her kind soul. Point in fact, I didn’t just go through this experience, but I grew with it. It changed me for the better and it showed me that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, and every individual is bound to face a crisis at least once in their lifetime. The way they manage and act during this crisis determines who they are, and what they’re capable of. My mother was always my rock and still is, she taught me right from wrong, and she held my hand through scary situations. My mother’s soul is embedded within mine; she is a part of me. I aspire to be like her one day, for she is the strongest, most courageous, selfless person I ever met and will ever meet.