The tale begins by the crevice of a mountain where a small house squats. It was built by Alim’s great grandfather, the greatest goat herder of the valley, a man of softness and compassion. Mai moved in on her eighteenth birthday, when her parents placed her hand in Alim’s and blessed their beginning with gentle tears and saffron rice.
Alim and Mai lived a simple life, of the wind drying Mai’s saris, and the waves guiding Alim’s boat back to the shore where the fish he caught would tumble onto land. He would carry this home, back pregnant with a cotton sack ready for Mai’s pot. Mai would tirelessly grind the herbs and spices and wait eagerly for Alim’s voice resonating from the bottom of the mountain, “Maiiiiiiiiiiiii”. She would run down and walk back with him to the house, full of stories of the women of the valley and their mischievous children.
With the years, Alim’s eyes grew weak and he began to wear his father’s glasses. Every night, he would sit by Mai’s side and watch her, blurry eyed, as she picked the bones from the fish on his plate and mixed it with the rice. Mai insisted on doing this; encase his vision deceived him leaving him choking on a bone. He never declined the offer. He knew she was made from stubborn clay.
And so forty years slowly dissolved, no children in her womb slept, and the mountain weathered with them and the crevice in which their love blossomed changed with the seasons. They had created their abode, carved their existence and found within each other, a quiet, uncompromising resolve.
© Rahima Begum ~ Shroomantics
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