It was cool out there; no one was on the road, no car was parked outside. The dogs were not there anymore no child was outside of house because it was cold winter, Farid was looking outside by the window and he was only ten years old boy.

“What are you doing today? You don’t have homework. Besides, you can’t go to school, so you might have a look to your father’s shop. There you may learn something about repairing shoe and learn how to make boots.” His father said.

“Okay dad, but you have to promise me to pay.” Farid answered.

“Don’t worry I will pay you, son.” His father said.

Both father and son decided to go to shop. On the way Farid was cold so they decided to walk faster in order to reach the shop as soon as possible, they arrived shop and worked until lunch. Then, Ahmad went to bring something for lunch. After they had their lunch they continued working. Farid worked and lend a hand to Ahmad. Ahmad saw his son’s hardworking and felt proud.

“Today I am proud of you my much-loved son”. His father said.

Afterwards Farid became touched, as his father promised him so as to receive satisfied wage. They came back home, when they arrived home, Farid ran and showed his earnings to his mother, “ look mom, today I earned double then last Thursday.”

The mother kissed his face and provided him with water to take shower. Once he took shower the family gathered around the table-cloth to eat dinner.

In the next days, Farid continued schooling. One day when he came earlier to have a rest. After couple of hours noises and cries were heard plus woke him up then some strangers entered their house with a dead body carrying on their shoulders.

Farid and his mother went to reach the corpse; they perceived the corpse was Ahmad. A sudden cold fear entered their hearts Mother and son started crying and his wife was beating on her face, gasping and shouting. They were crying about two hours out there. Their relatives gathered. Everyone was asking how it happened, one of the outsiders answered, “Taliban attacked our shops and destroyed everything in bazaar and they shot some of shopkeepers including Ahmad.”

It was terrible to lose someone who never be repeated in life, the one who crosses others like a breeze crosses water. It was a shadow darker on a bright day. .The next day, relatives, son and wife buried Ahmad in the graveyard.

Year followed year, Farid became 25 years old. Recently, he had been graduated from university. His mother (Yalda) was both cleaner and washer in the neighbor’s houses. She was old around 48. Every Thursdays evening they went to graveyard in order to pray for Ahmad’s soul.

Farid sometimes met his cousin (Aysha). She was beautiful and young. During their meetings Farid had a crush on her. They continued meeting until one day Farid told her that he loved her.

Aysha after couple of minutes like somebody’s voice after an all-nighter said that she loved him, too.  Since Aysha was daughter of a Khan. A Khan never wants his daughter to marry a poor man like Farid, so Farid went to make aware his uncle that how much he loved his daughter. He knocked the door and his uncle welcomed him warmly.

“Hello uncle.” He greeted Khan.

“Hello Farid, come in.” Khan said.

A few polite words were exchanged between uncle and nephew. They talked about different matters for a long time late in the night. But Farid had to go to home because his mother was alone. In the end Farid told about Aysha and himself who were in love with. He continued that if Khan permitted them, they would marry in the near future.

“You are a good man. I believe you are. but you know I don’t like your mother so you should leave your mother and come live along in my house then I will accept your marriage otherwise I can’t let my daughter to live in a poor family and with a bad woman” Khan said.

“How could you say that? She is the only one I care for, she matters to me, she is my mother and I can’t leave her alone. She is the only one left after my father had been killed.” Farid said while his eyes were wet with tears.

The next day Aysha and Farid met again under a tree. Shadows from the tree danced round them. It was a bright day but dark for Farid. He didn’t feel better because of his uncle’s reaction. After greetings the place grew silent.

“You Know I love you a lot, I want to marry you but your father insists that I should live with your family and leave my mother, you know that I can’t live without her” Farid said.

“Yes I know, but if you love me you have to accept whatever he says” Aysha said.

Farid did not want to lose Aysha either, he was between a dilemma, whether he had to leave his mother or his love. He decided to go to the university he had been graduated from in order to ask for help his favorite professor in this matter, who always gave him pieces of advice. He arrived university and found the professor.

“Hi professor, I need to talk to you” Farid said.

“Hello Farid, what is it?” asked professor.

“Well it is about my mother and the one who I love” Farid said.

“About your mother and your love?” he wondered.

“Yes professor, I am between a dilemmas, whether I have to leave my mother or my love. I love my mother but Aysha’s family wants me to leave my mother and live with them because Khan doesn’t want her daughter to live with a poor family like us. I don’t want to break up with Aysha. I don’t want to lose her. My mother is old, I think I have to find her a servant and leave her, I do accept whatever you suggest me” Farid said.

“So you think you must leave your mother and live with Aysha. Right?” professor asked.

“Yes” answered Farid.

“I suggest you to leave your mother, now go and tell your mother about your decision, but remember while leaving you have to kiss her hand.” professor suggested.

“Thank you for suggestion professor” Farid said.

On his way he thought how he could just leave his mother. Is it her fault? Does she deserve the way he leaves her? What about the nights she didn’t sleep until twilights because of Farid? More importantly, what about the times when his father wasn’t around and after his father passed away? She tried many ways to send him school. Even she didn’t let him to leave school for one day because she knew if Farid doesn’t study will follow the way she lived a life full of darkness. She wanted Farid a successful man and not to live in a traditional way she did. The way that girls didn’t have right to study. Is it candid to leave a mother with a kind heart like this? He went home and said about the decision he made to his mother, his mother agreed and let his son go. But deep inside she wanted her son to be happy the way he thinks he can be.

“Go son wherever you want I just want you to be happy.” Yalda said.

“But don’t worry I found a servant for you in order to serve you” Farid said.

While leaving Yalda’s tears were streaming down while her head was on Farid’s shoulder, her tears hit his shirt like bullets. He remembered the days and nights that his mother faced pains and adversities just because of him.

As the professor said he had to kiss his mother’s hand before leaving. He wanted to kiss Yalda’s hand but he observed sores of her hands. He knew what professor’s point was. The sores were also the result of washing clothes and cleaning neighbors’ houses which she was paid for. After he noticed the sores of his mother’s hands he decided not to leave his mother, but to stay with her forever.

Written by Nematullah Ahangosh


One thought on “Mother’s Hands

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