Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris
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Chapter Two, the wise old man
Zed splashed water on his face at a raised around
his eyes trained on his own reflection, scattering within the colors of its glossy mosaic tile wall.
It was perfectly filled to its brim restored by the people in recent years, to once again serve its ancient amenity.
An old man was at the opposite side, washing his hands and feet, making his little
Zed CT side of his face. He was familiar, but not acquainted.
As Ed was turning to leave, the man started to speak very softly and gently. It every word wrung out loudly.
Somehow, silence befell the air around making way for his voice. And he said,
said, You have been like the midday sun arrived to light these people's moons.
They tended to your every hour upon their city, and within you they have found the space to feel connected to a holy place within themselves.
Yet it was you who found them. They didn't find you. You were like a dream of contentment, arrived in the form of a child into their arms.
A man in a nearby crowd suddenly cried out to Zed. You are my son.
A little girl, walking with another family cried out too, and you are my brother.
She tried to run towards him. But her father stopped her, gently holding her back with a comforting hand on her shoulder.
The old man spoke again.
They are your family. You are like the blood within them. And they are like your body.
Today, they lose some vital blood.
They will surely feel bled and pale without you to not leave them for too long, or they will become faint and unhealthy.
Not even the sharpest knife, nor the strongest hand could sever the bond between you.
You will lend to them as a favor from Allah when you are young. You are nectar to this hive of worker bees.
You learn your guilt and hesitance from them. They loved you to the point of fear. so afraid they were that when this day would come? You would not return.
With every bit of bread they fed you as you grew, they quietly moaned and trembled at the thought that you might leave again.
The little girl broke free from her father's grip.
This time he failed to summon the will to restrain her further.
She cried out and ran to his head sobbing and she took hold of his right arm in folding it into her own.
Then her father came forward and he spoke
the old man speaks the truth.
My daughter shows the love we have for you. If we were unashamed, she feels purely what we've mourned in private all of these years. The pain that hasn't found my own eyes, has made my daughter weep.
The man seemed stuck upon his spot,
and tears made his eyes glassy, watching his daughter holding on to Zed more tightly.
The weight of zeds departure real and present now had overpowered the man's usual restraint of words.
He felt inside like his own daughter was feeling
the scene unshackled the inhibitions of other people around. They started to gather around said gently mobbing him with their hands, voices and soft words and sadnesses pulling at him as they bid him tactile goodbye. This way in that much like a be surrounded, clamored on by members of its own hive.
His head was bowed. His body was nudged left and right back and forth by the warm hands of the people all engaged in a quiet Battle of places and whispers
tears flooded his eyes and fell upon his scarf and his chest.
He felt rooted to the spot.
He felt panic. breathlessness like he was about to die. And then things turned black again.
The next chapter is called the open heart.
Said woke to find that it was daytime. Around noon, he was sitting in a mustered trembling with fear at the thought of death. He stared deeper and deeper into this thought, until it just faded to a tiny point.
He found a new kind of calm from deep inside him. It just arrived as plain as day and flipped his mind over to peace. And just as quickly as that he felt there was nothing to fear from death.
How strange he thought that what I fear shrinks to ordinary size. When I invited closer to be inspected.
He got up to leave, heading barefoot through the open courtyard, where the sun flushed off the Whitestone floor. Warm under his soles.
He paused in the middle, instead upwards for one last time at the square of sky above him, framed by the walls of the courtyard.
In one corner, one of the gray port towers sharply raked up into the space. It's tip poked into the base of the daylit Moon, making it seem like the moon was perched on a tall spike.
The rest of the sky was a bright blue of infinite and massive depth. almost dark, grainy black at its deepest, dense and still like a vast butterfly wing.
He'd never seen it quite so.
Standing at the entrance of the building, was the figure of an older woman
said his heart was filled with joy and tenderness. His pace quickened to a skip as he went towards her. It was Sarah, the mother who adopted him.
They embraced with eyes tightly closed.
Then she stood back, taking a look at him.
I'm thankful ever to have been a guest in days so blessed as yours. But destiny today releases you from this mother's hands. Returning you to where your birth mother awaits you.
I pray you, tell her this at her grave. Viola. I swear, you always made my burden light.
But just as such, the heaviness I feel today will not be quick to leave me.
It will stay like foggy night of winter in my heart, all dark until you return.
Remember, all I taught you said I remember every time you smiled. Remember all of the words you hear today, because they will be written straight on to your heart.
And the law reads the hearts of pilgrims.
I pray you sent my thanks to him for sending you to us and ask Him to forgive us if we failed in any part of raising you. The sweetest test, a blessing, nothing less.
We once lived here adrift in space, unknown to any mercy. Even the sun was faint, forgotten, parched and pale in the sky,
landless paupers, barren ground and craggy mountains all around. We left this place to journey on homage to a place of hope. We longed to be as one with faithful folk from all around the world.
And through your eyes, we saw choked with tears, you joined us seamlessly like gift of sight restored by surgeons to the blind.
And now we prosper. blushing masters of access.
I used to watch you,
watching as we slept, and wept and laughed, giving myself to you. I saw how God replaced a fresh the goodness that I gave.
When feeding you. I felt I offered food to God Himself. Forgive me if my words are out of turn.
But he has given our words to you today. And let us guide and give you wise advice about the journey you will take.
We took it 24 years ago and still be glory in its blessings lasting and refreshing us.
said was silent, contemplating
the light had drawn in. The small crowds stood before him almost silent under the weight of the coastal air.
The time and space diffused and melted into itself. It was hard to tell if it was dawn or dusk.
Only the warmth in the stone walls all around them, laden with a growing scent of jasmine flowers, gave a suggestion that it was the approaching night.
In this chapter the next chapter is called the keeper of oaths.