When Okhti left, Yumma blamed the entire world.
She blamed Yubba – may the Lord rest his soul – for his inability to protect their daughter. She blamed Yubba's wives' jealous and evil eyes upon Okhti's serene grace. She blamed us, for not watching over her carefully enough. She blamed God for breaking her heart. She blamed the king and country, for inefficient police work and convoluted politics. She blamed the years and days, and the weather and the food, and days and the nights and all that irked her senses and cognition with dismay.
Yumma said that Okthi's lost because everyone's too selfish these days. Yumma said that Okhti left because we drove her away with absentmindedness. Because we didn't take her out enough, or showered her with enough gifts, or covered her in the finest silks and purest gold. Yumma said that Okhti wouldn't have left us if she was happy with us. Yumma insists that we have failed Okhti, consequently failing Yumma too.
When we felt like humoring her, we tell Yumma that we did all of that and more.
When we didn't feel like it, we shrug and move on with our daily routines.
In fact, we don't listen to Yumma anymore, not since she came back from her 3-years silence bout, not since Okhti is proven happily married and has given Yumma three grandsons, not since Yumma's been called to degenerate.
In fact, Yumma doesn’t care that nobody listens anymore. Yumma knows that the faeries are listening, and the djinns, and the angels and demons and the secret lovers underneath her bed, from where Yumma eats and sleeps and shits and fills her entire room with the ammonic sense of decay. Yumma, knows that Okhti left out of her childhood because she wanted to become a real person, and a step closer to what Yumma was becoming. Yumma, or whatever is left of her, blames herself for raising Okhti into the fine woman that she was, because Yumma knows – or she thinks she knows – what children become and think and do when they grow up.
Despite all odds, if the sands that surround her in her grave were the last ones to hear her, to each one of them Yumma would repeat and re-repeat how growing up could cost an entire life spent in wanting, to redeem.
This post parades tent on Creative Carnival for March, 2009.