The Broken Soul

Ouarzazate, Morocco

Karima Idabdellah graduated from Ibn Zohr Polydisciplinary faculty of Ourzazate with a bachelor degree in English Studies: Communication & Pedagogy. She is a citizen journalist in Ourzazate
E News.

      ” ..Wait for me,” were the only words Jake said to Aisha fifty years ago. As the train glided out of the station, he felt in the palm of his hand, the engagement ring. He put it in his pocket and tried to think about how he would explain all that to his family. It was the most difficult thing to bear.
Jake began his career as a teacher; he was sent to Morocco to volunteer for the Peace Corps in a remote village. There he fell in love with the country and a girl. He used to wake up very early in the morning, eat some bread and drink a cup of tea, and then go to the river where he spent hours before going to work. It was there where he would always meet Aisha, an orphan girl who had no family and lived alone. She was a beautiful smart girl with a wonderfully deep and dreamy look. They loved that place; they found it both relaxing and therapeutic; they’d talk non-stop all the time they were there. Jake was a tall slim young man always wearing black jeans. He always sat next to that strange river, creating either the poetry or short stories that his abundant imagination throve on. Jake liked to look into her beautiful brown eyes that turned to green as they met the sunrise. “Those hazel green eyes have much heavier secrets,” Jake said, smiling inwardly to himself; her eyes were flashed with a strange sorrow and enjoyment.
She smiled back like the sunlight; and said, “I am not a liar, but I don’t say the whole truth”; her eyes were drawn to the river. She couldn’t look him in the eyes, but once his blue eyes caught her green ones, she could see her pain reflected in them. She began to believe that maybe she had found the person that would help her rise up from a past rooted in pain and shame.
As usual, they decided to meet at the same place. He saw her before she saw him. He shouted to her from the other side of the road, and she turned to see him smiling. They sat down near the river. When her kind hazel green eyes and his blue ones that were close to the color of the sea met, neither of them knew what to say. Jake stared at her face for a long time without saying a word; there was something in her face that meant a lot to him. He liked the way the light shone on her face.  She might have been thinking because she looked a little sad. Her face showed that she was a strong woman but one who had suffered pain.
Aisha first hesitated and then with a trembling voice said, “Are you ready to listen to me?”
“Yes,” Jake replied with an encouraging tone. Aisha started to talk about what had happened to her in the past. She was very shy; she didn’t want Jake to feel sorry for her. This was the last thing she wanted from someone; she never wanted pity when she was a child, and certainly she didn’t want it now. She felt a warm tear fall on her cheek; Jake put his arms lovingly around her to comfort her until she finally relaxed. “Are you alright?”  he asked.
Unconsciously she answered, “Alright”. She was still wondering what Jake would say and how he would behave towards her now that he knew everything about her.
Jake took a deep breath and said, “Can you marry me? I want you for who you are now, no matter what happened one day.” They smiled at each other. Aisha realized she had done the right thing when she talked to him about all of her secrets and all of the painful times when she felt the entire world was against her. All of this made them closer to each than they used to be. They took the long route home to give themselves time to talk more.
A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Now we are sharing the same fate and same nightmare,” Aisha said and smiled. They exchanged an informal handshake and went home.
It was only about ten o’clock at night; yet it was cold. There was a wind with a little rain in it. The memories of the day flooded back. Aisha let her imagination take flight. “Hmmm,” she mused aloud, “what would tomorrow bring?” She breathed a deep sigh of relief and went to the kitchen to make tea. Suddenly, she heard a strange voice outside; she first glanced at the window and then opened the door. She looked around rubbing her eyes with the back of her hands. Darkness brought with it cold, fear, and sorrow. She remembered the usual warnings she was told about nights and strangers. “Nothing to fear in a town as quiet as this,” Aisha said to herself. All of a sudden, she sensed someone approaching; she felt a warm breath on the nape of her neck. She turned around to see someone standing under an old tree. He was dirty and frighteningly tall. He was wearing something on his head, and very little of his face could be seen. He stood there staring at her as if he knew her from another life. He whispered some words that she couldn’t understand about hope and trust. His voice invoked a desire to escape. Everything happened and ended in one moment. She headed back home trembling and with her heart pounding, trying to forget that scary nightmare.
Morning finally came; it was sunny with a fresh breeze. The sky was blue and clear since it had rained the day before. Aisha told Jake about everything she had experienced last night. “Soon we will be together.  I’ll protect you,” Jake said and smiled. She felt a little heat on her cheeks, but her pleasure did not last long. She noticed a usual silence; she was preparing herself for something unpleasant. Then Jake said, “I have to travel.” Two large tears appeared in the corners of her eyes. “I need to see my family and talk to them about us.”
“I see,” Aisha said.
At first, everything was fine. It was after Jake decided to go back to his country that things started to go wrong. The moment to go had finally arrived; Jake’s words were still ringing in Aisha’s ears “wait for me Aisha, wait for me…”.Some days felt like years. Hours, months-years gone, no letters, no news, nights were becoming long and tiring, but Aisha didn’t lose hope. Her thoughts turned back to the events of fifty years before when she first met Jake. Everything fell apart. Aisha was now seventy-two years old, yet she still remembered everything and she was still waiting for her lover to come back and marry her in spite of the pain he left in her heart.
Fifty years passed by, and Jake came back to visit Morocco with his grandchildren. It was such a beautiful day that he decided to go for a leisurely drive in the village; the streets were deserted and quiet. Jake wasn’t able to recognize everything there; everything had changed: new houses, new trees. The only thing that hadn’t change was the river where the beautiful fish were still swimming innocently in its blue water and jumping in the air.
Suddenly, Katherine one of Jake’s grandchildren, complained that she was very thirsty, and because they were in a lonely road far from the village, they decided to walk until they found someone who could give them some water. They finally observed a small house on the other side of the river; a deep desire drove Jake to that house. On their way they met a shepherd. Jake didn’t hesitate to ask him.
“Ohh, this house belongs to Miss Aisha,” said the man, “she is always quiet, and she gives us no trouble at all. Our parents told us that she is still waiting for someone who has promised to marry her before he disappeared from the town without leaving a trace.
Jake wasn’t able to stop thinking about the man’s words. The last thing he wanted to do was to burst into tears in front of the kids. One of the kids knocked quickly and respectfully at the door.  Aisha opened the door shuffling her slippers; her face was full of wrinkles. It was like a map of her hard life; she was extremely dirty, but this dirt couldn’t hide her beauty. Her face was still shining; it seemed to have regained all the youth, the gaiety and the cheerfulness of fifty years ago. Her arms were trembling. She stammered in the midst of a mixture of delight and tears. “You haven’t changed so much … I have been waiting for you for a long time …”. Her grey hair was pulled down over her eyes… She fell into Jake’s arms; her dream had come true; her lover finally had come. “What a strange life!!” she said. In that place at the same time, you were here, near that river which reflects the sky. “Don’t worry,” she added, “even if you’re so far away from me, be sure we are looking at the same sky…” Aisha was overtaken by a long deep sleep forever.

One Comment

  1. What a story. The manner with which you chronicle the events, the words you employ to describe the setting and charactcers, and finally, the beautiful notion this short story touches upon- makes the experiences of reading it an enjoyable and fulfilling one. Thank you.

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