Arese (short story) – Aishat Abiri

It was a different man she took home, he was withdrawn, smaller. She wanted to tease him about his nose hairs and how they always hang outside his nose. She wanted him to kiss her on her neck. She wanted so badly for everything to be like before. But no.

Te’ele is a mother and a wife. Mother to Ima, wife to Elkan.

Imagine seeing something that you love snatched from you, without knowing if you will ever get it back or in what condition you will get it back in.
What if that something is a someone?

Te’ele’s story is one of loss. She goes through the motions of life. Of living –without really living. She lives knowing that something is coming but not quite sure of the when.
Elkan, suffers from bipolar – during his episodes he believes that someone is out to get him. He wasn’t always that way.

It was his laughter, how she saw it before it poured through his mouth, how it was always a little too loud, how it echoed in her chest. It was his wide feet, the way his toes were almost the same length, so that it looked like he stood on two isosceles triangles. It was the way he kissed her goodbye on her neck. Te’ele loved Elkan with the kind of love that changed people, that made them complacent.

She fell in love with his laughter. His bipolar seems to have taken that away too. But… he’s not always that way.

Elkan comes and goes, so the times she has him, she tries to keep him for as long as possible. She prolongs these times and documents them, in photos taken at dinner, by a stranger who tries to hide his impatience while she asks for a few extra shots; in videos of them watching TV with Ima sitting in his lap, putting her colour pencil up his nose, and funny stories with friends as she watches for his laughter, to know when exactly it begins before she hears it. She makes him into a medal she wears wherever she goes.

For me, this story just brought to fact that loss is loss. We always console ourselves that when a person is still infront of you, it must be better. A stranger. Is that better? We live, we love, we grow and we grow complacent in ‘knowing’ that something will always be that way….someone will always be around and always be that way.

Te’ele soaks up the great moments, saving them for a rainy day, for a lesser moment. Is it enough? Loss is loss. What was, now isn’t.

 –PZ

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