It Didn’t Happen

“Your father is dead” the boy of six said to the girl of four in front of him. His hair unruly, his eyes angry. He hated baby siting her. The back yard was empty now. The desolation had the feel of a circus that just moved on. The women in mourning. The occasional sob. They had just carried away his body. She watched as it happened.

Later she sat under the table. It was where his father wrote. They couldn’t move her. His mother forced him to sit with her. “Poor child. An orphan.” She didn’t think the children knew that much. “Your father died,” he said louder this time. He thought she couldn’t hear. She proved him wrong. She told him a story. Her father went away. He would come back. She just has to believe. “It didn’t happen,” she said.

Her hair grew as he grew taller. She still hid under the table. He still was the son of the town’s run away. His father was a thief. Some said he was a spy. He believed no one. “I will look for him,” he said. Together they played heroes. Together they ran around and played detectives. Together they found adventures in her newfound poverty. The writing table of her father found its way in the storage room.

Time flew. She should get married now. Her mother worried. Her mother’s hair had strands of silver in it now. The smell of her father still enveloped her. The table now eaten away by termites. She dreamt new dreams. Another image entered her vision. It was of the boy whose father was a run away. The boy had worn uniform now. He was away, he was needed at the border. The mothers planned the color of her dress.

It was the death anniversary of her father. She pretended to participate. How these fool knew nothing. Their mothers sat in the dying sun’s rays. The charpai inverted in mourning was now standing upright. Relatives came and ate. She felt time had ran backwards and her height became that of a four year. Her lips said the same thing. “It didn’t happen.”