• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 07

The Sixth Day

“Are we on the same page?”

Maybe it was the purple that led her to think that the woman was a kindred spirit, or perhaps it was the sparkle she caught through a chink in the netting that covered her face – the presence of another who was awake and here, right here, right now.

The woman both smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Then gestured at her veiled face, smiled some more, and continued on her way.

The next day, again, they crossed paths.

“We must stop meeting like this!”

Again, the smiling, a gesture to the sun – eyes rolled upwards. “Ah, yes – it is beautiful, a beautiful day.”

This brought more nodding and smiling, and they stood there, outside, under the warmth of the beautiful sun. A peaceful moment spent together, before they smiled at each other, and continued on their separate ways.

The third day, though she meandered as slowly as she could, the woman never appeared, and she felt sad and anxious. Her planned words lay unspoken in her head, and she began to lose the carefully composed questions she had wanted to ask.

The fourth day, there was a curfew and it was not safe to go out.

The fifth day, the smoke from the burnt out cars sat in the air, soldiers with guns loitered around the streets; she did not linger, nor see the woman.


The Sixth Day

The sixth day, she saw the woman’s purple robes from a distance, and walk-ran to meet her, gasping her relief. The woman stopped and let her run right up to her. Close up, though clothed and veiled as always, she looked bedraggled, her robe was torn.

“I wondered what had happened to you. Are you OK?”

The woman pointed at her veiled face, hands blackened and shaking.

“Can you not talk? Or, are you not allowed to talk?”

The woman opened her mouth, behind the veil, pointing.

“No.” she recoiled, hands to her own sun-stung face.

The woman’s tongue had been removed. Butchered. Recently.

She reached out, but the woman stepped back, away.

“Who did this?”

The woman just shook her head, bowing it to look at the earth they both stood on.

Scared she is losing her, she cast around, summoned with all her might.

“Can you read and write?”

Slowly, the woman raised her head and meeting her eyes – nodded.

“Tomorrow. I will bring paper and pen.”

The woman’s mouth moved into a half smile, and she nodded.