Tears of the night
This is the third part of the Short Story by Mac-King T. Thompson titled Tears of the Night – a riveting tale of three (3) African migrants journeying to Europe illegally via the turbulent seas. You can read Part One (1) here and Part two (2) here.
In The Dreams of Waris
Suddenly, in the middle of the night, they could hear someone screaming.
The noise came from Waris as she woke up, darting here and there. She had a huge feeling of pain only she could sense.
Other travellers wondered what this strange upset might be about, that was happening to one of the dozens of women on board.
“Has this nightmare happened again?” some wondered.
It was an experience that would only be understood by her younger sister, Tina who was also in the vessel.
“Please leave her alone, she is going to be fine.” she said.
“Why, has she had any dreams as such in the past?” Asked Solo, the oldest among all present.
“Of course,” claimed Tina, “but it only happens in the midst of many men around.
“Really, you better explain to us what this is all about.”
“Well, we both fled from our parents in the village because of the entanglement of culture. I mean the tradition imposed on us.”
“How? Allez en á l’avant.” said Diakite as if Tina could understand what he said. This man was a native of another country, a foreigner among many.
But others daring to listen to her, explained, “Go ahead, he means.”
She opens up vividly and said,
“we were forced into an early marriage which neither she nor I ever wanted. They cut our dreams short, asked us to oblige to the customs of tradition and stole our pride of womanhood.”
“Clearly, this is not a good thing” many shouted with pity in their voices while others cried, but to some, it was no news in their hearing, even as Ali has witnessed such customs practiced in his village before.
Soon after, Waris came to herself but she could barely speak, as tears roll down her eyes, in a sweat-filled garment, so weary and dry from thirst,
She asked, “please, can I get some water?”
“Of course.” Tina said, as she hurried to search around and get water for her sister.
Waris began to speak after taking the water.
“I am sorry for everything.” she exclaimed as her sorrow-filled heart cried along as she spoke.
“I have been bitten twice by the serpent of old. O Mama, I wish you have known from the inside out, what my heart is all about and the meaning of the rhythm behind my melodies”
Tina watched her gloomily and embraces her with compassion. They cried out loud the more with lamentations.
“Oh heaven, turn to us and lend a helping hand, for the laws of men weigh us down.”
“Aaawwwww, this is heart-breaking” those watching said in pity.
“It is such an unfriendly practice. I wish to know what these practices are founded upon and why it came into existence. With many young women leaving their homes because of the problem of being pushed into an early marriage. I wonder how many a shadow that has been cast on the happiness of these women in that town, even as they have no resting place and flee leaving their towns deserted.” Sam shouted from behind.
“Did he hear any new thing? Maybe the people will listen to him as he speaks.” Someone whispered.
Sam went on,
“Is this what the preacher man preached about in time past as I sit to listen in the church? How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces, have now become a slave. Bitterly, she weeps at night; tears are upon her cheeks, among all her lovers, there is none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her, they become her enemies.”
“After affliction and hard labour, she goes into exile captive before the foe, she dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place, all who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress. Did the preacher man preach about this hometown our ladies are from or elsewhere?”
The men listened and watched him in awe but they had no idea and thus gave no answer to what the preacher had said earlier.
“What could this foe in the passage mean?” Sam inquired within himself for a long time as he excluded himself from those around to think of it well.
Tina noticed him and slowly walked to him.
“We saw you shouting for a while. Why do you look so deserted at this hour?”
“I want to think of myself and the journey ahead.” he replied. “I hope Waris is feeling better now?”
“Yeah, as you can see, she’s lying down there.” answered Tina.
“We thank God. So let me know, why did your sister use this phrase ‘as I’ve been bitten twice by the serpent of old?.” asked Sam
“She only wanted to explain how our parents deceived her with their deception as of a wild snake hissing to lure a prey. You know, she was promised by her Dad that he would take her to school so that she could pursue her dreams as a Pharmacist.”
“Waris had a desire to help many people as she could through her profession, because the issue of few pharmacists in our town had been a concern to her. A problem she aimed to solve in her lifetime but lo, she was ask to marry at age seventeen to a man twice her age, to live a life she never planned to, a man who had no place in her heart.”
“It is very sad. I am sorry for you guys. it going to be alright.” He consoles her.
“Guess we have had enough for this dawn; I wish you would find some place to lay and relax awhile for the journey ahead.” Sam said and concluded his thinking.
“Really, these foes could be the men who hold these women captive, lead them into an exile of a future unknown, get them to work so hard for them as slaves and hurt their pride. Hmmm, time will tell.” said Sam as he found a place to lean on and closed his eyes for that moment.
To be continued.
This story was sent in by Mac-King T. Thompson. He lives in Tema, Ghana.