The Storm


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Jan 11 - The storm

By Abdul Malik Al-Qasim

These were the most exciting days of my life; the countdown to my wedding. Everything had been prepared a week earlier than the wedding date. I was now engrossed in blissful dreams. I started spending some quiet time at my new home, envisioning my life there with my wife.

One day, as I was having tea and reading a newspaper at my new home, I came across an article, which highly recommended a full medical examination for those, who were about to get married. I decided to give it a try.

The first step was inevitably a blood test to ascertain that everything was alright. I gave my blood and then went back to collect the results three days later. I was quite sure that this whole exercise had been a waste of time. I was beginning to wonder what had possessed me to undergo the medical examination, when I realized that the doctor was looking at me gravely. He said: “You have blood cancer.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Shock and denial was written all over my face. “Don’t fear anything, it’s just a suspicion,” said the doctor. “We’ll just repeat this test.” I couldn’t move. The doctor helped me stand, but I collapsed and started breathing heavily, unsure whether I was still alive.

The doctor examined me and tried to assure me that everything depended on the results of the second test. But I was no longer listening. I was overwhelmed with misery and worry. As I was driving my car home, I stopped at the side of road and closed my eyes. I thought about myself, my family and… her. What will I tell her? If the tests confirmed my ailment, should I tell her or stay silent? Sooner or later, I would have to decide, whether there should be a wedding or not. Inevitably, I couldn’t sleep that night.

In the morning, I headed towards the lab and gave another blood sample. Maybe it was all a mistake, I thought. But a nagging feeling told me there was something terribly wrong.

The next three days were the longest in my life. I cared about nothing but the results of the test. Those I met said: “Your face has changed. Is this a face of a groom? It looks like you are over-anxious about your wedding. Are you scared? It’s going to be ok!”

They all seemed in a world utterly different from mine. I cancelled my visits and appointments. I even ceased buying what remained of the furniture for my new home. I didn’t want to see anyone. Whenever I saw my mother, I would think of the tears she would shed at my funeral. Whenever I saw my father, I would grieve.

On the third day, I had calmed down and made some crucial decisions. If I have blood cancer, I will disclose it to my fiancé and call off the wedding.

I reached the clinic well before time. Finally, the results arrived and I was summoned by the doctor. He opened the envelope and started to read. I had started to shiver, as if it was freezing winter. Yet, I sweated profusely and tried to catch my breath. The doctor finished reading, looked up and congratulated me. I was stunned and requested him to read the report again. It was all a mistake. I was alright! The wedding could go ahead as planned!

I came out exhilarated, greeting everyone I met. I went home quickly. Winter was still inside me and the sweat on my forehead was very obvious. Reaching my family’s home, I hugged and kissed my mother. She noticed my exhaustion and joy and curiously asked: “What’s the matter with you, son?”

I handed them the envelope that explained everything. “You didn’t tell us anything,” mocked my brother.

I smiled…

Man is weak but is a proud tyrant.

A small virus, a microscopic organism can knock him down.

He fears death but does nothing for it.

Gets very happy at his health and well-being

But never gets benefit out of it.

Time goes on and he is subjected to several trials, but…

He always in the end… dies.

But you, my dear,

You are sent back to life.

Every morning, when you are up from bed,

You are sent back to life.

But someday you are to die, too.

Here, look! There is still time.

Therefore, go and do something for it,

Before it’s too late.

Translated for “Hiba” by Tasneem Rajab

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