Clearing out the cobwebs

Alone again.

Yesterday his youngest son had married.

His son belonged but Muhammad had been too preoccupied with family to grow his own roots. His suburban apartment echoed with Yasmin’s burial.

“This isn’t home.”, he lamented into air.

He prepared a cup of mint tea and let its fumes carry him to the Bazaar helping his father selling carpets.

Before he had to grow a beard and swear allegiance to their black flags.
Before he sneaked away at night.

Before the blisters.
Before the night at sea.

Loneliness will clear the cobwebs to the past and open up your wounds.

The first thing I thought about when seeing the picture was the old idiom/proverb “to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”, and I thought about how refugees keep coming and imagine a future of an old man who once escaped. I imagine that you might feel at home in a new country when you have a family to support. But the moment when you are all alone I imagine you will feel uprooted again. I’m sure that this is what many immigrants have felt and will continue to feel in years to come.

Rochelle hosts the Friday Fictioeers and selects the image. Be sure to visit her blogs and be inspired. The community as such is one where you can tune your writing and find inspiration from others.

A movie and music to get in the mood.

September 20, 2017

79 responses to “Clearing out the cobwebs

  1. How truly terrific , Bjorn !
    Loved your story .
    One feels uprooted in one’s own country with a minor transition from countryside to cities, countries must take more than a lifetime, for sure . It’s so difficult to go on when you don’t feel belongingness and yet it’s not something one can force into themselves.

  2. Nostalgia for his lost homeland suffuses this story like the fumes of mint tea in Muhammad’s apartment. I love the way you use each of the senses – sound, smell, sight and touch – in a way that emphasises the loneliness and hardship that he has endured, and is still enduring.

  3. What is happening in the world right now…I feel my heart is going to cave in a dark bottom hole and feel this pain deep within.

    Emotionally, and powerfully moving.

    The video composition of “Andrei Tarkovsky” is amazing. He was ahead of his time in film making.

  4. I agree with what has been said. Sad and very real. We observed this painful story when we lived in Ontario: the daughter, an only child, had married a Canadian and persuaded her tiny, elderly Scottish mother to move close to her.

    The mother no sooner got settled—and had a hard time fitting in where most women were a foot taller and often commented on her size— when the daughter divorced her husband married again and moved to Florida with her new spouse. As there was Mom, alone in a new country, not knowing a soul, and literally not fitting in. And thus she spent the last 10 or 15 years of her life.

  5. So many layers, so much to digest in these words. I find myself sympathizing with him although when I read about the black flag I didn’t want to.

  6. I will just sound redundant so will compliment you on this very well told tale that I found myself reading thrice! I would hate to feel this way…

  7. This was absolutely fantastic, Bjorn. 100 words are nowhere near enough but you have done justice to the story. I was reminded of a Tamil movie – ‘Kannathil Muthamittal’ which has the story set in a war-torn Sri Lanka. I’m posting the link to a song from the movie. There are no subtitles but the visuals are very striking and haunting.

  8. This isn’t home….. so rightly said. The refugees flee from their land to a new place losing their identity. The adopted place will always remain a stranger to them. Rightly captured the essence in a few words.

  9. Hi Bjorn,
    This was so poignant and well done. It’s very hard for the first generation which immigrates and in so many cases, makes a huge sacrifice which is ultimately reaped by their children.
    xx Rowena

  10. OMG! Your last line packs a punch. Loneliness is more awful than any other lack. I should know having just lost my sister. A month ago she was alive. I feel for the aloneness of my BIL.
    Glad to see you again!

  11. My son isn’t a refugee but he did emigrate to Canada when he married a girl from there. I suspect he will never feel as at home there as his daughters will.

  12. I liked your after-story comments. Reminded me of that first holiday away from home, away from the USA, in a place I probably should have never been. I remember being surrounded by people who didn’t speak English in any form and feeling so utterly alone and lost that I could barely function. At that point, I remember a tourist passing by me who smiled, and said ‘Good Morning’ in English before moving on, and to this day, I swear they were an angel sent to comfort me.

  13. “Lonilness will clear the cobwebs.” Great line.
    My father had dementia, and it seems the common denominator of those suffering from that affliction is they want to go “home.”
    Awesome job this week, Bjorn.

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