“Is it true that we often betray the people we love…because we love them?” Amna asked the haggard midwife. “After thirty-six hours of labor and a stillborn delivery, you insist on asking impossible questions about paradox! Have you gone mad?” The midwife offered the spent woman tea flavored with raspberry leaf. “Drink this. Sleep.” Amna dreamt of her dead sisters, her dead mother, her father, uncles, and brothers. She rested with a lethargic hope that her husband, Abu, would return. Her dark hair spread out and eventually turned gray upon a pillow that was filled with decaying flower petals. The ashamed midwife had eventually grown older talking to Amna and caring for her, rubbing away Amna's bed sores when Amna escaped into a coma. Years passed and then, “You lie!" Amna jerked awake to accuse her caretaker who had finally talked Amna out of her long sleep. "Abu is not dead. My husband has merely betrayed me. But he will return. He will!” The midwife lowered her head and wept; she'd lost the strength to wail. This time her tears fell onto Amna’s forehead. Marked by tears, Amna’s own face went rigid with horror. Now she knew her husband had been tortured, and killed by desperate exiles, then by the displaced, then by those people who despair feeling like they are superfluous and become so desperate that they turn into fighters just to prove they are still alive. To prove they are still alive, they become determined to kill, to die. Without an answer to that paradox, Amna forced herself to stop breathing.
(You see, quiet reader, what happens when I try to write humorless prose. This post is much too sad, too disturbed, I think. ???)