Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Sunday, October 11, 2015, Aswin 26, 1422 BS, Zilhaj 26, 1436 Hijr

Short Story
The heirloom
Mehnaz Tabassum
Published :Sunday, 11 October, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 17

(Continuation from previous week)
The heirloom
I opened the door with its usual old wooden noise. It felt like her.
I gently scrolled through the nicely organized, colour-coded clothes. Every fabric feels different, but feels like her.
Every colour is different but holds her early morning confused stares.
I inhaled. Yes. It is a combination of her sweat, perfume, detergent. Yes, it even smells like her.
I stood there for minutes, like her and my grandmother, in confusion, in mess, in anger, in helplessness, in desperation. Like her or her?
It had all the colours, but no blank spaces, visually. Yes, visually.
I suddenly realized what I was looking for. The precious praying mat; the one I used to pray on special occasions. I found it on top of her woollens, carefully wrapped in a muslin cover. I took it out, it also feels like her now! So that's how an heirloom is passed on? Huh, couldn't have guessed so!
My thought got pierced as someone tapped my shoulder. It was time, I assumed. I had to pray, on the precious praying mat.
It was a special occasion today. I had to pray for the best of heavens for her.
That's my only duty today. Her dress has already been picked - the perfect dress for the day. But I was wrong; she doesn't look good in everything she wears. It's the worst outfit she has ever put on. Because, may be, it was neither her choice nor mine. That's why it was not in the wardrobe, ever.
But? but she looks pretty in it too! Why? Why does she have to? Or is it just the way I see her? Or the way I think she is getting prettier by the day?
I grab the precious praying mat close to my heart. I know it is prayer time, and I need to go. But my feet feel nailed to the ground. I could not look away from the wardrobe.
I stand there looking inside, with my pupils being restless in search of something. Just like my grandmother. Just like her.
I look at the heirloom. I can see how something becomes a treasure chest, to open and to stand in front of it, to look inside with great expectations, only to find lost memories and blank spaces.
My daughter stands beside me, peeps inside, to understand what I am looking for.
We both stand still looking inside.
At deep, dark, dear blank spaces.

Mehnaz Tabassum is a Lecturer
at the Department of English,
East West University

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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