(SnapShots) On the side of the road…

Oxymorons. I find them amusing. Two opposite words making a sensible phrase. ‘Act naturally’. ‘Deafening silence’. ‘Open secret’. That little, 13 year old boy would have found this ironical. Something that doesn’t belong together creating eloquent meanings and people that fit together like two pieces of puzzle moving apart as sun rays do. Sitting in this car, his luggage scattered in the rear seats, Ahmed would have wondered if the two rays that started their journey from a place, are going to far fall very far away from each other. I wonder if he would be able to live in the distance between them. But his lesson is not about oxymorons, I guess. It’s about paradoxes. About people being paradoxes.


I believe we took the longer route on purpose. He steals glances at me but is avoiding to look at me. Little does my uncle know, I want to avoid talking about it as much as he does. I want the road to not end as much as he wants to. I guess, he knows.

Me, Mom, Dad and him, we lived in the same house but barely together. Both silence and noise snuck up on you like slithering snakes. But trust me, silence has a meaner sting. As I head away from my home, I realise my parents must  have felt something very different. Perhaps, the emptiness of which that house was truly made.The nothingness that encircled everything. My eyes stung and before tears could emerge I blinked.

I looked at my uncle and caught worry in his eyes which soon became embarrassment. I turned back to the window and watched the sun rays play their  dancing, flickering games on the rooftops, the leaves, the clouds, the footpath…

In many ways, I am like him, my uncle. We both love soccer. We both sleep talk when we are really tired. We both like pizza. Somehow it is comforting and unnerving to have the same elements: a soft heart and honest simplicity. 

He cooked food, after a long day in college, for me when Mom and Dad came home late from work. He scolded Dad for shoving me aside. He helped me with homework, at times even did it entirely when in an annoyed mood. He stopped Mom whenever she screamed at me. When they start bickering which almost always became full blown quarrels, he took me out for movies somedays, or some days to the mall or to the library. But going to the library was more for him than me; well, it got me into books though. This one time I saw a nerdy girl, bespectacled and most importantly beautiful, who looked at my uncle like he was a chocolate cake on sale. She struck up a conversation too later. Something must speak to them about guys that come attached to a book…


I looked at Ahmed again. He had a tiny smile playing on his lips. I hope he has understood we are not going to the library this time. I don’t know where I am taking him. I know they are just relieved to not have him there. A child was taking too much of their time and energy. A child was making their separation difficult. Yes, blame it all on the kid. He must be hungry.

I stopped at a fast food joint. He managed to smile a bit wider for me. We walked a few meters when Ahmed saw a rose on the side of the road and his smile disappeared.


It was a dirty pink flower. It is called rose. It still looked fresh. Some of it was broken and petals were scattered around. A wild gust of wind came along and took the petals farther away…

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