“I just got to know your father had passed away.”
“Yes he has.”
From his age, I assumed he was one of his old friends who had just learnt of his demise.
“I am a merchant. I purchase the belongings of decedents”.
“But”. The moment I uttered this very word the image of a horse neighing down a shepherd trail, appeared before my eyes.
“My father did not own something worthy which you are interested to purchase”.
“A walking stick, a hat, eye glasses or anything of that sort.
“He never wore glasses till he was 80”.
“A walking stick or a hat”?
“I wouldn’t sell them. These are his keepsakes.”
“What on earth are you going to do with these keepsakes?”
“I just told you, I wouldn’t sell them,” I replied.
“Look, you will repent.”
“No. I wouldn’t”.
As soon as the man vanished, I felt he was my father himself. A week back, I had buried him under tonnes of soil so how could he be here again?
“Father”! I called him out but in the meantime he had left.
I was thinking to go to the graveyard and tell my mother that father was alive but in the precise moment, the image of the very horse which I saw while I was talking to the merchant, appeared back in my mind.
My mother had left the condolence gathering and was standing at the threshold of the door.
“My son, I had forgotten to tell you that on our wedding night, your father told me that a week after his death, a man would come at our door and ask you for my walking stick, hat and other belongings. Just give him my walking stick.”
My tongue collapsed in my mouth and in the meanwhile my mother had made a round of the house and again she was standing before me.
“My son, saddle your father’s horse and abandon it far in the jungle,” she addressed me.
I was thinking about saddling and abandoning the horse in the jungle when I saw my youngest son had already saddled the horse and he was riding on its back:
“Daddy, let me run the horse like my grandfather.”
I wanted to stop him, but as my tongue had already collapsed, I couldn’t utter any word. With the gesture of my hand I tried a lot to dissuade him but in the meantime, he had left for pathless mountains and the realm of dark nights.
The story is Baloch tale originally written by AR Dad
Published in Daily Times, January 17th 2019.