The Turn Of The Tide

Oct 24, 2013 by     Comments Off on The Turn Of The Tide    Posted under: Expressions, General, Non-Fiction

“You should climb over this rock.” Zaid told his sister as he led her through the slippery stones and the wild water crashing onto the intricate rockwork behind them. Reluctant to climb over the structure on which two macho stranger guys were sitting however, the sister looked around. “I think I’ll go around it.”, she decided, “No, that’s too far out, the water will be deeper there.” He opened his mouth to answer, but could only get as far as ‘No…’. He heard someone yell ‘Watch out!’ and saw his sister jump up onto the rockwork before it hit. A mammoth wave, higher than the two feet rocky structures around him engulfed the enclosure and him too, inside it. It smashed him against the same rockwork that his sister had found solace in, and then bounced off it, taking him along for the roughest ride of his life.

Sensible enough to have held his breath before the wave had hit, Zaid tried to get a strong foothold but the slippery stones beneath his feet gave way. The returning wave carried him into another rock, driving his shoulder into the rigid spiky formation. Pain seared through his arm as he tried to reorient himself and stand up, but another massive wave followed. And this one was not as merciful as the first one. After crashing Zaid once more between the two bulwarks of the enclosure, the wave spun him around, scraping him along the boulders and proceeded to carry him out into the open sea.

He had always wondered how he would go out. Late at nights lying in his bed or sitting in the classroom with a vacant look in his eyes, the thought used to occur to him continually. Would he have a stroke and be a vegetable for years before he would pass away? Would he wind up in a fatal accident? Or would it be just like the Average Joe: a Heart Attack? He also used to ponder over what would be his final thoughts. Would his whole life flash in front of his eyes, as it happens so in movies? Would he regret the decisions and the choices he had made and wish that he had lived his life differently? Or would he be thinking about his Lord and asking for repentance and forgiveness from Him?

But then, in that moment, as he was being dragged along the seabed by the unrelenting clutches of water, he was thinking of nothing. Absolutely nothing. His mind was a vacuum-filled domicile. It was as if in preparation for the inevitable, it had shut itself down in advance. All of the scenario-suited feelings eluded him too. He neither felt regretful, nor supplicatory. He felt not even fear any more, which had gripped him so strongly moments ago. Holding his breath, he waited for the moment when his senses would betray him, making him inhale and fill his lungs with the water. He waited for the pain.

Quiet, calm and breathless, he rolled along with the wave; a silent and trusting companion to her, ignorant of where she was taking him. And then, with a jolt and a sharp pang of pain, he felt his knee strike something. He found his leg caught in a short rusty iron pole, sticking out of the seabed in the middle of nowhere. And instantly, as if on cue, he cuddled against the pole with all four of his limbs. With its unwavering support, he stood up. And as the water receded, he walked back onto the shore, into the arms of his mother who had recited every dua that she could have in the past ten seconds.

He spent the rest of the day sitting on the sand, his head lowered between his knees. As his family tended to his cuts and wounds, he tried to explain to himself: why his body had reacted the way it had, why he had not tried to dig his hands or feet in the seabed to prevent being carried away by the wave, what it was that had made him so ready for his death. He reflected long and hard. He found no answers.

The Author

Ali Qamber is an engineering student at PNEC, NUST. He is a certified maila from St. Patricks High and lives, loves and wastes his time in Karachi. Besides writing useless stuff such as above, he also enjoys the finer things in a Karachiite's life, like night-cricket, hangouts at the beach and strikes. Find him on twitter (@qamberger) or facebook (saliqamber).

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