Edge of the World

Ok not exactly the edge of the world, but what used to be my entire world. A small village of 200 to 300 people, surrounded by miles of green cultivated ground. I was the child who raised her own goats, pampered her chickens, climbed tree to have conversations with parrots, and ran after kites, yes very much like Kite Runner. However that was not always the case. And unlike Amir, I didn’t have a Hussain to look after me.

In the beginning years it was me and the boys (there were no girls in the neighborhood who were my age), who were as friendly boys are when they have girl three to four years younger than them to boss around. Especially if she couldn’t run as fast as them through the legs of the cows while playing tag. Instead froze every time at the entry door of the barn shivering with fear because the memory of being kicked in the ribs with thick black hove was quiet vivid in her mind. Or run as fast as them in general period.

It didn’t stay that way for very long though.  Even before I could comprehend, I was winning the races and the tag games, and even calling the shots. Thus came to be the famous tag game on roof-the-tops. For even with smaller legs I had never been afraid of the heights, so could climb walls, and trees, unlike a few of the bigger boys who felt sick being just few feet of the ground. So to get away: from their teasing, from home, and stench of men smoking I  would always just climb up and run away on the roof tops, which were a giant interlinked hive. So one day, after school, as we raced each other, I took the race to the roof, and the boys followed.  (Before long it was the thing the seven of us did.)

It was dangerous to be on the roof tops since not all of the roofs were built of bricks and cement, but of mud and clay, or had never been retouched since their construction. So single wrong step, or a leap could lead to runner’s death. However since I had been running on them since I could walk there wasn’t a corner or brick I didn’t know. Having spent hours hidden behind balconies to secretly watch life unfold below was a hobby. Running on the roof tops I didn’t have to worry about the watchful eye of elder men, or the herd of animals coming back home late in the evenings. Every house was different story, some jestful, others up tight as soon as the father would walk in, some quiet, and yet others humble but happy, rather than loud but hollow. And in the middle of them all stood the masjid as great hovering mountain. Standing directly underneath the white pillars with the sun dipping behind me was a ritual. Because than at the end I could go to my beloved roof, my own roof.

My house was right in the middle of the last lane of houses, which meant two things. First, that even though it had houses on both of its sides, it was not connected to other roofs. Second, that since it was newer than the other two houses, it was higher and without a wall to all four of its sides. So to stand at the edge, more than twenty feet above ground, with nothing before me except the sun dipping in a invisible pocket in the sky, flock of birds rushing home, and quietness of green fields as the evening breeze brought with it the scent of freshly watered fields, and burning wood. For a few moments it was feeling of true freedom. For feeling free has always meant being at peace.

4 thoughts on “Edge of the World

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  1. Hi Mahnoor!

    What joy it is indeed, read your memories. Frequently, we might not remember a happening from yesterday, a visit from last year, yet happy childhood memories stay with us, vivid as now… and we long for those moments wishing them back even if for just an instant.
    We were brave explorers once, conquerors of movement and wind… If we blink our eyes quickly we loose our present fears and disappointements and smell it, perhaps even regain courage again to face everything.

    I like the way it is written – like the saying – “What you get is what you see!” an honest portrait of yourself, straight forth with no extended uncessary glamour, but with just the right amount of magic… a latent “saudade”… even if not all of your discovers weren’t that happy, those treasured particular ones – are! Kite Runner and roof-tops, that’s a girl!


    1. hahah..
      thank you so much for being brave enough to leave a comments, others kind of just messaged me like shoving mail under the door.

      and also, thank you for your kind words. The memory of running on the roofs it resonated with me over the year in regard to different things. so it seem like a befitting beginning. and well as you said, it does say it all doesn’t it 😉


  2. Yes, it does and running kites to, believe it or not.
    Now, that I kinda loose my balance due to an hear problem, I still like to stand up on the balcony, but not so close to the ground since it’s the 7th floor, when I was your age I’ve walked the buildings on the blocks where I live… not running, their too inclined and slippery most seasons due to proximity of the river… yet, the isolation there, lives me clairvoyance on my thoughts… up there with only the view I am at peace with myself.
    One developes another set of wings to fly since we’re not born as birds.


  3. I like the “polish” you did to this piece, especially this at end
    “with nothing before me except the sun dipping in a invisible pocket in the sky, flock of birds rushing home, and quietness of green fields as the evening breeze brought with it the scent of freshly watered fields, and burning wood. ”

    I have a suggestion “Kite Runner” – I presumed it’s a book’s-author, so as reference you might consider adding his/hwe name and tittle between “” or ()
    for the general public, like myself that don’t know about the work, can consult it, at will and understand more about the meaning of your introduction.


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