Part 18

by CM Towns

   “Aamil, Aamil, look. There you are-you can’t move. You see it and can’t believe it. No-you can believe. Admit it, there is a part of you that’s happy. Happy this is going down,” the girls voice said.
   Aamil was having an out of body experience. He saw himself from a couple years ago-watching as his father lunging at his mother. H looks at himself, eyes widening-his sister reaching out and screaming.

   “Fuck you. Fuck you for bringing me here. Fuck you for saying such a thing,” Aamil said as he watched the replay of that traumatic day moving in slow motion.
   “Your mother left you. She took your sister. She left you.”
   “My mother wanted to take me. I know this.”
   “Then why didn’t she?”
   “My father stopped her.”
   “Maybe once, then she felt you were not worth coming back for.”
   “That’s a lie.”
   “She probably felt you’d grow up to be like your father anyway.”
   “Shut up!”
   “A heavy drinker. Violent. Volatile.”
   “SHUT UP!”
   “A pathetic man, failed Muslim.”
   “SHUT IT!”
   “You’re so loud. I’m just telling you the truth. Your father was a terrible husband and a terrible father,” the voice said.
   “I know that,” whispered Aamil.
   “You knew-and when the women fled they left you there. He would call your mother a whore. Said your daughter would grow up without real values,” reminded the voice. Aamil did not answer.
   Her voice taunted, “You believed him to be right at the time. Because they left you. He was right. They didn’t want you.”
   “SHE CAME BACK FOR ME!” Aamil shouted.
   “She came back to end the marriage your father refused to. He thought of her as his property. She lied to you. She didn’t want you,” the voice fired back.
   Aamil grabbed his ears, and closed his eyes. He wanted the scene to go dark but he was in his own head and even eyes closed he was watching the attack.
   “My mother loved me. She told me she wanted to take me away, but she felt weak, sacred. I understood. Father was strong. Mother loved me,” Aamil said.
   “Then why didn’t you save her? Why did you stand there? When your father attacked,” inquired the girls voice.
   “I was scared. I was-I was-I was-” Aamil was looping. His throat felt dry and his heart beat faster. The fear of that moment took him again. He shook it off as the scene showed him finally move.
   “I did. I went for her!” Aamil yelled.
   “You were too late. You were too slow.”
   “No! I didn’t mean to be slow!”
   “Your father killed your whore mother. The mother who left you. The mother who lied when she said she loved you. You were too slow,” the voice taunted.
   “NO! NO! NO! Stop this! Stop it!”
   “Too slow!”
   Aamil saw it again. His mother and sister, confronting his father. His mom, a delicate woman, he barely remembered what she looked like before that reunion. His father destroyed all the images they had. It all came back to him then. Her smile, her voice, the love she filled him with in those early years. It came back to him-his father was to blame. He was disappointed with his own life, angry at the world, took it out on them. His father scared him then-his father was a liar and a brute. Aamil was toughened up by father after his mother and sister ran. He was his dads entire world. He had to get good grades or he’d get hit. Be a model son or get hit. He went out in track too impress his father, so that his fathers pride would calm his anger toward him.
   When his mother returned she cried when she saw Aamil. She apologized. Everything, all the resent that built up because of his fathers words were quickly gone. Then his father and her started to talk, his father had been drinking-not drunk but it did not matter. Alcohol is haraam. His father was a bad man, Aamil knew in his heart but he would not say as such to his father. Aamil could not help his dad-he was scared.
   His father yelled and yelled over his mother. She wanted a divorce, she wanted to take Aamil and she wanted him to better himself. Father snapped, he struck-,br>
   “You were to slow,” the voice reminded.
   His father struck his mother, smacked his sister when she moved to help. His father killed his mother and Aamil killed him. He took bottle and hit his father in the back of his head.
   “You killed the man who did love you. Who wanted what was best for you.”
   “MY FATHER WAS A FAILURE!!!” Aamil shouted.
   The one named Charm appeared before him and said, “You’re a failure as a son.”
   Aamil grabbed her neck and she smiled as he choked. She said, “Just like your dad dreamed of doing. You are like him. A misogynist. You had a reputation for being mean to abusers, yet you are one. Hated yourself. Like father, like son. Pity for any woman you end up with.”
   “Shut up! Shut up!” Shut up! I’ll kill you! I’ll fucking kill you!”
   Aamil snapped out after a slap to the face. His Aunt there with tears in her eyes. Aamil looked around, he was home in Virginia. The home of his Aunt, the sister to his father. His uncle was a few steps away with an arm over his older sister Maysa.
   “How-?” Aamil was confused.
   “You just appeared, shaking, screaming about-” his Aunt held her tongue.
   “She was in my head. A witch. She made me watch it. She said I was abandoned. She said my mother didn’t love me-“
   Maysa dropped to her knees and hugged her younger brother and said, “You know its not true.”
   “I know-but it brought it back. I felt the fear, the weakness. I was too slow. I was too slow. I killed our-” Aamil started and stopped, “I was too slow,” he whispered.
   “You did the best you could. You can not blame yourself,” his Aunt said.
   “She’s right. You tried. Now look at you, you’re a hero,” Maysa added.
   They helped him up and his Aunts husband asked, “Do you need to go to a hospital?”
   “No. I need rest. Just need to rest,” Aamil answered. They helped him to his room.
   “Aamil, you were not abandoned. We always worried about you. Always in our thoughts. But father-“
   “I know,” Aamil said to Maysa, “You came back for me. Tried.”
   “My brother was not a right man. But you-you are. You are not like him,” his Aunt said.
   Aamil nodded and worked up a weak smile. They left the room and his Uncle said, “You should call your friends.”
   “I will,” Aamil said before his uncle closed the door. In his head he repeated a phrase that was his mantra after that day, I was slow, but never again.