Mariam sprang into being grown and without many memories. She was all gnawing emotion, all center, all now.

Mostly, she stayed in the corner, shivering and crouched down, often weeping, sometimes wailing. She didn’t like to get dressed in the mornings. She didn’t like to get dressed at all, and often would stay in bed in a comatose kind of slumber, getting up only to go to the bathroom.

Her wild hair fell down her back in tangles, dark brown curls unwashed and uncared for. In her long white nightgowns with her too thin arms, she looked every bit of the wraith she was fast becoming, pale from lack of sun and food. It was hard for her to think or focus on anything but her rage of cheated chance. She knew nothing of patience or endurance, but everything of survival and struggle. She was the negative print of her own self.

Once, she’d slept like that for more than two weeks, it was the drugs they gave her she understood later, and woke up to find she was thinner and that her legs and arms didn’t work correctly. That had angered her. Not the lost time, but that she’d been unable to write.

Writing was the only thing she loved. She wrote out all her sorrow, and put it in to poignant, quiet poetry and prose that made her friends sob for the ache she expressed so freely. She wrote of her past lover mostly, who had been her all, and was now gone forever from her.

How she had loved her. Ammuuri was her moon and stars and Mariam was Ammuri’s sun and sky. They had filled the days and nights with their sweet love for one another and patched the holes they felt inside. Ammuuri was another being born as an adult, and so they started only there, with vague shadows for past and now always now, being what was real to them.

Without a past, there is no future. Mariam would say this when they’d fight. And then Ammuuri would get silent and move away. “We have no past”, she’d say. “There is no changing it”.

Days became months and months became years. Ammuuri wanted more than Mariam could give, and Mariam was giving all. “Let’s marry,” she’d whisper, “Let’s run”. “Run, where? Marry how?”, Mariam would answer, her mind was yet unwilling or able to comprehend their love to others. It was a secret thing, holy and sacred, not to be shared, she felt. Oppression rained down on Mariam’s mind and left her helpless to act to save their love. And Ammuuri’s rages became frequent like storm clouds, with Mariam watching them building on the horizon, and then corners: screaming, blows….

It took a long time before Mariam started to hit back, for she was stronger and scared to hurt her. But endless rages became insanity, and soon, it seemed both of them were mad, tied to each other by thick ropes of passion and unable to move forward without a past.

Her world shifted into blurry watercolor when Ammuuri finally left. She discovered Ammuuri’s body had been her home and without it, she was made vagabond, wanderer eternal. Mariam’s mind failed her.

Sleep, sleep. Forget.

Months of sleep.  A baby, too. Child of misery, she called her quietly.

And then she woke again, and wanted a pen. Wanted words to come to life on a page, wanted feelings, emotions, even borrowed ones from her…..yes, from her past.

She had a past now, one with Ammuuri, one that had years and form and shape. Good memories and bad ones, but all cherished because they were her own. Their own.

Still, future is a problem with her. Anger at a stolen one flares like rockets in a firework show, and outshines any good qualities she might have shared with us. She is emotion itself, still raw and unmeasured, cruel and cunning in turn.

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