Whatever happened to all the dreams we dreamt in our early days?
That we would someday kick poverty down the well,
trading comforting stagnancy with silk and gold
and with cartography and alchemy
That I would continue my family line with relative wealth?
As I await behind my camel for the nightly al-Naqab sandstorm to be over,
I sit and ponder.
This journey is much harder than what I thought
Will I someday reach Murrakus?
Will I ever someday realise my dreams?
What if I just return home?
Do I really need to go to Murrakus?
Is there ever a need to go to Murrakus et al?
I don’t even know what awaits there.
Everything I know of it is third hand
and possibly some decades old.
Is it a peaceful city?
Is it flourishing?
Or is it currently under enemy attack?
Will I even ever get to do what I want to do there?
Memories flash back
Ali, Aziz, Wahab, my childhood friends
Just the day before I left, Aziz got married.
Ali got married a long time ago, and he has set up a shop in our small town.
Wahab, I heard last time, was studying in al-Salt.
He was smart, and he wanted to teach the kids in our village.
What an honourable dream
They seemed content with their lives.
Only I was too crazy to start all these things
Tonight’s storm seems stronger than last week
I hate to admit this, but I feel tears drop in my eye
Going round and round and round in al-Naqab
This lonely man is a foolish man
with no clear direction on how to get to Sina
Just like the nights before
I look up on the now blurry dark sky
Praying to God, who some elders said
is not actually up there
But right here next to us
in every breath we take
and every move we make
with every sigh I make
with every tear dropping from my eye
strengthen my faith
Never let me astray
and keep me focused on this journey.
I am just hoping that this will someday pay off.
…and that’s when I remember
what my late father said when I was four
“Be patient, and move step by step
Because you will never make it if you don’t watch each of your steps”
As I was never the most patient in our family
Father, I miss you.
The storm is over, the sun is high
I must have been asleep
I shall continue my journey
Step by step
Making every possible change
If not for my family, then for myself
A companion has not arrived
Somewhere in the middle of al-Naqab
Year 521, probably the fifth moon, on the day which I have lost count