Rouh Al Behhar

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How many time have I stared out at the sea like this? I have seen many sunsets, yet he has not returned. Dubai has changed so much in the past 20 years of my life. There is a growing fear that he won’t recognize it, if his ship passes by its shores.

My father earned his living by the mean of the sea, he was a pearl diver. He has not returned since his last seafaring journey. I remember little of my father, but these few memories are more precious to me than all the pearls in the ocean. I believe he will return one day. That’s why I keep staring out… every day, I want to be the first to receive him.

Not all of our family members are on the same page. Some of my uncles and their wives believe that I am holding on to the past. That he is.. that my father is dead. This is what they told me today at the Majlis. My mom’s eyes filled up with tears, and unable to contain my emotions, I rushed out from the house and came here to stare at the sea.

Although the sea took my father away, I have always found it soothing to a troubled soul.

With my forehead pressed on my Knees, I whispered my prayers to god. Since my father’s departure on his last journey, There has not been a single day since I quit this prayer, my faith in god is endless as the universe above. Yet… Sometime… I do wander if I am foolish.. That what my aunts said was true? am I lying to myself? Will my father ever return?

I don’t know what to believe in anymore.

Curling my arms around my knees, I pushed closer and shut my eyes. The sound of the waves move in and out, in and out, consuming my consciousness. All was black, there was a certain calmness, there were no hopes nor despair – Only nothing. No pain, no heart ache. No longing for someone. Only nothing.

My mind drifted like a lost ship deeper into the sea, far away from land.

How long has it been? I don’t know but the next instance, I awoke by the sudden absence of sound. Head still on my knees, my eyes opened and my ears strained… The sound of the waves were gone.

Looking up from my Knees, I beheld a most strange sight. I Rubbed my eyes and looked out at the sea again.

It was near the end of the day. The sun starting to set, melting away in the distance. But the waves, the waves of the sea stopped in their place. They stopped moving, huge waves, all stopped. Even the flock of birds in the sky, all of them where fixed – like a splash of black paint against the amber sunset.

Panicking I tried to get to my feet, but I couldn’t – My feet felt cold and numb. I felt a cold prick on the back of my neck – Something has just broke the silence.

Looking around, everything was in perfect stillness, until I noticed a black spot on the horizon. It grew larger and larger – the sound became more clearer, it was like the sound a child’s feet stepping into a puddle of water.

Splish, Splash, Splish, Splash.

The black spot soon turned into a silhouette of a human, a tall woman in a long dress with a flowing hair whipping out behind her.

She walked on top of the frozen waves, then stepped down, disappearing behind another role of wave, then came out on another. She was walking purposefully towards me.

Splish, Splash, Splish, Splash.

The moment she came into clear view, I knew what she was… A Dijin.

She stopped in front of me, and I could see more clearly what she was.

Like a water in a clear glass, I could see the sunset glowing through her body. On her head hung a golden headdress, black hair flowing as though they were underwater, framing a beautiful oval face.

Again, I tried to get up to my feet, but it was useless. My heart was pounding in my chest.

‘What do you want from me…’ I said sheepishly.

She smiled. ‘There is great a sadness in your heart child. A sadness as deep as the sea… What renders you blue? For I can see that is true.’

I looked at my feet, there was a moment of silence. From where she stood, the sand under her feet were damp. When there was no answer, she approached me, her feet leaving footprints from which water flowed.

She stooped down and lifted my chin with the tip of her finger – our eyes met. She smelled like the earth after a rainy day, her eyes unruly and calm like two moons hanging in the sky after a stormy night.

‘I am fluent in the languages of the wind and sea’ her voice flowing and sweet. ‘People have forgotten me, My name is Rouh Al Bihhar. Perhaps, I could bring news of the person you long to see. Or… perhaps maybe even more’

My feelings were mixed with hesitation and fear.

‘I could grant your deepest wish. It will not hurt to listen. Open your mind, heart and soul. For what you hear, might please you ears.’

‘I want to see my father,’ I said promptly, finally finding my voice. ’No, I want him to return. If… if you truly speak the language of the wind and sea, then you can bring him home.’ Tears welled up in my eyes. ‘Bring him home safe… please.’

She brushed away my tears, and stood to her full height then turned towards the sea. With her back turned to me she said ‘Indeed, That is within my power of domain, But a cost you must pay.’

‘What do you want?’

‘Your tears.’

‘My tears?’

‘All your lifetime tears.’

Looking confused she continued, ‘No tears of sadness nor joy would trickle down your cheeks… Ever.’ She produced a small bottle containing little water and held it between her fingers.‘ I am running dry, with only a few drops left, My kind are sustained by human tears. It is our provision, our food as you human say’ – Stuffing the bottle away she turned back to me. ‘That is my offer, what do you say child?’

Determination steeling my heart, I finally managed to stand to my feet. ‘If that’s what it take to see my father, then I’ll gladly supply you of tears worth of three lifetimes, if I could.’

‘Well said. Our deal is a sacred seal’. Thereupon, she held out her hand, mist began to gather to her open palm, then it cleared away revealing a white bow.

It was a bow made out of precious pearls and a sleek, black bowstring.

’This is the bow of Noor, the bowstring are made out of my own hair. Take this arrow,’ she produced an arrow in the same fashion as the bow. ‘Shoot towards the melting sun with faith true in your heart. Then your father, if he is alive, may return.’

I did as she bade. Pulling the arrow to my ears, I released it. The arrow sped over the waves, and cut through the air with no sign of stopping. It continued to fly until it became so small it vanished from view.

Turning towards the Dijin, Rouh Al Behhar received me with a warm smile. The bow of Noor evaporated from my hand, then everything started to get back into motion – the birds and the sea, beating back to life. Still smiling, a huge wave crashed on Rouh Al Behhar, splashing me with water. As the wave retreated, the Dijin was gone.

In a few days, a ship was sighted along the coast – it was my father’s ship. I fell into his embrace, overjoyed with his return. Happy as I was, no tears of joy fell from my eyes.

My wish was granted.

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