The Picture of Dawn
Writer: Mekhri Abdurakhmonova
Translator: Khafiza Mukhtorova
– Some days are invaluable, and some days are to be avoided. This year has come anxious to our village. Husanboy was taken to prison. His children kept crying. When Buvzilol got old, it was difficult for her as a single mom. If Husanboy were not unlucky, he would not marry a widow after his wife died, but marry a young girl…
After returning from work in the evening, while pouring water into my father’s hand, my mother hurriedly informed me about the latest news in the village. She saw that I was returning after tying the cattle to the stakes in the net of our barn, and she lowered her voice so that I would not hear, and explained the details of the incident. “What a pity,” Dad said, shaking his head and wiping his face with a towel thrown over my mother’s shoulder.
Since the details of this incident, which was known to the village from the young to the old, were more known to me than my mother, I did not listen to these words. After washing my hands and face with the water left in the water dish, I went to the street, wiping it on the hem of my mother’s dress, which was spread out on the wire rope.
Go back, Abdusamad. Where are you going when it’s late? Let’s eat now.
I went out to the street without even caring about my sister who was shouting from behind.
Our house is located on the outskirt of the village. Despite that the ability to observe the sunrise and sunset in the evening without any hindrance, I didn’t pay more attention since seeing this sight every day has become usual. But because of the tragedy that happened today, the sun, which covered the horizon with crimson blood, reflected darkly in the shimmering waters of Molhovuz, which is located a little further from our yard, and suddenly put the fear of death in my heart. The croaking of frogs and the chirping of grasshoppers seemed to have stopped for a moment in an unnatural way today, and my legs trembled as if the whole universe was sinking into the depths of a desolate and fearful silence.
I entered the house in such bad condition, my sister, who was angry that I left without looking even though she called me, immediately snapped:
– Hey, did you get a bogy from your sister? What is this, your eyes are pale like a kid who soiled his pants.
– Get out! – I said, trying to keep myself fresh even though pus was passing through me.
– Leave him alone, my daughter. “Don’t fight my dear son,” my mom was biased towards me. – Come here, my child, eat your meal.
I don’t know how I ate the meal that my sister put harshly in front of me. There is a main reason why she is angry with me. I played football during the recess with my white shirt washed and ironed in the morning. My classmate Naim came like a bat and bumped into me, and I fell on the blue grass of the school stadium losing my balance. I tried to wipe the blue stains that stuck to my shirt, but since they were bigger, they didn’t disappear my clothes. We were so engrossed in the game that we came to the class late. We were flushed from the running in the heat and sweating profusely. Our teacher expressed that she was offended by us, “It seems that my admonition is not enough for you. This is the situation again; despite how many times I have been warned you. Sit down and don’t repeat again,” she said with a mild rebuke. We sat down in our seats, glad that we got away so easily. At the end of the recess, such situations, which often repeat themselves, have become common, but we were still afraid of the teachers. We found out a little later why we received a much lighter reprimand today.
Husanboy’s wife was ill for many years, and one day she passed away. Fortunately, Husanboy, who was living with a bunch of kids, has a very healthy mother, Buvzilol, even though she is in her eighty. That mother ran to find a beautiful girl from the village and married her son forty days after the death of her decessed bride.
“Even the dead must be respected. Couldn’t you hold out for a year or half a year so as not to disturb the spirit of our deceased sister? – Mom opened the door to the relatives of the deceased and said: “Here is the door. The grandchildren are mine. If you want my door always open for you, don’t start a scandal.”
The target was clearly taken and the bullet hit the target.
The relatives of the deceased, who cursed the mother and her son, kept quiet as the mother told and took care of kids from time to time.
These words fell into my ears like lead when the women who came for a sieve or bran were talking to my mother. Despite the fact that I was a young boy of eleven, I became a listener of women’s conversation, either because of my extreme interest in events or because of my “molten ear”. Sometimes my sister, who was angry about this, would chase her half-jokingly, half sincerely, saying, “Oh, don’t be a women’s sister or a girl’s friend.”
“You are ten, you are man. Even you’re not a man, you’re a little boy. Don’t cling to your mother’s arms. there are many girls. Go and express your feelings to a girl. When you finish school, you’ll get married,” jokes our neighbor Mrs. Ulbazar.
Since I was a very serious child, far from joking, I didn’t know how to answer them, so I went out in a rage.
Then it started to hurt. I spend half of my day studying at school, and half of it running after cattle… Now I have free time to read a book… If I tell my father, he will make them never step back. But I was afraid that my mother would be isolated.
Author of the story
Abdurakhmonova Mehri Qudratovna, poetess, writer, winner of the “Shuhrat” medal, head of the Jizzakh regional branch of the Writers’ Union of Uzbekistan.
Translator of the story
Khafiza Mukhtorzoda, a student of JSPU, laureate of the Ilhom Award. The owner of the state scholarship named after Navoi, Uzbekistan.