13. Water Trails
“Why don’t you live with those people?” Faham asked pointing towards the shore, where he saw a bunch of small huts and boats in the moonlight.
“People don’t accept what they can’t believe, they try to degrade it or stay away from it saying it’s bad,” Isra said. He stopped rowing the boat and looked at her as she continued. “I was too young while I came here, all alone and everyone looked at me as if I was one of those stars. I was white with dark black hair and green eyes, they all were tanned and black-eyed. Nobody was ready to accept me except the sea and its creatures. I sat at that shore most of the time in a day talking with all dolphins and whales that came to see me. Strangely I was able to understand what they were talking and they did understand me, in fact, they understood everyone”. She exhaled deeply looking at the moon, she was sad a bit. Faham continued to row and they reached shore.
It was still night, they sat on the shore “I made a hut out there just in a night,” she said pointing to that shore again and continued “They couldn’t believe that a 5-year-old who could talk with sea and it’s creatures built a hut in a single night. So, the next day when I came back from the sea, my hut was torn down, they destroyed it to the roots, they told me that I can’t stay there with them and I should leave. So, I came here” and the smile was back on her face while she looked at her hut. He wanted to know more but he felt strange and didn’t ask anything. He went to sleep.
He woke up, the sun was right above his head he went to the pool started to swim. “Only this will not help you, you need to know how to control your breath and keep your eyes open in the seawater. You have to strengthen your legs and body” Isra said standing at the poolside. He understood what she meant and asked her what is to be done. “You should figure it out yourself!” saying that she walked away. He sat there looking at the sea and decided to practice.
Days went by… he started to run by the shore in water to strengthen his legs, he started to crash into waves and dived into the sea with open eyes. He started to walk and sit under the water for long period of time so as to get his breathing in control.
After all his swimming lessons and dedicating practice, he looked different, strong, and confident. His beard had grown out, hair grew longer and he looked handsome and strong. And he was ready!! He didn’t see Isra much, she was busy with here pebbles and other things which she only knew what she was doing, he didn’t care much to ask her what she was doing either.
One morning, as Isra was going to the sea and Faham, joined her. They talked about the sea and whales, as they reached a spot. She jumped in and he jumped along. He followed her through the water down to the sea bed, this time his eyes didn’t hurt, he could see clearly.
It was beautiful down there corals, pebbles, different colored fishes, starfishes, sea horses, octopuses, shells and many other creatures. Water was a bit pure as they went down, less salty. He enjoyed all the view while she collected the pebbles.
She gestured him to get back up and they went back to the boat. “So, how was it?” Isra asked, “It was beautiful down there, I wish I could stay there forever.” And looked down. Dolphins were moving along,
“I want to go inside,” Faham said. Isra looked at him in dilemma, “I mean the place where I came from… that underground place” he continued. “Oh, Qanat,” she said. He looked at her “The place you went, they call it Qanat” Isra said.
“How do you know so much about that place?” Faham questioned her. “I just know, and you can’t get in there easily, there are many rivers joining the sea underneath? How will you know which river will lead you to Qanat? And if by any chance you figure out the river leading to Qanat, you won’t even be able to get past the entrance, as it is guarded.”
“Will you show me the way? I will do anything for you” Faham replied.
“NO!” she said. Her face changed all of a sudden and her eyes turned red. He rowed the boat quietly. As the boat moved forward in the bright moonlight, and stars above. He looked around… a question arose in his mind as his eyes got stuck to a particular spot at the shore.