Mariam stood before the bathroom mirror. The person trapped in it was shaking and trembling and this caused Mariam to see blur. She stood staring at this despicable stranger in front of her, listening to the dripping tap expel droplets of water with each second that passed. This imposter, the woman standing in front of her, disgusted her to the point of Mariam wanting to gag. Weathered and torn to shreds by the effects of life, love and death, Mariam pounded her fist into the mirrored glass, a muffled cry left her lips but her blow was lame, lacking vigor and energy as the poison made its way through her veins. The mirror didn’t shatter, it didn’t need to shatter, Mariam’s life was shattered enough. The woman staring at her burst into laughter, bellowing screaming hysterics in her mocking way, the way she always did, everyday. Wherever Mariam went there she was, the stranger, the imposter, staring, turning her nose upward, clicking her tongue in distaste. While most 30 year old women Mariam knew had aged beautifully with laugh lines around their eyes, rose tinted plumpy cheeks from having a few babies and more than a few afternoon tea parties, Mariam had aged like a burned out log in the woods, sitting next to a dying fire in the throes of a vicious winer. She aged due to smoking crack cocaine and shots of heroine, the effects echoing through her darkened skin, whispering from her yellowed teeth and hissing from her bulging, throbbing red webbed eyes and purple veins. This was not the life she had envisioned for herself. Like her peers, at 30 she too wanted a double storey house, a husband to warm her feet against, a back seat filled with kids as she hit the drive thru on her way home from the mall, but sometimes life isn’t fair to some of us. While some get the pretty pictures, some get their pictures dropped in the puddle of water next to the stop street waiting for the bus after school. Everything gets smudged and blurred and we spend out entire lives trying to make sense of what fits where. Trying to find our purpose, its like trying to crack a code or something. Trying to decipher where are we headed to and what we must do with our lives. And yet, and yet how easy it is for the one’s with pretty pictures, the one’s who never had their images drop in the puddle next to the bust stop, to turn their noses up in distaste at the sordid images!
How can she!
How dare she!
What type of a woman does that?
Did you hear what happened to her last night?
But have we ever asked ourselves,
how can I?
How dare I?
What type of a woman does what I do, sit back and judge those who live less than perfect lives?
Last night while we all lay sound asleep, Mariam waged a war against demons we’ve never seen.
Maryam lost her mother at 16. No one wanted the liability of taking care of her so eventually she was placed into a foster home until she graduated high school. She entered the dusty road, a long road, to yet another image, she began to live another life, it felt like someone else’s life. One day her world was sunny and bright, adorned with flowers and grass, chiming with the melody of birds singing and the canvass of a brilliant blue sky and the next day, the sky turned grey, the sound of birds turned into thunder and she was lost in a world unfamiliar to her, spiraling through a storm she had never walked through becoming a woman she never knew she could become. At 30 years old, Mariam is a crack addict, she has no children but suffered 5 miscarriages, she has no husband but had 4 promises to walk down the aisle, she has no family but once upon a time she lived in a four bedroom house with a view to a swimming pool. How she got here, only she knows. Some stories we’ll never be able to endure. While we live from day to day, school term to the next school term, she lives from fix to fix, from dusk to dawn and from hour to hour peddling drugs, selling her soul for her next hit, smoking through the night until her pain melts away. But you know what makes Mariam better than you and I? She never judges people the way we do. She never turns her nose up, never clicks her tongue or laughs hysterically. Lost in the oblivion of smoking, snorting and getting high, you’re safe from her cutting glare and sharpened tongue.
If only Mariam could be as lucky as you and I…
Don’t judge the life you were not dealt to live through. Your shoes were custom made for you, try squeezing your feet into another pair and feel the discomfort, the impediment and the blisters that only the one whose worn it all their life could bare.
Having pretty pictures to gaze at, to live through is a blessing, so be grateful.
Laughing and mocking at the pain of others, at the live’s we’ve never lived through is not gratitude, it is disrespect.