Клара Кабылгазина

Страна: Казахстан

Я преподаю в КазНУ им. аль Фараби, ассоциированный профессор, с творчеством и наукой занимаюсь очень давно, жизненное кредо – быть креативным, и оптимистом.

Country: Kazakhstan

Отрывок из рассказа “Helpless ”

                                                                     I have no friends, nor love, whom I trust,

I have put my disillusion into poems.

The unknown world seemed to be the smooth of a lake,

until the soul became stained.

 

Abai kunanbaev  

 

 

Allah, created this world and created the human being, bestowed upon them the gift of life, either “happiness” or “misfortune”. And one of these two would accompany them throughout the journey of life. However, why is “misfortune” constantly clinging to us, while “happiness” hides or slips away silently? Thus, why does the number of pitiable and unfortunate individuals increase? Whenever I fail to find the answer to this question, this story keeps resurfacing in my mind…

The cause of the “unfortunate” fate that had befallen this helpless child was alcohol. Within those clear and vibrant eyes, there was always a trace of melancholy. Whenever I came across the gaze of this innocent child, so tender, delicate, and pure, those dark and somber eyes, I could not help but bow my head involuntarily… A melancholic expression enveloped me… As if the eyes that should be brimming with the joy, carefreeness, and doting love of childhood had been shrouded in a layer of sadness, anguish, and melancholy, unable to find the bright gaze that belonged to that age…

“Who on earth invented alcohol? Without this bane, I wouldn’t have to go hungry, and my mother would be as decent as Arman and Aydos’ parents. I would also be able to eat my fill, wear clean clothes like other children, and play carefree…” These thoughts incessantly surged in the child’s mind, a young heart frets in its own way, troubled by the quest for answers to many questions. When he suddenly posed such a question to me, I was engulfed in confusion. I prepared to go to work as usual, yet within my consciousness, I was constantly searching for that child, and at this very moment, he appeared before me.

– “Hello! Sister,” he said with a melancholic gaze, his eyes filled with tears as he spoke.

-“How are you, little cutey? Did you come out to play?” I didn’t know what to say.

– “Can you tell me why my mother asks for alcohol? And why don’t you drink alcohol?” he asked.

– “Alcohol, it is not something good, so I never touch it… As for your mother, perhaps you should go and ask her yourself…” I smiled helplessly.

– “Can you help me find a mother who doesn’t drink?”

– “Alas, there is only one mother, and not everyone is qualified to be a mother. How do I explain this to you?” I was all at sea. I never expected such mature thoughts to exist in a child’s mind. As for the question of who invented alcohol and why people become so addicted to it, I truly cannot find an answer.

Since this child opened his eyes, what he has witnessed was his mother drinking the bitter cup, either arguing with someone or gathering with a group of similar individuals, raising their voices, incessantly quarreling, making untimely jokes, and pulling at each other’s collars. The child who fought with them over food developed a habit of playing with empty bottles. He didn’t know that his mother hadn’t always been this way, that she wasn’t so engrossed in alcohol when he was still a baby, and that she had been a good woman until her husband abandoned her. She couldn’t resist the tumultuous waves of life’s vast ocean, and he knew nothing of why his carefree and tender mother turned into what she is now. But this young child remained unaware of the magical power held by that bitter cup. He only knew that if his mother didn’t drink it, she would inexplicably hit him or scold him, whereas after a few drinks, she became kind, joyful, and good-natured mother, which filled him with mixed emotions. After tasting it once, he understood that it is the bitter cup. At that time, one of those uncles said:

– “Hey, what’s your name? Come here, take a look at this bitter thing that these uncles are drinking. Oh my, when you drink a little and go back, the children will nag at you… Here, take a sip…” he said and gave Malik a sip. It choked him and made him cough, tears streaming from his eyes, leaving him struggling for breath. They mocked him, saying, “See, now you know, but later you’ll get used to it… You’ll think it’s just like Zamzam water… You’ll reach a point where you can’t live without it… just like us…” They laughed mockingly.

Just as those uncles said, only Allah knew whether he would drink it in the future, but at that moment, he had no appetite for the bitter water.

Deep within the child’s heart, days were divided into two types: the good days and the bad days. Good days were when his mother stayed at home, her brows relaxed and her face brightened after drinking the remnants from the bottom of the bottle, cooking for him. But the bad days… Oh boy, let’s forget about those. May God save her from her downfall, the days when his mother disregarded him, going out to drink, drinking so much that she couldn’t find her way back home, and sometimes even falling asleep on the roadside. These were the dark days in Malik’s life… He held his mother’s fallen head, pleading and crying out loudly, “Mom, mom, let’s go, let’s go home and sleep… Mom, I’m scared… Someone might take me away… Please, get up quickly…”

As for her, she didn’t even have the strength to open her eyes, let alone speak. Even the slightest movement of her eyelashes became a luxury. Before long, Malik cried until he had no tears left, and he tried with all his might to pull her. Yet, for a seven-year-old boy, how much strength could he possibly have…

The white drizzle in Almaty persisted for several days, and it was during this time that I encountered Malik again. Early in the morning, he was frolicking and playing in the puddles that formed after the rain had stopped.

– “Why did you wake up so early? Didn’t you go back to sleep?” I asked.

– “I can’t fall asleep… and I don’t want to go home either,” he replied.

– Unbelievable… How is it possible that such tender eyes bear the weight of wrinkles.

The child, who had been neglected for a long time, emitted a putrid odor. My heart suddenly tightened. “It seems that in the coming days, we need to have to forcibly hand this child over to an orphanage,” that thought flashed through my mind once again.

He couldn’t join the groups of children either. Whenever Malik approached them, they would run away from him, even mockingly shouting, “Alcoholic, alcoholic, this is the child of an alcoholic.” Helplessly, this innocent child fell asleep while sitting.

When his mother regained consciousness and had the strength to pull down the hem of her skirt, she would sway and struggle to get up, making her way home with great difficulty. If she lacked enough strength, she would lie there for a long time. Passersby would occasionally hurl insults or even kick her. In his eyes, they blamed his mother, not Malik. One time, as a man uttered, “You shameless creature!” preparing to kick her, Malik grabbed his leg… However, the punches and kicks landed mercilessly on him, and he cried for a long time, sobbing… He couldn’t understand why he and his mother had ended up like this, he felt bewildered and helpless. The child’s crying was not because he had tasted the beatings of strangers but because of the bitter sting brought by the staff of destiny.

He was hungry, yearning for a steaming hot meal. Their neighbor, Arman’s mother, was a kind auntie. On a few occasions, she had invited him into her home, gently caressing his forehead and saying, “Dear, it’s not your fault… The one at fault is that disgraceful Aizhan. If only she had raised you properly and used the hard-earned money on you instead of wasting it on alcohol, you wouldn’t have suffered like this.” She scolded a little, and then she filled Malik’s stomach. The thought of the taste of that meal made him involuntarily salivate.

And then, there was the grandma who often came with a black bag. She was the one who entered the neighbor’s gate yesterday. Every time she visited, something good happens. She gave them some money, which was one of the good days. Such moments were like festivals for them. In his mother’s words, “Your late father occasionally sends money from the other world”. On that day, they would go to the market together. His mother would buy him the things he wanted. Of course, Malik would ask for candies and toys. However, he only remembered asking for something else once: “There’s a hole in my shoe, and if I run, stones get inside”. So, this was the first time since he could remember that he had actively requested to buy clothes. On the days when his mother was in a good mood, she would go to the market while still sober and bring home some food and items. And, of course, she never forgot to have a few drinks.

– “Don’t buy it, Mom, don’t buy it,” Malik repeated several times and tried to snatch the bottle of alcohol from her hand, but he received a slap in return. After all, if she wanted to buy it, she would buy it and wouldn’t listen to anyone. Let her buy it, just hoping to go home, drink, and sleep… His greatest wish was for no one to come to their house… Otherwise, during the last altercation with that tall uncle with yellow hair and the people around him, a bottle thrown at Malik shattered the television.  Although that TV wasn’t as clear as the one in Arman’s house, the picture was still decent. Since then, he could no longer watch “cartoons” or “war” because they were too boring, and he could only play with empty bottles… Life still had to go on, and those who were still alive would continue living their lives… If there wasn’t something world-shattering happening.

As his mother had left home early and hadn’t returned all day, Malik went out to find her. Usually, his mother’s friends would gather at the nearby market, where they would pool their money to buy cheap liquor and drink together. But at this time, he didn’t see anyone there. On his way back, he saw a woman lying at the intersection, so he walked towards her. Her clothes resembled that of his mother. If he didn’t reach her quickly and drag her to the roadside, a car would hit her. Look, a foreign car was coming. The people driving it were all wealthy, they were the “criminal” uncles. They would ruthlessly run over anyone because they feared no one. According to his mother’s words, rich people were afraid of nothing.

He dashed straight towards the road, with only one thought in his mind: “It will be run over”. He had no awareness of how he ended up under the car before it came to a halt. The car owner sat inside the vehicle in a daze, holding his head in his hands, completely unaware of where the child had rushed out from or how he had appeared.

The crowd gathered at the scene of the accident, recognizing the child and seeing Aizhan lying unconscious on the ground nearby, which gave them a glimpse of what had happened. As the ambulance carried away the child’s lifeless body, the police car also took away the mother lying on the ground like a lifeless corpse. “Oh, pitiful child, you have become a victim of cruel fate…” Arman’s mother said with tears in her eyes.

Recalling a year when they were preparing to send the child to an orphanage with Russian, Kazakh, and other ethnic children, her mother made a promise that she would stop drinking and personally take care of the child. And so, Aizhan didn’t send her son away. After that, a turbulent era began. Everyone was occupied with their own lives, and the focus of attention gradually drifted away from Malik… From then on, his destiny slowly faded into the busy world….

Ever since that incident, I haven’t been able to shake off the sorrow in my chest… It always comes to my mind, an helpless child, powerless against the storms of life, deprived of the right to live… Is it the cruelty of life or the mockery of fate? Is it the fault of the alcoholic mother or the failure of those around to extend a helping hand? Or is it ourselves, unworthy of receiving assistance? Or perhaps it is the father, a living dead? In the end, I haven’t found anyone to blame…

One party to blame, I thought, should be the school! Maliek also stepped into first grade in the autumn, and Aizhan also dressed him up a little and took him to school. However, after just two or three months, the school gave up on him. Of course, compared to those children who had received systematic education and preschool training, a child who had never experienced formal education and lacked preschool knowledge could not be compared intellectually, and being eliminated by life became an inevitable reality. In addition, with no mother to pick him up and drop him off at school every day, and no one to supervise him, the school eventually expelled this child who had been absent from school for a long time. The simplest way to solve the problem was to escape…

“Alas, Aizhan, Aizhan! You lost a healthy, beautiful, and adorable child! He could have grown up to be a fine young man… What a pity… Ah…” Every time she reminisced about his mother, Arman’s mother would let out a sorrowful sigh.

Aizhan, on the other hand, seemed to have found a new excuse to continue indulging in heavy drinking, and she drank even more recklessly. However, the strands of white hair amidst her dark charcoal-like hair seemed to reveal the pain in her heart…

Regardless of everything, no matter what was said, she was still a mother after all…

 

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