Curse of A Butterfly
“She is my daughter.”
Karimuddin said it gravely. It silenced his wife. No one spoke for a while. Not even the mosquitoes. Karim’s daughter Maya was sleeping between them. She was silent too. There was nothing to be heard other than the sound of dogs barking. After some times, his wife Zubaida said,
“She is thirteen, now. And she has a belly.”
Karim said nothing. He just stared at his wife with a blank stare. His wife said,
“You’re an honorable man and you don’t want your daughter to do that work. Fine, but remember, your honor doesn’t bring us food. My dishonor does.”
“Your disgrace doesn’t bring her any good work.” Karim said.
“My disgrace open another path for her to live.” Zubaida replied.
“She is my daughter.” Karim Uddin said it again with frost in his eyes. And then they both shut down.
It was twelve o’clock at night. Karim’s wife left the hut. She went where she goes every night. And Karim stared at his daughter’s face until he fell asleep.
It is a densely populated slum. There are dust and dung all around. Young boys and girls play marble all day long. Each hut is attached to one another. Karim got a hut in the middle of the slum. He wouldn’t have lived here. But there was an accident that shattered everything.
“Hey boy, do you hear me?” Anis was looking for karimuddin’s cottage.
“Do you live here, boy?”
The boy stared at Anis’s gorgeous dress. He had never seen anyone dressed like that before. Karim asked,
“Do you know where master Karimuddin lives?”
The boy pointed to a hut. Every one of this slum knows master Karimuddin by one name though none of them studied under him. None of them studied under anyone.
Anis is sitting in front of his master. He stared at the room. A small hut made of straw. There is a little space outside with tin-shed for the cook. Karim was lying on his dirty bed with a broken leg.
“It was a truck.” Karim said.
Anis went to say something but said nothing at the end.
“I… I will buy you a wheelchair.” Anis said in a hushed voice.
“Is there any need of it?”
Anis replied nothing. He just kept his head down. Suddenly Maya came with an apple in her hand.
“Father, look, what I brought for you. It will heal…” seeing an unknown guy in front of his father she stopped. Anis felt a bit hesitant. So he stood up and said, “I will come tomorrow.” Then he left without giving anyone a chance to say anything.
“Where did you get it?” Karim asked his daughter.
“In the market.”
“Where did you get the money?”
“I have some savings, father.”
“And how did you know the path of the market?”
With a fancy smile in her cheek, she replied, “Mother has shown me the way.”
Karim gives his daughter a kiss on the forehead instead of eating the apple.
After a few days, Anis has bought Karimuddin a wheelchair. Karimuddin can walk around in a wheelchair now whenever he wants. Anis has promised his master that he will get him out of here after getting a good job and get a good house for them. Karim’s wife doesn’t believe this kind of words, but Karim does. He often thinks of marrying his daughter off to Anis. Ah! What a good boy Anis is. He is a piece of gold.
One night, Karim says to his wife,
“Do you know what I’m thinking?”
His wife Zubaida replied nothing. She just pays attention to clean the bed. Karim continues to say,
“I am just thinking of marrying my daughter to anis.” As he finished speaking, he looked at his wife’s face. He tries to understand his wife’s mood. Zubaida remains silent. As if she hadn’t heard anything.
Karim started saying again, “Anis is a good lad. in a school, he used to…”
“If you have to urinate in night, urinate in this bottle.” Zubaida said. And began to leave. But karim gripped her arm and said,
“Why don’t you find a good job? You can find work as a baby sitter or a maid. Why do you do kind of work that I can’t reveal to outsiders? Why don’t you find a good work?”
“Do you think I didn’t try?” Zubaida said and escaped from her crippled husband’s grip.
“Tell me, what will I say when they ask me about our income source?”
“Tell them the truth.” Saying it Zubaida left the cottage.
A lake has been created beside the slum. Karim Uddin often goes there to visit. It is a beautiful lake. staying by the lake, he remembered his wife. Standing by a lake like this, he told his wife he loved her. That was a long time ago. Can Zubaida remember those days now?
She was beautiful just like this lake. She is still beautiful now.
She has a mole on her cheek. Dimple shows when she smiles. Karim tries to remember the last time Zubaida smiled.
Meanwhile, Zubaida has to get out a little early today. Maya is alone at home. She went to the lake to bring Karim. They have to cross a highway road to get there. Zubaida went there and saw Karim is sitting alone beside the lake. There was no one around. Karim was happy to see his wife come. Zubaida quietly pushed the wheelchair and began to bring her husband home.
A freight truck appeared when they were in the middle of the highway. It was out of control and it came out of nowhere. Zubaida screamed and pushed the wheelchair off the road. She was clever enough to save her husband but not strong enough to save herself. She died saving her husband. It was a horrible yet beautiful death.
Everything is going well in Karim’s family now. They rented a good house. However, it wasn’t Anis who brought prosperity to Karim’s family. It’s Maya. Anis has proposed to marry her. But Maya rejects it.
Karim doesn’t understand his daughter nowadays. He tries to understand her all the time. He looks at his daughter and the only thing he can remember is that Maya once said with a fancy smile on her face, ‘Mother has shown me the way’.
Written by: Ariful Abir