The cabin exhaled smoke periodically & a thin stream of grey rose above the shabby wood.His knees lugged before him in an attempt to keep up with his sister.Any other day his right hand would have been nestled into her left & he wouldn't have had to chase her green chador (shawl) across the rails.But today was different.Aba had promised to return by sunset on the second day of the new moon,an annual feit at the station that the siblings did not want to miss.
They were returning from the Bazar carrying Aba’s favourite uzbeki cake.An evening cup of sulaimani chai (tea) with Aba while taking mouthfuls of the mildly sweet friable cake was already on his mind.Using the rumbling of the tracks as a guide,the children knew the train had begun to slow down.His sister began to run faster,her chador almost dodging his wide excited eyes.
The final carriage of the yellow topped train rumbled to a halt & the platform's oscillations began to die down as the station master blew his whistle.She expertly hopped on to the platform,hurriedly covered her face with the chador & began scanning the now small swarm of people crowding before the train.However being shorter of the two,he could not stride onto the raised ground as easily.In an attempt to follow suit,he ran forward to the spot where he knew of a missing brick & used the spare cube as a step to jump onto the lofty platform.
Nearing the train,the pair stood shoulder to elbow & watched the final few travellers depart.A young man warmly embraced his old bearded father,perhaps they too were meeting after a long time.The whistle blew for a second time into the early evening air & there still wasn’t any sign of Aba.He told himself not to worry as he wrapped his teensy fingers tightly across his sister’s,her palm being a comforting cradle.His young hazel eyes grew worrisome as the train began to move & he looked onto his sister’s half covered face.She too seemed surprised & didn’t have any answers for him yet.What both of them didn’t know was the fact that Aba won’t be returning today.Neither would he by the full moon or the next new moon or any of the upcoming moons.
caption by me & the @auburnrhyme