BY MARYAM JILANI
Maryam Jilani enjoys writing and so she writes. Copyright is held by the author.
I CAN STILL SEE that rope in my mind’s eye. I can see it as clearly, as if it were yesterday. The rope, so innocently hanging down. Usually it’s tied up securely, away from the children’s reach. But for some reason it was loose that summer. We always loved playing ‘courtroom’ at my grandma’s house. However, that summer was the last time we played the game.
The summer was just as inviting as always. We got to my grandma’s place. The house seemed to be smiling down at us. The huge old house had many rooms. And there were areas that were perfect for our courtroom game.
We always had it planned. My brother would be the cop, another cousin a judge, one a lawyer, two members of the audience and I being the youngest would be the guilty criminal.
That summer we played the same game. My cop brother chased after me, holding a toy gun in his hands. I ran from room to room. Just as I was crossing the long hallway, the walls seemed to narrow down on me and I fell, thus getting caught.
I was in the courtroom then. “She stole my client’s jewelry your honour. My client hired her as a house cleaner when she needed work. He took pity on her, trusted her, took care of her needs, yet, she betrayed him. She needs to be punished.”
The judge was convinced. “I order her to be hanged,” He announced.
One of my cousins was now taking me to be hanged on the rope dangling in the courtroom. It was actually a rope for closing the little window near the ceiling. I approached the rope and stepped on the table excited, but my heart was racing. Every eye in the room was on me, watching me getting closer and closer to being punished for my ill deeds. The rope was grabbing my neck when the judge said, “NOW” and suddenly I couldn’t see anything. Everything turned dark. The rope got tighter. All I could hear were the horrified screams. This wasn’t supposed to happen! I remember thinking.
After what seemed like forever, I felt a strong pair of arms grabbing my legs. It was my uncle. He took the rope off my neck. I was coughing badly. I could still feel the choking. He got me water. I could see his eyes burning with anger. What happened next with my cousins is anybody’s imagination. However, from that day on the courtroom was banned for us. And the rope.? Well,, it was looped up and securely tied out of our reach…forever!