Martha is short story by Daisy Davis
There once lived a little girl named Martha in a beautiful village, ‘Oli. She was eight years old and new to the place.
The city where Martha lived was filled with people in suits. These people hung on to their phones, including her dad and mom. In class, she always found a seat right next to the window and peered at a distant tree past numerous high-rise buildings. Martha spoke to the tree about her day and wondered whether everyone around her felt the same way.
She waited for the tree to miraculously talk back to her one day. With outstretched arms, she would often ask, Oh, sweet sweet friend! Why are you so far away?. Sometimes she craned her neck past the window sill in childish innocence, longing to embrace her one and only friend. A few minutes later, she would regain her composure and then try to focus on her daily lesson, only to wander off to her own world once again. Feeling so disconnected from the rest of the world that she seldom heard her classmates chat or her teachers yell. She could go an entire day contemplating why the world was how it was. Scribbling abstract pictures in her notebook only she knew the meaning of. Martha struggled to fit in.
Days and months and years passed by. Until one morning, she woke up to a note on her bedside lamp that read, Bye love!. She ran downstairs to find mommy staring at the door ajar, tears streaming down her pale cheeks.
“Why are you crying, mama?”
Mama held her baby close to her chest and whispered, “We are leaving tomorrow”.
“Where to, Mama? Is daddy not coming?” she asked. She watched her mom stand tall, wipe her eyes, shut the door, then walk straight to the kitchen to start her chores. Just like any other day.
An eerie silence filled the house and her mind. “I love you, mama!” Martha mumbled.
“I love you too, honey.”
Crestfallen, Mama and Martha caught an early train the next morning to ‘Oli, a quaint little place far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Martha fell in love with the village as soon as they arrived. She was mesmerised by the scenic beauty of the landscape. She jumped around in jubilation with arms outspread, awestruck at the abundance of green life around her.
Far away, she spotted a humongous tree standing alone among a plethora of bushes. Is that my dear friend? she wondered, then ran over to take a closer look. “Yes, you are!” she squealed and hugged it tight with all her might.
‘Oli was filled with individual houses each with their own front yard and garden. They strolled past each house, enamoured of the liveliness of their new neighbourhood. At long last, there it stood. Their new house!
She noticed her neighbours watching them from afar with wide smiles, waiting to welcome them. Mama and Martha walked up to the main door and slowly pushed it open. It smelled of fresh paint, memories of their old house gushed through their minds for a second. They took a deep breath and walked in, setting a start to a new chapter in their lives.
Martha helped her mom in cleaning up every nook and corner, arranging things creatively, making her new home warm and cosy. She even hung a board next to the front door that read ‘HAPPY HOME’.
Martha was enrolled in a school just around the corner. Neighbours flooded to their house from far and near with freshly baked apple pies and cakes to greet them. Martha found herself a new friend. A girl named Samantha who lived a few blocks away. Martha and Samantha would often catch up after school, playing for hours under her favourite tree. Martha would wrap her fingers around its branches like they were holding hands. She felt one with it! The tree was her life. She absolutely loved ‘Oli and everything about it.
As the months passed, Martha noticed less bushes and more dust in the wind as she strolled back home from school. She quickly scrutinised the area. The village was turning into a construction site!
She walked all the way up to the train station, only to find her dear friend chopped down along with the rest of the beautiful greenery! She stomped back home wailing, “Whhyyyyy?”. Martha was heartbroken. She couldn’t imagine a world without her best friend; the one thing she truly connected with!
She walked hastily back to the field. No, she wasn’t dreaming. All there was left were the remnants of a beautiful landscape. She knelt down and cried, her face buried in her hands.
“Why, men, would you take my friend away?
Where now would you send me out to play?
Does it not hurt to see me run on grounds barren?
Why! Oh, why, would you build this warren?”
She sat there anguished till her feet were numb. As the sun slowly started to set, she walked back home heavy-hearted, muttering all along, “Why! Oh, Why!”.
The Men Who Owned Her Heart
A Poem by Daisy Davis
Her gaze fixed on the moon, she lay rooted to her bed.
Frozen, not an inch she could move.
Her chest thumped, her body shook.
Numb, not a tear she could shed.
She beat her chest, she got no rest.
Her aching heart, she could not soothe.
She wailed, she bawled...O! So loud!
Her raging heart, she could not calm.
She closed her eyes and this, she saw...
Clear skies above, rough waters below
And in the midst, was tied a rope
On which she stood, hanging on to hope!
To her right was the man
Who brought her to life!
And to her left, the man
Without whom, she could not dream a life!
To her lover she walked, on his chest she leaned,
Like home it felt, the joy it brought!
But soon this home, would another’s be.
Tears welled up in her eyes, she could not see.
Looking into his eyes, that spoke no lies,
‘Don’t you ever cry?’ she gently asked.
On his knees he fell, nothing did he tell.
With eyes closed, he pulled her closer, hugged her tight,
He clutched her hair, pressed his head against her chest,
No words were spoken, yet all was said!
Such was their love, it could only be felt!
Caressing his hair, she quietly wept.
So different were they, yet so alike!
She had her head in the clouds, He had his feet on the ground.
She spoke her heart out, He kept his sealed.
Why, then, did one love the other?
O! That is precisely why!
How blessed was she!
She ran to her father on the other end.
Handing out a knife, she pleaded, she begged,
‘Please let him be mine. Or stab me, bury me alive...
For dead am I, no more could I die.’
Neither did he do. So dear was she to him too!
In pain, he would moan,
O! His terribly aching bones!
Yet for hours, he would stand,
Making sure she was fed, properly rested.
How blessed was she!
She walked back to where she stood.
With outstretched arms, glaring at the sky,
Despondently, she bellowed,
‘Why am I to choose? Could I not have them both?’
Staring down into the abyss below,
Her heart so heavy, sunk so deep...
Only one pair of hands could save her broken mind
That slipped into a slumber...O! Fast asleep!
Only one voice could wake her dying soul
That would soon be gone...to the Great Unknown!
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