"Unwanted Label" by Sally Idris

              Let’s imagine a place where mutation is normal. Everyone has a shift mutation gene that causes everyone to carry different traits than normal humans. The Disability Talent Center is located in Sakara, a village in Raman. A disability center open for people of all ages. The center provides rooms to live in and has an educational system where teachers are assigned to work with three kids everyday.

           Mute was born in Raman. When Mute’s teacher, Horya, first met him, he was twelve years old. His parents were very abusive. They decided to let him join the Disability Talent Center and left him there. As of today he is twenty three, he has not had any communication with his parents. Mute is a young artist. He creates figurative drawing and sketches, and he paints. He spends most of his time in his room drawing. He painted his room with a dark blue and black on the molding and door. In one of his paintings he drew a young child’s face who had only a set of eyes and a nose. The child is stretching his hand through the window, trying to catch his mouth from a bird that has flown off with it in its beak. Behind the bird a grey cloud is heavy with rain. Mute also wrote a sign in front of his door that reads, “Prefer to be Silent.” Every morning he goes to classes and meets his assigned teacher, Horya. She is the only one who knows sign language; she and Mute communicate. Mute loves Horya; he listens to whatever she tells him.

             Deaf’s room is alongside Mute’s room. Deaf migrated from Tarash to Sakara three years ago and he does not know anybody from the Raman village. Before he came to the Disability Talent Center, he grew up with his uncle (Deaf’s parents died shortly after he was born). Deaf is so passionate to learn music that his uncle gave him a guitar. He was 15 years old when he first joined the Disability Talent Center. Deaf became a musician. He plays guitar and piano and writes his own songs and performs them to himself.  His music is very loud because he cannot hear and cannot control the volume of his voice or music. Horya chose to work with Deaf as a mentor and always writes notes to him, which she passes under his door. She tells him that the volume of his guitar and his voice screaming echoes and reverberates throughout hallways. Deaf ignores the fact that others, like Mute, prefer silence. Deaf thinks he is lowering his sound, but each day he gets louder and louder. One day Mute wanted to draw a new painting and because he can not concentrate unless there’s quiet, he banged on Deaf’s door. Deaf, of course, could not hear him. Mute kept on knocking and Deaf wouldn’t open the door.

         Blind is the last member of Horya’s group. His room is also next to Mute’s. Blind was seventeen years old when came to the Disability Talent Center from Screen, a small city located in southeast Sakara. Blind is the oldest of his five siblings. His parents are cousins, which is why all five of their kids have disabilities and live in the center. Blind was the one to suggest leaving Screen to join the D. T. C. His family was open and understanding because Blind was their favorite, willing to support him and supply him with anything he required. He is twenty-five and tries hard to write. He enjoys writing with his special writing machine. The machine is an open laptop, that directs him, by pronouncing the letters out loud.

               Horya has worked individually with Mute, Deaf, and Blind for many years in the same empty classroom where there were only three chairs placed next to each other, right in the center of the room. She communicates with Mute, Deaf, and Blind differently. Although she has been trying hard to make them all friends, it hasn’t worked out, yet. Each day that passes is precious to them. They are talented but have never explored their talents outside the Disability Talents Center. This past Wednesday, Horya called Mute, Deaf, and Blind to come to the classroom. After they all entered the room, Mute and Deaf went ahead and sat, while Horya held Blind’s hand and helped him to sit in his chair. It was a workshop day for all. She explained the task of the workshop and provided papers, pencils and paints and made it clear that the three of them had an hour and thirty minutes to come up with a presentation titled, “We United”. She explained that the presentation is unlimited in terms of their choice, so it can be art, poetry, or a short story. She emphasized that they all have to work together. After Horya left the room, all three of them sat still in the same position. They didn’t look or speak to each other for about thirty minutes.

         Now they had one hour remaining and Mute wanted to draw.  He took a piece of plain paper and sat down in front of Blind and started to draw him. Deaf opened the door and snuck out of the classroom. Blind stayed in the same position in his chair. Mute sketched Blind holding his walking stick,with his head lifted toward the light. He is a dark skinned man. Deaf came back into the room, holding his guitar. He saw Mute drawing Blind. Deaf stared at the drawing and then at Blind.

       “Oh, this is a very beautiful drawing of you,” screamed Deaf, reaching out to touch Blind’s shoulder. Mute looked at him with anger in his face and continued drawing. Blind was sitting there confused and curious.

     “Which drawing ?” asked Blind. Neither Mute nor Deaf were able to answer him. Blind repeated his question, “Who's there and who’s drawing me?”

   “Why won't anybody answer me?” said Blind. He was annoyed that nobody acknowledged him. He stood up to leave, but Mute held Blind’s hand and started to write the word Mute on Blind’s palm.“Draw that again,” said Blind. Mute repeated the same word in Blind’s hands. Which gave Blind a comfort and made him sit back in his chair. Mute continued his drawing. Deaf moved his chair next to Mute and started to play guitar. One hour and thirty minutes had passed. Horya entered the classroom and stood next to Deaf.

“So what have you guys come up with?” asked Horya.

“Mute and Blind, can anyone communicate with me?” Horya asked again. Deaf was staring at Horya’s lips moving trying to understand what Horya is saying. Mute made the last sketches finishing his drawing of Blind. Horya did not bother to ask any other questions: she was happy that the three of them got along.

On Friday, Horya told Mute, Deaf and Blind that they had to perform in the school auditorium, each one had to choose their own theme to perform. The audience is made up of the people who live in Raman and people who do not have any kind disability.

~.~.~.~

( Scene: On the left side of the stage musical instruments are setup for Deaf. On the right side of the stage, there are art materials for Mute to use. In the middle of the stage, there is a microphone and papers for Blind. Horya is hosting to introduce all three of them Mute, Deaf and Blind)

Horya: The Soul of people combine to create a variety of scenes. Sometimes, a scene where two hands intertwine creates a beauty in the palm of their hand. Other times, there is a hurricane swirling within the friction between them. With all disaster comes a different outcome. Maybe not being  able to speak, hear or see is a beautiful disaster. The feeling of people with some certain deficiencies is not the only barrier, but it’s the acceptance of others appearance that differentiates them from being normal. Normal beauty can create disorder, there the beauty standing in middle of nowhere trying to catch a glimpse of humanity. Humans loving one another, accepting one another and helping each other is a sparkle of complexity that one can wear. Mute, Deaf and Blind are three amazing young men who have a hidden talent that is kept in jail inside of their heart. This talent is very meaningful and is going to be performed through music, art and poetry. I would like to welcome Blind to the Stage, performing a piece of poetry entitled “I Don’t want to see anymore”.

(Blind is wearing  black glasses, a hat and holding his walking stick, making his way toward the stage.)

Blind: I don’t want to open my eyes and see the circled tiny earth chained into many hands.

I don’t want to see water disappear and fully conquered by sands.

Light has asked me, if you got to choose between me and darkness, who would you choose?

I remained silent.

I don’t want to open my eyes and see a big mark of unequal signs

I don’t want to see the word different tattooed into my body with incredible designs

Dark has asked me, if you got the chance to see the light, what would you do?

I remained silent.

I don’t want to open my eyes and watch you hate me

I don’t want to see you love me either.

Life has asked me to travel through a long and tired adventure. Yet it asked me are you able to see anything? If you see good things just ignore it.

I remained closing my eyes.

(Blind stops for a minute, took breath and goes on saying.)

           I desire one person to entice me, wrapping thoughts and words around my body as I swirl into a wind of allurement. I want to avoid a dislike so strong that it feels like the pavement stamped by soles of shoes and broken promises. I am black and white. I am male and female. Never favored.There’s this fascination I have with the idea of the others in the world who are one or another but never both. There is the very notion that they are as blank as a book, giving me the ability to create any image I want of a human being. Maybe that’s the only thing that gravitates me to them. This is who I am and this is me being Blind. I prefer black and I would prefer people calling me my real name which is Ind.

Horya: Thank you Blind for sharing this great poem. Now I would like to welcome Mute to the stage. Mute is going to draw a expressionist piece entitled “I’ve lost my mouth”. He also wrote a story describing his art, I will be reading it while he is drawing.

(Mute takes his painting brush and colors, stands there looking at the audience with desperation in his eyes. He feels like his parents are sitting there, but he iw not able to recognize them. He turns to the big blank board and starts drawing.)

Horya: If you had given me a dozen roses, thorns would pierce my skin. A sensation mistaken for pleasure, as my veins begin to pulse. The beauty of petals and bright colored red prevent me from continuing my painting--the thorns I’ve created on paper begin to prick my fingers. My skin only demanded the need to be felt until it was intense enough to be numb. My hands now have a mark of deceit, I want to remind my parents of how I alone see the colorful roses in a grey garden. Unlike the others, I have never found a reason to feel grey but rather look for colors that “say” what it means to be mute. I couldn’t tell you what makes some people let a gray sky spread over their heads or makes others strive to grab the sun with their bare hands, no matter the pain nor the long difficult journey. Especially now that they have stolen my paintbrush and I can’t remove the splattered ink that’s made its mark on me. And still, I have been fooled by other people’s admiration and their superficially kind gestures. If there is anyone I can blame, it would be you. You are my mom and dad who left me in the middle of a broken road full of thistle. If I turned my head to the right, I would see a picture of you dad, being burned by fire. If I turned my head to the left I would see a picture of you mom, being torn down by wind. But when I turned my head to the sky I saw a reflection of me. I was afraid of my reflection and wanted to scream. But my reflection wouldn’t let me scream, because it stood there guarding me with my own mouth. What I have figured out is only that no matter how the rain may pour or the thunder that may startle my strength, I proceed to walk. To run, to fight, to conjure my own sunlight. I have learned that light is discovered, not wished upon. I was still lying on the ground losing my parents and now I’ve lost my mouth.

(Horya finished Mute’s speech, she turned and looked at Mute. Mute stood there facing the audience again)

Mute: I lived a mute experience, I have known what it's like to be mute, not to be able to speak and let your voice be heard. Here I am finally speaking, I could speak when I was born but my parents named me Mute. I was doomed by my name to be silent, to embody my label.

( Horya looked at Mute and was  stunned, she thanked him and now she asks Deaf to perform.)

Deaf: I don’t want to perform.

Horya: Are you sure you do not want to perform?

(Deaf exits the stage without saying anything.)

 

"No Evil" by Ekram Alrowmeim

"No Evil" by Ekram Alrowmeim