“Father, I have something to show you with my slingshot and stones!”
My son, Mustafa, begs and tugs at my torn short skirt as I wake up from the burning hot sunlight darting right into my eyes. I look at him with my two eyes wide open. Ever since Hammurabi was crowned king, mornings seem like a dread; he has made The Code of Hammurabi for all fellow citizens of Babylon to follow, yet it appears a little… hypocritical? Cynical?
“Mustafa, I would love to, but I need to leave home a little early today so that I can go to work.” Giving him the smile I hope he would buy so that I can be left alone.
“But father, you always say that. Please father, just for a minute?” This time with two hands clasped together and enlarged eyes.
“Mustafa, no. I will, maybe tomorrow?”
He lets out a huge sigh. He tries to say something, but then hesitates and walks away. I rub my eyes and got out of my crooked wood bed. Aza (my wife) and Centola (my daughter) are still sound asleep so I don't want to bother them. I then left the house to make my way to the supermarket.
It is scorching today; the air reeks of wheat and burning silver. Bits of dirt are flying around. The sky is covered with bright light, so bright that one cannot dare to look upon the sky; one may be blinded for staring into the sky for too long. Babylon’s supermarkets are filling with people, vigorous oxen rumbling their hooves like thunder while feeble dogs peering around anxiously to seek any pieces of food set before them.
All of a sudden, two free-born men are arguing about whether or not a lady holding her bread had paid shekels. More citizens gather around these two, cheering for whoever they thought was winning the fight. I slither my way past the crowd to see them. I understand that someone’s ignorance towards their own thoughts and actions can be tiring and extremely annoying, but to fight another person for this reason?
A man of my age in warrior clothing narrows his eyes as he dodges my frail attempts of attacking him. He tells me: “Excuse me sir, but I don’t think this is any of your business.” Another in warrior clothing sneers at me. How would they know if I had any business in this?
“I’m afraid you are incorrect on that,” I say, giving each of them a harsh long glance. I am now fighting these two men. One pushes me over, causing barrels of oil to fall upon me. To teach them both a lesson, I get up to throw my fists at both of them. Both are hit in the right eye and are now wailing. I believe that those who break the rules deserve to be punished in how they have broken the rules. I also think I have done my job as a fellow citizen.
According to Hammurabi, his law states the eye for an eye privilege. So I’m not doing anything that is against the law, nor are these men. But you see, it’s quite ridiculous. Now a group of ten men are attacking each other, believing in the eye for an eye privilege (which I think is plain stupidity). Moreover, some were still holding grudges and are planning on fighting again tomorrow. I think I’ve had enough.
I am now back at home, exhausted. I first see Mustafa, who also is sharing a glance. He walks back to his room. Centola is playing with some stones. When she notices me she happily waves her hand at me, like a child who finally met her parent after years of being apart. I give her a little nod to acknowledge her wave. Then I saw Aza, who was busy cooking some delicious Unwinding food. So far nobody seemed to notice my lost eye and the bruises I have on my forearms.
Getting ready for bed again, I adjust my belt so that the skirt was in a comfortable position. Weaving is fairly popular nowadays, but I can't seem to find an available job space in the market that'll allow me to earn some money. I've been wanting to buy my family and I some beautiful skirts and shawls, but I can't afford to do so. I lay on my bed once again. Just as I was about to doze off, Mustafa came back, holding his slingshot and stones again. Sighing, I close my eyelids and used my hand to tightly to stop the bleeding from an eye I have lost from combat. He then smiles at me says: “Father, I have something to show you with slingshot and stones!”
This story is set during Babylonian times when King Hammurabi was still active.
Mustafa: One who is chosen
Centola: Light of Knowledge