Painting for Tomorrow

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It was a walk like any other on a bright Sunday morning, nearing noon. A summer walk on a dirt trail, the kind if you would stop and look up, a drop of sweat would run down from your temple as you scan the surrounding trees, seeing their patches filled by flickers of light, the sun veiled by the edges of their edges. Under the green shining so vibrantly against the blue sky, I began to wonder about a place much brighter than here.

In that place, I would find my father in deep thought, his frail white hair once again a spruce of black. I would sit next to him and talk about his poems. The lines would feel young and mention flowers and their likes. His word would bring a thought or a shrug – either one, it would be shaped by the molds of the stanzas and made unforgettable. There, besides the man who defined my very world, would be everlasting poetry waiting to be read.

It was a walk in another season. This time, a walk back home passing by dandelions, with their white manes. The fragile, wispy strands from their crowns stretched upward like fingers grasping the passing breeze. It seemed as though they longed to fly over the painting of autumn, a canvas filled with piles of fallen leaves that seemed like clouds on the ground. These clouds were in shades of auburn and orange, almost inviting one to jump into them. Besides these clouds of leaves, I began to wonder about a place much cozier than here.

There, I know my brother will greet me in his youthful jubilation, with a smile framed by his once baby dimples. We would talk and reminisce about our childhood, flipping through memories. We would be surrounded by tall grass undulating like a golden sea. The smell of pumpkin spice coating us as we played in our neighborhood. There, with the boy whose nostalgia is scented like mine, will be endless adventures waiting for me.

Then it was a walk next to long icicles. They sparkled like bluish crystals from the stars above. These frozen units stood side-by-side and stationed beneath snow-covered fences. Boxed by the fences was a house with its fireplace lit, and the smoke rose from the chimney into an obsidian night sky. Walking down the wet and shoveled path towards the front door, I wondered of a place much homelier than here.

There, I would find my mother with many stories to tell. I would sit down and listen to them all, her tales allowing me to experience all that I missed during my time away. I would tell her about my stories too, excited rants of little details that were only relevant for the sake of telling, like reading aloud from a grade school journal entry that always started “I did so and so”. She would listen attentively so she could experience them too and as if she already knew. There, before the woman who first taught me the meaning of home, is a rest I would enjoy to no end.

I rummage through these memories and thoughts in my room during the early hours of the morning. Here, all alone, I ask myself, how should I paint my day today? Will I use green and the colors of summer by learning something new? Will I use the colors of autumn by being kind and striving to be good in character? Will I use blue and the colors of winter by giving and teaching? The walls around me are grey and the day a white canvas. These white canvases are the days I go through, I only hope that I can paint something good with them. But, I remember as I open the blinds that the One who made sunrises is the same One who supplies me and can guide my brush. I know that if I do my best, He will help me paint my Hereafter.

And that will be a painting better than anything I have ever seen, better than anything I have heard, and better than anything I can possibly imagine.


A Bangladeshi descent from the sakura trees of Japan, the golden prairies of Iowa, and the windy days of Chicago, Muhtasham Sifaat currently lives in New York City as a student of William E. Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. He found his passion for writing at the Bronx High School of Science and took this practice as a discipline for fruitful reflection and self-expression. Alhamdulillah, Sifaat was able to develop his writing through numerous competitions such as the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament (MIST) and with irreplaceable support from his friends and family. He intends to write for MYM to better himself as a Muslim and as a writer, inshaAllah. Besides writing, Sifaat likes to draw, take afternoon walks, and practice martial arts/wrestling. He is a disciple of Hoshinkido Hapkido, a Korean martial art, which he practices alongside Taekwondo during his free time.


  1. Your descriptions are very vivid and visual, and your language is so rich. I like how you go back and forth between memories and when you’re walking in nature. Very well written. MashaAllah!

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