09 6 / 2013
It was October, and they just issued our library cards. The singularity of my shadow reminded me that the enthusiasm felt about the library wasn’t very common.Young Adult wasn’t among the book categories.
The librarian was a slim woman with a slightly dark skin tone; her sleeves were rolled up to the elbows and she was busy talking on the phone, in a language I did not comprehend. I tried to smile and made my way to the letter D. I recalled my earlier days in school, I came here for the Hardy Boys, and now I came for Great Expectations.
I stood there waiting for someone to let me borrow the book. After a few minutes, the aforementioned librarian reluctantly brushed her way to the desk.
“Child,” she said in a tired voice, “are you supposed to borrow a book today?”
“Oh yes. It’s Monday…and I’m in tenth grade.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t yesterday or something?”
I watched her slide open a couple of drawers, and put away some magazines with lots of faces on the covers. She daintily stamped the sheet of paper stapled to the book cover, inside. The fresh ink said 21/3/2011, the due date. The last time this book was borrowed was in 1999.
“Ever read this book, Miss?”
“Is there anything wrong, child?”
“No, Miss. I was just asking if you read this book, before, I just…”
“Oh,” she looked at me for the first time, “I, no, I don’t read fiction. I’m…a sort of Biologist.”
“Oh really, Miss? How nice.”
“Yes,” she was closing the drawer and heading back to her former place. “I was almost done with some research work when I came here.”
“If you don’t mind-“
“Behavioral aspects of fruit flies. I forgot some of it, actually.”
I noticed how her voice wasn’t very tired anymore, behind her spectacles I almost saw a diminished image of the days before her work here.
“Fruit flies have an average lifespan of a little over a month. I’m sure they’re mentioned in your textbook somewhere. Is it not? Genetics…imagine living for a month,” the bell rang, “go to your class, child.” she smiled back.
I imagined living for a month. Fruit flies lay a lot of eggs before they die, I was sure. But I imagined living for a month minus the eggs part. I thought about being fully aware and conscious for life, a month. Or would the learning process be accelerated? I thought about how I’d probably still read books. I thought about how I’d probably still look at the ceiling, the crisscross patterns on my skin, faces of people with aspirations diminished on the surface of their spectacles.
22 8 / 2012
At that day, I felt myself crawling on my backbone. It was very quiet and I did it right after I stuck cellotape on the edge of my door. I played with the material in my head, which was cellulose, I suppose. It had many spots, one for books, one for music, one for faith, one for exquisite human beings, like flickering circus lights, too bright, but go off all of a sudden. My lungs were too dense, and had no room for any other content. The rest was lifeless thermocol. Voices were too sharp, always demanding my location, getting louder and meaner. I beg the muscles in my index finger to squeeze out a letter, but it is too mechanic to arrange anything. There’s my heart, leaping, thinking too highly of itself, pointing out its cuts, like no one was ever hurt before. It shows me your sentences and pictures. It punches my cliché bones. I don’t know.
24 7 / 2012
“My son, my son, he had this position, he still has it, and you can ask anyone in the outskirts and they’ll tell you he is the greatest person they’ve ever interacted with,”
My grandmother would go on like that, just like the sewing machine in front of me, as I join up fabrics to produce from suits to pillow cases for her precious son.
The elderly tailor was the one who taught me how to sew, he used to come over to Grandma’s, to sew her the finest of night-gowns and robes, until the night she had to dismiss him. She was broke, due to some economic crisis in the country I was unaware of, and she blamed it on the president.
I was an excellent tailor, I enjoyed sewing as a hobby, and I did not care about Grandma seeing it as my unpaid profession. Occasionally, my back would be lashed with virtual swords because of the fixed curvature in it, but I loved sewing nevertheless. People would think my maternal, or paternal, not so sure, uncle’s shirts and trousers were from a really expensive shop, with the quality of the stitches. Though I have to say it was also because the fabrics were expensive, as Grandma could still afford them if she worked hard enough in saving up.
My uncle was a tall person, and he had Grandma’s red, curly hair. Also, he was not as handsome as Grandma always says. His daughter was five and she was smarter than him. Grandma thinks that Zaina, his daughter, inherited her intelligence from him, when obviously, it was from her mother who passed away when Zaina was one year old.
Zaina was a very tiresome child, and she always looked in a threatening manner, which makes feel obligated to obey. While my uncle was not so smart, he was very strong. If I cooked rice instead of Zaina’s beloved macaroni, my head would be knocked against the table’s corner and it would hurt for about a week, giving me a hazy vision, affecting my sewing ability. He would do that when Grandma was not around, because, even though she treated me like a servant, a part of her perhaps liked me a little. Or maybe because she didn’t want the only servant left over dead.
03 7 / 2012
The floor before me was cleared off. Neat, with the absence of paint buckets, transparent material and smudging foot-steps. It felt good, to feel accomplished. It was very tiring too, spending the mornings with the constructing workers, deciphering their bits of words; and spending the nights sorting the thousands of books I posessed about Astrology. Beautiful but tiring. It was going to be successful I hoped, this centre, to be born tonight, with the ever-growing popularity and love for stars and comets in my region. I have to state though, that I adored outer space, regardless of the obscuring fumes in my avenue, and memorized myriad terms and distances when I was twelve, without it being included in my school curriculum.
I was pacing back and forth, glancing at my wrist watch from highschool every dozen seconds or so. I felt a vibrating motion in my breast pocket, automatically reached out for my phone. It was my fiancee’s voice brushing through my ears, softly, yet impatiently, asking me where I was.
“The main lobby of course!” I replied half-jokingly.
“Oh,” she let out a laugh, “I’m on my way.”
She was wearing skin-coloured, silk stockings, salmon-coloured pumps and a black dress. She looked absolutely gorgeous.
The usual was there of course, ruby, pursed lips, lashes dusted with mascara. She started chatting casually, also, as usual. She straightened my tie and gave me one of her laughter-concealing smiles.
Eventually, it was time to cut the ribbon and start a celebration. To my dismay, my fiancee insisted I’d hire a catering team, but the food was great to be honest. And fancy. The best part was, however, I ticked off a milestone in my life, an enomorous chunk of my dreams and most importantly set up the first centre of its kind in the region. I felt proud, and could hardly stifle my overly wide grins.
People from everywhere approached me to shake hands, I found it difficult to decide which camera to stare at, and my fiancee was somewhere far off with yet another group of people. It was a busy night, as expected, wavering with voices, random moving figures, pleasant smells, and fabrics rubbing off your skin. Then I caught a glance of the eyes of someone I shaked hands with. A familiar cloud set upon them, glistening, dripping with aimless sadness. It was a matter of seconds though, and people were scrambling everywhere.
‘Still remembers.’ I thought, chuckling for myself, realizing I forgot, some twenty-ish years ago.
20 2 / 2012
Grandpa was rocking on the big chair and I on the small. What I liked was that they were almost the same, like Grandpa and I, except for the size of course, and mine had a cushion shaped like a puppy. Grandpa sipped his miniature cup of Turkish coffee, and stared at the switched off television, while I looked upon him admiringly. Spontaneously, for everything he did was spontaneous, he turned to face me and said, “Run, my girl, run…” his blue eyes were as resplendent as ever, “You wouldn’t be able to do it later.” he got up his rocking chair and swiveled the stem of the botus plant he was fond of, to the other side of the pot, hanging from the balcony ceiling. I was puzzled, Grandpa always puzzled me, which made him all the more intriguing. “Why do you say so, Pa?” I inquired, trying to predict what was next all the same. “Boys and girls who don’t run around never come eye to eye with freedom. It is your time now, my dear girl, to run, to run around, to skip a rope, to roll on the lush grass, to pick berries mischievously and smear your childish shirt with colour, and be frowned upon. Don’t you know, my girl, what happens when boys and girls don’t run around when it’s their time?”
I was fiddling with my dark curls of hair passively when I replied, “No, Pa, I do not know. Pray, do tell me.”
“Why,” he continued, placing his then empty cup on the table between us, “they grow up, because they stop playing, but they grow thirsty, desperately in need of a cup full of bursts of energy.” he raised his eyebrows, “Then they get no choice but to crawl, and then they cut their knees, blood gushes out and dirt enters and they confuse freedom with the licence to destroy.”
“Destroy…?” I distractedly asked, sort of catching on then.
“They want to compensate their lost blood, and take out filth embedded deeply in their flesh. They destroy, even though they know it would neither do any good to them, nor to anyone else. They grow to form beastly creatures, blaming the world, when, alas, they have what’s worse than selfishness; starvation for infinite satisfaction.”
I leaped off my little rocking chair and gazed deeply at the sun set decorated with silhouettes of flocks of birds, gliding hastily to reach home, before it was too late.
“Run, my girl, run; and get your heart replenished with goodness.”
21 1 / 2012
حينما كان غلام في قارب مع أبيه، نظر إلى صطح البحر النقي، الشاسع، و كأنه بلا نهاية. كان ذاهب إلى الصيد، فهذا كان تراث العائلة، بالرغم ان الأب كان طبيبا. لن يكتفي الأب قط عن سرد حكاياته عندما كان صبيا صغيرا: الصيد في ذاك القارب نفسه و لكن مع جده رحمه الله، الذهاب الى الشاطئ في كل عطلة نهاية الأسبوع بما أنهم يسكنون في مدينة بسيطة جوار الساحل. فبالطبع، كان الغلام يندمج في الحكايات، و ما جعل الإندماج عملية سهلة انه يفعل هذه الأشياء نفسها! فكان دوما يشعر و كأن الدرب مرسوم بكل وضوح امامه، درب الحياة. كان ذلك يحسسه بالإرتباك بعض الشي، عكس توقعات أسرته تماما. أراد الغلام في ذات نفسه أن يكون هو حامل الفرشاة، أراد ان يلون يلون ذكراياته بشتى تجربات مختلفة. أراد شيئا غير منظر البحار؛ أراد التجول حول العالم، أراد أن يقرأ المزيد من الكتب العديدة، و ليس فقط كتب المدرسة، أراد تعلم بعض الفنون الجميلة بدون ان يقال له أنها فقط للفتيات، كما أراد أن يتعلم العديد من اللغات دون ان يقال له أن هذا لن يفيده شيئا. كان عاشقا للتغيير و الإبداع منذ نعومة أظافره. ولا شيئا سوف كان يمحي هذه القوة، هذا الحب، مهما كانت جدار الإستقرار المضجر صامدة، فسوف تنهار يوما ما.
28 12 / 2011
Her father was miles away fighting. The only part of him left in their cottage was a tattered photograph of him. Every night, she’d hold the photo, embrace it, hold it close to her heart, until her tears dried up on her cheeks. She was an only child, and she promised her father to be accommodating to her mother and never to be a nuicanse. She was terrified, for she knew, at any point, the enemy could holler at her mother, pull them out of the ancient cottage, crushing their dignity. They were oppressed and there was nothing to do about it, except for doing their best in concealing their identity. Silly Janie, she thought while caressing her doll’s hair, she’s too afraid, she doesn’t know everything’s going to be alright. Janie stared right back at her, obviously unintrigued. Her mother was exhausted and exasperated, in all her life she succeeded in nothing but making burnt French toast and winning her husband’s proposal. She was losing him, he was so vulnerable to death that she saw it before her eyes! With hardship comes ease, with hardship comes ease…
27 12 / 2011
We were walking down the path, kicking the pebbles playfully, with tufts of hair occassionally obscuring our eye sight. It was a sunny-windy day, an unusual weather I was fond of; warm yet cool.
“So, what did you guys do this weekend?”, Adam enquired.
“Oh nothing,” replied Emily, “except for go to that Science Musuem.” She shrugged off. She shrugged off.
“That’s so fascinating.” I could sense he was making an effort in hiding his perplexed state.
“I didn’t even do that,” I seemed to be interrupting something, but I went on, “I just stayed at home, does home-made pedicure count?”, that’s what I always did, ask questions in order to mingle in a conversation, otherwise my words are just as insignificant as my presence altogether.
“I read this book,” Adam gleamed, inched closer to Emily sideways, and made an I-know-you’ll-like-this gesture, “it has a detailed section about symbiotic behaviours.”
“Cool.” I said, while Emily nodded casually.
My thoughts then decided to wander off, I watched Adam continue chatting as if in mute, and also noticed his benign gaze at Emily. The agitating thing was Emily acted as if she didn’t care. I sometimes wonder how oblivious people get when it comes to obvious situations as these. I could actually walk out of the path, no, grow some wings and fly around and they wouldn’t notice a thing. It even reached to the point that Adam often started off with a topic I don’t even know about, Physics being a major example, and I would just tag along with them like a complete idiot. We were supposed to be friends, the three of us, but things were heading the wrong way. To make things worse, Adam was, as a matter of fact, my all time best buddy, but he was being recklessly snatched away. Emily was my friend and all, but that was too brutal for me to let it slide, not that it was her fault, technically speaking. I despised the idea of Adam and Emily being an item, I was hopeless, I would ptactically dive in a pool of petrol just to set things in their right place…
17 12 / 2011
That was my home. That was where I felt I belonged. I couldn’t do anything about it though, I did, but it was fruitless. My mother was a pretty optimistic woman, so it was quite natural to observe her, with eyes filled with cheerfulness, wandering around this house dreamily. My older sister was a realist, or simply didn’t care; I could hardly tell, for she unpacked her belongings in an every-day manner. I will always recollect the last moments in my real home, so somber, so vacuous, with silence intolerable, excluding the occasional birds chirping in the dear neighbourhood. My father was quite like me, expressionless, he just dropped us to our supposed-to-be new house and left somewhere. I had no choice but to dare to step into my dissimilar room. I took out my turtle, my timid friend, I could easily tell that he’d rather be in my actual room too, for this one was so distateful, with brand new, untouched furnishing. When Turtle’s head finally emerged from his shell, he witnessed what I also did; my basketball roll across the wooden floor. I massaged it with my thumb and read what was written on it: “I’ll miss you Mandy, it will never be the same without you, but memories last forever, don’t they? Love, Tyler”. All I was capable to do then was roll in a corner and cry.
25 6 / 2011
I woke up at nine nine, as usual, to the soft sound of the A.C. I realized then that my head-phones were still on and remembered that I have been listening to songs on shuffle all night or, I’d rather say, all dawn. I rubbed off the sleep from my eyes and grabbed the phone, but there was nothing new, not that I expected anything new. I had this recurring dream again where he gets closer to me to a point that I could feel his breath on my bare arm. He was about to whisper something in my ear but I instantly woke up, like every time. My older brother peeped into my bed room door then realized that I was awake. I just sat there on the bed and stared at him.
“Come on, Jen, rise and shine!” he said in a granny imitation voice. I grinned and slid open the blinds. Now that I was awake I thought “God, I have lots of stuff to do” I had to go visit some friends, attend our vital business meeting, and run errands for my client. My social life was always busy, but my mind was constantly in one mood- the desire to know what he was going to say.