The Pains of Wandering

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Chapter 2

The Fear of a Beginning

[I beg your pardon.. you better go on.. please.. or else the rocks of the myth are going to be back on my shoulders.

- Do not worry about it .. and for Salt’s7 sake, strawberries can go to hell. Her cheeks have the color of Salt’s famous cypress trees. God painted her forehead from the pure cream of Sweileh’s8 almonds. And her eyes have the color of Burma’s green olives!

- Alright, no worries, as long as she has a friendly face, a satisfied smile, waits for you at the gate of your village house wearing her Irbid’s9 traditional dress, she will be your first poem once the breeze plays with her maroon hair that is covered with her pure white scarf.

A day in the outside/

A gray day and.. the intervention/

.. We looked at him- our driver- right when he barked his fascist order. We found him to be, despite his cruelty, a little like all of us. After a few tough moments as he frightened us with his demanding yet desperate and sad orders, we thought he resembled us with his pale yellow face, with his old Arab identity before it was long lost due to the games of the higher ups!

Yes.. I suppose they were deceived and lost!

That’s better.. don’t you think?!

Why don’t we tell the truth.. just like that.. without any lies?!

Why don’t we say it today when everything is lost?!

Yes, so that’s what the news revealed: “they were deceived with some cruel national declaration...!”

Our friend was wearing some rotten clothes, he was ill-shaped, sad faced, he had gray wrinkles. It was as if he, too, were coming from the same harsh place.

Or perhaps he’s coming from another similar place, both geographically and painfully.. both cruel and cleansing by some other people, just like ours.

- Do you mean the outsiders?

- It wouldn’t make a difference. They are all the same.. They’re like the bullets of their rifles and the sting of their whips.

- You have not answered me yet. Are those the people you talked about?

- I don’t know.. it might be so. They’re both similar. What do you say?

- I have no answer and no explanation either about this. I just asked you the second I saw a quasi-answer on your face.

- Perhaps.. I honestly don’t know. It is not as easy as you imagine. All that I can say is, actually.. we are wearing similar trousers, anyway, all I can say is that everyone of us inside this aging vehicle has become a shadow of his own self right now.

- These are your vintage made up illusions again:

Some shapes.. geometry.. old aging shapes!

It’s the same old damned dictionary.

Why don’t you just forget about your Sisyphus-like illusions and jump back to reality.. to the taboo question?

- To what is not being said until this very day?

You probably mean the normal question.. the question of bread that’s going to feed the hungry, patient people in hopes that it’s going to save them?

- Yes.. exactly. You know they’re sick of it too. They’re bored of waiting, but they’re not doing anything.. as if they’re actually dying.

- I can’t..

- Why?

- How would I ask it when I’m oppressed and my pen is in chains.. desperate.. ink deprived?

- The whole matter is under your control, what do you think?

- How?

- Using the word.. wasn’t it in the beginning?!

- Yes.. but the journey has begun and it is hard..

- Then let it be in the midst of it.. in hopes it works..

- How though.. when my tongue is tied and the promise is a mere mirage?!

- Man, you’re closing everything up in my face. You’re not leaving any loophole whatsoever. I’m going to keep on trying nonetheless.

- The question needs a grand proof.. just like you told me last night!

- It’s simpler than that, don’t think too much about it.. I’ll come up with an answer!

- So there is hope, right?

- Yes.. today and only today waiting and patience are to be fulfilled.

- The eye of kindness- it is all eyes by the way!- even the red eyes.

- Is that from your work?

- The second one yes, but with some help from a philosopher friend, whereas the first one- the eyes- belongs to (Qadri Qalaaji10).

- Where did you read it? Was it from the (Al-Tareeq “The Path”) Magazine?

- No, it was his book (An Arab’s Experience with the Communist Party)..

- He is indeed one of a kind!

- Don’t worry about my blabbering about this. Again, the eye of kindness has finally revealed what it has always longed for.

- I do not understand this last one.

- Strange! It is rather clear, as clear as a plate owned by an impoverished Indian man in the poorest of villages.

- I didn’t understand the first one to begin with, then you follow up with this second one?

- Strange! Is it that mysterious? Didn’t you see what those eyes wanted?

- No.. I did not see and I did not understand. It is fine though, excuse my ignorance. The answer might carry a piece of advice along with it.. so what advice can you give me?

- Forget about the whole thing.. first of all. Be satisfied with what is inside your head.. second of all. Third of all.. last but not least, pay attention to the bullets of your tongue.

- And if I do all of this?

- You will survive.. and you will own the mistress of the seven moons in addition to all of what she has!

- You are shooting me down.. even in my dreams.

- No, not at all.. what do you mean? How? What made you think so?

- Yes.. you are shooting me down. What is the benefit of dreaming of the mistress of the seven moons?

- You’re welcome.. you get whatever you want.. whatever you would like to have, and then we will see, anyway, what will happen?

- As for me, I will go back to the struggle of my story..

- I will go back to my father (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) who is trapped inside a small Siberian room. He is there still writing his memories from (The House of the Dead) for me and writers like me.

-What do you think?!

- Are you satisfied with this depressed retreat?

- For this tragic scenario, there is a title and an end.

- Of course not.. this is not what I initially intended for our daydreams!!

- What now.. if this is not it?

- Forget it!!!

- Forget about all of this. To dream about going back some night, for example, to a lover.. for you alone, then…!

- And why (for you alone)? Are you mocking me? What do you want? Is there sharing/ communism in this too, my friend Ostrovsky?

- Do not interrupt me please. Fulfill your thoughts however you want. Just let me finish or else…!

- I beg your pardon.. or else (or else) the threatening or else.. or excuse me.. I will not interrupt, here, go ahead, say whatever you want to say.

- No worries. Here is to a lover for you alone, her lips have the savor of grapes!

- Roseberry is fine too..

- Or they have the color of cherries and whatnot.

- And her cheeks have the redness of strawberries.

- (Whoa! Whoa!.. hold on right there, sir.. you lost me there.. what is this strawberry you speak of?! I have no idea what it is. I have never seen it or tasted it, so please stay humble and do not condescend to me. As you see, I am not at your level.. so say something Jordanian.. or pick some other kind of fruit.. so that I can understand you..)

- Watch out.. here we go again. You’re back to interrupting and mocking me with your movie talk! Believe me please.. it’s not very great for me, or else my state would be much different. I’m talking about status here..!

- (Bad status in a tough situation), is that what you meant to say? If that’s the case, then my guess is right. It means you’re back to your sheikh. The one with (from the inkwell to the graveyard)..

- (Ahmad bin Hanbal) right?

- No, it is (Taqi al-Din bin Taymeyah).. (the tormented imam) as (abdel-Rahman al-Sharqawi) called him. I think (Ibn Taymah) said it, not (Ibn Hanbal), but that is beside the point even though it kind of relates.. I’ll stop now.. yes I’m not a river that cannot be stopped, and now you are interrupting my train of thought, how am I going to go on?

- I’m sorry.. I’m sorry.. please go ahead or the rocks of the myth are going to be back on my shoulders!

- Fine.. fine.. as long as you don’t cut me off: and for Salt’s sake, and strawberries can go to hell.. London’s soft hell! And her cheeks have the color of Balqa’s cypress trees, and from the almonds of Sweileh God drew her lovely shining forehead.. and the features! And her eyes as green as the olives of Burma!

- No worries.. the important thing is that she has a nice smile. Like Balqis in the way she carries herself.. Like Aphrodite in the way she lights up. No.. no.. where is she from, one particular girl waiting for you at the door of your village house wearing her Irbid’s traditional dress, or the Bedouin one, and her (Edwan’s11) scarf. She will become your first poem to your beloved country that moment the breeze plays with her hair beneath her breathtaking kerchief.

- Hold on mister romantic poet.. please pardon me, you’re the one who is actually making me interrupt you. It’s because this genuinely lovely girl you are talking about will not like my poverty!

- I will come through!

- This girl, my brother, is my mother when she was young. She married my father after a love story, but then she exposed him. She found out what he really was: a chief who wanted a mistress nothing more!

- Could you just finish this and fly to another story?

- Now we are dreaming!

- I don’t want facts; I have had enough facts today. I want fantasy now; I want the never-ending fruits of fantasia.

- Or bring me a nice flower from the garden of stories.

- From the smell of a women from the cinema.

- I want to dream of another crystal one.

- To hook my heart on her Coco Chanel or Christian Dior beauty!

- From there.. from the top of the warm sleepy city!

- It’s your choice, and it’s fine because what you are asking of me is not going to bother me. Take it from my sneaky pen now:

There’s a lady amongst the Fairouz12 world, the “private collection13”, and the Marlboro14 world waiting for you inside a breathtaking villa, a villa for you alone. The furniture is the world’s best, just like the ones you see in Shmeisani15. This villa’s walls and marbles come from Bukhara, Samarkand, Kabul, and Isfahan!

A villa.. designed by a Parisian designer. A villa, Mr. Abdouni16 prince, is customized to accommodate the wealthy lifestyle you could be enjoying. It has all the necessary sirens and alarms to allow you to sleep in your elevated chamber on the bed sheet that is made from lion’s feathers!

It is your dream. You could have your sweet redemption that you have always dreamt of since the day Adam came down to earth from heaven all the way until this very day that you admitted you are broke. You will be back, eventually, to the tempting fundamental apple question!

Or.. you could fly again, to whole new horizons on wings woven by the women we dream of. Then the majestic master of stories will somehow deny you that, just like he denied countless victims before you. And after that he will condemn you to only dreaming of those blessings.

Is that the case? Is this what I really want? Is it what I always dream of?

Isn’t it your grand wish you have always wanted? Or else what are you talking about?

It feels like I’m writing on some depressed shifting sands..

Now that it has taken a hit.. nothing more. Where is the unspoken truth?

Where is it? I have had enough of this blabbering, especially the big question of our national identity?

Oh and now you are back to your initial fiasco..

I knew it. I knew that I wouldn’t be able succeed in my Sisyphean struggle: to distract you from your identity questions.

Aren’t you done with the whole writing thing? I hope you, the other writers of your kind, and even me all go to hell. Screw your cultural sorrows and national pains, and to hell with your humanitarian efforts!

Then… neither you nor me would exist!

I will answer you since you are a lost cause. There is nothing good that can ever come from you. Go to hell.. go back to the beginning: to (Faust) and (The Houses of the Dead).. to your deceased and depressed ones. Seek an ice-cold corner, in your mother’s old abandoned kitchen, which is completely empty except for sad memories. Go drink all of your characters’ tears from your damned stories.

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