The Pains of Wandering

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Chapter 7

Sweating foreheads

[We ask angry question: about pain, about the shocks of electric chairs, about.. rape, about the price of expatriation, about woes.. there.. honestly!

We tell the truth.. just like that.. without make up!

We say everything.. we reveal the forbidden pain..!

Why not.. are we not in a good country: the country that is a haven for its neighbors?

In the country that brings the free Arabs together on its sacred land?

Why not.. this country has a welcoming chest that excels with freedom and accepting the free.

The greatest chest for the greatest nation.. even if so many people hate that.

Yes.. let us say it right here.. everything.. let us reveal all the stories..!

My forehead said:

- How about we talk about the weather.. what do you think?!

The driver’s forehead replied:

- There is an English proverb that says that only the stupid cannot find a topic of conversation other than the weather!

Another forehead commented saying:

- You are just a Sarfeess driver’s forehead and you talk about English proverbs?! (wow.. wow.. wow.. what is life!)

(The elbow that was resting on a knee answered angrily despite the barrier between this elbow and its heavy owner: the owner of the fourth forehead):

- What do we talk about then?

The fifth forehead also said:

- What do we talk about then?

The dark skinned elbow answered:

- Isn’t there anything apart from the weather to be an introduction to our dragging conversation and to be a topic of our hopeful questions?!

- Is there anything, my friends, in this wandering, other than this weather flow that reaches us hot?

(Then the fourth forehead asked.. since his owner was busy with his elbow):

- Alright then.. where do we begin? With what? And who will start?

(The fifth forehead answered in frustration):

- What is with this bewilderment?.. We are just asking questions about anger:

About pain..

About the shocks of electric chairs..

About rape..

About the price of expatriation..

About woes.. there.. honestly!

We tell the truth.. just like that.. without make up!

We say everything..

We reveal the forbidden pain..

(The second forehead commented with excitement):

Yes.. yes.. why not?!

Are we not in a good country: the haven for its neighbors and the shelter and asylum for free Arabs who scream for the sacred Arab unity?! Why not.. right?!

This country gives caring shoulders for all the sorrowful of this nation.. to cry on.. to lean on.. to complain from the injustices..

It is a welcoming breast.. full of love of freedom and the free.. it is the greatest chest for the greatest nation: a clear truth, crystal clear, even if others hate it..

(Here is the fifth forehead once again still angry saying):

- Yes.. let us say, right.. here, on its breast, before him, let us say everything..

let us reveal all the stories.. and then when we do, we would not care even if Azrael- the soul capturer- descended to take ours!

(the second forehead wandered angrily and a bit scarily):

-What’s the matter with you?!!! It just seems you are about to tell the story of (Ragab) from (the Middle East)!45

(My forehead grumblingly said):

- Or.. perhaps you will talk about some other (Ismael) and another (Zaynab) in a different (Karnak46) by a different and a strange (Nagib)!

(The third forehead at the top of its owner fidgets and then suggested a decisive option to put an end to the fiasco):

- Neither this nor that, instead, we are going to look at the tragedies of Mohammed Jalal’s novel47..

About his protagonist, Yousef the heir and which of his two screams were stronger and more decisive.. was it the one against the stranger or against poverty?

(Then the elbow jumped right in to intervene saying):

- Talk about some western pain for God’s sake.

It’s because you find safety when you talk about something not Arab!


I’ll tell you. In the novel (How the Steel was Tempered) by (Nikolai Ostrovsky), for example!

Or how about (Boris Pasternak) and his novel (Doctor Zhivago)? We could play the music of our sad stories to (Yuri’s) musical chairs game (balalaika).

Or we could go along the lines of (Anatoly Rybakov’s) novel (Children of the Arbat), which was considered, for what it contains, part of the Soviet gold reserve. In fact, a single copy of this novel would be sold for five hundred dollars on the black market before the Gorbachev policies of Glasnost and Perestroika!

(My forehead said mockingly):

- All right, sir, it’s okay. We are all yours. In fact, elbows.. as we all know, are better than foreheads! Isn’t that true? I mean.. do we agree on this?

(The elbow answered haughtily):

- Of course.. of course.. get to your point.

(My forehead said):

- Then.. you sir are an advanced and knowledgeable elbow.. you would not even stop playing the music of your advancements followed by your orchestra of leftist knowledge.. and all we do here is listen to you do that!

- Since you are like that, then no one but you is going to start, my friend and my teacher!

(The elbow answered):

- Easy right there.. easy my friend, you would never surpass my intelligence, abilities and knowledge!

Since confessions are in order.. oh pardon.. I forgot my burgundy knowledge and leaned towards the blonde English one!

What I meant was that since you admitted so freely and eloquently that I am indeed modern and that I understand protocols and etiquette, then foreheads first!

The English say: “ladies first.. even to paradise48

I apologize.. here I go again I forgot and used my great English. I meant to say ladies first.49

As in ladies always are in the lead- first.. even to the heavens while some others say even to hell!

- Alright.. they dragged me to (!!!) (and (the first) told its story)!

- Alright.. they put me on (!!!) (and (the second) told its tragedy)!

- Alright.. they took me to (!!!) (and (the third) narrated its novel)!

- Alright.. they pulled me from (!!!) (and (the fourth) told its story)! (as its owner’s elbow fell silent)!

- Alright.. they took me away from (!!!) (and (the fifth) cried its story)

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