I get myself into this beautiful car and I keep holding my breaths so tightly. I look through the window, and I find it difficult to concentrate at different things at the same time, however, I do my best and I succeed in minutes and fail in others. It's like Baghdad with all of its walls and doors, all streets and shops, all trees and earth bulks are of my own and nothing could stop me from showing my exaggerated eagerness for the divine providence to defend me against that big flow of thoughts. "Good idea to spend the night with your beloved uncle, Sandybelle, right?" my uncle murmurs loudly, breaking the silence. I grin back and say nothing. I find a way into his house, which I like a lot from the beginning, despite the small size. Its modern with cute decoration. He tells me where to sleep and goes to bring me orange juice, which I ask for after a while of considerable coquetry. We talk a lot, my uncle, his wife and myself, about different things, and she starts talking about marriage and boys, I inspirationally find a good excuse to go to bed. I just want to keep thinking before sleeping, as usual, but it happens and I sleep quickly, no wonders since I arrived today at 1 pm after 7 hours- long way, and it's 2 am. Only two hours are my part of sleep. At 4 am, my uncle awakes me, and I have a bath and we go to my grandparents' house, where everybody is ready for the trip, except those who are in my age or younger who prefer to stay in bed , enjoying the excellent air conditioning. I shouldn't stay, I should accompany my mom. I kiss the couple of lovebirds (which my other uncle has brought yesterday)by air. " I'm going to bring A and his family" as I hear it, I jump up quickly, and cry " I am coming!" They stare at me weirdly and I smile back. As we reach A's house, I get out of the car and stand at the gate and feel my legs tremble, and as I spend a few minutes wondering why, A opens the door and " Oh Sandybelle!! It would be better if you came with us to sleep with Zayyoni , we couldn’t sleep from his crying, he wanted you a lot, he just slept from the tiring weaning!". I stare a while, and say nothing, I greet my uncle's wife (A's wife) and immediately carry Zayyoni, he opens his eyes, and as seeing me , he says "Sandona inti wakeeha, leish me jeti yammi elbarha?" (= Sanybelle, you are rioter, why didn’t you come to me yesterday? ) and sleeps back soon. I cant help my eyes from tearing a little and I hug him. Then, we all get into a taxi to "al-nahdha garage" where people can rent cars to take them to different cities in the southern Iraq. "Omara" was our goal.* Tahtooooooooooooooooh! Come on! get up!" I speak to Zayyoni, and I am about to continue when his mom interrupts " what tahtooh?" and I am like" oh, well.. yes. I meant to.. ok ,this could be a nice nickname for Zain –despite Zayyoni is what I used to say and what it's the most suitable- ** " but doesn’t fit, does it? " his mom responds. "no it doesn't" I answer. And as I am trying to find a good admirable thought to change the subject, Zayyoni saves me here and jumps up to hug my neck. Repeating my name, making me feel the happiest person in the world. " ok ok, she's your fiancée son!" his mom says, and he just winks at me, and says " laaaaaa laaaaa hahahaha" (la=no). I giggle a little thinking such a big devil he could be!! Lol "Sandona, let’s read together" Zayyoni, bringing me a magazine, and I start to read it for him, trying to tell him a little about the alphabet, he interrupts me and says " Sandona, that's enough for reading, now, tell me a story", and I tell him several stories, what I remember the most is that of the battle between the sun and the wind and how the sun won it by making the man take off his jacket. He likes it a lot, shouting" Sandona tfoooooooooooooz" (= Sandybelle wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins). Then, Zayyoni picks up some finger chips and asks me to help him eat. This finally makes his mother fidget his many requests telling him he is annoying me. Frankly he is not, but I agree with his mom just for he should always understand that everything mummy says is true and right. It is midday, and we are still on the way, we passed through Hella, then Kut, and I don’t remember what else, and I am always fond of Hella. as we were close to Hella, I whispered to Zain "tahtooh , I miss you" and Zain kept repeating, TAHTOOOOH. It's very hot, and the sun is burning, on this way, I really realize how bad is the situation these cities live, and how horrible is the condition for most of the citizens, and I keep wondering, what's been happening during these 8 years? There's a very very big difference between the south and the north, despite the truth of presence of most Iraq's riches in the south. 65% of houses are made of mud, or mud with bricks which you can very clearly recognize, against the architectural art bases. We reach Omara, and my uncles start telling us, mom and I , how things have changed, mom is about to cry, and I stupidly ask "mom what's wrong?" "its my hometown Sandybelle, and it passion, you know what? I can remember everything happened here" and she keeps telling me stories about lives here, stories she never told me before, what caught me most are stories of nineties , when people of those cities had a war with the ruling regime that time, and how bodies and blood were in streets, how guns were sold in streets and how all shops were closed and every family had a consolation of one member or more. We reach a court, where the main business has to occur, and as I get out of a car, I start to feel , or people's looks make me feel, very bad, guilty, as if I have done a crime. I pinch my uncle wife's arm, asking her what's wrong, " don’t worry, they may think you've come from a different planet" and keeps laughing. I get crazier, and I can say I wish I was a mouse, so I can hide, or the fastest panther , so I can run away with no one notices! Then, I realize, I had to wear an Abaya over my usual daily clothes ( a shirt and trousers). I feel so sorry . and while I am blaming myself, Zayyoni cries " I want to go to a bathroom, right now, I need, now now now" and we were shocked, it was not a suitable time for this, at all, NOT FIT AT ALL!! His mother and I start to look for a W.C , no one knows where, then, finally, a policeman tells us where, and we thank God, and reach it when the handsome Zain refuses to enter, explaining " it's awful , its dirty!! The smell!! The smell!! I cant!' Oh no!! another problem, no Zain , not this time!!! I keep begging him to enter, his mother too, but the obstinate officer keeps the "no". He starts to cry, and I hug him tightly, " please tahtooh, this time, for me, only this time" and my legs tremble back, and I am in a big mess, wanting to be two halves, half to beg Zain and half to think of my legs trembling this dawn when I was thinking about Zain and Tahtooh. " Sandybelle, your leg!" Zain's mother says. " no its ok, no problem" I answer. I cry too, and look at Zain's mother who is about to show terrible madness says" Sandybelle, what's wrong??" Then Zain "Sandona, you cry?? Leish tibchen la tibcheeeeeeeeeeeeen!!" (=why you cry? Don't cry!!) "you stop crying first" I reply. And there's a pause, and I catch Zayyoni from his hand and help him go into the toilet. Everything then turns peaceful, and we ,the three, sit together, Zayyoni sitting in my lap, and I bend my head to his mother's shoulder. Then, I decide to stand outside the room, which is very crowded, and I carry a bottle of water with me. An old woman comes across me, stares at me, and I stare at her too, I am not brash, I just enjoy it, she turns back completely, and returns to me . I am so scared, but I cant cry, I am scared from the wrinkles of her face, then I pretend to be careless, but she breaks down the legal silence, and asks for some water, surely I don’t hesitate and I give her the bottle immediately. All she says is " this water seems to be from heaven, and you are a bird from the heaven!" (= hatha mei men el-janna, 'w inti ter men el-janna), I say nothing, and she leaves peacefully. Business is over, and we go to a bank, after that, we have a journey all around, by car, there's a new bridge being built, only one beautiful street, where we park the car and enter a restaurant for W.C Time is around 6 pm , the sky is very clear and marvelous. I freely can draw the picture of both Zayyoni and tahtooh (Yahya) on , my name is up there, and the sky totally is a someone's single name. .Also freely, I enjoy remembering my legs trembling, and realize it being of no danger and no fear, it could be just a call for Tahtooh. Really, I'm so eager to meet my beloved little princes, Zayyoni , and Tahtooh. Sandybelle *I am doing my promise about writing something about my visit to Omara :) , and I did my best to remember every tiny event with the exact sequence, and thankfully i could remember most of the speeches and places. and i thank you a lot for making me remember that awesome day. ** in Iraq, we are used to use nicknames while calling people we love, and these nicknames are derived from the original names, as Mohammad – Hammodi Sandybelle- Sandona ;) ;)
It was supposed that I visit Basrah this Saturday, by plane, but I'll go on Sunday, by car, and i am hesitated, since the way is very long, and here, Summer is burning, and i dont trust car air conditioning system that much..anyways, let's see what's happening..
The other night i wrote this, "Petals falling droplets running down my cheek I'm now alone, in the scenery that we once saw together.. I was afraid to remember, so, i closed my eyes,my heart and the door of my room! and I tried so many times to erase it, that big fear.. My love, the drops overflowed.. I wish i could protect you.. but right now, i feel i can do, and i am only waiting for days to pass over my path, the time i need to be fully independent, fully able to make you proud of me, despite the truth of my thinking, and only thinking with no mere belief, that it means nothing to you..
Even if i get hurt, i will keep trying, keep keeping trying..
I've been watching over you closely more than anyone else..
And here is the very everything ,my name, which you include, my life, my work, my hobbies, my family, my buddies, my future, my role, my prayers, my shadow, the shadow that you are closer to me than, and MY LOVE, all Over there, flying over the sky of places I am interested in , where I live, Mosul, I am in love with, Baghdad, and *Chicago*...
know? I expected you to stand by me to a farther extent than you really did.
Though, it's ok, since there's no difference anymore."
I bite my lip till it bleeds, not that renewed tragedy ; every single day,
every single night, is a very new tragedy.
not a player, and it is not a play. But I doubt it could be just a very bad
dream. I keep biting my lip till blood is enough to be directed inward and
cover my lower teeth, I am not scared of blood any more, blood has become a
matter I've got used to deal with in my job. But this time, I feel scared till
my lip starts trembling, and a stupid idea of I may have lost the motor nerve
supply of it comes to my mind. Then, I run to the closest tape, and I rinse my mouth.
I keep staring at the glistening screen, and
keep re-reading the status, and every time I do, I think it's the first,
perhaps it's due to the sleepy inspiration which already weakens my muscles,
mind and soul; It's no long time since I banished the last nervous attack I
faced, in my college, amongst the lies,
stressors, study, and sings of attempts to make you fail, fail and fall and
fall just to lower than your shoes limit, or as deep as into a hole you yourself might
mistakenly have dug looking for a well of sorcery and deceit a well of oil in this rich land – as they say, and it's rich in both- or
someone else has done, willingly or not, someone as possible as
you might have considered to be really nothing. In both chances, you're
considerably, the only loser.
My hands tremble, and I start to cry again. I
put my head on the pillow, and drown into sleep, thankfully, no dream about
this issue captures me, perhaps finally God doesn’t want me suffer any more, I
mean, God already doesn’t want me suffer, but this time, he decided to make me
realise this, realize it by my simple narrow-horizon mundane thoughts, caring very
much about my faith, the faith that can never ever escape from me, my mind, my
brain, from my brain's sulci and gyri, from my cellular compartments and my
blood, the blood that part of which has oozed scaring me, pushing me towards
My friend, my friend till February. When we
both decided-with no frank agreement- to put an end to that friendship, and I
trusted it, but the friend was likely to be only pretending, I don’t know what was
the his/her aim, I don’t know what was the all going on.
No one asked about the other except for the
helpless words from a time to another, that I really believed they were only
for our friendship's agony.
And it was all going as it wanted to go, but the
friend has never left my heart nor my mind, I really found S a true sincere
friend I could trust, although every time we talked, S would mention things I
hated a lot, they all were only about failure, sadness, misery,,,etc.. and I, I
really would get crazier every day, and this was reflected in my deeds and
thoughts, and I almost would change to a person like S, for S kept saying
he/she was like me in the past – so, I could be like her/him in the future, or
even in the present- then, I told myself , I must never be, I was born not only
for myself, and it's not me who chooses, its God, besides, and this is the most
important thing, I should stay me, if I changed, who would help S?!
I kept saying this, believing till my bone
marrow, it was the agony and that if I was in S's
place, I perhaps would be the same, S told me I was good and innocent and lovely,
and asked me never change, and always warned me not be the same she/he was.
I kept trying comforting S, but nothing worked,
even, S never told me she/he would feel ok when I talked to him, I was feeling
guilty, and so weak, that I could make no change.
And I started to think, what's the benefit of
being a friend while you are doing nothing. I even thought I would be just
another more load. I decided to be away, despite the big feelings I owed S.
It was Sunday, the last day of my exams, S
talked to me saying her/his father was at the end.
I was asleep by then, when I woke up in the
morning, I read the message, and I responded that God really knows what he does,
I had really nothing to respond with, I was in a very big mess, no sleep for
two subsequent nights, my mom was not at home, besides, S has used to respond
to me that way, so I underwent no big trouble to find suitable words, to talk with my usual way or event to
ask why, or what was going on ; then " he died this morning".
I was SHOCKED, even though S her/himself has
expected this, since his/her father's stage of cancer was advanced and kept
telling me this, but I didn’t believe, because I couldn’t, because I really
believed in miracles..
Silence for hours, no talk, no sense.. nothing
I knew to do. Finally, I remembered something called "crying" I used
to do frequently, but I cried so hard, I felt I needed something bigger than
crying to do, it’s a feeling repeats for the third time, I really didn’t know what did I have to do.
I wanted to call S, but" what must I
say?" I said to myself. Besides, I was sure that all his/her relatives
will come, and there will surely be no time for chatting. "and S' sisters?
I added" and I kept crying with myself, drowning my face into the pillow
and my tears into my whole face.
Once my mom told me, "Shams, if you ever
see a person lost her/his parent recently, be sure to leave her/him alone till
she/he wants to talk, no matter how strong is your will to speak to
her/him" and what urged me more to trust the silence I was in, was that I
remembered when my mother had lost her parents, and how dad had left her by
herself till she had said she had been better, " after all, it's God's role
" mom had said.
And I did this, with all my love from the depth
of my heart, with all my sadness, passing over my usual hotheaded nature, I did the same.
Besides, I was half to believe, half not to.
Right now, I have no excuses, and I am not
planning for any, it happened like this. S, in her/his city away from mine, thinks
I am rude or something like this, or let's say I don’t care about what she/he
thinks as much as I care for the thing I did, I did it from my heart,
never meaning to let him/her alone, and I believe, no word, at least for the
moment, can make any change.
Oh God, you really know how I feel.
My dear friend,
No word I found in all the dictionaries I own
can help me.. But allow me to say, I keep praying for your father, as much as
you confidently kept talking about him and how great he was, I loved him, , I
pray for him who is in Paradise right now, keep praying for you, and your
My friend, what aches me more is that we live
in two separated cities, but I believe in God being closer to us that our
souls, not only our shadows.
My friend, just believe I am that same person
who still and will always consider our friendship to be a flower, a flower I raised
up with our praying, our beliefs and trust. And this flower is Iraqi, it's tanned.
It's the same flower I will plant next to your father's tomb.
And my aim, is that you know, I still love you
… My friend.
By the first moment we had, by the first name we said, and by the first goal we
decided to work for, I swear, you will always be my friend, no matter how bad I
misunderstood you, how blurred your speeches and intentions were, and no matter
how hard to say I may lose you forever right now..