The Day Before the Day

How old was I? I honestly can’t remember. I must have been around the age of 11 though, I know that because my mother and father didn’t get a divorce yet but they were at the point of no return in their marriage.
We traveled, my family and I, to the coastal city of Lattakia on the shores of Syria as a trial to freshen up the relationship between my parents. Did it really help? The fact that they got a divorce that winter says otherwise.

I remember the beach; sandy with lots of huge umbrellas, public showers and a basketball court that looks smaller than it should be. My father, a fan of laziness and a victim of drowning phobia, would spend hours on one of the many chairs on the sand in his PJs watching us swim and puffing clouds of Arjilah smoke. My mother was not allowed at the time to be seen swimming in public; so she would spend hours sitting silently next to him and roaming the place with her eyes.
We looked like a peaceful and beautiful family; but looks are deceiving most of the time.

I generally felt lonely on that trip; it was a hot dessert-like summer, with calm winds and slow waves; by the second day I already built a fair number of sand castles, freaked out couple of times when tiny fish started nipping on my foot in the shallow waters and drank a good number of iced sodas. I was too short, however, to play basketball, although I really wanted to.

Among the empty looks exchanged between my parents, my little sisters irritating murmuring and the hot long nights. I decided to get my CD player; a newly acquired technology in Syria, and go to walk on the beach. I had a collection of Disney songs on a CD, some in English while others in the Egyptian Arabic the Disney movies were usually dubbed to. I decided to put one of these songs on. I honestly can’t remember which song was it, but I believe that it was The Little Mermaid’s Kiss The Girl when I saw them.
They were walking slowly on the beach with tight swimming costumes and baggy T-shirts. For some reason they captured my attention. They were five or six; all of them were in their early twenties.
I couldn’t see their faces; the lights were dimmed on the sealine and I couldn’t see their facial features; however, for some reason I was attracted to their presence like a moth attracted to fire. I wanted to follow them; I was really young, I wanted to know who they are.

I walked behind them keeping a ten meter space between them and me. They were playful, joyful and seems to have much fun together.
I remember walking slowly and watching them as they push each other playfully to the water and say what seems to be naughty jokes that they were laughing at loudly. They looked like happy people; no murmuring sisters, no angry fathers, no passive aggressive mothers, no loneliness, no sadness in sight.

Were they gay? I don’t know. They might be and for ages, after I came to understand homosexuality, I assumed they must be. However, now that I’m old and seemingly wise, I can tell you that assumptions are a dangerous thing; don’t assume, assume less, or know what the fuck you’re assuming.

I kept walking behind them, unaware of how far I was getting from the rented shoreside house my father got us. It was getting darker but I wasn’t afraid. I was seriously curious. I just wanted to know them. To get to know them. To tell them all my problems and just sleep for one night among them with no sounds of exchanged screaming or bitter arguments. I wanted peace and quite. I needed fun and lighthearted. I didn’t know better, and honestly, I don’t think I know now any better than back then.
I found out where they lived; on a similar shoreside house half an hour walk from my rented house. I sat on the sand for hours and I watched them as some of them are cleaning the balcony, while others are busy inside with cooking food; they sat, later on, around a small table and they ate while their roaring laughter is filling the air with joyful sounds. Then, they sat around the balcony, two of them were sitting in a cozy sofa while the others poked fun at them. For some reason, their muffled conversation was bringing joy to my heart; I couldn’t understand a word they exchanged, I couldn’t tell what they were laughing at: but I was laughing all the same when I heard them laugh. They tell you that the only bodily symptom that can be contagious through glass is laughter. There was a wall of glass between them and I; let it be age, or height or the ability to exchange a conversation without losing control of my childhood stutter that I was cured off with time.
As they turned off the lights in their little seaside house and went, one after the other, inside, the two who looked special sat outside alone for a while. They were awfully close to each other; it looked weird but I liked it; I felt good about it; as if I was sitting with them and hearing their whispers and talks.
I wasn’t tired but I dunno why I fall asleep; the chair I was sleeping on got so very warm; and my eye lashes got really heavy. I just slept there unaware of time and space and parents who might be worried, or might not.

I woke up to my father’s hand; he looked outraged but he kept it inside; he asked me to walk and I started walking not totally sure of time. The skies were turning dark blue though, I assumed I must have slept for hours.
A last stair towards their house told me that there was no one on the balcony. One of their windows had a soft sweet light on, but nothing else can be seen or heard. I kept walking away.
When I got inside the rented house of my family; my mother was crying. My father accused her of dramatizing everything and she told him that he has no heart. I ignored both of them and started walking to my bed; and among the exchanged screaming and bitter arguments; the irritating murmuring and the room-filling empty looks; I heard my mother say, for the very first time, that she wants a divorce.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. speedzero
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 14:35:05

    للحظة ما شعرت باني ذاك الطفل اللذي يتبع غرائزه وحبه للحياة غير مكترث يالنتائج يحمل نظرة سعيدة ويتمسك بها كطعم الشوكولا للذس يتذوقها لاول مرة
    مشكور جدا صديقي سما
    ملاحظة : اسم المنشور له دلالات تخصني جدا وهذا ما زاد تقربي من ذاك الطفل البريء


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