Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Passing Glance

It was a cloudy, and dusty Saturday afternoon , I was rushing to pick up the phone… but it does take an awfully long time to reach the phone these days.


“Mother it’s Ali, are you ready?? We are almost out of the door … we will be at the house in twenty minutes, ok?”

“Yes dear, I am all dressed, I’m just watching this soap on TV… such a nice show”

“Ok mother we’re on our way then”

Its been a tradition with my son, every Saturday he would pick me up at around noon and take me out for the afternoon… such a good boy, my son … never forgets to call his mama, always makes sure to take me out in the weekend. It has been much harder for me to get out since the operation … I can’t drive anymore, which is all as well, I can’t see that good anyways… the crutches were not as much of an annoyance as that damned wheelchair… oh well that’s life I guess.

A half an hour later the doorbell rings .. it rings and rings and rings and slowly I roll over to open it, its Ali and his best friend Ramy, dear dear boys, grew up to be respectable business men. We go downstairs and the boys are chatting about a tennis match they just finished.. Ali always liked to play tennis, didn’t ever stop since his dad and I have given him his first racket as his ninth birthday present. How the years rush by and how memories keep bombarding this senile brain of mine these days.

“Oh my, we’re here already! Time does fly, doesn’t it boys?” … we have to wait for the elevator to take us up to the next floor… its quite grand compared to the ones of my time, though the old ones where nice wooden ones, the marvel of there time. We roll into the elevator and it stops again, a mother with a toddler in her stroller come in… our eyes meet the toddler and I, the briefest longest most agonizing moment of my life…

I was a youngster once, it does seem hard to believe that this wrinkled aged old body was once as soft smooth and pain free as this brown eyed youngster. Where did the years go? My mother used to push my cart around just like this, she’d then take me to the sweet shop and buy me my favorite candy, she always took such good care of me, oh how I miss you mummy… how I miss going to school in my freshly ironed uniform with my school bag on my back and my younger brothers hand in mine and my friends waiting by the school door… we’d run around and play hide and go seek, never getting tired only stopping when the school bell rings to end the break… I should have paid more attention in class … should have stopped doodling in my copybooks and actually heard what the teachers were saying…I should have never lost touch with Sarah, she was such a good friend… she died at such a young age… dear Sarah… such an angel, but life is like that, you get used to it. Its just such a shock when your young … Sarah and I went shopping for her wedding dress together, we giggled and laughed like the silly excitable girls we were! And what a gorgeous dress it was … she looked like a princess… her accident was so tragic, such a waste…. a young wife and mother, Ramy has went through so much suffering without his mother… but he is such a strong willed boy… I remember how he nursed that stray dog back to life when we all thought he was a goner… he fed that poor animal and played with him and cared for him till one day he just got off his feet and turned into the more energetic puppy you’d ever see… they were inseparable the boys and the dog!! Oh how the years fly…

The Elevator comes to a stop, Ali pushes my chair out of the elevator and I take one last glance at the girl in the stroller. I’ve blown out my 78th birthday candle last week and in between my first candle and my last I’ve lived, I’ve loved and I’ve lost… but what would I give to feel what that little girl is feeling for just one day… the unconditional love and protection surrounding her and pushing her along.

It was a cloudy, and dusty Saturday afternoon, my birthday is in 3 days mummy tells me I will be four years old… old enough to go to school like Laila and Adam.

“Mummy I wanted to go to the club today” but mummy said “its all yucky outside today sweetie, so instead lets go to the fun faire with all the nice rides”

“But Mummy I wanna go on the swings and have cotton candy, pretty please mummy!!”

“How bout you ride the train that goes round and round instead??”

“mmm train is fun…. But can I still get cotton candy mummy??”

“Yes habibity, we’ll get you cotton candy… its your birthday in three days you know??”

“Do I get to blow candles out and open up presents too mummy??

“yes honey now off you go to your room, we need to choose something to wear today and then we will be on our way, we have a lot to do today… we have to buy you something nice to wear in your birthday party, you want to look like a princess right??”

“Oh yes mummy … I wanna look like a princess!!”

I chose to wear Barbie boots with my blue jeans and pink butterfly top … I am now old enough to ride beside mummy “as long as you have your seatbelt on dear” she always says…

“I wanna ride in my cart mama”

“Firo, your old enough to walk with mummy”

“but mum ,… please please please can I ride my cart, I don’t wanna walk … please”

“Ok dear but just this once”

We get into the big elevator but it is too crowded … I cant see the window… I usually like to see the window … it has a really nice view!! There is another cart in the elevator … this one has an old lady in it… she is as old as nana … I thought when you start to go to school you stop riding baby carts … the old lady looks sad… she looks like she wants to tell me something… but she doesn’t say anything… weird how old people look so tired and sad… I like being pushed in my cart but old lady doesn’t seem to be happy… oh the elevator stopped … goody … maybe I can get mummy to take me to the face painting place too… I can get a butterfly that matches my top… I can’t wait till my birthday …. Then I won’t have to go to the nursery anymore, I will be old enough to ride the bus with Laila and Adam and I will put on the red and blue uniform as well and be grownup!!

Oh goody only three days to go and I will grow up!!

It was a cloudy, and dusty Saturday afternoon , we were at the mall .. .my friend and I… exhausted from a long day of shopping, shopping and more shopping … each with her shopping bags in one hand and her purse in the other, we decided to go up for a bite at one of our favorite restaurants in the shopping center … satisfied with our 3 hour workout of going from one store to the next… we opted for the elevator to whisk us up to the upper floor restaurant for our lunch. It came to a halt in the first floor and a man pushing a wheelchair with his mother in it came in, the elevator door closed and it moved up to the second floor where again it came to a halt and this time a mother pushing her 4 year old daughter came in, and a glance ... a split second of recognition, confusion and amazement passed between that little girl in her crib and the aged women in her wheel chair... the elevator stops at our floor and on our way to lunch we mention that point.

“Did you notice what happened in the elevator” my friend asked

“The young girl and the old lady? Yes I noticed” “Could be the subject of an interesting story” My friend continued “what went through their mind in that split second of recognition … reminds me of something I read once, remind me to tell you about it”

We went on our way … picked up our lunch… work again tomorrow but hey at least we each got a belated birthday present when we went shopping today.

Written by Sherine Meshad

Thursday, February 16, 2006

In Memory of El-Salam Boccaccio 98

A vessel lost in ample mist

Misfortune least expected

A father, a mother, a sister, a brother

Eternally lost to the treacherous blue


Curled up inside a womb,

Sinking down into the deep,

Slicing through absolute silence,

Carving a tomb for a soul to lay


Anguished hearts beseeching a miracle

Deep down knowing its too late to plea

The flame burnt out from life’s candle

As darkness descends in final farewell.


© Sherine Meshad, 16 Feb 2006