“Go home, have lunch, go for a walk, go home again, do what you have to do, watch something on DVD, go to bed.” That was how I visualized my day at work, forgetting the fact that during any of these daily routines that I take for granted, something so small could happen that will touch your soul and change you in an instant.
I was taking my daily walk, something I usually do with my mom and our neighbor in a quiet area that’s relatively new so, for the most part, there are either beautiful houses around or plots of lands covered with the colorful blankets of spring. A great place to get lost in thought.
As I was wrapping it up and heading home, I passed by an orange-colored villa that I thought it hasn’t been inhabited yet. But this time I heard voices, a woman’s voice talking to someone who turned out to be a child going out through the main gate of the villa and who was also saying something back. He seemed in a rather bad mood and something about him and about the house made me feel that he’s one of those little brats who bully other kids at school and that he’s just come to Jordan with his family after years of living outside the country. He really seemed to me like one of those annoying spoiled kids you see in Hollywood movies and TV show. Maybe because he was a little too big for his age, maybe it was his tone of voice, but whatever it was I made the fatal mistake, again, of judging a book by its cover.
He kept going in the same direction I was going, and as I got closer to him ,still thinking of the next mischief he might cause just by walking down the street, he suddenly turned to me and said:
“Watch out for the tar, it might not be dry, you better walk here [pointing out to the rocky side of the road] I always walk here, it’s safer”
All the time he said that I was still thinking that he was up to something. I thought he was trying to pull a joke on me like the things a six-grader might do, but I tried to be nice for I thought he may prove wrong, and he actually did.
– Oh, I better watch out then. But you know I think it’s dry, I walk here everyday
– I know! I see you pass by when I’m studying
– Really? What grade are you?
– Fifth grade, what grade are you in?
– Well, actually I finished school, I work now. What’s your name?
– I like your name! Well, I’m Ola. It was really nice to meet you
And just as I greeted him and was about to split up he said:
– I’m going this way too, to my aunt’s house
– Well, we can walk together then. Does your aunt have children your age?
– I have a cousin who’s my age too, we’ve been friends since we were 4. But she’s now in the States.
The conversation went on and then my mother and our neighbor joined in. We found ourselves sharing stories with a 10-year-old boy we’ve just met, and all of us couldn’t help but smile at how friendly and social that young boy was. I can imagine him sitting beside his window with his book, looking at passers-by and wondering who they are and what stories they could have, and perhaps think of a way he could invite them to his own world and strike an unlikely friendship with them.
This young boy who at the first glance I thought to be a bully, was yet another reason why I smiled at the 2 little neighborhood girls and greeted them cheerfully, and why I goofed around with babies on the street and the supermarket. This young boy is one of those people who stand by waiting for us to invite them into our lives, only we’re blinded by prejudgment and paranoia. But once in a while one of those people will force their way in, and that’s when you learn how rusty the lock on your door has gotten, and it’s about time you cracked it open.