This is something I’ve been trying to write for so long. I decided to start sharing it today without even revising the material, some of which written over 2 years ago, as bloggers are today celebrating the good old days of blogging…
They say good times pass quickly. However, when I look back at my life everything seems to be crawling. The sweet and the bitter.
Life in my small village was nothing out of the ordinary. In the early mornings, men would get up and head to work, while women would be up even earlier, tending to their chores so they can meet a few hours later to catch up on their gossip. Most of the kids went to a small public school in the village, which was anything but a healthy environment for the mental and physical growth of children. We ran to school everyday to avoid arriving late, for the headmistress wouldn’t tolerate that. After school, kids went to play with marbles in the alleys, men came home in the evening, women prepared dinner and by dark everyone would close their doors and go to sleep. And, on the next day, the same old story would be repeated. Nothing to ponder on.
Perhaps it’s this dull pattern that made me believe my relation with Saif to be special. We both hated the alleys and thought they were macabre; So, after school we wouldn’t join the other kids there. Instead, we would run to the small water spring just outside the village, lay there on the grass listening to the trickling sound of water and trying to understand what it has to say. We both believed every sound in the universe was saying something, but whatever they say, you can never hear it, you can only hunch and try to guess. We called it the sixth sense, and I always believed Saif to have a much stronger sixth sense than I had.
Saif and I were so much alike that I believed we were some way connected. Sometimes I even thought that my twin brother who, from what I was told, died at birth didn’t really die. I figured that maybe he was taken away by another family who raised him as their own. Although this seemed completely absurd, I was willing to believe it against all odds if it weren’t for the fact that Saif was one year older than me. But to tell the truth, this has always pleased me because, for some reason, I hated to think of Saif as my brother.
Saif’s family was poor, but compared to the rest of the village; they were considered one of the most fortunate families. His father owned a small grocery shop, and his mother was the main source of gossip in the village. His sister, Nimrah, was believed by everyone to be the least beautiful girl in the village, even by her own parents who wouldn’t hesitate in rubbing it in her ears whenever she did something they didn’t like. I have never told Saif how much repulsive I find her. She was huge, very tall and big boned. She had the biggest nostrils I’ve ever seen, and I’ve always pictured them flaring with anger whenever she got mad. Her eyes were extremely big and goggled as though they were going to fall out of their sockets with every blink. Her complexion was pale, always pale, and her hair short and very frizzy, like a bundle of worn-out wires.
Curiously enough, Saif found his sister pretty. He said the mirrors didn’t reflect our real images, and that Nimrah believed her mirror and everyone believed it too. He hated mirrors, and he never looked into any of them.
“But” I argued once “How would you know what you look like if don’t look in mirrors?”
“You see me, right? He replied. “You wouldn’t have become my friend if I was ugly.”
I wasn’t quite convinced by what he said, but knowing that he was always right, I didn’t give it much thought.
Sometimes, when it was too calm, we would play a game of throwing stones in the river. The first time we played it, I bounced with joy as my stone reached a farther distance, but Saif insisted that I didn’t win.
“It’s not about the stone that reaches farthest; it’s about the one that makes the most ripples”
As I look back now, I can’t help but think how many times I’ve been in a situation were Saif’s words came into play, right from the depths of my subconscious and long cherished memories, to make me adamant not only to push my limitations, but also to make the most ripples along the way.