Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Those Men, Chapter Two: Strangers

He knows!

At that moment she felt as if her body had become a prison that she was trapped inside. She wanted to leave the knife out of her hand and run away, but she couldn’t. Every bit of her was screaming yet she remained silent.

It all started when she woke up and decided to make a green salad.

She got out of her bed and headed downstairs where the kitchen is. For her, she has always trusted that inner instinct of hers; she just felt it , something was not right ! a bad thing had happened but she couldn’t put her hand on it yet she knew it was a scary thing.  And since her way of dealing with fear was to occupy herself with work, housework in specific, she decided to make a salad.

People have always liked her salad and said that it was the best they have ever eaten. Despite the fact that it was ‘just a salad’, there was something very special about it. And that is why she chose it , to feel very relaxed and confident.

Dina started cutting the cucumbers slowly and neatly, everything for her is ‘art’; starting from the beautifully and discretely decorated house to her closet that makes you feel you are in a boutique reaching her small garden. She was cutting the cucumber while admiring her violets outside that she was very proud of when she saw her husband getting out of his car and in stead of walking on the tiles, he stepped over the flowers and kept moving…

Their eyes met through the window, she stopped half way through cutting a slice of cucumber… He knows!!!

She felt as if her body had become a prison that she was trapped inside.Every bit of her was screaming yet she remained silent. He might kill her , or at least he will hit her or even tell her that it is over between them. That look on his face was enough to make her know that he knows about her affair , there were no indicators at all. She have thought of that moment many times but never thought it would happen that way, that fast !!!

Her body was able to shake for the first time when she heard the door being slammed. She wanted to scream, she wanted to cry , she wanted to beg for forgiveness…. She was frozen!!!

There was  a long distance between him standing by the kitchen door and her by the sink yet she was able to feel his heavy angry breath over her neck…. Her back was to him , she did not turn around…
A long time passed before Adam asked quietly

“It was a mistake.”
He asked more persistently: “Why?”
“I did not know what I was doing. I promise you it will never happen again.” Those were her panicking words..

She remained silent for two minutes, two long scary minutes….
“His hands tremble every time he sees me.”

“I don’t remember when was the last time you looked at me… I mean actually look at me, making me feel your love… I remember when we were at collage, I used to feel your eyes despite the huge distances separating us… they were full of love and passion… “

“He notices when I change the color of my hair… he compliments me when I buy a new dress… he admires the new flowers I plant…”

“I cannot remember your face anymore… I see you everyday, we have lunch together, you sleep next to me every day, … but I cannot remember your face… “

“His hands tremble when he sees me.”

Long Silence…
She did not know whether she lost her sense of time or whether she was so terrified that she couldn’t listen… but all she was able to feel the slam of the door behind her husband who left, stepped over the beautiful flowers again and never looked back.

Should he take the scarf with him or not?

He starred at it  for a long time… He couldn’t decide whether to take it or leave it in his office. He knew that at the end of the day one of three things might happen; he might die in the operation room, he might be alive and the operation would fail again or everything will be fine and the operation will be a successful one. And in two out of the three scenarios, the scarf won’t be needed at his office!!!

The blue scarf lying in front of him reminded him of himself after his first operation, he was lying in the bed as dead as that scarf. Despite the fact that he couldn’t see or think well after waking up, he could see and feel how terrified his sister was. The reason he chose her to be with him after he wakes up was knowing how strong she was, whenever there was a crisis she would be the first one to step up, fight till the end and do her best… but apparently the situation was different when it came to her young brother..

Joseph was 29 years old but in his older sister’s eyes he would always be her younger baby brother… the one she protected and stood by since he was born…

When he woke up, she was so terrified that she her tears were falling non-stop. The doctor recommended giving him fluids and after sipping some water, she got him a cup of tea that she added salt to instead of sugar ! He asked her to leave the room and go home but she refused. She stood by him through every minute of his ‘after-operation’ process.

His operation did not work the first time and he had to go through another one, even though he knew well all the procedures and what to expect yet he was more afraid this time. He just couldn’t handle going through all this pain and suffering. He contacted the doctors, got two blood units , did all the medical exams and all the supplies needed. The only thing he did not know what to do about was who to take with him; his sister offered but he refused.

Another person offered to accompany him to the surgery but Joseph refused too, it was his newly wife Alma. Alma was an eighteen year-old girl that Joseph fell in love with and got married to.  Everyone around them was shocked of such a decision, Joseph has always been a mature guy who believed that when getting married the girl should be closer to the guy in age and educated with a job. “she should have a life before she gets married.” Those were his words whenever someone mentioned getting married to a young girl. As for her, the surprise of people came as a result of her being so ‘young’, a person who has never even thought of getting married, her biggest step in the ‘field’ of love would be having a crush over a guy who is the same age as hers!
He did not know what to do or whom to call, but he was sure of one thing; he decided to leave the scarf in the office because he was optimistic enough that after a short while he will get back to wear it there.


That drop of water won!!!

He had everything planned, he would go to her house with the biggest smile ever, then he would congratulate her and her fiancé, stay for a while and then leave. It was the perfect plan to deal with her in her first ‘formal gathering’ that includes her and her fiancé.

On his way to her house, the taxi driver turned on the radio and ‘Thousand Years’ song was playing… it was their song or what is supposed to be their song. He imagined how this song would be in the background when he proposes to her, how he would give her a huge bouquet of violet roses, her favorite. He also thought of how he would hug her and never let go … but it was over, all what he dreamed of will never be true. He felt that a tear is about to fall but he did his best to fight it, he never thought it would be that excruciating fighting a small drop of water not to fall from his eyes.

He left the taxi and took the elevator to her house. While he was waiting for someone to open the door, he forgot for a moment that she got engaged and felt that unbelievable happiness he feels knowing that she is on the other side coming to open the door for him. He had a special knock and no one but her was allowed to open the door for him.

He was waiting, he smiled, then the tear fell !!!

The door was opened, but not by her, by a mutual friend of them who arrived earlier. He wiped his tear quickly and put his big smile again and entered the house.

“And THIS IS SAMI, my best friend, my wonderful buddy, my person .”Rana announced in a theatrical way. She was looking at her fiancé, she was happy to see Sami, but her way of looking at her fiancé was completely different, there was that brightness in her eyes that he had never seen before.

He shook hands with her fiancé and sat with the others. He was hoping that the guy would be a jerk, but he was very nice, handsome , educated and funny. His name was Joe, 29 years old and working at a computer company as an engineer. They met at a party and then started talking, but Rana decided to keep it a secret from everyone until their engagement was formal.

 Sami was known for being ‘the spirit of the party’ , everyone would gather around him talking to him , taking his advice and listening to his funny stories… but he was silent, as silent as a rock. 

Whenever Rana asked him to share a story, he would share it briefly with no life in his words.
He went to the kitchen to get something to drink, he was treated at her house as if it were his, she followed him and put her hand over his back.
“Are you ok?”, she asked.

He wanted to grab that hand over his shoulder and scream, he wanted to ask her why she did not choose him, why she did not wait for him….
“I am fine.”, he said.
“Listen, I know that you are a little bit upset that I haven’t told you before, but I wanted to make sure that he is the one before sharing the happy news.. and everything happened so quick that I …”

He stopped her by turning his face to hers :”It is ok my dear, the most important thing is that you are happy…”

“I will only be happy if I get your blessing.”

He wanted to hug her as they usually do, he wanted to pat over her shoulder, but he couldn’t…

He put on a fake smile and said: “Of course you do.”

She was so happy that she hugged him, her hands were around him but his body was still. Her fiancé entered the kitchen.

“Oh! Am I interrupting an emotional moment.” He asked with a smile.
“Yes , you are.” Answered Rana…
They all smiled and they went back to the living room.

No more pink shirts !!!

He collected all his pink shirts and put them in a bag to throw them away later. He decided from that moment to start wearing darker colors , men’s colors!! He has always been criticized by the community around him for many things that he did, his actions, behaviors , the way he talks, the words he used…. Simply, he was a ‘good material’ when it came to gossip.

He decided to be a ‘normal’ person, an ‘accepted’ one. Despite the fact the Omar was successful in all every aspect of his life, he wasn’t happy with the way society looked at him, how he was perceived.

While he was walking in the street he met a friend of his… His friend approached him and wanted to give him a hug as he usually does, but he pulled back.

“Are you ok?”
“Yes, it is just I am wondering, why do you want to hug me! People find it weird.”
“People !! Weird!!” his shocked friend said , then he continued: “ And since when do you care about what people think! And what is the exact definition of ‘weird’?”
“I am not in the mood of talking.. would you like to go for a walk? A silent one.” Omar asked.
“Sure! That is of course if you don’t find it weird.” He answered sarcastically.

Omar smiled and they started walking. While they were walking they passed by a very noisy house, it was clear that a party was going on.

“Let’s crash into that party! It would be great, just like the previous times. “
“No, and remember the ‘silent’ rule.”
“Ok then , let’s dance here to the music.” His friend said, laughing…

It was not the first time for them to do something silly in the middle of the street, but Omar stood still started dancing and laughing!

His friend suddenly stopped and asked: “What is wrong with you? Are you ok? I am really worried.”
“It is ok, I just want to go home.. alone!!”

He left him and went home.
Joseph stood at the enterance of the hospital with his pack-bag and a pillow that he brought with him. He was alone. He did not feel sad or at least did not want to admit that he was, he put a big smile on his face and entered !

“Hello, my name is Joseph and I have an operation within an hour.” He told the receptionist.
“Oh! You are Joseph! Welcome sir.”
“I am sorry, but what do you mean by that reaction.”
“I am sorry sir, but this is the first time that the company of the patient who is about to have a surgery comes hours before him.”
“’company’!! what do you mean?”

He felt a hand over his shoulder and heard the person saying: “She means us you idiot!!! Did you think that if you lie to us and give us a wrong date of the operation that we would easily believe you.”

He turned back to find Adam, Omar and Sami standing there with big smiles and faces full of hope.
“I … I am…” Joseph was not able to speak.
“You will be ok.” Sami said.
“I am not sure, I might die.”
“You will be ok.” Omar answered.
“I …. I love you guys.”
“Why don’t you stop the crap and let’s go prepare you for your surgery and for sure we will see you after hours and you will be as healthy as a horse.” Adam said.

He went to the operation ward, got prepared and while he was heading to the operations room Adam stopped the cart and moved closer to him and said “and we love you too, buddy.”
Strangers, we think they are those whom we have never met… but a stranger could be a wife with whom you lived for years yet you aren’t able to recognize her features anymore..…

A stranger could be a friend that you once told all your secrets… yet you reached a point where you are unable to tell them the truth about your feelings..

A stranger could be yourself! Being different, acting different, wearing a mask that makes it difficult even for yourself to recognize your soul.

The closest ones to you might be strangers and strangers might be the closest to you…
Joseph made it!

It was hours after midnight when the operation was over and the doctors told his friends that everything looks fine but they need to wait till 24 hours pass to evaluate the situation. They asked his exhausted friends to go and have rest since he will be sleeping for at least 12 hours.

Adam went to his home and started looking for his wife, he was shocked to find her still standing by the kitchen sink with the knife in her hand… he moved close to her and then he…. He hugged her.

He hugged her so tight that her tears started falling again, her ‘paralyzed’ body was unable to handle anything…

He whispered in her ears: “It is ok! It is crisis and we will overcome it, together.”
Omar went immediately to the room he rented after he got out of his parent’s house. He looked for a long time at that face in the mirror, at that guy who was wearing a black shirt and acting so ‘mature’… Despite being extremely exhausted, he left his house and went to his friend’s house and stood by the door and called him.

“He… hello”, his sleepy friend answered.
“Hello there, dress up and come down.”
“Who is this ? Omar !! What is going on ? are you ok?”
“Just come down.”

Minutes later, his terrified friend got out of the house to find Omar waiting for a big smile on his face. .
“What is going on?”
“Nothing, I just wanted us to dance in the middle of the street.”
“What! It is midnight and there is no music.”
“No problem!!”

Omar started singing in the middle of the night, and they both started dancing… and laughing…
“Hello.” Rana’s worried voice answered.

“Hello there, sorry for calling you that late.” Sami answered in a very polite and formal way.

“Who are you and what did you do to my friend Sami?!! Since when you apologize when calling at night… have you forgotten all our late talks you silly !!”

“No , I haven’t. I am just calling to tell you that I accepted the job offer, you know , the one I refused before because I did not want to travel for six months.”

“What !! Why? You were completely against the idea.”

“As they always say: ‘Circumstances alter cases.’”

“Is there anyway you can change your mind.”

“No actually, I have made my decision.”

“Not even for my own sake!”

It took him a while to wipe his falling tears before he could answer her: “I just have to do it, goodbye for now.. talk to you later.”

Sometimes it is the big actions and others it is the smallest details that turn two close ones into strangers. But some people fight this state and do their best to be their ‘old selves’ again, while others surrender and let go… just let go!
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About Me

Palestinian/ Freelance writer, translator and Trainer./ I believe that writing is therapy and that is why I write./ 26 years old.
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