Honeysuckle Breath

Honeysuckle breath on my neck, I grab hold what I can. Watch the pretty designs of my feet on the dusty marbled floor before Muna comes with the moogshasha to sweep it all away, watch diamonds splutter from the *7artoosh, selfishly gather them in my hands and fling them into her smiling face, we laugh and laugh and…

 

5:36 am

And I, I can let my life pass me by
or I can get down and try
work it all out this lifetime
work it on out this time

 

She sighs as she tries to reach for the phone, automatically pressing the snooze button. Curling her body around the phone, feeling the dead weight of sleep try to re-settle her, her phone already shaking and crooning in alarm, squeezing her eyes tighter she stretches till she feels her feet hanging midair, realizing she had managed to move to the middle of the bed during her sleep.

Another restless slumber.

Rising lightly she doesn’t bother to open her eyes, knowing from the groaning and creaking of the floor where to step on her toes or the ball of her feet, applying the right amount of pressure so as not to bother the sleeping house.

Letting the water play through her fingers in the gray darkness of the bathroom, she finally opens her eyes. Staring into the little pool in her hands, she tilts her head this way and that, seeing a myriad of diamonds, letting her face sink into them.

Pray, pray, pray

Shaking from the sudden chill she hurriedly wraps herself with the toub, raises her hands and sings. Letting the words lose themselves in her while she loses herself in them.

She listens and remembers.

Prayer beads in her hands she watches his little legs as they try to climb her bed. He is giggling loudly but it does not wake anyone, it only resonates within, and it doesn’t bother her when he carelessly runs with his shoes over her moslaya, or when he sits and stares cross legged right before her as she prays; his little face, with his little nose and little cheeks, and little floppy ears, resting on his little hands as this loving expression crosses his little features.

I miss you.

But he never answers.

Sun light spills and splatters across her moslaya.

Wake up, wake up, wake up.

I am.

Hurriedly she grabs for a carton of juice, spilling a bit on the countertop. Hissing in annoyance she reaches for a towel and notices her standing there.

One hand resting on the small of her back, the other leaning towards the freezer door, as she nonchalantly crunches away at ice, her toub lovingly fitting her form, slipping away to reveal a shock of red henna in her hair, heavily laced with graying hairs. Already an impish smile plays on her lips.

I miss you.

But she never answers.

Late, late, late.

Why are you so careless to always leave the refrigerator door open this way, her father would ask her as he comes to the kitchen to find his youngest daughter. She smiles as she shrugs her shoulders, wrapping her scarf tighter as she buttons her coat. Breathing a Salam she drives away.

 

10:23 am

Right after her lecture she’d pass this professors door.

Sometimes she’d slow down and almost stop but then speed her steps, and other times she’d actually stop, but never has the courage to knock.

Coward, coward, coward.

All she had to do was knock and ask.

Is this any good?

Does it make sense?

Am I any good, do I even make sense?

The portfolio was burning a hole in her already heavy bag.

Lifting her hand, she can already feel the mark of the wood on her knuckles, can already feel the words biting the inside of her cheeks, but then stops, shakes her head and realizes she is already late for her next lecture.

 

2:12 pm

He can always tell.

She never could and never knew how to hide from him but he always knew. He could see the weary look in her eyes, notice her dim smiles, the way she would listen but not really listen whenever he or anyone else spoke.

Tell me, tell me, tell me.

Picking distractedly at her lunch she notices his concerned look. Softening her expression she teases at his chauvinist ways, you pretty blue eyed, blond eyed bigot, she always says.

He says it all could be so simple.

She says I’d rather make it hard.

Dimpling he explains loving you is like a battle.

Impressed she declares and we both end up with scars.

Tell me, who I have to be
To gain some reciprocity
See, no one loves you more than me
And no one ever will

Her expression sobering she tilts her head and observes him.

She pauses, but then never starts to finish, only reminds him.

And again, and always, she rejects him.

 

4:50 pm

Did you talk to Lidiya Walker, she says she has some questions to ask you about the orga…

Hey yo! Ok I think I messed up the order on the posters, should I get 20… no no 35? No? 5…

We would like to interview you for the university paper and ask you on your views in these past events regarding the teddy bear iss….

Dude! You do realize we have like 10 minutes before the meeting… hey… HEY! Where are you go…

 

She smiles at the soft click at her back. Pausing she lets her eyes adjust to the level of darkness.

Watching the old material of the moslaya as it settles she smoothes out the wrinkles. Breathing in the murky room and the hint of musk from her toub she rests her palms against her heart and recites.

Peace, peace, peace.

She rests her face against the moslaya and lets it sink into the worn material.

How many faces imprinted to your texture?

How many breaths on your fabric?

How many foreheads blessed?

How many tears?

Stray dirt tickles the inside of her nose.

The door is wrenched open followed with screaming light. A gasp of an apology ensues.

Gently she kisses the ground.

Rising she looks over her shoulder and smiles, its ok am done anyway.

 

5:30 pm

Cold wind bitterly slaps her face as she tries to make her way to one more meeting. Before she digs her nose any deeper into her scarf she abruptly stops.

Hop, hop, splash! Hop, hop, splash!

Lowering the scarf from her nose in amazement she inhales and remembers.

Hot summer days, darkening skies, that sudden rain, rising heat and hiss collides with the roar of drops, holler and scream, slide and fall, bloody knees, being chased by angry aunts, safinjas thrown and barely miss, grab the little ones, hold them close and dance, hop, hop, splash!

Whiff of a memory.

Staring down at her phone she hesitates to make the call.

Would he care if I shared?

Does he see the same beauty I see?

Does he remember?

Slowly she places the phone back and realizes she is already late.

 

6:47 pm

Giving one final salute to the rest, she breaths easier and realizes her day is done. Wanting to skip across the building she sees another friend and happily calls a greeting. She gets a cheerless response.

Stay, stay, stay.

Already at the exiting doors, she only need give a push and feel the frozen yet welcoming air.

She tiredly rubs her eyes then checks the time.

There is always time.

So she sits, the girl breaks, she steadies and listens.

Unloved, unappreciated yet loves and appreciates.

Unhappy, undecided yet on cloud nine and certain.

Flying yet falling.

Her phone buzzes furiously and she ignores it again. She offers no answers but softly hums as she lays her fingers to the girls swollen eyelids. Sweetly she heals with a;

Vexation of spirit is a waste of time
Negative thinking, don’t you waste your thoughts
Verbal conflict is a waste of word
Physical conflict is a waste of flesh
People will always be who they want
And that’s what really makes the world go round
Unconditional love is scarce

Bless your eyes and may your dreams come true
May you rise on the morning when Jah kingdom come
Good deeds aren’t remembered in the hearts of men

 

Looking at the missed calls she knows she is late.

 

10:25 pm

Before she enters the house she always taps her boots at the side of the stairs to let the snow crumble off . She halts briefly and breaths, composing her face into a sunny exterior. Not willing to bother those she loved with unneeded anxiety.

Inside she knows she will be assaulted by a barrage of where, when, why, how, what questions. But even if she should explain it would fall on deaf ears. Each day the value of trust diminishing, the amount of violence and pre-marital sex choking t.v., radio, air waves.

Bint so and so, and have you heard that bint so and so….

A*7r al Zaman

Lost generation

Moral and Respect no longer existent

Giving her a sidelong glance their suspicious eyes would accuse and think the worst.

The ‘What if…’ gnawing at their guts.

But no matter.

She laughs and jokes, putting their minds at ease… for now atleast.

Not bothering to even take off her clothes she sinks deeper into the mattress.

Her eyelids heavy.

Dreams of; cracked walls, floors so hot they’d burn your feet, the man with his shrill plastic horn as he sells cotton candy and sweets, suck at the fragile plastic bag of chilled gongaleez (lord only knows where those plastic bags had been), splash of milk into the extended metal bucket, little hairs on top that don’t bother as cream forms on top, rows of skinny bread connected and golden, steal a bite and dip one into al shai, old, young, familiar faces surround and circle al seneeya, wrinkled, smooth, large, small hands feed and exchange, stuff yourself so you could be the first to get that first dip of honey….

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