Guitar Heroine

Heya mesh fattaka.. and a tad cliche.. but I can see it very clearly in my head.. the girl and the guitar and the hall… but whenever I try to put it into words it goes cliche on me..

She sat there at the centre of the empty stage absorbing her surroundings. The rows and rows of vacant plush brick red seats, the elevated ceilings and the giant archways holding it in place rendering the huge hall column-less. The scale of the emptiness around her brings an inner fulfilment.

She clutches tighter onto the vintage guitar between her hands as it rested on her lap. She traces her fingers slowly towards the proper starting hand positions, hugging the giant guitar further into her chest. Her right hand firmly holding on to the chords; mentally visualising the melody. Her left hand loosely hangs over the guitar, strumming virtual chords in the air. That hand finally coming down slowly and gracefully to hit that one note. The note reverberates in the empty hall rapidly filling the emptiness and brining the ancient hall to life.

The melody in her head now overtaking her completely, her hands move on their own accord, sliding and gliding across the cool wood of the guitar, warming up the strings and her heart. Hitting complex note after the other, the notes taking on a physical persona, floating upwards, breathing life into the entire hall, as for the duration of her song, the seats were occupied, the lights were bright, the clapping loud and wild.

She hits the final note tapping the strings and holding the guitar closer towards her own heart. She could smell the old rosewood, she could feel the history that this guitar held, the artists it encountered and the melodies it has strum. She opens her eyes to view the hall, now once again empty and lifeless, short of some final echoing notes shimmering audibly in the hall
 a reminder of the magic that once was.

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Story of a Photo – CLEOFiction October Issue

Originally written on August 11, 2008 and posted here.

Re-posted in celebration of it making it in print 🙂 See my name in lights in the October issue of CLEO.

Let me know what you think of the story.

Jooj In Rome

Location: Rome

Time: Not too long ago.

She had gone to Rome to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a celebrated fashion designer. There she was finally in the fashion capital of the world only to discover that things were not quite that simple. It wasn’t a lack of inspiration per say, for Rome in it’s existence was quintessentially inspiring, the music of the morning market din, the serenity of the old churches, the intricate details in the architecture all around and the general aroma of great food that enveloped the ancient city. Then there was the Italians themselves, so sinfully good looking, so obsessed with Italy, with food, with fashion with all things of beauty. She was drawing like never before, filling up her portfolio with evening gowns and sleek suits and even scanty swim wear.

The process of allowing yourself to get discovered as the next Gucci, Versace or Armani was a long and cumbersome process. She had been turned away time and time again. She found the language both daunting and challenging and a handicap to her ability to communicate, to express herself, to present her collection. Also there was the minor issue of finances, she was close to depleting her finances and was in need of a source of income to sustain her as she fought on to realize her dream. She had gotten a day job waiting tables at a fancy cafĂ© by the busy plaza. She watched the chatty tourists come and go, stopping for a bite, asking her to take pictures of them, wondering what a foreigner like her was doing working in Italy.It took every ounce of self confidence not to get disheartened, to believe that someday they will see her collection with an eye of appreciation, that they will recognize her talent, that she will become one of the icons of fashion in Italy and worldwide. She had taken to submitting updated collections regularly to most of the fashion houses in the area, in the hope they will take her in. She’d also submitted a regular CV in the hope of landing any career in the industry then working her way up. She’d gone on interviews, filled applications, started Italian classes all to no avail.

It was the end of one such tiring day that our weary heroine made her way to the closest bus station. She sat there on the bench running her day’s events through her head. Making mental notes of the tips she had collected and the outstanding payments she still had to make. Thinking of the new trends in fashion as witnessed or interpreted by her from the countless tourists and locals that passed by her every day. She sat on that bench waiting. Waiting for the bus. For her break. For things to go her way. For the big fashion house she’d gone for an interview in that morning to call. She just sat there
 waiting.

The Applicant – 5

He arrived at the crowded waiting area. They as employees had their own officer assigned to them to review their visa applications. His turn would come shortly. He took a seat and grabbed that week’s issue of the Times as it lay on the table. He had briskly walked through that room at least a hundred times yet he had never noticed it like he did today. It’s funny how similar the dĂ©cor of the embassy was to that of offices in his career long gone. The walls had the same whitewashed quality that hospital walls had. The furniture was elegant and functional but not necessarily comfortable. It was designed to aid speedy turnover. In one corner of the room was a round information desk embellished with the American eagle and with an actual size flag standing besides it. The red, white and blue that seemed to be the decorating theme for US embassies worldwide stared back at him from the tiniest details scattered around the room and the US national anthem played almost inaudibly in the background.

*****

The hands on his watch went tick-tock in seeming slow motion. He shook his feet and wrung his hands.

She twirled and fretted with her CV and stared at the ceiling and her feet in alteration.

She crossed and uncrossed her arms and legs; she looked around occasionally smiling at passer byes.

He couldn’t believe how nervous he was, he kept reviewing the application details in his head, wondering what they would ask him about.

Every time someone passed by the glass wall she looked up alert and hopeful that this was the person in question, only to be disappointed as they glided past her.

She observed the people leaving the room with mixed reactions; they had been instructed not to speak to the applicants and to leave immediately.

*****

Time passes like a snail with no incentive to move between points a and b.

“Please God grant me patience and render me victorious.”

Takes phone out, looks at screen, throws phone back.

Tick tock tick tock.

“Plasma screens on the wall have been playing the same advertisement for 10 minutes straight.”

Roll document
 unroll document.

Takes phone out puts it on silent.

Taps feet to music playing inside the applicant’s head.

“Remember to breathe, breathe in, hold it, now slowly breathe out.”

Starting to sweat it out.

“It’s getting mighty hot in here.”

Rethinks it, takes phone out and switches it off entirely.

Looks up, asks inquiringly and gets denied.

Stares at watch.

Messes with hair.

Sighs.

*****

Next>>>

The Applicant – 4

Normally Aassem’s day at the embassy as cultural attaché involved a great deal of reading, networking and event organizing. Today on the other hand, was completely different. Today he was not merely a US embassy employee; today he was to wear a different hat, one a lot more intimidating. Today, he got to be an applicant.

He intended to visit the United States that Christmas for some sightseeing and to meet up with some old friends who’d relocated to the land of opportunity. He had never been on American soil before and being an embassy employee it would follow that getting a visa would be a sure thing. Only experience has taught him never to take anything for granted. He’d seen the mighty, the wealthy and the connected get rejected over the stupidest and most irrational of reasons. He found himself nervous as he sat at his desk. His legs kept shaking rhythmically and he nervously tapped his desk counting the seconds till 11:00 am. His heart went out to the hopefuls standing outside in the scorching sun. He understood their anxiety, perhaps for the first time. He wished them all well. He stood up grabbed his jacket and headed for the lift.

*****

She arrived at the Nile City Towers, Orascom’s fort of an office building and one of the newest and fanciest icons of the Cairo skyline. She left her ID with the security at the front and took the elevator up to the 24th floor. Her ears rung as they adjusted to the pressure as the elevator flew upwards. She’d always had problems with pressure; it made her a bad flyer as the cabin pressure always got to her. She still felt as squeamish as she did in the earlier hours of the day. She descended on the correct floor only to be greeted by a marble lobby at the centre of which a giant 3D IFC logo formed some sort of reception desk.

There were black and red leather couches and no-one at the desk. There was a glass wall with a glass door fitted with a remotely operated electronic security lock. An IP camera stared at her from the ceiling as it scanned that small lobby. She stood there for a while looking completely lost and fiddling with her CV. A young woman appears at the door which opens automatically granting her access to the lobby. She is probably in her mid 30s, in amazing shape and very sharply dressed. Her 5 cm heels very audible on the marble floor as her steps echo in the eerily silent hall. She was asked what she was there for then asked to have a seat in that waiting area till the person who called her came to claim her.

*****

Once inside the villa she was welcomed into the reception area of the council. A young intern asked her what she was there for, after showing her credentials, she was asked to follow her upstairs to the red room. There were a bunch of other applicants sitting down waiting to be interviewed. Such a small number compared to the first time, initial screening must have been brutal. Few of the face were familiar, her friends had not made it this far. She kept reassuring herself that all her friends who had applied in previous years had made it.

She took a seat and embarked once again on that nervewracking wait. She was so self-engrossed in her stream of thoughts that the room seemed to cease to exist. Her seconds of lucid consciousness where her eyes landed on and focused on specific items in the room startled her. She looked at her watch then at the clock on the wall then back at her watch again, her mind verifying the information out of habit.

Every 30 to 40 minutes a young man stepped out of the classroom they were using for the interviews with a clip board and read a name out loud. The owner of this name jumped to his/her feet and quickly followed the man with the clipboard as he ushered them in. He had come out yet again, she looked at him expectantly but he read “Samiha  Rassem”. The young woman looked over to her apologetically before resigning to her fate and following him in.

*****

Next >>>

The Applicant – 3

He drove absentmindedly, with an automated mechanical rigour that reflected his muscle memory rather than his consciousness level. Buddha bar music filled his car as he changed lanes following the beaten path to the office. He circled the block in Garden City looking for a suitable parking spot. A familiar face among the crowd, the area parking attendant in the knock-off Levis shirt and skinny jeans waves him over to a seemingly tiny spot. After some tricky manoeuvring he parks his Citroen. He locks his car and strides towards the embassy.

As he turns the corner he is greeted by a familiar sight, a long organized queue of individuals that goes around the block. So many hopefuls from the different walks of life, they had all waken up early, dressed to the nines and have come to stand in queue, in the hope that today would be the day where their dream would be realized. Funnily enough the embassy only let you in when you have an appointment, yet there remains the conspiracy theory mentality that you have to be there early to guarantee access. He walks past them and runs his security clearance card through the digital lock on the exterior door. He was in.

*****

Caffeinated and dressed up, she was good to go. She took a deep breath and uttered the daily car dua’a as she shifted into second leaving their underground garage. She was a mix of terrified and excited. She had told a whopper of a lie the previous day for this errand to even be possible. She thought back to that fateful phone call a week earlier. “Ms. Inji ?”

“Speaking.”

“This is Nevine from the IFC, you have an interview at our premises on Monday at 10:15 am. Is this timing good for you?” She could feel the wind escaping her lungs as her brain froze for a couple of seconds. She couldn’t believe they were calling. She managed a hasty reply and listened to her absentmindedly as she gave her directions to their office.

She had applied to a vacancy posted on their website at whim a couple of weeks earlier. The IFC to her was a distant  dream; her answer to the question of where I see myself in 10 years and more significantly the institution that embodied all she holds near and dear and the sciences and applications which she excels in and values. Her heart was doing more beats a minute than that of a terrified rabbit as you held it up against its will.

*****

She sat in the back seat of her car as her driver made his way to the interview destination. He flipped mindlessly through the FM channels before asking “Fairouz?”. “Mounir” she replied as she sought to hype herself up for the interview. She couldn’t believe how much she was paying him for the amount of work he put in each week. She felt completely ripped off yet completely unable to drive just yet. A severe car crash in her family’s recent history had rendered them all driving-phobic, the creative nature of driving in Cairo was in no way an added incentive. 

Today’s interview was the culmination of month of efforts. She had written to universities, compiled an insane amount of documents, filled countless forms, written statements of purpose and intent, collated recommendation letters and taken the GMAT and TOEFL exams. She had run errands left and right, pulled in favours and studied feverishly. She had scoured university websites, evaluated programs and sought the advice of the more experienced. She had been accepted by the top university in the world, the London School of Economics. Moreover, she’d passed initial screening for the Chevening scholarship offered by the British council.

She chanted her mantra in her head as she crossed the British council security checks. She had learned from past visits to avoid heavy metallic objects in her clothing and in her bag contents, that pens sometimes appear to be knives and that no matter what some idiot will forget spare change in his pocket and end up patted down at the entrance holding up the entire line. She was early, punctuality being a trait she was raised to have and which had proved to be a liability living in Cairo.

*****

Next >>>

The Applicant – 2

He had carefully laid out his power suit from the night before. He jumps into the shower and lets the ice cold water rain down on his head and shoulders as he leaned a hand on the tiled bathroom wall and thought of the day ahead. Stepping out he starts to put himself together. He buttons up the shirt being extra careful not to crease it, shines the patent leather shoes to a mirror-like gleam and examines himself in the mirror. The image that stared back at him was of a clean shaven, well groomed, strapping young lad in a dark black suit and a starched monogrammed shirt. He makes some final adjustments to the knot of his tie and the shirt cuff links.

He practices his best smile in the mirror. He is good to go. He runs down the staircase of his apartment building, shouts out a greeting at the old doorman sitting on the dekka in his gallabeya enjoying a morning cup of tea and heads towards his car. The wafting smell of the steaming tea reminding him that he has yet to have a cup himself. The tea will have to wait though. He shifts the car into first gear and eases out of the cramped parking lot into the jungle streets of Cairo.

*****

Morning at last! The phone alarm goes off. She looks at the phone with disgust and hits dismiss. How naĂŻve of her to think that she was going to get any sleep, that an alarm would have been necessary. She has been sitting up huddled in bed hugging her knees and staring at the emptiness for over two hours now. She has run all the hellish scenarios in the planet through her head. She gets up and pulls open the curtains letting sunlight creep into the drab room.

She opens her wardrobe doors and stares at the contents. She realized first impressions were instrumental and wanted to get the right look for the interview at hand. She had set aside some potential dress combinations on the side. She flips through them sliding her hand along the fabric of each, her fingers lingering on each one attempting to get a feel for the vibe and energy of the items. She picks out a grey pinstriped suit and a fancy light pink dress shirt. Yes, this will do. She then made her way to the kitchen attempting to restore routine to the daunting day, she hits the button on the kettle before rushing for the bathroom one last time.

*****

It is an intricately tricky task picking what to wear for a scholarship interview. On one hand you want to be impressive, presentable and unique, you need to stand out and get noticed. On the other hand, you are there to convince those people to give you money to study abroad; you can’t come across as excessively well off or indifferent to their aid. The balance between elegant and flamboyant, a fine line to walk, yet she felt up to the task.

She could smell the Spanish omelettes cooking in the kitchen as she put the finishing touches on her outfit. She sprays her favourite perfume into the air and walks through it while giving herself the once over in her mirror. Her mom had laid out a banquet of a breakfast, but she ate with minimal concentration and appreciation for that day’s interview had taken over her brain. She sat there at the table reading her personal statement yet again. “How do you prepare to be quizzed about material that you’ve written?”; she thought in bewilderment.

NEXT>>>

THE APPLICANT

No, not John Grisham, sorry to dissappoint you.

It’s actually a new attempt at a short story. This was inspired by a the friends who appear in it as themselves.

Hope you like it. Here goes nothing.

THE APPLICANT

Alarm clock’s digital display clocks 6:00 am in a red digital font against the black backdrop. Radio switches itself on to 100.6 FM and the morning talk show din fills the room. There is a stir in the bed and a lone arm stretches out from under the covers and hits the snooze button with great force. Arms and legs appear from under the giant quilt as he wills himself into awareness. A yell pierces the new found silence. Assem jumps out of bed and stretches as he lets out a gigantic yawn. Today is the day.

*****

She takes her cell phone out of its pouch for the nth time that night to check the time. The bright lime green HTC background glowing eerily in the dark room. The clock on the screen read 4:00 am; still too early. She has been tossing and turning all night long. She got out of bed and into her slippers and once again that night trudged her way through the cluttered room and down the dark corridor yet again. She paused at the bathroom door as a wave of nausea washed over her. She braced herself and the feeling passed. She couldn’t believe how nervous she was. She had not slept a wink all night and has been making shuttle trips back and forth to the bathroom, her stomach a complete mess. Why couldn’t tomorrow come already. She just wanted to get this over with.

*****

She walks up to the serenely sleeping figure, she looks so peaceful it breaks her heart to have to wake her up. She stands there for a while watching her daughter sleep, she has not changed at all, yet it is a wonder how her little girl is all grown up. She glances at the clock on the wall and remembers their discussion from the previous day; under no circumstance was she allowed to let her sleep in. She walks up to the bed and lovingly strokes her daughter’s hair. “Yalla Mama, it’s time to get up, you don’t want to be late for your interview.” The girl stirs in bed attempting to shrug off the voice. Her mother persists, shaking her gently, that seems to work. The girl opens her eyes and looks at her mom; blinks a couple of times to bring the blurred image into focus. “Mama, what time is it?”. Her mom smiles “It’s time to get up ya 3yoon Mama, yalla don’t be late, I’m making omelettes downstairs”.

*****

NEXT>>>

Morning rambling

He’d finally found her, they’d bumped into each other at a concert. The event was jam-packed with friends and acquaintances, yet he had eyes for only her. They struck up a conversation, reminiscing about old times. She told him she was feeling trapped, asked him if he’d be willing to go sit somewhere airy. He was only too happy to oblige.

The drove around trying to pick a place meeting her fancy, they talked, caught up. They ended up at a breezy Nile side venu. As they talked he looked her in the eyes, slowly placed his palm by her head, gently caressing her cheek and hair. The question that overwhelmed him must have been written on his forehead; for she tilted her head, gently squeezing his hand. He uttered “you fine?”. She smiled “yes, he’s good to me”. His heart sank; but he couldn’t help but mirror her smile.

The damned cellphone alarm went off, he rolled over in his bed to reach it, flailing for it in his self created darkness. Giving up he opens his eyes, grabs the damn phone and switches the alarm off. Too late he realizes what he’s done. He quickly shuts his eyes tight, trying to return to that sweet dream. He squinted his closed eyes trying to hold in her image, trying to freeze it, to go back to that dream. He cursed as he tossed in bed as her image slowly grew blurry and faded away. He’d lost her… again.

Song of the day: Signed, sealed and delivered – Stevie Wonder

Zurich

They sat near the end of the plane on the Swiss Air flight leaving ZĂŒrich. He’d been struck with another wave of nausea and was sweating as he fought to maintain composure. She seemed genuinely concerned for his well being, meanwhile he was quite embarrassed by his motion sickness and was exerting great mental effort to will it away. She advised him to try and get some sleep after his second trip to the bathroom and endless false alarms. He kept the airplane sickness bag at close reach and surrendered to the heaviness of his eyelids. Before completely going under he ventured a last glance at her.

She sat there looking calm and in control. She had such foreign features, they were always being stopped in the street under the pretext that they were tourists. She had soft red hair and wide hazel eyes against a backdrop of snow white skin. She had on a beige suit and a dark brown shawl wrapped around her shoulders. She offered him a shoulder to lean on to be comfy in his sleep. The pashmina soft to his touch as he gently placed his cheek on her shoulder.

A plane jolt woke him up suddenly, he wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but they were still airborne and it was still daylight. She was listening to her iPod as she read a book. He cautiously shifted his position to be able to watch her. She noticed him move and graced him with a smile. She inquired about his health, he could feel his cheeks flushing in embarrassment, yet he managed to reply, telling her he was better. How could he not be great with her at his side. He asked her what she was listening to, she tilted the iPod so he could read the song and offered him one of her earphones.

He took it, listened to part of the song as he gazed at her, he then attempted a bold move, he spun the wheel turning down the volume, she looked at him inquisitively. He asks if whether she decides to take that other job, this would be the last time they would see each other. She smiled, assuring him that it would not be so, claiming that it was an absurd notion. She turns up the volume again and picks up her book. He flips through the channels watching bits of the different in-flight movie, wondering if it was really true, if he could possibly be wrong.

Six month later he sat listening to his iPod, her song came on, for the first time in his life he wished he had been wrong. 

 

Song of the day: Staind – Right Here Waiting

What do you see when you close your eyes?

Cool wind blew on the secluded cove messing up her thick silky brown hair. The strands of hair taking on a personality of their own as they danced in the wind. She sat hugging her knees, facing the ocean. The full strength of the gale blowing in her face as she stared ahead at the waves that came at her only to die crashing inches from her feet. Yet she wasn’t scared. She felt quite complacent, sitting there in his arms. She leaned backwards to rest on his chest, he was sitting on his knees behind her, hugging her from behind as his tanned powerful arm held her waist. He moved his head out of the way of her lashing hair strands, bringing his face nest to hers. She could feel his breath as he brought his lips to her head. He inhaled, smelling her hair and the ocean breeze. He planted a soft kiss on the side of her forehead. They both just sat there; looking ahead at the ocean.

This is what I see! Funny part is, I’m not the girl in the scene, I’ve never seen her before in my life. 🙂

One Shot

Update: Title changed upon the request of the great and powerful Ope.

This scene has been playing through my head for days now. So I’m finally sitting down and typing it up.

 Lone figure enters dark alley, she appears to be very frazzled. She keeps looking right and left to make sure nobody has followed. She pressed her body against the dark alley wall and takes side strides further into the alley, away from the street. Her breath is ragged and she pants repetitively. The heaviness in her breath partially attributed to the exhaustion of the run and partially to nerves. Hers were completely frayed. She checks the entrance of the alleyway one last time. Stepping out of the shadows to the center of the alley, by a big heavy disgusting smelling dumpster. She takes out an object from inside her jacket. She carefully unwraps the handkershief to reveal a gleaming gun.

The site of the gun throws her off and she must bend her knees to steady herself. Slowly and with a trembling hand she lifts the gun to eye level. She clenches her other hand into a fist, her nails biting into her palm. She’s scared, but there is no other way. If she doesn’t do it they will. She grits her teeth, puts the gun to her temple and fires a shot.

The sound of the gunshot echoing in the silent alley as she drops to the ground in a thud. First she comes crashing down on her knees, then loosing all control she sprawls face down on the asphalt floor. Blood pours out of the gunshot wound. Her body gives off one final spasm before coming to a complete halt.

A voice echoes from the distant heavens “Inji you better be working on that paper”. I am I am 🙂

Song of the day: I’m a hazard to myself. (saw that one coming akeed)

This time last year

Thunder of Prayer

It was an odd time for mankind. Injustice was increasing; and not exclusively among the obvious villains. People were no longer black nor white instead a spectrum of grey.

He approached the cornered individual that was his victim for the day. His towering figure blocking out the street light. He loomed above him his arm poised to strike.

It began; merely a whisper, like the buzz of a wasp; a persistent and growing hum. He swatted the air around his ears trying to knock that sound out of his head and slowly walked towards his prey.

Louder and louder came the phrases rushing to his head. The hum now a full blown roar; a thunder of prayer.

Sighs of the weak

screams of the hurt

tears of the torn

thanks of the mighty

roar of the heroes

Prayer of every shape and kind.

An endless stream, in all languages of the universe, yet all understood.

A thunder that broke the silence of the night, its lightening filled the skies.

As that thunder of prayer headed for the heavens above.

Inji

26/3/2006

Abandoned

This post is re-posted from my old blog, it is also my only physically published writing. Would love feedback.

Steps echoing on a marble floor.

A gust of wind blowing through the open window.

Curtains flapping eerily in the cold chilling air.

The ramblings of a disoriented mind. I am making little to no sense. Then again you can’t really blame me.

The building seemed absolutely abandoned as I walked in. I could hear the sounds of my steps a million times louder as they echoed in the marble hallway. My heels sounded like an entire army was charging and yet their loud sound reminded me of the emptiness around and how entirely alone I was.

It was daytime yet the building was dark, it had a dreary air to it. All the neon lights have decided they needed a break and were striking for shorter working hours and maternity leaves. It was either that or a major power failure. For it seemed the only light in this endless greyness came from what little windows there were.

I walked in a quick brisk step, partially because I was afraid, engulfed in a feeling of discomfort and anxiety. Yet another force was taking over. Strong nostalgia, to the building that once was, to the way we were. I stretched out my right arm and let my fingertips stroke the whitewashed walls as I breezed by them. They felt cold and harsh to my touch. Yet there remained traces of memories embedded in the atoms of the walls. I could almost feel them transferring through the wall and my hands to my head. A rush of images triggering a flood of memories.

Suddenly the corridor seemed transformed, to the bright lively office space it once was. I could hear the laughter and the loud discussions coming from up ahead. I sped faster, reached the door that the sounds were coming from. My trembling hand clasped the door knob and I swung the door open.

The room was completely empty. The desks were cleared of all the papers and belongings that were once there and dust was settling on them systematically. The cabinets were empty, the files and phones no more.

The voices started again, only this time I knew better than to hope that the next room would be any different. I had to face the painful reality. The building was, very much like the rest of us.. abandoned!!

Cellphone

Such odd times are these, when human relationships can be condensed into something as simple as a telephone call.

Modern technology allowed for voice dialling or speed dial, yet she felt there was something more personal about dialling in the number, keying it in lovingly, caressing the keys as she entered her access code to happiness… to him.

Sometimes she’d call to talk to him, to discuss crucial issues or to whisper sweet nothings into his ears. At other times she’d call with no intention of him picking up; she’d call just to hear the ringing at the other end. That monotonous beep had such a soothing effect, a reassurance that he was there… available… just a call away; that he’d call back the instant he was free.

He had staff meetings every day at 9:00 am, she was in the habit of ringing him a hello. She picked up her cell and dialled his number, what she got on the other end was an odd ring then the line went dead. Bewildered she called again. ring ring. An unfamiliar voice answered her…. “There was this horrible accident….”

Every now and then he crosses her mind and she keyed in his number to hear that ring… the ring that was once one of her favorite sounds.. now actually scared her. Yet she still has hope that perhaps… someday… he’ll pick up.

24/6/06 (In a Statistics lecture)

Song of the day: Yellowcard – Breathing

Car Ride

I had no idea where we were going. I sat there in the backseat of their plush car totally oblivious of what was going on around me. They weren’t talking to me, they both had a very stern (we-mean-business) look on their faces. I had no intention of asking them anything.

We cruised along, their car darting in and out along the city’s streets. The neighbourhood didn’t seem familiar, the car slowed down in front of a tall building and we dismounted. We went up two flights of stairs finally reaching our destination.

Realising where we were I panicked and darted for the door. They caught me, grabbed me, lifting me into the air, my arms and legs flailing everywhere, before finally slamming me into a chair.

I felt trapped, he approached me with a set of shiny metal instruments. My feeling of uneasiness grew, I almost threw up all over their well-cleaned floor. As he came closer I felt myself sink deeper and deeper into the chair. His hand clasped a large shiny metal utensil. I opened my mouth to scream. It was over in a flash.

I sat in the car on our way back smiling as I played with my new toy. The trip to the dentist had not been a total loss. Taking out that molar didn’t hurt half as much as I thought it would.

 

Song of the day: Greenday – Time of your life.

Insomnia

She lay in bed staring at the ceiling. It seemed these days its all she ever did, lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. Insomnia had become a close friend and the sandman didn’t visit anymore. She’d imagined the sleep deprivation would be taking its toll on her physically. Instead it would seem the mere act of lying in bed gave her body all the rest it needed. It was her mind that was going crazy. Instead of being tuned in and working full power for 16 hours a day, it seemed her processor was on every hour around the hour 24/7.

At first she was attracted to the possibilities, the potential of achieving the unachievable through being able to work and think around the clock. Yet with time she was running out of thing to do, out of games and things to distract herself with. She’d already read all the books in her library, seen all the movies, solved all the puzzles. She’d organized her room, caught up on her work backlog, edited her poetry and was now over analysing her life into insanity.

Its not like she chose not to sleep. She had tried everything, showers, warm milk, counting till her mind was numb… none of it seemed to work. So once again, she lay in bed staring at the ceiling.

Kyra

Once again she was being told that she was serious and wise beyond her young years. She fought to maintain her composure. Those naive foolish mortals. Thinking they have all the answers. Little do they realize how limited their knowledge, how skewed their perception.

There was a logical explanation for her soberness. She’d been here before. She existed in a perpetual state of de-ja-vu. Reincarnated for probably the nth time. To her this entire life was seldom amusing.

Oh those poor mortals. She looked at them buzzing about. Obsessing over every detail of their lives. Aaah, if only they knew. If only they could comprehend. If only they could see the big picture. Perhaps then they would stop crying over yesterday and worrying about tomorrow.

They would sieze the day.

Written in Costa Elmarghany inspired by the aura of a great friend. TC your highness. You know you are loved.

Song of the day: My Immortal 😉

Silence

Speech is overrated. Who died and made talk emperor? There are a million different ways to express our opinions and yet people prefer to speak. Not to delve into the limitations of speech, of the different terminology barriers, of language differentials. Bottom line is by speaking you are cutting down on the number of people you can reach.

Instead i urge you to give in to beautiful silence. There is something majestic about the ability to just sit there, speechless, motionless, as if in a state of Yoga. Seeing and hearing everything, absorbing, focusing. I can recall more details of conversations I’ve heard than conversations I’ve actually taken part in.

There is a lot to be said about body language. What use are words when compared to everyday normal gestures. What says I love you more than having the other person’s eyes light up when you walk into a room. We don’t need a dictionary to interpret that wince on a friend’s face to know they are in pain. Things as simple as cheeks turning red or drumming fingers on the table are international and need no explanation.

So therefore enjoy the silence, enjoy the feeling that you are understood and that you are heard. They use the cliche “can hear a pin drop” to describe silence, but forget the pins “silent to the extent that I can hear what you think, what you feel as opposed to what you say.”.

I’m the silent type, so I’m a little biased. But my silence usually says a lot. Sometimes its arrogant over confidence, other times its just shyness. Sometimes its because I have nothing to say. Other times its because I have so much to say I don’t know where to start. Sometimes I’m silent because I totally agree with you, or I disagree with you soooo much to the extent that I won’t dignify that with a reply. Rarely I’m silent because you won’t like what I have to say. Silent because I know too much about too many people often its safer to remain silent. I’m silent when I’m sad. But basically I’m silent when I’m comfortable. Just like I’m silent around you.

4/4/05

Song of the day: No Doubt – Don’t Speak

You’ve Got Mail

He didn’t know which ailed him more… the extent to which he missed her? Or the knowledge that she was unaware of his pangs of longing. His doting and affection were wasted for she did not reciprocate. He sat there staring at his screen, constantly hitting the refresh button. Hoping for that magicnumber to appear next to the word “Inbox”; for her name to appear on his screen. A reply to his countless e-mails. Words that to her were absolutely neutral, day-to-day, normal… but to him would mean everything. Just a few short lines to reassure him, to let him know that she was OK, so he could exhale once again.

He suddenly realized that he had been holding his breath. He got up upset, kicking the computer chair towards the desk. It glided across the floor before the harsh collision. Upset at his own anger he went to fix a cup of coffee. He returned moments later the cup of steaming dark rich liquid in his hand. He eyed the monitor from a distance, wondering if he should approach. As if he could resist? There he was, seated again. A message appears at the corner of his screen, he’s got mail. His heart soars. He hurries to read it. To his disappointment it isn’t from her. His heart sinks. The work related e-mail is disregarded. He vows to get over her. To overcome his obsession. To finally give in to the fact that she doesn’t care, that to her he doesn’t exist.

He hits the “Compose” button, only to send yet another e-mail, never to be replied to by her.

26/6/2006

Night Falls on the Ancient City.. yet the City Never Sleeps

Night falls on the ancient city
 yet the city never sleeps.

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The electric street lights along the sea side walk light up in unison. Modern day architects have shaped them to resemble the street lamps of days long gone. A tribute to the architecture of an era that was great.

The old man rode his bicycle with admirable skill along the boardwalk. Sun was setting and as the night fell he traveled from one street lantern to the next. Delicately balancing himself on his bicycle seat he took out his gas and matches and made sure the lamps were well fuelled and lit them up. Instantaneously a circle of light engulfed the darkness around the pole. Content with the job he’s done he straddled his bike only to stop again not too far from the parameters of his circle of light.

As if on queue the stars in the heavens above started to appear. One by one and in complete random sequence stars of varied sizes lit up and started twinkling in the skies above. These days these majestic stars barely visible, years of pollution have blackened clouds thick enough to block out the sun, not just the stars.

A summer breeze carries the smells that have come to define summer in Alexandria. The smell of the sea mixed with the steaming Shisha smoke with its multitude of flavors. Music played from the various oriental cafes along the board walk, music ranged from old Arabic classics to today’s hits for artists we had never heard of till yesterday who’d shot the clip in their own backyard with some digicam.

Night falls on the ancient city
 yet the city never sleeps.