By Abderrazzak Belbouah - Rabat
By Abderrazzak Belbouah – Rabat
It was cold that morning. The early winter thunder was roaring above my human fears. I looked at the rain and then at my cup of coffee. We made good company. The rain was telling its joyful stories of eternal love, whilst the cup of coffee was boasting its endless ephemeral souvenirs with sipping lips. I had no story to tell, so I listened sometimes, thought sometimes, and disappeared in my woolen coat sometimes. Life was alive in me and out of me, and it blossomed in me and out of me – timeless, placeless, and endless.
I plunged into my childhood reminiscences; I laughed at those moments of naughtiness: steeling fruits from the gardens in the villas that were near the neighborhood where we lived, breaking the street lights, gambling with pens, books and copybooks, and knocking at doors late at nights.
I summoned the warmth of my first kiss, the touch of the first lips, the lust of the first desire, and the fight with the brother of my first love.
The world around was not mine anymore as I only existed in my own existence, and the rest was no more than a bunch of remains buried under the dust of a dream that had all of a sudden annihilated the physical outside.
I was day-dreaming in a grove of a fruit no human throat had ever swallowed. The breeze blew softly and sweetly on my cheeks and felt like the palms of a three-month female baby.
I could see through things, and only saw what I wanted.
My eyes were closed while my mind was open picturing a company. a slow beating heart. a white dove, a transparent dress, look, smile and a woman.
Then she came in and broke the story of the falling rain, the tale of the warming cup of coffee, and the stream of my hypnotizing dream. She suddenly appeared from nowhere and slipped her world smoothly into my reason and emotions. Her steps were calculated, and none could refute their compatibility with Einstein’s math and logic – a German princess of the Middle Ages. Yet, naturally she moved and innately proceeded towards one of the tables opposing the closed windows.
She took off her brown leather coat, hanged it on the hook which her head almost reached, took a handkerchief out of one pocket, cleaned the very clean chair and table, sat like an improvising drama heroine – uniquely, preciously, and affably but like no other woman. She took off her hat and cautiously wrapped it before entrusting it in the black medium size handbag. The hat had hid nothing of her beauty, for she had a beauty on every part of her.
Nothing was there to save the smell of my expensive coffee from the heavenly perfume that escorted her royalty; it spoke all attractive tongues, and had all my worlds, the light and the heavy ones, childishly and maturely bowed to its untamed rhythms. It shortly roamed, back and forth, in every far corner of my silent senses.
I explored her face through the window’s reflection. It was as clear as the milk of a mountain goat, and as gorgeous as the savage drawings of nature. Nothing was lacking – hair, eyes, nose, mouth and lips; all, no human hand can paint and no romantic soul can perceive.
My brain was all of a sudden rehearsing a way to break out of the bewitching chains she laid on me and then into the solid walls around hers. I was shaking, colorless, numb, and lost. However, there was nothing more convincing to me than the idea which I was often told: “Regretting doing something is way better than regretting not doing it.” I had to act, move, do something but fear nothing.
A voice deep in me thrust my hesitation and there I was telling her, with all the civility and softness I had ever learned,
She raised her head and gave me a serious look, straight to my eyes. But before she could utter any word, I swallowed my vacillation and brokenly asked,
“Is there..by any chance, I mean ..if you’re by yourself or.you’re expecting some.. any .company?”
“No, I’m as you see, alone..I think.”
“Oh yes. I just want to.dance with you. If you don’t mind”
“Dance!!.. oh” –mixed with a little smile- “but ..to what music?”
“The music is you, the rhythm is you, the symphony is you..” I meant what I was saying and I only said what I meant. “..If there hadn’t been any charm like this of your own, music would have already been among the forgotten hideous souvenirs. You are the inspiration, the stones of a queen’s crown, the…”
“What do you mean?” she coldly interrupted.
In effect, I did not mean anything, for I was no more than saying everything she just heard. It was adoration that thickened my language and focused my expressiveness. I feared her understanding was far different my conversing ramblings, that I was inane, trivial, senseless – a clown before an adult audience.
She was still looking at me, or better yet through me, when my brain was blankly questing for impossible sober words to shield me from the sharp spear that was stubbing the pride of my thoughtfulness. A dead end. A labyrinth. A self reproach. There was nothing tougher than being feeble to gain what I was not to lose.
“How come is it that I am losing her?” I wondered “She has never existed in my life. She was never there. I did not know her a moment ago, and now I don’t want to lose her!!”
Yet, the convincing truth was that I wanted to save the beautiful feelings she made me experience, along with those noble desires which had come out from behind my left ribs. They shook me like the monsoons shaking a mountainous Indian tree – a solid tree, though. I was that child who would take another’s toy and then refuse to give it back believing that it had become theirs. Above all, I wished all adults behaved as innocently as children would do.
“So”, I heard her saying as if she had been talking from the rear of soundproof space, “does what you’ve been saying mean you like me?”
“Evidently, Miss.” I confirmed with a shallow sigh.
“Does your ‘evidently’ mean yes?”
“Yes my evidently means ‘Yes’?”
“Then say ‘Yes’, and ‘I like you’”
“You know,” I was trying to speak when she disrupted me.
“Sir, please understand that it’s as simple as this: if you like someone or, may be something, say I like it. I like you, and spare your energy for proving it with actions you carry out, things you generously offer… Not with words you learn at school.”
“I just want to..”
“But I just don’t want you to..”
“Ok, I like you.”
“Ok, I don’t like you.”
“Why? Did I say or do anything wrong not to like me?”
“Why? Did I do or say anything good to like me?”
“I’ve liked you for you are the goodness that good always does. You dipped me deep into the ocean of attachment, whose waves are stronger than what the boat of my resistance can hold.”
“How can’t I like you when every part of you is a sect of salvation, a cult of wonder, a unifying denomination and an enslaving boarder?”I continued.
Her face was motionless, expressionless – void of any meaning. I was expecting her to say “so what?” which she, in fact, did say. And flatly asked
“What’s your name?”
“Salem. How about you? What beautiful name shall the beautiful lady have?”
“Sarra. A name that all types of women can have…and don’t tell me that you like the name … and that it reminds you of your mother, whom you love like nobody else, and ..and..you know the sort of imaginary poems of this alike, and which I doubt you’re bad at.”
Feelings mixed up in me that I could not distinguish from the secure or the unsecure, the clear from the unclear, the sturdy from the weak, and the straight from the turning. Words abandoned my thinking prairies – no water, no air, and no single green plant still dwelled in them.
Only then, a voice of reason started sowing its enlightening seeds in the dark emotions disabling the warriors of my clear sight. But before I reached final soberness, a thunder bolt was already on its way straight into my remaining artillery.
“How much?” she professionally asked.
“How much what?”
I was far from being able to hear what I did not feel like hearing. But she had asked for a p.r.i.c.e.
“You said you like me and that can only mean you want me. So, how much are you ready to pay to have me?” she confirmed my doubts.
“No..but.. yes..ok.. no, you can’t be.”
She could be though.
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