By Khadija Amoussi
By Khadija Amoussi
Marrakech – “We are adults, but the child we once were, lives inside us.” This is what a friend of mine once said to me. This statement rings true. When we feel nostalgic, and want to share our childhood stories, or to hear about a friend we had great times with, the child within us moves and feels!
Nearly two years ago, I discovered this statement to be true indeed. I was watching TV when my mother came to speak to me. She looked pale and said in a weak, husky voice, “Youssef is dead.” Youssef was my cousin, as well as our neighbor. My mother talked about how well educated he was, and described his weird accent when calling her “my aunt.” His death shocked me, and I clearly remember that I didn’t want to accept it. Youssef was one of my best childhood friends; many precious moments of my childhood were spent with him. One time I always remember is when Youssef stole a coin from me, and I cried the whole day the day.
It was a sunny day. The dust on the narrow alleyways was glimmering under the golden rays of the sun. Our innocent smiles were singing a song of joy to the whole neighborhood. That day, we were playing a game called “Elkari” in our special place next to my grandmother’s house. In this game, we drew some squares on the floor and tried to jump from square to square without touching the lines. It was my turn. When I was jumping, a coin flew out of my little pocket. My grandmother had given me the coin a few hours before; it was a precious treasure, and I planned to buy some delicious candies from Ali’s shop later on. Youssef picked up the coin and disappeared. He ran fast, and I chased after him. Unfortunately, I was unable to catch up, and went back home, screaming and weeping. My grandmother told me to calm down, and handed me two coins, “Here are two instead of one.”, but I couldn’t help but think about my stolen coin. I wanted that special coin he had stolen from me.
I felt like a wounded emperor; a loser in the game of life. I was waiting, like an angry cat, for Youssef to show up that day, but he didn’t. I imagined him grinning while munching on delicious candies. Naturally, I was burning up inside – anticipating his arrival – when I would take my revenge.
The next day, I saw Youssef at school and sat down right next to him. Occasionally, I would glance at him in a threatening manner; to remind him how cruel he was to have stolen my precious coin. Youssef didn’t care, because he knew if we began to argue, he would win. After class, I ran up to him, grabbed his jacket, and shouted, “Where is my coin?” He told me that he had bought some candies with it. I let go of his jacket and began to cry like a baby, right in front of the class. The teacher came out and asked me what was going on, but I was unable to answer. Youssef told her the truth, that he had stolen my coin. She laughed and told me to calm down, just like my grandmother had. I couldn’t; I was upset about my stolen coin! Everyone sneered at me, but this was personally, a big deal. I had been taught not to steal from others.
Two days later, Youssef’s mother came to my home, and asked me to end the cold war with him, but I refused. In fact, I was waiting for him to apologize because it was his fault, was it not? In the afternoon, he came to our special place. I was playing with a friend of mine when Youssef found me and began speaking, but I immediately ignored him. After a short while, he placed his hand in his pocket and took out a coin; it was my coin! He said, “I didn’t buy any candies.” I snatched the coin from him and smiled, asking, “Do you want to play with me?”
Sometimes, I wish he were still alive to steal my coins, and it’s hard for me to accept the fact that he is gone. He no longer exists on this nasty planet. He is in heaven for sure, because people like him cannot go to hell. Youssef was my best friend. From time to time, when walking alone, I feel him holding my hand and walking with me. I really do enjoy imagining him smiling and talking. His accent, his strange “R” and his innocent heart!
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