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His voice as soft as velvet..

The way I imagined it would be.

When I asked him:” Are you busy?”

And he replies: “I’m free.”

I give you my time, my treasure.

When he says, and speaks my name: “Is this your number?”

I’m saving it for me.

It has been years. I almost forgot you.

But when you say my name It almost feels the same.

As it has always been.

I remember when you first spoke to me: “Do you know how to cross the street?”

The street was deadly, the vehicles were fast, I really was  afraid.

And you knew that.

With No, my reply, you stood beside me on the direction the traffic was pouring from.

You guided me.

And taught me.

The past year, I guided others, to cross that street.

Your tall silhouette grabbed me,

Brought the whole world into silence,

Shuttered me into pieces,

Every morning you stepped on that bus.

With every “Ezzayek*” ,you spoke my name.

And It was as soft as velvet.

The way it has always been.

 

* Ezzayek is a colloquial Egyptian Arabic word meaning How are you.

A story I never believed I’d be telling

          She changed her Facebook profile picture every two or three days. Each time with a different pose, a different style..

One wearing a wig, another lying on the floor, a third one with a bunch of friends..

However, all of them have one thing in common (Apart from her):

Her smile.

She smiled in all of them.

I used to see her every morning in the morning assembly standing in the front of her line for like ten years.

We weren’t close at all, we actually spoke  just a couple of times. She was a year younger than I was , She was in my brother’s class.

          And then I noticed that I can’t see any new photographs of her on my timeline..  but it didn’t take time at all for me to drift back through my busy life.

          A couple of months later in June it was my brother’s graduation ceremony, And while sitting at the very end of the huge dark hall with my younger brothers (who were almost asleep),  her name was called among the graduated students. Everyone waited for her to appear like all the other students, girls anticipated to see her dress, her hair and the heels. However,  there stood a huge photograph of her on the projector, smiling back at the audience.552605_336188343127686_613985074_n

Above the photograph those lines were written:

          “Unfortunately, one of our graduates was not able to join us due to personal circumstances. Our hearts and prayers are with her. She is Lara Molla, our student since eleven years”.

          After the ceremony, I asked my brother what were those ‘circumstances’.

“She was diagnosed with brain tumor.”  He told me.

 ……..

A knife stabbed my heart.

“.. She left to Lebanon since the middle of the academic year, She didn’t attend A level exams.”, He continued.

And I wondered why she stopped updating her profile picture so often as she always did.

“.. But they say she’s overcoming it.. she’s very near to winning the battle.”

I smiled and prayed.

In September came in the news through friends who updated their photographs and statuses all over the social media with one thing:

Her pretty photographs again, were smiling back at me in my laptop and mobile phone.

Grief diffused through my heart.

That was her last day.

She’d lied to everyone about  being close to overcome cancer.

But she didn’t lie about winning the battle.

Because in my opinion, she did win.

……

#RIPLaraMolla

Her facebook memorial page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lara-Molla/152089504801445

Please stay for a minute and pray for her.

Remembering Music Class..

                All by myself at home, listening to Beethoven, My mind drifted back to second grade. When I was about eight.

                The kids were all over the class, some standing on the desks and jumping on the chairs, others scribbling on the blackboard with some leftover colored chalk. And a couple of kids standing by the door to alarm the rest when the teacher is approaching.

                Once the calls are heard from the door, all the kids scatter around the class back to their seats as if chaos never existed. The blackboard scribbles are erased, chairs set back in place, and the desks are aligned into straight rows.

Her short spiky blonde hair appears at the door.

“Good morning”,

“Good morning Miss Maglena”. The whole class sang together.

“Get out your music notebooks, we’re writing a new piece.”

Everyone gets out their notebooks and pencils. And if someone forgot to get them they were in deep trouble.

                Everyone spoke about her in the breaks and on the bus.  She was very popular not only because she was the only music teacher in our three hundred students school and taught grades 1-6, but also she was known to be very strict, and when things get out of control she might even start swearing. She was the teacher that everyone hated.

                When she was absent for some reason and another teacher came into class, the students had a celebration. For once, there won’t be a nightmare.

                Those times she took us to the music room which was at the end of a hallway behind the villa-turned-into-school, things were a bit better.

                After everyone is in, she’d put all the musical instruments in the very corner of the L-shaped room and  get out an orange-red carpet and spread it on the floor. She’d ask us to take off our shoes and then she’d turn off the lights and put on some Beethoven or Mozart.

We’d lie on the carpet..

“Relax and listen”, she’d say.

She stops the music, and plays it from the start. The fierce knocking of the start.

“Who’s it for?” She’d ask us.

Silence.

“The knocking” , she knocks on the table with the music, “is for Mozart”.

And she’d say the symphony number.

That’s the only time when I learned real music.

I learned to played the first part of the UAE national assembly.

                Honestly, I never thought I’d ever write about her. For us, at the time she was an annoying figure that must be erased from our tiny memories. But after I grew up into a young adult, it turned out that even though she was scary and hated then, she had definitely left her fingerprint.

At that age, she taught us the basic notes, to write and read them, and most importantly to feel them.

She made us understand the keyboard and play instruments.

We had an introduction to most of them. Even those instruments we didn’t have in school, she’d bring photographs and talk about them in class.

She introduced us to Music.

                Unfortunately,  the year after, the school principle asked her to form a coral of the students to perform at the end of year function. And with that, our music lessons turned into singing classes rather than introducing us to the world and passion of music.

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

“غريب، انتِ مجنونة!”

لما كل سنة بلد جديدة تنضم إلى الدول اللي بنسمع عنها في الأخبار..

وانا صغيرة كنت بشوف الناس بتموت في فلسطين، وبعدين أفغانستان والعراق ومصروليبيا وسوريا والسودان ومالي!

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما أشوف مترو مصر الجديدة في التلفزيون اللي كنت بعدي عليه كل يوم رايح جاي،  والناس بتموت وبتتسحل عليه.

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما واحد يتسحل ع التلفزيون وتاني يوم يطلع ينفي..

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما كبرت شوية وبدأت أشم الدنيا وفي اللي قدي بيلفظ آخر أنفاسه..

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما كل الدول اللي كنا أحسن منهم باقوا بيسخروا بينا..

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما أكون في بلد الناس بتفكر فيها بعندي جزمة حمرا وزرقا وصفرا و خضرا.. بس ناقيصني الأخضر الفاتح

وناس تانية بتقف طوابير علشان الميه والعيش..

ومش عايزني أتجنن!

لما شباب يموتوا علشان رايحيين يتفرجوا على ماتش كورة..

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما نكون مش عارفين مين اللي صادق ومين اللي بيكدب..

 ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما تشوف الأمل في عيون الشباب.. ومع ذلك مش عايزة تتقدم بينا!

ومش عايزني اتجنن!

لما أكون في وسط ده كله.. ومتفائلة.

“غريب، انتِ مجنونة!”