Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snippets from 2012

'This is my new favourite place to eat,' she says, reclining back next to me in the yellow leather couch with a small content smile, and I immediately decide it's going to be my favourite too. I can tell she feels so at ease, and there's nothing that can spoil my good mood now. Opposite us sit my sister by blood and another sister by heart, conversing softly, and the sound of the fountain on our side drowns out what they say. We lean forward, attacking the strawberry-filled white-chocolate-topped crepe with our forks. They say money can't buy happiness, but good food with the right people always does.
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It's past midnight, and we're watching the video of my uncle's wedding. The wedding that happened in 1997 and that I've watched- at least- forty times since then. It is the funnest that's ever been, and although I wasn't there, I've memorized every detail and could relate it second by second with my eyes closed. All of us are huddled on couches, watching, screaming and laughing like there's no tomorrow. At some point, my uncle's kids decide to renew their parents' marriage. (Our family's adoringly crazy like that). The television screen shows a young couple, standing on the large, green front garden of our family home, against tall palm trees and a Baghdad night sky. A few feet away from the screen are the couple in real- him greying and her three pregnancies later, with an audience clapping and singing around them with the enthusiasm of a fresh event. 

When we finally go to bed, massaging our tummies from all that laughter, I'm crying. Miles away from us is the setting of that happy day, the front lawn dead and yellow, trees abandoned, the home deserted. I want to go back home, and I was never there to begin with. Will I ever? And if I do go "back", will I feel as at home as the other authentic Iraqis? 

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(8) du du du du du du (8) Adds life to life... 
Du's tag-line was made to describe my sister, actually. We're at the airport waiting for her to come back and awaken our dead home. If there's anything I learnt this year, it's that you can miss someone so much it aches.
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There's a conference on technology and business happening in the hall across, and I'm staring angrily at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, wondering how she got here. What on earth do you have to do with this? And why, why, did you agree to be a speaker? You who can't open your mouth with more than two people looking at you without blushing crimson!

Suddenly, a girl staggers in, panting and shaking. She leans on the sink. I steady her and the next thing I know, she's passed out. Fifteen minutes later, I walk into the conference room calmly, knowing exactly why I was destined to be at the bathroom by the conference hall that exact moment. It had nothing to do with a talk on how technology shapes business.
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Cafe Ceramique. There's an aura around here that makes me feel there's nowhere else I'd rather be. We've picked our ceramic bowl and the colours we need. Now we divide the bowl in four sections, decide that each of us will paint the personality of whoever sits next to us. For two hours we bend over the bowl with careful strokes. Occasionally gasping over a minor mistake. And occasionally turning our attention to the meals on our side. But mostly, concentrating on painting. We agree not to look at everyones' parts until we're done, but it's easy to tell what someone's painting by the smile or smirk on their face. Later, we all leave the cafe loving each other a little bit more.

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9 comments:

  1. What an interesting year you've had ^^ Do you have any photos of the ceramic bowl? I would so like to see it.

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  2. I LOVE the last one. That is so creative! Painting personalities of each other on a ceramic bowl. Your year seems so interesting and eventful! Happy new year, and hope to hear more of your stories at around the same time, next year ;)

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  3. jaja love the ceramic bowl!! nice post my dear! happy new year!

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  4. Loved it!
    And you wrote all this from memory?!
    Happy New Year!:)

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