A Little More than Ours, and Less than a House

My grandmother’s house is going to be demolished so that a new life would be built there.

When we were told that they will open the family house for a final visit before the actual destruction of the house, my heart pounded so fast and almost ripped my cage apart. I did not know how I was supposed to feel. I did not know what I was supposed to say. All I wanted to do was to go there and walk through the same door – one more time, one last time.

I thought that if I go inside, I will see my grandmother sitting to the left, where her favorite couch lies. I looked, I looked so closely, but she was not there. It was a ripped couch that looked nothing like hers. I kept walking hoping she would be in the kitchen, where she cooked us delicious meals and made us yummy juice. She was not there, either. I thought she would be in her room. But that deserted room with no furniture and big heaps of dust was not hers.

I thought I would hold my tears. Because I am an adult and there were children there, my nephews and younger cousins. I closed my eyes and tried to recall the details. I wanted to feel ‘whole’ again.

That house meant everything to me, my siblings and cousins. We used to meet there regularly. We used to be children, burden-free, thoughts-free, pain-free. We were the kids. We were those creatures who had nothing to think about.

That was a long time ago.

Now we are the adults. Now we have to bear the feeling of a final farewell.

My grandmother’s house was not just a house. It had big arms that embraced so many memories, laughs, cries, hellos and farewells. That house made us one big family that loved each other and stayed together.

My grandmother died around 6 years ago, but knowing that the house will go down too makes it feel like her death is happening all over again. This time we won’t have anything solid to remind us of who we were as children, of our grandmother.

When we all went to visit the house and say goodbye, I believe the house was saying goodbye to us as well.

It was the house where our mothers lived; the house where our mothers built their memories – it was the house where our memories began.

The house will be down soon. It will disappear. We, too, will die eventually. But it has been a wonderful ride.

Some years are left for us – I hope this ride will end well, too.

And maybe – maybe, the grandchildren of today will live after us to write about us and their memories with us as well.

We left the house, but the house will always be a part of who we are. It will always be where our hearts hide, and our souls seek refuge.

الله يرحمك يا ستّي، ويجمعنا فيكِ عن قريب

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ظلامُ الليلِ لن يطول

في غُرفةٍ مظلمة تتساقط علينا الذكريات المؤلمة كخريفٍ لا يُريد المضي قدمًا، يعتصرُ قلوبنا الألم ويتلاشى فينا الأمل، فمن منا لم يشعر بعدم الانتماء؟ وأنّ الأرض بما رحبت قد ضاقت في صدره؟ كم شعرنا بالحاجة المُلحّة للهروب من العالم الذي يُحاصرنا – والهروب من أنفسنا. تراكمَ في فؤادنا الجرحُ ولم نجد بلسمنا بعد، تكدست في ذاكرتنا المواجع  وصارت الصباحات مبعث حزنٍ وأسى. نسيرُ بين الآخرين وابتسامتنا مرسومة على شفاهنا ولكن ما بالصدر لم يُصدّق كذبتنا، نرتدي قناع السرورِ ويخفي بدوره الصدأ

إلى متى؟ نسألُ أنفسنا كلّما عادت إلينا الروح في كل صباح، إلى متى سنظل هكذا؟ يحتوينا اليأس، ولم نَعُد نُعِد لمعاركنا العتاد اللازم، هذه العتمة التي اجتاحت صدورنا – العتمة التي لم تعد تُفارقنا علينا مُحاربتها، وقتالها شرّ قتال، عليها أن تعي أن ليس لها بين أضلعنا مكانٌ، وأنّ الجراح الماضية ما هي إلا نوافذ نورٍ شقّت طريقها إلى روحنا. ليس العيبُ في الانكسار – يا صاحبي- فالكل ينكسر، وليس العيب في الوقوع فالكل يقع، وليس العيب في عدم القدرة على الوقوف فليس للكل قوة كافية تُساعده على النهوض – العيب يا صديقي أننا لا نحاول

وقعنا في البئر واستسلمنا لواقعنا البائس، نحن بصحةٍ جيدة ولكننا ما عدنا نحاول الوقوف، ظننا أن الظلام أقوى منّا فتوقفنا عن المحاولة، ابتلعتنا مآسينا وتهنا فيها وغرقنا ونحن نعرف السباحة حق معرفة، ولكننا وجدنا الاستسلام أسهل، والجلوس أيسر. هذه الحلول مؤقتة، لا تُسمن ولا تُغني من جوع، بل هي تقتات علينا وعلى روحنا، هذه ليست الطريقة الأمثل، هذه الطريق المختصرة التي سارت بها “ليلى” وانتهى بها المطاف في بطن الذئب. نحن أقوى من ذلك، نحن أعقل من ذلك، ليس كل طريقٍ مُختصر يبدو عليه السهولة سهلًا، فكم من طريق طويل محفوف بالمكاره يُوصلنا إلى وجهتنا وإلى راحتنا. صحيحٌ أنّ الوحدة في المعاركِ تكون لنا عدوًّا ولكننا إن شئنا حوّلناها صديقًا يُسندنا فنتكئُ عليه، إذا لم نجد من يمد لنا يدَ العون فأيدينا تُعيننا – والله يُقوّينا- وإن لم نجد من يُخبرنا أنّه يحبنا فنحن نُحب أنفسنا، وإن لم نجد من يستحق النهوض من أجله – المحاولة – فنحنُ نستحق أن نفعل ذلك من أجلــنا

لا يقوى الظلام على الدخول إذا كان النور موجودا بل ينحني منكسرًا إذا رأى نورًا في المكان المرجو، لا تُطفئ نوركَ بنفسك، ولا تنهزم دون أن تُحاول، ولا تيأس من صعوبة النهوض، ولا تخف. أنتَ لستَ وحدك، كثر هم الذين كسرتهم الدنيا، أنت لستَ وحدك، أنا معك

Love –

It has been a long time since I have felt passionate about writing and poetry and all other types of literature that used to make me feel – something. I was looking at my nephews today and it hit me so hard how much I loved them. I loved them so dearly and so deeply. I love them so dearly and deeply.

The love a mother has for her child, a friend for her bestie, a kid for his favorite toy, a fish for her favorite smaller fish; but the last ends up eaten usually.

Love is a blessing, a beautiful melody that is halal to listen to. It is natural and sweet. Although there are thousands of types of love, coming in different forms and sounds; they all end up the same: serenity, condolences, a pat on the beats of the heart and numbness.

I have not tried all tastes of love, and perhaps I have not tasted one of the most necessary ones. However, every time I walk out of my house and see a little boy or a little girl squashing their dads’ hands with their small fingers – and sometimes painful nails – I feel that love; I feel how it runs so deep and I get infected by the happiness their eyes splash as they cross the street or walk to a supermarket.

One cannot identify what love is because love is a lot of things. One, though, can list some of what love is not. Love is not about being perfect and standing next to another perfect person. Love is not about being consumed by the love you give. Love is not about being taken for granted by your friends or family. It is a shared emotion, a safe island for wandering souls. It is a place where one can go for comfort when life has gone too dark. It is a cozy cottage with a fireplace that is burning – making the cold hearts warm.

It is a hot cup of chocolate on a late winter night. It is a cold cone of ice-cream on a 12-pm-summer-afternoon. It is the last leaf of autumn and the first petal of spring. It is what makes life easy when life is hard like coconuts (I would not say hell).

I was at the bank today. I saw a lot of people standing in lines. I imagined every single one of them, me included, when we were children. When our parents were at the banks and we were at home enjoying the new dolls and toys, and nagging about how we want new clothes. I remembered how as children we felt angry when our parents came home toyless and dolless and new-clothesless. I saw tired old men. I saw tired old women. All of them standing in there waiting for their payments. Nothing – nothing in the world could make a person stand in a long line except for love. Except for the beautiful “thank you, mama or dada or grandpa or grandma or auntie or uncle and the list goes on”.

Love makes life easier because it is not restricted, and not limited. Love has been given to us so that we would not have to ride alone, so that we would not have to endure the scars without an internal healing process. We were given love because it is a second chance, and the second wing that allows a baby bird to fly.

It is the only way one can move forward.

With Love,

Nour ElBorno.