Posted by: Mermaid | February 8, 2018

خواء

أستيقظ بعد الخامسة صباحًا بقليل. يجب أن أستعد لورشة العمل تلك والتي سأتحدث معظم الوقت بها. بعد مراجعة عرض العمل، أبدأ في الاستعداد لليوم الذي أعلم أنه سيكون طويل جدًا. في طريقي للفندق الذي تقام فيه ورشة العمل، أنهي الاستماع إلي رواية هاروكي موراكاما. يأتي ذلك المقتطف:ا

“No truth can cure the sorrow we feel from losing a loved one. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can cure that sorrow. All we can do is see it through to the end and learn something from it, but what we learn will be no help in facing the next sorrow that comes to us without warning.”

تعودت في الأيام الماضية على وجهي المبلل. كلما حاولت ألا أبكي كلما تورم جفناي أكثر. لذا أفتح السدود أمام فيضان الملح حينما يحلو له أن يأتي.ا

ينتهي اليوم الطويل بكثير من الشكر والتقدير من عملائنا. في الطريق لسيارتي أفكر، أأستبدل ذلك النجاح بوجوده معي مرة أخرى؟ أهز رأسي يمنة ويسارًا وأهمس: “لا أرفض نعمك يا ربي وأتمنى استبدالها بأخرى. أرضى بما اخترته لي. رغم انفطار القلب عليه، أرضى بما اخترته لي.”ا

أدلف إلى سيارتي. أتفقد ذلك التطبيق على هاتفي المحمول وأجد أن الوقت المتوقع لوصولي إلى المنزل سيكون بعد ساعة ونصف. ليس بي طاقة للقيادة كل هذا الوقت. أقرر أن أذهب لمشاهدة فيلم في دار سينما يبعد عشرين دقيقة عن الفندق. أرتجف قليلا لأنها المرة الأولى التي أذهب فيها لمشاهدة فيلم بدونك وخاصة في دار العرض تلك المرتبطة بشدة بأوقاتنا معا داخلها. أربت علي وأقول لنفسي: “عاجلا أم آجلا ستذهبين بمفردك. تعلمين أنه يجب أن تقومي بتلك الخطوات المؤلمة حتى يصدق قلبك أنه ليس موجدًا بعد الآن.”ا

أقرر على فيلم مبهج حتى أشعر بالتحسن قليلا. يبدأ الفيلم وتبدأ الأغاني. تتسع ابتسامتي بسعادة وأوشك أن أميل على الشخص على يميني لأخبره كم هي رائعة تلك الأغاني. أتسمر بعد أن أتذكر أنك لست بجواري. تنحدر دموع صامتة. أشعر بالغرابة؛ أبتسم لأنني مستمتعة بشدة بالفيلم وفي نفس الوقت أبكي لأنك لست هنا. لكن جل ما أشعر به هو الخواء. خواء داخلي يكبر قليلا قليلا حتى أصبح مجوفة تماما من الداخل ولا يتبقى منى سوى قشرة خارجية رفيعة. ألا تأتي بعض الرياح الرحيمة فتفتت القشرة لأتحول إلى ذرات تتبعثر في كل إتجاه وتتلاشى؟ا

ينتهي الفيلم بالكثير من السعادة وثقل القلب. داخل سياراتي يخبرني التطبيق أن أمامي 45 دقيقة قيادة إلى المنزل. أشغل أغاني جاز هادئة. أتذكر عندما قدتُ سياراتي من قبل وأنت بجواري ونفس الموسيقى منبعثة من سماعات السيارة. غلبك النعاس يومها فانزلقت في نوم هادئ. طوال فترة قيادتي كنت أختلس نظرات إلى وجهك النائم بابتسامة خفيفة وقلب ممتن لكونك بجواري. الآن، المقعد خالٍ. الآن، المقعد خالٍ.ا

أصل إلى المنزل. يتآمر علي قلة نوم الليلة الماضية، اليوم الشاق، وذلل الإحساس المتفاقم بالخواء والفقد. أندس تحت أغطية سريري وأبعث رسالة لصديقتي المقربة: “سيتركني ذلك الألم الممزق، أليس كذلك؟ سيتركني ذلك الألم الممزق يومًا ما، أليس كذلك؟”ا

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Posted by: Mermaid | January 25, 2018

Tomorrow, I Chase the Rain

I wake up with a heavy heart and body but my ears pick up this sound and I instantly feel lighter. It is raining. Like a little girl, I jump off the bed and start preparing to go out with one thought only on my mind; finally some rains! Although I am passing by Nahla at 9:30 AM, I leave the house at 8:00. How can I waste time inside four walls when this freshness is luring me outside? I head to my car and I look up to find a beautiful surprise.

Rains from Car Ceiling

I drive slowly with a light smile at the corner of my mouth. I pass by On the Run and order a medium cappuccino. I take it to my car and inhale that tantalizing aroma. I drive on and park next to a small garden close to Nahla’s home. I take out my hand cream and use a little amount of it. Now my car smells of coffee, warm apple pie and rain. Can I ask for more? I play that playlist and relax in my seat. I think of you. Of the loss. Of the disappointment. I feel okay.

Nahla joins. After the usual hugs, she tells me I look better. I speak with a calm voice and tell her how angry I am. How I find myself sometimes in a state of disbelief. My voice shakes a little but I hold on.

We reach that busy café and have breakfast. We share pancakes. Don’t pancakes exist to be shared? We leave and start our walk.

Maadi streets, so inviting and so peaceful. We aimlessly roam them following where greenery leads. I point out a few welcoming entrances and we pause and smile. We rest a little on empty wooden benches in that quiet square before continuing walking for more than an hour. We talk a lot and we keep silent a lot. Her company is comforting and embracing. I feel at peace. It rains a little but then stops and the sun shines with warm rays. God is merciful and knows I need rain and lots of clouds the most today with a little sun. My wish is granted.

We approach my car and get inside. I play that serene playlist, our playlist. It suddenly rains heavily… inside my car. I try to control it but the silent tears turn into sobbing. She holds my hands and tells me that everything is going to be okay. How life is going to be okay when almost everything is filled with your presence; my coffee, my long walks, the quiet streets of Maadi, my favourite music, movie theatres, and cold weather? It feels like someone is trying to uproot a tree from my chest but while doing so, my soul is slipping away because my veins are the roots to that tree. The longing for that warmth in your eyes, for your embracing presence is unbearable. You are my twin heart. And I lost you. I lost you.

I put on my pearl earrings and a cheerful smile so that mom won’t notice my swollen eyes. I spend some time with her before lunch then head to my room to rest. It is cold. I am grateful. Tomorrow, rain is expected. I will go out again chasing it. Maybe if it pours down on my bare face this heartache will go away. Maybe the pain will leave. Maybe, for a brief moment in time, I’ll be able to tightly hold you again inside before I sit down on the side of the road and let go of your hand … for good.

Posted by: Mermaid | January 19, 2018

حتى أتيتَ أنتَ

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كانت صباحات الجُمعة دوما ملكي حتى أتيتَ أنتَ لتزاحمني فيها. فأصبحت تمتلئ بك رغم الغياب.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | September 30, 2017

On Memory, Patterns, and Being Literal

I have a bad memory. Well, not in general. I just fail to remember what is irrelevant to me. I can remember tiny, tiny details or a date that I was told about a month before just because I relate to this detail some way or another. Same with numbers, I am horrible in memorizing numbers. I spent almost a year at work not being able to memorise my 5-digit phone code. I finally succeeded when I managed to find a pattern (divide the first two digits by 2, you get the second two digits, then put 5 – example: 48245). My mind rushes always into finding patterns. In math calculations, my mind has its own way. For example, when I face something like 15*7, my mind finds it difficult to make this calculation. Instead, it makes the below steps:

15*3=45

15*3=45

45+45=90

90+15=105

Believe me, the above would take approximately 4 seconds. Because the process happens sometimes in even less time that this, I find myself unable to identify the steps my mind took. For example, when someone asks me about a math problem, in a few seconds I’d give the answer. When I am asked how did I reach this, I would need a minute or two to concentrate and try to repeat the process again while slowing my thinking process in order to be able to identify the steps. By the way, I am in no way alluding that I am a math genius. I am the complete opposite J Just saying how my mind has its own tricks to find patterns and solve problems.

So, it is obvious how logical I am and how I like facts. I am a literal person. Too literal sometimes for this world. When I ask someone for something and they offer me something else which could be better (in their opinion) or more in quantity, it irritates me because I just asked for what I want! And I mean it! I know sometimes people are generous that’s why I hold my horses and politely ask again for what I initially asked for. Like 95% of people would insist on offering me what they believe is better. I then put a bit of a rigid face and try to mild it down with a gentle voice while saying: “thank you, I only want X.” People usually give me a puzzled look and give me what I want. Same fraction happens when I ask people questions like: “I have given X three bananas, not enough?” While I expect a simple either “yes, enough” or “no, add one or two more” I get a stern moment of silence followed by an accusation that I do not want to give more! I asked a sample question for God’s sake! Why can’t I get a simple answer?! My words do not have hidden meanings! I mean what I say, and say what I mean. People, even close ones, put a lot of pressure on me when they keep ignoring this personality trait of mine.

And that was my morning chatter and also an attempt to get back to writing more frequently.

Have a good morning, world J

Posted by: Mermaid | September 25, 2017

On Remembering Things

By noon today something strange happened. I started feeling disoriented and not focused. I vaguely remembered conversations with people that happened in the morning or even five minutes before. And this was not about one conversation or an incident; it was about almost all the events and interactions that happened today. And this extended to not being able to recall names of colleagues and statuses of projects. That was… I am not sure how it felt exactly. I felt a bit alarmed so I talked to my best friend, briefed her about my condition and asked her to wait for a message from me every hour or else she needed to call me to check on my status. Well, an hour later, I exerted an effort to remember bits and pieces from this conversation but the good thing is that I set my alarm and dropped her a line every hour.

Towards the end of the evening, am feeling better. Not back to normal but better. Now when I think about it, it is a bit scary. What if I lose my memory? Memory of things, people, who I am? I felt lost in the morning, like I was floating in a world I could not recognise. Faces felt familiar but I found it difficult recalling things. No sense of belonging. This WAS scary. Is this what Alzheimer’s patients feel? Do they feel lost or they dwell under the blissful state of oblivion? Do they try to remember things or they just float with whatever memories cross their minds?

I never thought of our ability to remember things as a blessing. Now I know what a great one it is! It is our compass and anchor. Praise to Allah for all his blessings; those we are aware of and those we are not.

Posted by: Mermaid | April 17, 2017

Maadi

It’s Easter morning. I know streets would be heaven. The only time I enjoy Cairo is during vacations where the morning streets are a bliss. Summer is approaching with a frightening speed. Flowers would fall off very soon, too soon L The best time of my career was when I worked for a few months in Maadi where the morning and evening drives were a source of positive energy for the stress in between. I came to know then that flowers blossom during March and fall by end of April. So, I do not have much time to waste if I want to capture the last smells of spring before the sticky season hits for long months. I got the gear on; comfy shoes, my camera and a bottle of water.

I park my car close to Ovio (great coffee there!) and then hit the roads aimlessly. I assure the child within that panics at the idea of getting lost that I have my mobile on my and GPS (God bless it!) can guide us back to the starting point. The long trees undermine the sun that shines too strongly for 8:30 AM! Architecture in Maadi is not as sophisticated as it is in Heliopolis but it remains my favourite. Greenery is unbeatable in Maadi as well. Maybe this is why it is my favourite spot in Cairo.

I start the walk with a smile. The weather is still nice in this early hour of the morning. Security men idly sit in front of their buildings checking their mobile phones. I keep strolling with my eyes clinging to every colour I notice… and believe me, I notice almost every colour in the street even that red shoes in the balcony caught my attention J I do not mind that I might stumble down and fall because am not keeping my eyes on the ground and I barely looked right and left at crossroads that I was about to be hit by a car twice (I had my earphones on). I like this neighbourhood more and more every time I linger in its streets. There is this embracing intimacy in its quasi-narrow streets. The hanging branches of blossoms and happiness. The short villas with simple, yet elegant architecture with no boastful vulgarity as that can be found in some of the rich neighbourhoods in Cairo. I prefer this simplicity of nature and architecture to the sophistication of other areas like Downtown and Heliopolis (both I heartily admire). Maybe that’s why when I visited Aswan and Luxor long years ago, the grand temples there did not steal my breath as much as the stunning Nile and its marvellous tore formations did. I take my hat off for the human creativity and mastery in building temples and complex buildings but nothing puts me in awe and peace at the same time as nature does.

I continue with the walk with some joggers passing by me. I feel grateful for the colourful surprises I find around the corners.

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I come across that specific flower – I do not know its name but it puts me in a nostalgic mood instantly. My school yard was full of it. We used to pick them and have the petals fall off our small hands. What precious treasures wasted!

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Imagine having this as your house. Entrances of joy JIf I lived in these houses I think I’d hang a sign saying:

فلتصحبك البهجة أينما حللت

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I end the hour walk with coffee and breakfast at Ovio. I playfully dodge the reminder that I should eat diet-friendly food. It is a good day. Let all be good and light J

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Posted by: Mermaid | April 1, 2017

نافذة

برجاء الاستماع إلى هذه الموسيقى أثناء قراءة القصة. ا

sdr

يَستيقِظُ في الساعاتِ الأولى مِنَ الصباحِ ويتلفَّتُ حولَهُ بحثًا عنها. يجدِهُا تجلِسُ باستكانَةٍ بجوارِ النافِذَةِ. شغَفُها بالصباحاتِ المُبَكِّرَةِ يسرِقُ النومَ مِنْ عينَيْها قبلَ شُرُوقِ الشمسِ فتستيقِظُ وتشهَدُ تسلُّلَ النورِ إلى الظُّلْمَةِ. قلبُ طفلةٍ ينفتِحُ بشغَفٍ لتلكَ البداياتِ لكنَّهُ ينكمِشُ في زاويَةِ روحِهَا خوفًا مِنَ النهاياتِ. ربَّما لهذا تهرُبُ دومًا مِنْ مشاهِدِ الغروبِ.ا

يتأمَّلُها. مُتَّكِئَةٌ بلطفٍ على وِسَادَةٍ. رأسُها يستَنِدُ على كَفِّها المفتوحَةِ دومًا. شعرُها يفضَحُ الجزءَ الغجرِيَّ في روحِها؛ ذلكَ الجانبَ الذي لا تشي بهِ ملامِحُها الهادِئَةُ.ا

يقترِبُ منها ويضَعُ يديهِ على كتفَيْها. تُجْفِلُ. يُطَمْئِنُها بأنْ يقترِبَ منها أكثرَ. تضعُ يدَها على يدِهِ وتُرِيحُ ظهرَها على صدرِهِ المُرَحِّبِ. يسمَعُ تنهيدةً خافتةً تنفلِتُ منْ بينِ شفتَيْهَا. هِيَ لا تعِي أنها تَتَنَهَّدُ كثيرًا ولكنَّهُ لا تفوتُهُ واحدةٌ.  يحيطُها بِهِ فتُسْنِدُ رأسَها على ذراعِهِ. يعلَمُ أنَّهُ لنْ يستطيعَ فَكَّ طلاسِمِ روحِهَا المُتَعَرِّجَةِ. داخِلَها سُحُبٌ عاصفَةٌ وأبْحُرٌ شَرِسَةٌ تبتلِعُكَ في لحظةٍ. داخِلَها هُرَيْرَةٌ مذعورَةٌ تُرِكَتْ على طريقٍ سريعٍ. وداخِلَها ياسَمينٌ يَسْقُطُ سريعًا معَ أيِّ رياحٍ لا تَقْصِدُ شَرًّا.ا

لا شَيْءَ بيدِهِ معهَا. ولكنْ ألا يكفِيهِ أنها امْرَأَتُهُ – بتلكِ العوالِمِ داخِلَ حدودِ جسدِها وقلبِها؟ فَلْيَنْعَمْ بتلكِ اللحظةِ وهِيَ معَهُ. يرفَعُ يدَها التي يزيِّنُها خاتَمٌ يحمِلُ اسْمَهُ ويُقَبِّلُها. تتنَهَّدُ مَرَّةً أخرى، تُغْمِضُ عينَيْها وتستكينُ داخِلِهِ.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | March 29, 2017

Sa Pa, a City of Mist, Coffee and Longing

Vietnam was never on my to-travel-to list. Two friends encouraged me to go there. Off to Vietnam, then.

Sa Pa was the third stop for us after Hanoi and Halong Bay. Reaching it was not easy; a night 9-hour sleeping train from Hanoi. But honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected it would be. We arrive at the train station a little after dawn. Taking another transportation for 45 minutes to go up the mountain where Sa Pa is. Although it was foggy but still I enjoyed the ride.

The hotel was a beautiful, rustic place and our room had a big window overlooking the mountain. Samar, my friend, always pampered me by letting me choose which bed I would like. And I chose the one next to the big window J

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We rested for a couple of hours then got ready to explore the city. First, we headed to a nearby cafe to have our addictive daily dose of the strong Vietnamese coffee. The “Cafe in the Clouds” was its name. It is rightly named for the view from it, specially from the roof, was stunning!

Edited - Cafe 3

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Fog and mist put me in this nostalgic mood where I miss him… or rather the notion of him. I miss having a partner the most in winter. When it is really cold. When it rains. Some birds are never to nest into a mate. They are to wander forever till their wings fall off and they drop on the ground for one last breath before they rest for good. I swallow the longing and enjoy the aromatic coffee and the mist.

sdr

God bless GPS! We follow the route to the lake passing by the colourful shops in the relatively narrow, winding streets. Some local ladies and children follow us with handmade goods. We smile and gently say: “no, thanks. Not today.” But one of them insists on giving each one of us a gift. I wear it for the rest of the trip.

Edited - Gift

The lake was absolutely beautiful with the French architecture houses images reflected on its surface. It is surrounded with lots of flower formations with lovely colours. We spend a good half an hour snapping photos before relaxing by the lake enjoying the view.

Edited - Lake 2

Locals in Sa Pa look a bit different than the rest of the Vietnamese population. I think this is because the city is on the borders with China. Even the handmade goods are different in material and designs.

There is something special about Sa Pa; the streets with its short houses and buildings, the facades with all kinds of plants and flowers. Wherever I looked, I saw the green mountains in the background, with slowly moving fogs… luring me into joining them… getting lost there. But I get back to my senses and I motionlessly keep watching the horizon.

Edited - Lake 5

It was a long day, we return to the hotel for some rest. Samar prefers to linger there but I feel restless; I want to explore the city by night. So, I head out again. The Chinese lanterns give such a magical yet intimate feeling to the buildings. I keep walking but my eyes check the GPS every now and then to ensure I am not lost. That childish panic of getting lost!

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When I feel exhausted, I decide I’d head back to the hotel and stop by one of the restaurants for diner. The winding road up to our hotel was full of goodies.

Edited - Night 2

The following two days are dedicated to trekking. The local guide would meet us in the hotel at 9:30. AM. We wake up early for breakfast in the hotel. I head for the “Cafe in the Clouds” for one final cup of coffee there.

Edited - Cafe 5

Sue, our guide, arrives on time. Then starts a route to remember.

To be continued…

Posted by: Mermaid | March 7, 2017

Yearning

They start leaving the cafe. He looks at her clothes and offers to take off his jacket for her but she gently dismisses his offer and walks next to him reflectively. She just realises that she never had a man’s jacket around her. She looked at him from the corner of her eyes and was about to accept his offer but she paused. That would be a first. Is she sure she wants this specific jacket? His jacket? She needs more time to be certain. Till this time comes, she would continue keeping herself warm. She tightens her small jacket around herself and smiles, with a heavy, yearning expression in her eyes.

Posted by: Mermaid | January 13, 2017

عن تلك الدقائق

لا أعرف الرجل معرفة شخصية. فقط كنت أسمع عنه كثيرًا بحكم أنه كان مدير أختي الصغرى المباشر لمدة ستة أعوام. كنت أسمع أنه قوي، يهابه الكل، ذكي جدًا وماهر في عمله وأنه يستطيع أن يفعل ما لا يستطيع أن يفعله آخرون. يتم القبض عليه في قضية الرشوة الكبرى بعد أن أدلى المتهم الرئيسي في القضية باسمه. نترقب في منزلنا سير التحقيق عن قرب.ا

في صبيحة ثاني يوم من التحقيقات تبعث لنا أختي الكبرى برسالة أنه انتحر. أتسمر للحظات ثم أبدأ في الارتعاش بشدة. أهاتف أختي الصغرى لأتأكد من الخبر ولأطمأن عليها لأنني أعرف ما قد يفعله هذا الخبر بها. هاتفها غير متاح! أطلب رقم أمي، ترد بصوت مثقل، حزين به آثار بكاء وتؤكد الخير. تخبرني أن أختي الصغرى عندنا في المنزل وأن حالتها سيئة. أنهي المكالمة وأنظر إلى شاشة الحاسوب بدون أن أعي كلمة واحدة أمامي. لا أعرف بما يجب أن أشعر؛ بالشفقة عليه؟ أشعر أن أحد ما هزني بشدة، بشدة ومازالت دواخلي ورؤيتي تهتز. هل هو متورط في تلك القضية بالفعل؟ هل انتحر أم قُتل؟ أدعي الله أن أظل صغيرة في الدنيا بلا جاه أو مال كثير يفتنا قلبي.ا

يمر يوم واثنان. أحاول أن ألهي عقلي عن التفكير به. ولكن تلك الدقائق تطاردني؛ تلك الدقائق قبل أن يفارق الحياة. بما كان يفكر؟ لديه طفلان. ماذا كان آخر ما نطق به؟ الشهادة؟ “يا رب”؟ “سامحوني”؟ هل بكى؟ هل فكر في وجع قلب زوجته وأولاده؟ ماذا رأى في تلك اللحظة ما بيننا وبين الغيب؟ ماذا رأى في لحظة اليقين؟ هل ارتعش قلبه ثم سكن؟ أم ارتعش ثم هلك؟

اللهم يا مقلب القلوب والأبصار، ثبت قلوبنا على دينك… يا رب لا تضيعنا :(ا

Posted by: Mermaid | December 31, 2016

َثوبٌ لك

تتجول في الشوارع الحميمية لتلك المدينة القديمة. تشعرها الطرقات شبه الضيقة بالألفة. تتمهل في خطواتها لتحتضن كل ذلك الجمال في واجهات المتاجر متوسطة الحجم. الفوانيس الصينية الملونة مع الموسيقى الكلاسيكية المنبعثة من مكبرات صوت مخبأة بإتقان تداعب حواسها فلا تشعر بتلك الابتسامة الخفيفة على ثغرها الدقيق وفي جانبي عينيها. تأخذ بعض الوقت حتى تستطيع أن تتحكم في فغر فاها لتستوعب كم الجمال والإبداع حولها. كم تفتقد تلك البهجة والخفة داخلها التي تشعر بهما في هذه المدينة المُرحبة.ا

تدخل إلى أحد المتاجر التي تعرض بضائع متنوعة؛ أوشحة، دفاتر تدوين مصنوعة يدويًا، فناجين قهوة برسومات قديمة، مرايا صغيرة. تتنفس تلك الألوان وتختزنها داخل قلبها لأوقات رمادية تعلم أنها قادمة. في آخر المتجر وهي توشك أن تستدير لتغادر تقع عيناها على هذا الثوب. بني دافئ بضربات فرشاة بأصفر مرح. تتسمر لدقيقة كاملة. تغمض عينيها للحظات وتفكر به. تعلم أنه سيعجبه كثيرًا. تريد أن تسير بجواره مرتدية هذا الثوب، أن تشعر بذراعه حولها، أن تراه يتنفسها داخله بجميع حواسه.ا

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عندما تفتح عينيها، تلمعان بحنينها إليه. تطلب من البائعة الودود أن تغلف لها الثوب. تغادر المتجر وكفها تحتضن الحقيبة التي تحتوي على كنزها الصغير.ا

ستقابله. حتمًا ستقابله.ا

Posted by: Mermaid | December 11, 2016

On Melancholy and Journeys

It is 6:00 AM. I woke up more than 2 hours ago. My biological clock is still not functioning well even after 4 days from returning from my trip to the far east. Early mornings are as dear to me as late nights. It’s the noons in-between that I do not like. I guess this is just me, intense in what I like and hate. No in-betweens.

December is my favourite month of the year, along with July. But I didn’t feel its entry this year because I was out of the country. When I came back and felt its presence, I did not get this happy state this month used to put me in. I’ve been feeling melancholic for some time. Not sad, just melancholic. December fails to wipe this feeling away now that the month itself carries the bitter memory of loss. Has it been a whole year already?! The memory feels distant and alive at the same time like a cold stone in my hands where I can feel the scratches and holes on its surface. Oh, nostalgia to little, simple dreams that were buried too soon! Breathe, Maya! Breathe!

This year was intense. Yes, this is the word, intense! I felt intense grief, happiness, anger, anxiety, excitement and anticipation. I would like this to change. I need to be less intense. To relax more and take things easy. I also need to work on my anticipation / expectations as I often get disappointed. I do not know how people manage to have zero or low expectations! I’ve been trying to do that but I fail miserably!

God has been the most generous, bestowing big and small blessings on me this year. I am forever grateful. I know that sometimes I focus too much on other heart’s cravings. I cannot help it. I just hope I’ll always have my eyes open to the other blessings that I can never be thankful enough for.

For 2017, only one resolution; slow down! Destinations are illusions. During our life, it’s only the journey we feel and experience every day. Being close to God, success, having a family…etc. are not destinations but big things that you get close to but never stop pursuing. They are not “check” stops in our lives where we just stop doing once we reach. So, slow down, Maya. Stop running and stop being obsessed with time. Walk and linger. Run, in a few cases, but remember to stop and walk again. Put down your spears and stop fighting all the time. Enjoy the journey, for every second and every step are past once passed.

Posted by: Mermaid | October 15, 2016

Did you not flame and I catch fire?

It’s the last day of the weekend. Last week was pretty difficult. I seriously consider going to the opera house to attend a classical music night but I feel a bit exhausted… psychologically more than physically. I skim through my movies library and decide upon Possession. This movie is another proof that I accidentally fell in the 21st century and that I am originally from ancient times.

Now I leave you with two beautiful quotes from the movie. The first is portraying the two lovers’ re-union after a long separation:

He: I shan’t forget the first glimpse of your form.

Illuminated as it was by flashes of sunlight.

I have dreamt nightly of your face…

And walked the landscape of my life with the rhythms of your writing…

Ringing in my ears.

She: I shall never forget our shining progress towards one another.

Never have I felt such a concentration of my entire being.

I cannot let you burn me up. Nor can I resist you.

No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.

Second, at their old age, separated again, when he’s on his death bed she sends him a letter:

She: And now near the end, I think of you again with clear love.

Did we not?

Did you not flame and I catch fire?

Was not the love that we found worth the tempest that it brought?

I feel it was. I know it was.

Posted by: Mermaid | October 15, 2016

On Discipline, Psychological Hunger, and Cravings

Since 2010, I’ve been putting on 2-3 kilograms a year without being able to lose them. I ended up with 11 kg on top of the weight I am comfortable with. I refused to visit dieticians believing in my strong willpower and discipline. Indeed I managed to shed up to 50% of the extra kilograms but I would just gain them back in no time. A month ago I came to the realisation that I cannot do it on my own. I am strong-willed yes but not everything in our lives we can do or handle alone. Sometimes we just need help. And there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with that, Maya! So, I started visiting a dietician and am slowly but surely losing the extra weight. Still a couple of months till I reach my destination.

I noticed two things during my diet. First, how much I appreciated what I took for granted before like fruits and bread. Now I’d chew on a date slowly with lazy pleasure enjoying the natural sweetness that reaches my heart before my blood. Second, I have a “free day” in the week. Because of all the forbidden food that I am not allowed to touch during the 6 days, I developed a psychological hunger that my body cannot keep up with. This hunger makes me buy lots of food on the 6th day in preparation for the following free day thinking that I’d swallow all that easily. Luckily, my body doesn’t give in to my whim of eating all that food and just takes samples of it sending red signals to stop at a certain reasonable level of food intake. Luckily tany, I listen to those signals and do not over-stuff my poor stomach.

When it comes to relationships, I always pick up those signals but I am not always smart in acting upon them. Sometimes the psychological hunger makes me fight too much and too long in lost battles. But I never settle elhamdolillah! I never accept something my heart or mind refuse

This psychological hunger, whether for food or for a partner, would never go away. Cravings are as inevitable as life itself. I hope God will always grant me the strength to never take what I do not want just because it’s what’s available now or because it would satisfy an instant craving.

May you never settle, Maya! And may your heart and mind’s cravings be fulfilled! :)

Posted by: Mermaid | October 2, 2016

A First-time Dahab-er

Some of my friends are addicted to the charming little town. I couldn’t go sooner because my parents feared the security issues happening in Sinai and because I feared the cats inhabiting the place! Finally, I managed to go. I expected it would be overwhelming, that I’d be head over heels once I set foot in the town. But it wasn’t the case. First impression was that it’s a simple, beautiful little town with friendly inhabitants. After staying there for a couple of days, the place got to me, got under my skin. It is truly enchanting, but not the sea or the people or the mountains. Its spirit is. Its little details are. It’s colours varying from endless shades of blue to green to brown. It’s palm trees and fallen ripe dates.

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I was lucky to have my first visit to Dahab with Nahla, my best friend. She has been there many times and knows the place inside out. After a day of just roaming around, she intrigued me into trying snorkelling in the Blue Hole. The journey from our hotel to the snorkelling place took around 15 to 20 mins by car and lots and lots of pictures.

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When we reached the Blue Hole, I wasn’t impressed, just another beautiful spot in the red Sea but nothing spectacular about it. I put on the gear, listened to some instructions from Nahla and then blooof… into the water ربنا ما خلقت هذا باطلا سبحانك إني كنت من الظالمين that is all I could say throughout the under the sea surface journey. Hadn’t I been dependent on having my mouth shut on the snorkelling mask, I would have had it open in awe. Yes, this is what this underwater world puts you in; awe. سبحان الله سبحان الله a world that is stunning in its beauty and harmony. I giggled, touched coral reefs from afar and waved to some of my fish relatives there and introduced myself as “the Mermaid of all oceans and seas”… Well, who happened to be wearing a life jacket, which is a trivial detail really :)

It felt like… Home. That I really belonged there, with the graceful fish, colourful coral reefs and sun rays that added glamour to everything under the water surface. Then came this moment when I decided to stop swimming. I just floated, let the current take control of where to move my exhausted body. A gentle sway carried this small, insignificant, worrying, restless creature… For a moment everything fell into its true perspective. For a moment, I could touch the light. And I sighed and smiled and breathed.

I didn’t regret so much not having a suitable camera with me there. Some moments and pictures are very well stored in our hearts. And forever will be kept and cherished there.

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