Everybody has a dream; everybody dreams. The man who told me that - the same man who I fell in love with back in high school - was a long way from home… always assuming, of course, that the dead have someplace to hang their hat at the end of a busy working day. And something to do when they got there.
When I was in High school, completing my last year of education, all I ever wanted to do when I got home from school was write.
Every evening I would finish dinner as fast as I could reasonably
chew it, and then high-tail it into my mother's spacious room and
boot up the trusty computer. Seems I had more energy for writing
then, though that seems ridiculous when all I have to do now is
Back then, when I was in and out of school, where students felt they needed permission to breathe, I made silent (and sometimes not so silent) promises to whatever deities ruled the world that if I could ever get out of the mindless slog of listening to minutes being read out day in, day out, and into a silent world of my own thoughts and words I would never complain again. And when it happened, I didn't. I was true to my word. For a while. Well, why not: after all, I had nurtured a dream - as the boy sitting next to me in class had known… among many things, as it turned out - and my dream had become a reality.
But it was my dying friend, who slowly decayed before my very eyes, whose last bit of life essence depended on me and me alone that enabled me to recognize that my dream was not the only one. Nor was it the most important.
But first things first.
My senior year in high school, started out pretty badly. I have failed my previous tests and broken up with my boyfriend of four years. Just three days before that happened; he was comforting me with a pack of cigarettes and faulty methods of reassuring me that everything was going to be alright. It wasn't his fault that I did not believe in his fantasies of a perfect future in store for me. I was a rather realistic person I think, maybe a little on the pessimistic side. I did not believe in a perfect life, with a husband, two kids living in suburban home. At least I didn't at the time... I was distraught. I thought my future was done for. The exams I have studied for so hard, I have failed all of them. There was no future for me.
Despite having been together for four years, the passion ran dry
as we were going into our second year of the relationship. We had
differing views - which at first I admired. But over the years I
could only think of him as an idiot for believing in such
nonsense. Though there was no passion, I still cared for him. I
did not want him hurt.
We broke up after a charming young man caught my eye in my school. He sat far in the back by the window. He had dark brown hair which he liked to spike up and big brown eyes. Cute button nose and big kissable lips. He sported the build of an athlete, though he seemed healthy, there was a peculiar weakness in his eyes. He seemed sad despite his outward appearance of an up-beat, go-lucky guy. He was constantly surrounded by friends and the smile they brought to his face would make even the coldest heart melt.
I was somewhat of a social outcast. Not that I wanted to be, but my shyness would not allow me to get up the courage to make friends with my new classmates. I always took a book with me to school as a diversion from the fact that I had no friends. Every lunch break I would sit there alone, in the class and read my book in peace.
It was a fantasy book like many others that I have read. The only genre I seemed to take an interest in. I loved reading books so much; they inspired me to start writing myself. I remember a quote I once read in a Philip Pullman's book, "read like a butterfly, write like a bee." This quote summarized all of my ideas on reading and writing. My two passions combined.
One lunch break, I was sitting in my usual spot, with my book in my hands. One classmate had actually stayed in class this time. He was just sitting there, staring off into the distance. The weather was nice outside, sun shining and all… I glanced at him from behind my book, his aloofness sparked my curiosity. Normally everyone looked forward to going outside and playing sports during lunch, but not this guy it seemed. He had a military look, big muscles, buzz cut and a stare that could kill all his foes.
Finally he turned to me, and asked me where I was from. I told him I was from Russia and retaliated with the same question. He told me about how he was from Jordan but was raised in the states. Texas to be more specific. That wasn't really surprising as most of the students in my class were biracial, half Arab and half American in most cases. We spoke about the differing cultures and what brought us to this country: Amman, Jordan. Our stories were rather similar, mine was of poverty and escaping debts and his was poverty and accusations of terrorism.
I had known that after 9/11 some ignorant Americans would label all Arabs as terrorists but I had not know the extent of the damage it would cause to people like Ahmad. To be prosecuted for being born in country not of his choice, to be prosecuted for something he had not done, was simply heartbreaking to say the least. It is this kind of injustice that makes me want to annihilate the world all together.
After many questions, ranging from family to friends and hobbies,
my curiosity finally caved in. I had to know the reason for him
staying behind in lunch break. He told me he had back problems
which would cause him a lot of pain whenever he walked or… did
anything really. I tried asking how he got that injury but he
told me it was a private matter and that I wouldn't believe him
if he told me anyway.
He said something rather peculiar "You are not gifted with the 'sight'", I tried to inquire as to what he meant by 'Sight'. I was not blind! Sure I wore reading glasses on occasion but I could still see perfectly fine! He told me I would not understand. Not wanting to lose the only person who took the time to get to know me, I decided to drop the matter before it irritated him.
We sat there the whole lunch break. Talking, laughing, despite the cheerful tone in my voice, I was still wondering what he meant by 'Sight'. Sure, I decided to leave it alone but one cannot simply ignore something on demand! I couldn't wait to go home, just so I could search up the meaning of 'Sight' until my curiosity was sated. That feeling of mystery was burning a hole in my brain as I could no longer contain my excitement for unlocking that mystery.
The lunch break ended and people started pouring in back into the class. Soon everyone was in their seats and chatting up their friends. Ahmad went to his friends, one of which was the cute guy I have developed a liking to. I retreated back into my book quietly and waited for the class to start.
The class ended soon enough. With today's events, the new friend I've made and the newly sparked curiosity, I hurried to catch a cab so I could leave for home. I was rather happy, excited even. I felt this was a new beginning for me. A new opportunity to make friends and have a happy last year in high school.
Once I arrived, no one was home again. My mother was out with her
friends and my brother was at work in Dead Sea. I hurriedly
undressed and rushed to my mother's room and started my
'Sight'… so many different results for the word 'sight' it was ridiculous. None of them made sense. I went from contact lenses advertisements to commercials about different "stylish" specs. Stylish… that's like adding insult to injury. Trying to coat a problem with glitter won't make it any less of a problem.
I finally gave up and decided to leave it for another day,
perhaps if I get close enough to Ahmad I could inquire as to what
he meant by not being gifted with 'Sight' and in the same time
leech in a bit closer to that cute guy I liked.
Their bond with each other seemed stronger than any other I had seen in that class. It was as though they were related even though they clearly were not. Those two puzzling creatures… One with a sad mystery in his eyes and the other with mystery in his words. That was exactly the kind of excitement I needed. I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into that mystery.
And so I left my curiosity to simmer… till the next day.