A Day in the City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This literary novelette was written to describe the life of Noah who lives in a city plagued by a civil war. The different events of this literary piece include the family, the work, the air strikes, and the death.

This novelette was revised and proofread by James D. Thwaites who lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Submitted: July 21, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 20, 2017



- I -


'EVERYTHING sinks in profound heavy blackness like a blanket covering the peaceful sleeping buildings and streets. Darkness spreads all over the city and the very faint skyline draws dim, scribbled shapes on the far horizon.' Noah sadly said to himself these sentences while standing and staring outside the window of his bedroom located on the third floor of the four-floor house where he lived. This house was not built in the uncivilized countryside but in the heart of a big city known well in all the maps. He had now spent several weeks living alone away from his beloved small family. Three lovely and cute children along with their patient and faithful mother, Sarah, who he loved and who he considered as a gift which was granted from God to him. He moved back inside his bedroom, walked few steps, and sat at the edge of his bed. He had to grope for things and avoid hitting other stuff to sit in that place amid the dark room which for months lacked electricity. He thought of his children and drew their brilliant laughing faces on the walls of his bedroom. He imagined that they were still calling him ‘Papa’ as he used to hear before the war broke out in the city several months ago. He imagined them on the wall wearing their green T-shirts and blue jeans while running all over the apartment and he tried catching, hugging, and tickling them. It was exactly like a movie being shown on the wall using a digital projector amid the darkness of Noah’s bedroom.

Noah bowed his head to the room’s floor and buried his face in the warmth and sweatiness of his empty hands. ‘What about my children and Sarah?’ he asked himself. ‘What are they doing now? Have they had their dinner yet? Does my eldest son have any one to read for him his favorite story before sleeping? Do they all think about me, long for me, and miss me as I do them? I really miss their smiling faces, childish smells, and curly hair. I miss also the way that I kiss their small eyes and the way that they return my kisses. I do miss everything about them.’ Noah repeated these questions and thoughts during all the period he spent alone in blackness in his apartment. That blackness was caused by the tragic blackout of electricity which was among other terrible issues happened to the whole city since the outbreak of the war. He thought again that all this mess caused him to feel like a sheep which was killed by making it bleeds drop by drop until death. A tedious, cruel, and inhumane way for ending every good thing in life. He then looked at his digital wristwatch. He realized that the time fiercely had crawled one hour after midnight when his daily loud evening would start. This evening would not be spent in a 7-star hotel for eating, relaxing, and maybe enjoying the songs of a famous rock or pop star, but it would be instead spent with other unexpected ugly things.

Noah stood up and walked out. He moved to another room searching for a voice, a light, or another clue as to what the coming hours could bring for him and for his sleepy city. He spent a long time in doing that; trying to kill his wish of sleeping. He knew that something could be happened at any time. All of a sudden, he heard hovering warplanes in the vicinity and realized that his real evening had started. He could not count them or know what their types were; but he was sure that these advanced warplanes had more to tell for all the dwellers of the city this night. He then heard the anti-aircraft defenses trying to shoot down the warplanes. He decided to return to his bedroom and stay there instead of aimlessly roaming in the apartment’s rooms chasing phantoms of his children. Hovering warplanes started to reveal more about their mission tonight when Noah heard a massive explosion from a far place caused by a heavy bombardment on land. He instinctively started to close his ears using his two hands and recited holy verses and invocations that he learned by heart. He heard other continuing and close explosions which trembled his house this time and he was able to see the explosions’ orange and white lights coming from the window. He also heard the far sounds of ambulances and knew that there were causalities needing an urgent help and care. Noah kept reciting holy invocations to end these air strikes while keeping his life intact. He suddenly thought of his family, knowing that they had the same tragic night while being in his father-in-law’s house in the outskirts of the city. His father-in-law insisted that Sarah, along with her children, should be kept in a far and safe place; but Noah knew that there was no safe place in the whole city and that everyplace could be a potential target for bombardment. He sadly thought that his family heard these heavy bombardments and they might have terrible times. His fear was gradually soothed when he tried to convince himself again that their house in the outskirts could be safer than his house in the downtown.

Warplanes had continued their hectic bombardments on the city until the dawn. Noah stayed awake all night expecting a missile by mistake from one of these warplanes or a wasted shot of the anti-aircraft defenses. He thought that this could eventually end all this suffering and send him peacefully to the hereafter. He heard then the calls of the Fajr prayer(1) and started to think about doing his prayer in the mosque. He slowly moved outside his bedroom thinking about hovering warplanes; their sounds still came from time to time but without bombardments. After doing his ablution(2), Noah dressed heavy clothes to protect himself from the cold wind blowing outside. He went down to the ground floor, and walked towards the house door while holding his small electric torch. He stepped outside, crossed the house’s small garden while hearing and keeping an eye on the close sounds and lights resulting from the anti-aircraft defenses shot towards the warplanes. He quickly left his house amid the darkness of the street around him, and used his torch to find his way. He tried to avoid any unexpected returned shots from the anti-aircraft defenses, which could be dreadful. At last, he was able to safely reach the mosque among all the noise outside. He joined the prayers, and saw his close friend, Jamal, in the first line doing the prayer. After completing the prayer, Jamal approached Noah and sat down beside him. He had a pale face which revealed the same lack of sleep as his friend Noah.

‘How was your night Noah? Did you sleep well?’ Jamal whispered.

‘You can clearly notice how my evening progressed by the dark areas under my eyes,’ Noah faintly replied.

‘I also couldn’t sleep well. This is because of the hovering warplanes and the sounds of anti-aircraft defenses,’ Jamal murmured. ‘I hope that they could shoot all these warplanes and make them regret for hovering over our city,’ he added irritated.

‘Jamal! Do you think that these outdated anti-aircraft defenses can hit one of these modern warplanes?’ Noah said while he was directly looking at Jamal’s eyes. ‘They cost millions of dollars, made in the West, and cannot be easily or directly shot down.’

‘I know that,’ said Jamal, ‘but it’s not impossible to shoot them down.’

‘You know, a grand catastrophe would take place if they would hit one of these warplanes and let it fall down on our heads. It would destroy a whole line of houses in a short time in our quarter. Besides, these anti-aircraft defenses are really hazardous and the returned missed shots really have killed some people in the city. I think you know all these facts and you also know that there are millions of civilians, including me and you, who have no affair in all this chaos. We are only the victims of others’ offensive whims and self-interests.’ Noah angrily talked to Jamal while other supplicants were noticing them and strangely looking at them.

‘God will then help you and I,’ Jamal coldly muttered. ‘I’m sure that we will make our own victory against those aggressors. These anti-aircraft defenses are a must even if they couldn’t shoot down a warplane. They should shoot under any circumstances to protect us and to let all others know that we can defend ourselves. All of us should keep this fact in our minds dear Noah.’

Jamal irritably said his last sentence while looking at Noah’s fatigued eyes. Noah looked at his friend knowing that he was a short-tempered person, although he was educated and had a bachelor degree in business. Jamal had a slim body, a light brown face, a thin moustache and an unshaven beard, as well as a wavy black hair with several streaks of white hair. He was Noah’s friend since their early and innocent childhood. They both went to the same kindergarten, the same school, and even the only college in the city. Noah thought that it was palpable that Jamal was a supporter for this war and for keeping the defense of the city by using this kind of rudimentary and ancient anti-aircraft defenses which only killed the civilians in the city. At that point, Noah whispered to Jamal to leave the mosque and go home. He left the mosque along with his friend and silently walked together in the street for several meters while still hearing the warplanes hovering in the sky, and the sporadic noise of anti-aircraft defenses.

‘What about you Noah?’ Jamal questioned.


‘You look angry. Are you afraid of war or desperate of life? Try to put your cards on the table.’

‘I’m not afraid of the war but I’m tired of thinking about the aftermath,’ Noah replied. ‘I’m not a supporter or an opponent for any political party in the city and you know that. I stand in the middle just watching these miserable events. There are many people like me in the city. I only dream of a peaceful and secure life for me and my family and nothing more.’

‘Even though, why do you think that they should stop these anti-aircraft defenses? You should be optimistic and strong. You should support them.’

‘It’s not a matter of being strong or optimistic,’ Noah said, looking at the full and illumined sky of small lights coming from the exploded shots of anti-aircraft defenses. ‘It’s a matter of being logic and cautious.’

‘You also mentioned that many persons have been killed by the wasted returned shots to land. For me, I consider those killed people as martyrs. It’s a matter of divine fate my dear friend,’ Jamal snapped.

‘Martyrs! How could you confidently judge what they are?’ Noah shouted while stepping back and grabbing Jamal’s hand to force him to move to the wall side of a nearby house. They were trying to protect themselves from any stray wasted shot. ‘It’s not simple or easy to just state such judgments without being well-founded about the whole issue. Do you know that lots of those killed people even directly by the wasted returned shots of anti-aircraft defenses or by dying later of wounds have families, feelings, dreams, and lives full of love and passion?’ Noah asked.

‘I know all of that,’ Jamal apathetically said. ‘There are no other options to offer them. It’s related to their decree of fate. Also, they might be not lucky. They have to protect themselves and avoid such wasted shots.’

‘This is nonsense, totally nonsense,’ Noah tiredly said. ‘I think that it is only their bad luck that they live in a city which has persons like you who think that weird way. It’s not a good thing to kill people under any pretension and then consider them martyrs.’

‘All I can say that I want to end this war, but with dignity and honor,’ Jamal muttered. ‘Loss of lives isn’t important if we will win the war at the end,’ he added.

‘Those are civilians Jamal. You and I belong to them,’ Noah angrily murmured as he wanted to shorten the conversation with Jamal. ‘They peacefully live in their homes and do not even have weapons. They are not soldiers fighting in the front-line and they should be fully respected. It’s a big issue than you might ever think.’

‘This is your opinion and you could keep it for yourself,’ Jamal said with a smirk. He was yawning as a sign that he felt sleepy. ‘You should try to be oblivious my friend in order to comfortably live in this world. You should always try,’ he continued.

Noah then decided to end the conversation. He had a strong faith that Jamal would not understand his point of view or change his mind. He knew that he was stubborn and narrow-minded, and he always put the cart before the horse. Noah was so tired and wanted to have a short and calm period of rest after his worrisome night. He politely had to say good bye to Jamal while gently patting his friend’s shoulder and wishing him a good day. He thought again that Jamal had a tough mentality and a rigid attitude that he was so ready to vehemently quarrel for his belief even if it was wrong. Noah wanted also to go home to have a small nap before it was time for work. Both of them were supposed to be at their jobs at eight sharp in the morning, and the time was around five seventeen when they reached their homes. Sounds of hovering warplanes and also anti-aircraft defenses were gone, declaring the end of the evening and the transitory departure of the last warplane. This short time of calmness permitted Noah to have a quiet nap.

When the time reached exactly six thirty at the morning, Noah woke up and started to prepare himself for the typical routines of the day. He had his breakfast with a hot cup of Mocha coffee, wore his casual clothes of dark blue jeans with a black shirt, a light brown jacket, and white and black sneakers. He held a black handbag containing his laptop and a file full of documents related to his job. He used to carry the laptop with him to fully charge it at the work every day since he could find electricity there. They had at work a big electric generator which offered additional benefits for all the employees. They could freely charge their electric utilities from razors, rechargeable batteries, passing to smart-phones and power-banks(3), to laptops and even car batteries. Noah had to leave his small car at home and walked until the closest terminal for public transportation. Because of the war, there was no fuel in his car to carry him to his job as the bygone days when peace filled all over the city. He left the house after patting and warmly bidding farewell to his three kittens playing in the garden. They were a real solace for him in his current calamity, and he used to care and feed them after their mother had abandoned them for unknown reasons. Noah thought that she might have died, lost her way back to the home, or even been hit by a missile because of the numerous bombardments in the city.

After Noah left the house, and while he was walking in his way to the terminal, he passed near the mosque and heard a continuous recitation for some verses from the Holy Qur’an(4). It was a sign for the quarter’s dwellers that there was a funeral for a dead person laying in the mosque. The residents and others coming from outside the quarter usually used to make the funeral prayer in the mosque at around nine o’clock. Then, they would follow the bier to the neighborhood’s cemetery to bury the corpse in the dedicated grave. When Noah asked one of those praying—who was heading to the mosque—about the deceased, he informed him that he was one of the residents at the end of their street. He also told him that the deceased died of wounds caused by a returned wasted shot of the anti-aircraft defenses two nights ago while he was sleeping at his house. Noah was not surprised to hear this news, as he had heard the same story in different places in the city since the outbreak of the war. He regretfully continued his walk knowing that he should not miss the micro-bus which would transfer him to his work in time. He reached the terminal and quickly rode one of the available micro-buses.

Noah hated this war and thought badly towards those who did support it. ‘Wars do not construct nations or countries, but only destruct mentalities, people, morals, and other assets,’ he said to himself. ‘I am sure that the war will end but I’m not sure how long it will take to reach this goal. I also don’t know how long the people and the city will endure and how many other innocent civilians will die before ending all this turmoil.’ Noah indifferently looked at the faces of the people in the micro-bus that he rode. Different faces with different ideologies and attitudes towards the war. He thought that maybe among those riders were some persons who supported the war and who would like to participate in the front-lines exactly like his friend Jamal. He noticed that his thoughts were right when he heard a young lad talking enthusiastically to others about the victories that the rebels of the city had made in the war.

Noah kept silent, overlooking the words and sentences, and thought instead about his wife and children. He was really eager to hold them all between his arms, to kiss them, and to run after them while they were playing in their small apartment. ‘Have they woken up yet?’ he asked himself. ‘Have they had their breakfast and eaten Corn Flakes—their favorite dish of the morning? Have they slept well? How was their night yesterday under all the heavy bombardments? Were they afraid and could not sleep? Were there airstrikes in the outskirts the last night? Do they miss me a lot as I do them? I should know about the answers of these questions. I should call Sarah later to feel assured that they are all fine.’ He ended his thoughts and again drew the faces of his children in the steel walls of the micro-bus trying to avoid the meaningless arguments that other riders were having all the way to the avenue that his job was located in. At last, Noah reached his job and quickly paid the fare without caring about the riders’ curious faces looking at him. He freely stepped outside the micro-bus while still hearing the intense and loud arguments and even seeing the quarrels of its riders.



- II -


NOAH had spent the day at the job with his peers and co-workers trying to find something valuable to work on. The war had caused severe shortages in commercial activities and this made them all—including Noah—seriously worry about losing their jobs and being jobless. This would surely augment their torment and make life more difficult for them and for their families. He was aware that if the situation would last for a long time that way, then finding another job would be extremely complicated and maybe impossible. His employer had to limit the time of work to the morning. Noah’s employer also had canceled all the afternoon tasks due to the lack of productivity and the lack of security in the city. At nine thirty, Noah decided to make a call for his wife, Sarah. She—along with his children—should be awake now. Noah dialed the number and waited for hearing the voice of Sarah.

‘Hello,’ Noah said. ‘Good morning my darling. How are you and how are the children?’

‘Good morning my dear Noah,’ Sarah replied. ‘We are all fine. It was really a terrible night and the children were afraid from the sounds of explosions, hovering warplanes, and other sounds of the anti-aircraft defenses.’

‘I’m really sad to hear that,’ Noah muttered, ‘but we can do nothing about it. We have to only invocate our God to protect and help us Sarah.’

‘I do always invocate and hope that this war will end soon.’

Noah noticed an emotional tone in Sarah’s voice.

‘Is there something wrong Sarah? Your voice seems so sad.’

‘No, Noah. I’m only afraid and have no clue about the future.’

‘The future is entirely the creation of our God. We should never worry about it. We should instead strongly believe in the mercy, justice, and grace of our God.’

‘I do believe in that and this only is the reason which pushes me to endure.’

‘We should have a solid faith and an upbeat hope in tomorrow,’ Noah explained, ‘and if we don’t, we would go really insane,’ he added in a whisper.

‘I hope not Noah. I hope not,’ Sarah murmured. ‘We need to be fully cautious and aware all the day and night especially nowadays.’

‘You are right,’ Noah agreed. ‘Darling, I want to speak with the apple of my eye, Nusaibah,’ he asked, sidestepping the issue.

‘O.K. Noah. I’ll call her to talk to you.’ Sarah said, calling Nusaibah to come and talk with her father. Nusaibah was their youngest child and she was only four years, but had a sharp memory and an eloquent tongue. After a short time, Noah heard the angelic voice of his daughter.

‘Papa! Are you there?’

‘Yes my little sweet Nusaibah. How are you and how are your other friends?’

‘Friends! I don’t have friends here dad.’

‘I mean your brothers. Are they your friends?’

‘No. There is a difference between a friend and a brother.’

‘Really! What it could be?’

‘A friend doesn’t fight with me, but my brothers always do.’

‘I will talk to your mother and let her stop them from bothering you. I promise you,’ Noah firmly said. ‘What about your lovely friend; Winnie the Pooh(5)? How is he?’

‘Pooh! He’s right here between my hands,’ Nusaibah confidently replied, looking admiringly at her toy. ‘I showered him today. He was a little dirty but now he looks great,’ she innocently added.

‘Showered him!’ Noah returned surprised. ‘Why did you do that? He might be upset or catch cold. Pooh can’t be showered. Water will hurt him and ruin his fluffy body dear Nusaibah.’

‘No papa,’ she said, ‘I’m sure he is well and happy. He looks very clean now. He told me that.’

‘Told you! O my God,’ Noah exclaimed. ‘Does he speak with you?’

‘A lot dad, and he always tells me many great stories about his friends, his house, and his Hundred-Acre Wood.’

‘Okay, Nusaibah. Great. Do whatever you think is good but try first to seek the opinion of your mother. Okay.’

‘Okay. Don’t worry papa. I always take the opinion of Pooh and then talk to my mother.’

‘Good. You should keep on that,’ Noah said. ‘Deliver my warm greetings to the lovable Pooh and to the rest of his friends especially Tigger­(6).’

‘Okay papa. I will. Do you still want to talk to mom?’ Nusaibah asked her father.

‘Yes. Let her talk to me,’ Noah replied to his young daughter and he heard the voice of Sarah again.

‘Noah, Nusaibah insisted that Pooh was the one who asked her to shower him. I could not prevent her. You know she might be very upset and I really want her and her brothers always to be happy in these terrible situations. I couldn’t chide her,’ Sarah explained, trying to defend herself.

‘I know my dear Sarah,’ Noah said, laughing. ‘You don’t have to explain or worry about that. Maybe doing these things will let them forget about the war that we all live in. Let them play and enjoy their time while keeping an eye on them. You know, we can’t even take them in a ride or let them go to a public park among the sounds of hovering warplanes and under the wasted shots of anti-aircraft defenses. They are hazardous and also make them panic terribly.’

‘I know Noah,’ Sarah sadly returned. ‘I always watch them and all of my other family’s members also help me in that.’

‘I’m sure you do,’ Noah said. ‘Deliver my warm and esteemed greetings to my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and the others. I should end the call now.’

‘Take care of yourself Noah. May God speed you.’

‘I will. You too should also do. May God speed you Sarah.’

Noah gloomily ended the call with his wife and cute little daughter, Nusaibah. He needed to visit them and see his three children, warmly hug and kiss them. He felt awful because of not being with them and all he could do is draw their cheery faces on the walls of rooms and corridors comprising his apartment. His hatred of war drastically always increased when he thought about the separation and displacement status that this war had caused for him and for many other families in the city. His resources, especially financial, were not well enough to enable him to travel to another far city or to even travel abroad. He was not also able to convince his father-in-law that his third-floor apartment in the house located downtown was a safe place to live for his family. He truly was frustrated and grieved, but he always had an absolute faith that God would do His divine destiny on them at the end.

Noah pursued his available tasks in the accounting department where he worked until the time of departure at midday. Then, he quickly collected his laptop, papers, pencil pen, and his small notebook that he could not abandon. This notebook had all his memories, snippets, sudden thoughts, pieces of facts, weird names, and even his trivial projects and dreams, despite thinking they would not come true at all. He made sure that he had everything in his handbag when he left the vicinity of his work and headed directly to the terminal of the public transportation. He thought that he might change his way to return home and instead to make a stop at the local market on his way. When he reached the market, he realized to a great extent how the war made everything go wrong in the whole city. He noticed that the small market was full of very cheap, inferior, and low-grade products. This was due to the sporadic and deteriorating power of the city authorities responsible for monitoring and inspecting the standards of imported products. Noah was aware that many new imported products in the market were surrogates for solutions obtained in the past. He noticed the availability of new electric bulbs, lamps, radios, and even flat televisions that worked only using electricity generated by solar systems. The problem was that these devices had a very inferior quality but with very high prices. Noah continued his roaming in the market while hovering warplanes had started again to roam in the sky. Noah saw that the people’s faces had changed. It was clear that they were afraid of these warplanes and of any unexpected bombardments in the vicinity notably after hearing of false targets that these warplanes bombarded in the last weeks in different places in the city.

When Noah looked and inspected the lifeless faces of the people in the market, he unexpectedly heard a voice of a weeping woman. He looked around him but he could not find anyone. Warplanes started to come closer and he heard the sound of a far explosion that made him gloomy. He had to quickly move and stand beside the wall of a market store to avoid any expected harm. The voice of the weeping woman was closer and stronger this time. He looked again around him and saw an old woman sitting at the corner of the store and she was crying with full eyes of tears. She was in her late seventies and senile. She wore a shabby black dress with a navy blue veil untidily covering her white hair. Noah noticed that she was barefooted because she put her shoes down on the ground and sat on them. Her hands were trembling disorderly, and her face had deep and crooked wrinkles like furrows of wet lands reflecting the tragedies and suffering that she had experienced in her long life. The key expression that was striking in the woman’s appearance was her small green eyes which sank in a sea of fluent tears. She was heartbreakingly and faintly weeping, trying at the same time to not pay attention to the other pedestrians passing in front of her. The aged woman slowly buried her face between her trembling hands before she raised her face and hands to undefined point in the sky while mumbling unheard words. Noah realized that she was in a process of invocation and that she must not be interrupted. After five minutes, the aged woman stopped her invocation, bowed her head towards the ground, and continued her weak weeping. At that time, Noah decided to go and try to ask the aged woman about her story and why she cried that way. He thought that it would be a simple thing for him to totally leave her and keep roaming in the market, but other things happening in the vicinity such as hovering warplanes, missiles’ explosions, terrible sounds of anti-aircraft defenses, and the chaos that had followed pushed him to stay and investigate more about her state. Thus, Noah directly walked and sat beside her while looking sympathetically at her face. The aged woman was faintly crying when Noah asked her loudly, ‘Mom! Mom! What’s the matter? Do you feel pain? Are you sick?’

The aged woman calmly looked at him, stopped her crying for a while, and then put again her face between her hands and pursued weeping. Noah was confused about her behavior. He was not sure if she had heard his questions well or if she was afraid of him. He decided to ask her another question, ‘Mom! Why do you cry and shed all these tears? Do you need a help?’

‘Son! I’m awfully afraid and shocked,’ the aged woman replied. ‘These terrible, frightful, and strong sounds in the sky above my head and on the land near us terrify me. Who are doing that? Why do they do all of that? Why?’

‘It’s something you and me can’t control or stop,’ Noah tenderly confirmed. ‘You should be patient and a real believer. I’m sure that relief and peace will dominate soon. We should all trust in our God. He won’t let us down. He will protect us and He is more merciful on us than all His slaves in this Earth.’

‘I do know that my son in the bottom of my heart but …,’ the aged woman said these words and then stopped talking as she considered something. ‘Our God wants His slaves to obey and keep faith in Him. He wants wrongdoers to confess their sins and repent so that He would lift His punishment from the Earth,’ she mumbled, looking directly at Noah’s eyes.

Noah wondered about the arranged and persuasive words that this aged woman was saying. He felt that the green and pure eyes of the aged woman hid a sad and vague story. He realized that she had a wise point of view that many others in her age did not have and she was really no spiritual child. He had known many aged people during his life who could not properly talk about themselves and who could not even describe other superficial events concerning their lives in the city.

‘Mom! It seems that you had terrible times in your life,’ said Noah, ‘but I’m really very relieved that you have such strong faith and superior wisdom. Just let me know how I could help you. Do you need money or food?’

‘I don’t need anything,’ the aged woman replied while her eyes were still shedding warm tears. ‘My God always bestows upon me every day. He is the One, the Provider, and the Benefactor. I believe in all of that and this is enough for me.’

‘So, what are you doing here among this bad situation?’ Noah curiously asked.

‘I am waiting for one of my relatives,’ she weepingly said. ‘He told me that he will come and pick me up from the market.’

‘Did he mention a specific place in the market to pick you up from?’

‘No. He mentioned only the local market and I thought that it will be a small place to wait at.’

‘Oh, Mom, the market isn’t small at all and you should try to …’

Noah could not complete his last sentence because a sudden close explosion happened. He powerfully bent his body more towards the wall of the store as if that someone forcefully pushed him to this direction. After several second, he felt that small stones and other fragments rained down on him from the sky. He saw a huge wave of smoke and dust coming from the end of the local market towards him. The explosion was in the vicinity of the market but he could not know exactly where it was. Noah stood up and moved from his place to have a clear look about what was going on around him. He realized from the brief utterances of the people around him that a close building at the end of the market that belonged to a military authority was hit by a missile from the sky. Then, he suddenly remembered the aged woman and turned his face towards her place at the corner of the store. He saw her from a far place protecting her face with her hands and pursuing her weeping. Noah was considerably confused and did not know what he should do. He had the choice of either timely running from his current place fearing that another close bombardment could happen at any moment or again going back to the store and asking the aged woman if she would need any kind of help from him. Unfortunately, Noah had no time to think. He heard another powerful explosion in another place in the market and turned his face unwillingly towards the source of the sound. This time, the explosion was not near the place that he was in, but he saw many people running directly towards him trying to escape from the shrapnel and thrown stones. He tried to go back to the place that the aged woman was in but two other running persons hit and pushed him ahead and he lost his control. Several minutes passed while Noah desperately tried to avoid the jostled crowd around him. He was thinking about the aged woman and about her story. When he eventually managed to go back to the store where he had left the aged woman at its corner, he could not see her there and the store was closed now. He solicitously tried to search for her beside the store, in the adjacent small alleys near the store, and among the jostled people randomly running around him but he could find no body. Noah realized that the woman had gone and he would not be able to find her among those heaving waves of hordes. ‘Maybe her relative was able to spot her among the crowds and he managed to pick her up as she has wanted,’ Noah said to himself. ‘I really wanted to help her, but the second explosion and the chaos happened after it rejected me. I couldn’t even know her name or her address in the city. Alas! What a miserable lad I am!’

Noah was profoundly upset and sorrowful. He was not able to assist the green-eyed aged woman. He let her vanish in the market without knowing other details concerning her story. It seemed to him that she was in need of help and that he might be able to give her a hand in anything which could make her comforted. He searched again trying to find a clue which could lead him to her but he again found nothing around him. The intensity of the warplanes started to increase and this made Noah decide that he should go and leave the place as soon as possible. It was possible for him to lose his life while searching for a faint clue concerning the aged woman among the jostled crowds around him. He quickly walked while firmly holding his handbag around his shoulder and with difficultly avoided colliding with the aghast running people in the market.

After several minutes of sufferance, Noah was able to leave the market and flee the terrible turmoil. He had to walk on his feet and cross three blocks of buildings before reaching the path leading to the close public transportation. At the terminal of the public transportation, Noah waited for nearly a half hour under the burning sun before he could find a micro-bus which carried him to the nearby bus stop at his house. He thought that he was really at the mouth of death in the local market. It was possible to receive a lethal piece of shrapnel from the explosions. He could even have been hit directly by the wasted shots of anti-aircraft defenses which had killed many persons in his city. He was totally overwhelmed, distressed, and tired and he faithfully thanked his God for granting him a new life today.


- III -


WHEN Noah had reached his neighborhood, he made a stop at the bakery and the greengrocer and bought some bread and fresh fruit, especially oranges. Noah was an extreme admirer of the fresh and cold juice of orange. This kind of intense admiration was not only because of the orange as a delicious fruit to be eaten. It had also other aspects of admiration to be told. Some of these aspects were concerning the orange fruit itself. This included for example the pervasive acute smell, the acrid oily taste, the spherical symmetrical edges, the coarse carved touch, and the striking orange color inside and outside the fruit. All of these unique reasons for admiring oranges made Noah deeply consider and think that the orange is a very perfect grace granted from God to humankind in the Earth. Before the sudden outbreak of the war in his city, Noah used to have a daily cup of fresh orange juice at home. This juice was made by his beloved wife, Sarah, who shared him his fondness for this colorful and savory fruit. His thoughts took him to the time when both Sarah and him together spent a dedicated time cleaning, peeling, cutting into pieces, collecting, and then squeezing the oranges in the electrical juicer. During the juicing time, the children turned around their parents in the small kitchen helping them clean the fruits, requesting to eat small pieces, inciting them taste first the produced juice, or in sometimes drawing faces and other geometrical shapes on the oranges’ discarded peels using colorful pens. ‘I miss all of that,’ Noah forlornly wondered, ‘the cold fresh orange juice, the gathering of my family in our small kitchen, and the synergy which I always insisted in my young children. I miss them too much.’ He had no idea when the war would end and when he would be able to gather again with his family in their apartment. All he certainly had known was that he would totally eat his purchased oranges today only using his bare hands. He would have never a cold orange juice at all. There was no electricity in the city for a long time because of the war and having a cold and fresh juice of orange was a great dream only came true in his bygone days.

Noah had to think about all these issues while he was holding his bags of fruit and bread in one hand, and his black handbag in the other hand on his way to the house. At last, he reached his house and barely was able to open the door because of the heavy stuff hung in both of his hands. As soon as he went in the house’s garden, he heard familiar voices surrounding him and felt soft warm creatures touching his legs. The loud and frequent mews of his three colorful Abyssinian(7)kittens informed him that they were so hungry, and he had first to feed them. He entered the corridor of the house, ascended stairs to his apartment at the third floor, put his stuff in the kitchen, brought the cats’ food, and descended back again to the corridor. He went out to the garden while the kittens were still impatiently meowing. They were three young kittens with three different colors. One of them had a gray color with randomly scattered light-brown spots, the other one was white with several small and relatively medium black spots, and the last one was totally coated with fluffy light-orange colored fur. It was an easy thing to notice that the third one was the most favorite kitten for Noah. This kitten palpably had a unique color, a special fur, a strange melodic meowing, and light-blue eyes which added more to its personality and revealed that a strange gene had innocuously befell it.

‘How are you today all my little kittens?’ Noah softly asked, patting gently the heads and backs of the kittens. ‘Are you afraid from the hovering warplanes and from other terrifying sounds coming from the sky? You shouldn’t. It is a matter of time. No more and no less. I hope that we will survive together until the end and that nothing unpleasant would harm you.’

‘Meow! Meow!’ the kittens replied.

‘What do you mean by your mews? Do you feel as we all feel here about the war?’ Noah interestedly asked his kittens.

‘Meow! Meow! ….. Meow!’

Noah had a lot of mews for his questions and he felt that the kittens’ replies were totally positive. All he was aware about was the fact that everything in the city was afraid during the time of bombardment and explosions including even his kittens. ‘If I were a cat, would this make a difference for me concerning all bad events that I have under this war?’ Noah thought while he was still patting the fluffy fur of his most favorite kitten, the light-orange one. All in all, these kittens represented a source of solace for Noah while living alone in his apartment and away from his three children. He was really in need for feeling that he was not alone in this house under this outrageous war and horrible bombardments. He wanted to feel that there were others—even if they were innocent kittens—who shared him his tedious state of solitude and distress.

As soon as he fed his three kittens, Noah went back to his apartment, took a cold shower, and then ate his lunch. He wanted to have a small nap which could make him more relaxed after passing all the exhausting activities this day, but he could not. He thought about his daily short trip in the city which he liked enormously. This trip was one of his available hobbies and free pastimes which consisted of riding his black secondhand bicycle to visit several places in the city. The bicycle’s model which was carved in its black body was ‘Jupiter’ and this brought many thoughts to the mind of Noah when he first read it. He thought that the name of this model was deliberately chosen by the manufacturer because of the great reputation of ‘Jupiter’, the powerful king of the gods in Roman mythology and the god of sky and thunder. He also thought that the name was chosen due to the important status that the planet ‘Jupiter’ possessed in our solar system. It was simply the largest planet and it had the most powerful gravity among all other planets in the solar system. Anyway, Noah stopped his thoughts when he heard the call for the Asr prayer(8). So, he prepared himself, did his ablution, and performed the usual prayer in the near mosque. When he came back from the mosque, Noah did not forget to bid farewell to his lovely kittens, took his ‘Jupiter’ bicycle, and left the house and the street to other quarters and blocks in the city. Noah thought that hovering warplanes, associated anti-aircraft defenses, and frequent bombardments on the city could be extremely perilous for his life during this ride, but he could not resist the wild call in his soul to have this recreation. He needed to get a sort of real catharsis and a feeling that he was entirely free and unoccupied from all his distressing solicitudes. He was able to only have this comfortable state during the ride time by aimlessly looking at the faces of afraid and fatigued people, strongly accelerating and steering the bicycle in the streets, quickly reading different slogans about aggressors and war written in many of the city’s walls, gloomily inspecting the stretched dirty hands of myriad beggars in the city’s detours, and by even passing closely by the long queues of diverse vehicles that aligned in the empty stations of fuel throughout the city. While riding the bicycle, Noah noticed the increased size of destruction that the war had caused and left in many quarters and blocks in the city. He passed by a ruin of a military building that once was full of life and vibration in the past and all he noticed on the remaining ruins was red-colored graffiti written on several destroyed walls:

Aggressors Will Be Fully Defeated ..

Soldiers Will Bravely Protect the City ..

Traitors Will Disgracefully Be Humiliated ..

Victory Will Be Successfully Achieved ...

Noah was aware that these were only political slogans and they were commonly used for encouraging people to keep living, donate for the war, and to even enlist in the army for going to the battlefield. ‘I believe that politics in the city is no more than the Picture of Dorian Gray(9),’ Noah said to himself in despair, hoping that his house would not be a target today for either an air strike or a failed shot of the anti-aircraft defenses. ‘Yeah, politics absorbs and conceals all the committed sins of the filthy politicians while polishing their ugly faces, personalities, and ages in the eyes of the deceived public.’ Noah saw also during his ride the posters of dead civilians and soldiers covering many walls and cars’ windows in the vicinity and in other places in the city. He did not want to stop and read about those departed persons but he instead kept pedaling, leaving behind him the ruins and the posters while wondering about how many innocent persons were killed under the heavy wreckages of those destroyed buildings and constructions.

During his ride on the bicycle, Noah used to stop at the central supermarket located at the downtown. He wanted to buy some dark chocolate bars and a bottle of cold water which were available in this store because of their huge electric generators. He parked his bicycle and made sure that it was firmly locked and attached to one of the scattered pillars in the parking area. He went into the supermarket, bought a bottle of cold water and three small bags of dark chocolate bars, and left the place through the main glassy gates. As he stepped out and directed himself to the place where he parked his bicycle, he encountered a young beggar sitting down beside the bicycle as if she was intentionally waiting for him. The beggar was around twelve years old and she had a golden secondhand purse between her small hands. She was extremely slim and had a pale reddish face with a triangular chin. Chestnut curly hair with a long braid hung down her back. She had light honey-colored eyes with thick and connected eyebrows. Her skin was white with small freckles spotted in different parts of her face, neck, and arms. She wore a long old-fashioned sky-blue dress covered by a black cardigan and a brown polished leather shoes without wearing any socks. She did not look like a real beggar. Other beggars in the city always had dirty and ragged clothes, walked barefooted, and had dark and sullied faces burned by the hot beams of the sun. Noah immediately thought that she was different and that here was a person who greatly cared about her appearance.

‘Sir, do you have a handout to donate?’ the young beggar stood up, shyly and childishly asking while grinning.

‘You don’t look like other beggars,’ Noah said, inspecting the spontaneous expressions drawn in her face. ‘Your appearance is different. You are clean and tidy. Why do you want a charity? Are you hungry?’

‘No I’m not,’ she replied, looking down to the ground and arbitrarily moving small stones using her shoes as a sign for her shyness. ‘My stepfather sent me out to beg people for handouts. He forces me daily to do that.’

‘Why?’ Noah curiously asked. ‘What about your mother? Does she know that?’

‘Yes,’ the beggar sadly replied, ‘but my stepfather will hit and slap her if she prevents me of going out and begging.’

Noah was astonished from the young beggar’s shocking reply about her stepfather. ‘Do you have uncles, aunts, or other relatives living in the city?’ Noah asked.

‘No. My father died several years ago and he was the only one I knew.’

‘What’s your name?’


‘Jasmine! That’s a good name. Do you know its meaning?’

‘No, but my mother told me that it was her mother’s name.’

‘I understand,’ Noah nodded. ‘It’s a kind of fragrant flower. Your mother loves you and also loves your grandmother. What would you do with the handout Jasmine?’ he asked.

‘I’ll give it to my stepfather,’ she fearfully replied. ‘He will hit me and hit my mother if I won’t or if I’ll return home without any money.’

‘Oh, Jasmine,’ Noah regretfully replied, ‘I don’t want anyone to hit you. Are you afraid of the explosions and bombardments in the city while roaming?’

‘Yes,’ she childishly replied, pointing at the sky and smiling with no reason. ‘You know, when I hear hovering warplanes in the vicinity, I stop begging and search for a place to hide right away. I also close my ears using my hands like this.’ Jasmine moved her small hands and put them on her ears to close them while innocently looking at Noah. Noah was deeply touched by her frank and juvenile way of expression. He thought that he also used to close his ears as Jasmine did when he was alone in his apartment hearing the sounds of warplanes and anti-aircraft defenses. It was also a terrible thing for him to think that Jasmine might be a potential victim of the bombardments, wasted shots of anti-aircraft defenses, or even hit by a stray bullet during the conflict time in the city while she was begging. Noah felt gloomy that he could do nothing to make her free of all of that.

‘Do you go to school Jasmine?’ Noah asked her, expecting her negative reply.

‘No,’ Jasmine replied assuring Noah’s expectations. ‘My stepfather always says that it’s not important to go to school. He needs money instead.’

‘So, you cannot even write your name, can you?’

‘No I can’t, but I can instead draw different doodles on the walls of our house. I can show you if you want. They are beautiful.’

Noah felt profoundly sad when he heard Jasmine’s last sentence. He knew that Jasmine was around twelve years old and she could not even write her name. He thought that maybe her mother cared about her daughter’s clean appearance as a surrogate instead of educating her in the school. It was clear that her mother was entirely powerless after the death of her first husband and maybe she had to accept the wrongdoings of her new husband in order to feed her daughter. Noah thought also that the poverty which prevailed in the city had hindered Jasmine from having her education as a simple fair and civil right. War would also make the issue more sophisticated and Jasmine then might have terrible times with her cruel stepfather if she could not collect some money in her daily horrid trip of beggary.

‘Have you earned any money until now?’ Noah asked Jasmine to have a clue about her status today when she would return later to the house. Jasmine did not reply to him, assuming that if she revealed her gathered money for today, he might not give her more.

‘O.K. Jasmine,’ Noah understood the reason behind Jasmine’s short period of silence. So, he immediately put his hand in his pocket and held some money out. ‘You can take this handout Jasmine. It’s not too much but that’s all I have in my pocket now. Would this make you satisfied?’

Jasmine nodded in agreement, cheerfully took the handout, and swiftly put it in her small golden purse.

‘Thank you sir,’ she happily replied, starting to quickly leave the parking place before sunset.

‘Jasmine! Wait. Wait,’ Noah loudly called. Jasmine turned her face back to him and stood at her place while curiously looking at Noah.

‘You can have this also as a gift,’ Noah said, giving her a small bag of dark chocolate bars. ‘Make sure that you will eat them before reaching your home.’

Jasmine’s face was covered with happiness when she took the bag of dark chocolate bars. Noah thought that these bars of chocolate would be more important for her than the handout itself. He wanted to amuse her childish soul and leave a trace in her mind about him. He might come across her in the future and know more about her life with her cruel stepfather and poor mother. Jasmine thanked Noah and quickly continued walking away. Noah looked at her for the last time while believing and knowing that there were thousands of Jasmines who had similar awful circumstances in the city. They lived under the poverty line and had no education at all. They were instead begging day and night in the city’s streets and markets. He looked at the sun on the horizon and knew that he had a little time before the full sunset. He had to return to his house under the available sunlight before everything would turn black. He wanted to prepare himself for the Maghrib prayer(10). He drove his bicycle back to the house while Jasmine’s smiling face still presented itself in his mind. ‘What would she do with her stepfather?’ he asked himself. ‘Would he hit her if the collected money today wasn’t enough? Would she eat the chocolate before reaching her house as I have suggested to her? Would I meet her safely again in the future? I do pray that she might not lose her life during this war time. She deserves to live peacefully and go freely to school like millions of other children in this world. Alas! She doesn’t deserve to be deprived from all of her civil rights in that young age. She doesn’t.’

Noah hardly hindered tears to be shed from his eyes. He was full of sadness, frustration, and sorrow. He insanely drove the bicycle as if he wanted to endlessly pursue his trip. He powerfully accelerated and hastily avoided people and cars in his way back to the house. He wanted to vent his perplexed state of depression on the exerted power produced by only bicycling. He considerably thought about all the events that had passed during his day. He dreamed of having the power which could enable him to freeze time. He did not want to let the day end and to have the night after. He had the desire of extending his day to twenty four hours without having a night at all. Since the beginning of the war in the city, Noah started to have a state of vague anxiety when the night would come and cover everything with its dark-colored mantle. ‘Dying with the presence of the shiny sun in the course of the day is better than dying alone amid the murky night of the city,’ Noah said to himself while bicycling. ‘Day has big and open eyes as they said in renowned proverbs unlike the night which is entirely blind.’

At last, Noah was able to arrive to his house in one piece when he heard the call for the Maghrib prayer loudly coming from the microphones installed in the nearby mosque’s minarets. The sun was slowly sinking on the horizon declaring the commencement of a new, long, and clamorous night which could bring the smell of death and fear for all the miserable dwellers of the city. Thus, Noah quickly parked his ‘Jupiter’ bicycle in the house’s garden, greeted his little meowing kittens, grasped his torch, went to the mosque to perform first his ablution and then all his obligatory prayers on time. He did not want to exchange views with any one while being inside the mosque, especially with his friend, Jamal. Hence, he intentionally eschewed meeting Jamal and he instead chose an isolated place inside the mosque to freely recite the Holy Qur’an, invocate, and worship. He had waited there until the Isha prayer(11) which had performed with others in servility, tranquillity, and quietness.

Noah then returned to his apartment and had another cold shower under the pale lights of his torch. He prepared a light dinner comprising of only two sandwiches of cheese and blackberry jam with a cup of hot anise. He opened his handbag, took out the laptop and turned it on. He used to spend a dedicated time at night reading literary pieces from books during his olden days. Because of the war which caused total absence of electricity and created disgusting sounds of warplanes, bombardments, and anti-aircraft defenses, Noah was compelled to quit his reading habits. Instead, he exploited his laptop with the available charged electricity to accomplish this habit as he enjoyed reading literature at night. As soon as he started opening the e-book(12) of ‘Ulysses(13)’ to read it under the available lights coming from the laptop’s monitor, he abruptly heard the usual warplanes hovering in the sky. He thought that this time the warplanes were hovering closer to his neighborhood. He was sure of this thought when the sound and noise of the jets were clear and high enough. He then—and as expected—heard the shots of the anti-aircraft defenses used for preventing warplanes from bombing their targets on the land. It was nearly ten thirty and Noah was surprised of the early coming for such warplanes this night. They usually used to start the daily deadly evening after midnight. ‘Maybe they have changed their plans and had other close targets on land in our neighborhood,’ Noah said to himself. ‘They decided to come and start the evening early today. May our God will protect and help us. Amen.’ He could not read a line from the literary electronic book in his laptop and instead he quickly shut it all down. The hovering warplanes continued their roaming above the neighborhood and Noah was able to palpably observe a mixture of orange, white, and yellow lights shone from his window. After several seconds, he heard a close massive explosion in the vicinity which caused his house to tremble strongly. He had a touch of fear and thought that maybe the warplanes targeted something in his neighborhood, but he was not sure what it could be.

All of a sudden, Noah heard a very close and dull sound of another explosion which was not a massive one. He then heard several shouts and a din in the street. After several minutes, he heard a car’s engine and another din caused by the movement and voices of talking and moving persons. He was so tired and frightened that he could not even stand up and look outside his bedroom’s window, but he knew that something bad happened in his neighborhood. ‘It wasn’t of course a warplane’s missile because the explosion wasn’t strong enough and it didn’t destroy any window in my house,’ Noah thought. ‘It must be another type of small explosions. I’m not sure but I will find out in the morning.’ He accordingly decided not to go out to check the matter. The time was close to midnight and he expected as usual the commence of the real evening which would last until the dawn. Verily and after less than one hour of the din outside the house in the street, Noah’s expectations were true when the hovering warplanes and anti-aircraft defenses started to perform fiercely their roles in the evening as usual. He could not prevent himself from drawing again in the darkness the phantoms of smiley faces and childish looks of his children on the room’s walls as they were running, talking, and calling him. He had no idea why he always thought about them when he was alone having a terrible time. He thought that this could be a kind of an incorporeal connection between their souls, but he did not know what he would call it. Noah strove to sleep under the terrible sounds around and above him. He was able at last to fall asleep after a sudden period of calmness in the sky. He thought that maybe the early coming of the warplanes before the midnight helped in shortening the clamorous evening for all of them today. Thus, he slept well until the dawn when the call for the Fajr prayer was pronounced loudly in the vicinity.

Noah got up from his bed and recited the conventional holy invocations dedicated for awakening time. He did his ablution at home and went out to the quarter’s mosque in time. After performing his prayers, he looked around him trying to spot his friend, Jamal, but he could not find him among those praying. He supposed that maybe Jamal was still upset after their conversation yesterday and he might have quickly left the mosque to avoid talking to him as usual. Noah felt sad for that and he returned to his house at once. He entered his bedroom, lay down on his bed, and tried to have his normal small nap before leaving to the job. He thought that he did not mean at all to be rude or annoying with Jamal but he also could not accept his friend’s biased viewpoint about the war. While tiredly thinking about these subjects, Noah gradually felt asleep. He later woke up by the sharp sound of his alarm at six thirty in the morning. He then heard the recitation of the Holy Qur’an in the quarter’s mosque and knew that there was bad news in the neighborhood. It was the recitation of a new dead person waiting to be eventually buried in the cemetery.

He did the same routine tasks for each morning and went out of his house. Recitation was still heard and Noah had a curiosity to ask about the funeral. So, while he was walking in the street holding his handbag, he stopped beside one of the persons standing nearby the mosque’s external walls and asked him about the funeral. He told Noah that a house in their neighborhood was struck by a returned wasted shot of the anti-aircraft defenses and one of the residents of this house died. Noah immediately thought about the din and the voices of men that he heard last night before the midnight. He expected that there was a tragedy in their quarter but he did not imagine that someone had already been killed. When he asked the man about the residents of the house, he knew that it was Jamal’s house. Noah was extremely shocked when he was informed that Jamal’s wife was struck by one of the returned spoiled shots of the anti-aircraft defenses last night while she was preparing dinner for her family in their kitchen. The wasted shot penetrated the kitchen’s window and hit the woman while she was alone. She was transported quickly to the hospital while having severe wounds in her chest and neck because of the shrapnel. She later died of wounds at the hospital after only two hours of the accident. She had five children and was only in her early thirties. Noah was shocked and terribly saddened by the bad news that he had heard about his friend’s late wife. He thought that he would not be able to go to work and he should have permission for today. Noah then took off his shoes, entered the mosque, attended the funeral prayer, went after the bier to the cemetery, and later, he offered his frank and warm condolences to his friend, Jamal, who seemed so traumatized, tormented, and absentminded.

Later that day, Noah remembered a very direct sentence from his last long conversation with Jamal one day ago. It contained Jamal’s suggestion to him to try to be oblivious and to comfortably live in the world. ‘Jamal himself would need this sentence now,’ Noah neutrally thought, looking high to the sky for the hovering warplanes and hearing the sounds of ugly anti-aircraft defenses. ‘He would really need it more than anytime in the past,’ Noah added sadly, hoping to have an end for the war which forcefully made his life a terrible thing.

Once more, Noah was able to watch his cute children running, playing, and grinning all over the high blue sky above the city. He was exceptionally obsessed with them and he believed that he should get used to all of that from now on. He greatly missed and always thought about their phantoms now everywhere and even more than any time in the past.


• Notes:

1. Fajr prayer: The first of the five daily prayers offered by practicing Muslims. The word ‘Fajr’ itself means dawn in the Arabic language.

2. Ablution: The ritual cleansing using pure water of a prayer’s hands, face, feet, and other parts of the body prior doing the obligatory and supererogatory prayers. It is offensive to waste water, exceed three times for washing a member, leave out one of the ordered acts, and carry out the ablution in an impure place or using dirty water.

3. Power-bank: An electronic portable device once it is fully charged it can be then used for charging several other electric devices such as mobile phones and other digital equipment.

4. Holy Qur’an: The Islamic holy book that is believed by all Muslims to record the revelations of God to his last prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

5. Winnie the Pooh: A fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne (1882-1956) who was an English author. The first collection of stories about the character was the book ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ (1926), and this was followed by ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ (1928). The name came from a Canadian soldier who claimed the bear at the zoo looked like it came from his hometown of Winnipeg in Canada.

6. Tigger: It is a fictional tiger character originally introduced in A. A. Milne’s book ‘The House at Pooh Corner.’ Like other Pooh characters, Tigger is based on one of Christopher Robin Milne’s stuffed animals. Nowadays he is most widely recognized as reinterpreted by the Disney studios, with distinctive orange and black stripes, beady eyes, a long chin, springy tail, and (the one detail originating from A. A. Milne) his love of bouncing. As he says himself, “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best.”

7. Abyssinian cat: A domestic cat belonging to a breed with dark brown or black markings on its brown coat. The origin of the cat is unknown, although its appearance suggests a relationship to the cats of ancient Egypt. It is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated cat.

8. Asr prayer: The third of the five daily prayers offered by practicing Muslims and prayed at the afternoon. The word ‘Asr’ itself means era or time in the Arabic language.

9. The Picture of Dorian Gray: A literary work about a 19th-century aristocrat who makes a deal with the devil for eternal youth, based on a novel by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). After Gray trades his soul to the devil, he never appears to age, but a portrait he had painted of himself looks more and more hideous with each sin he commits.

10. Maghrib prayer: The fourth of five formal daily prayers performed by practicing Muslims and prayed just after the sunset. The word ’Maghrib’ itself means west in the Arabic language.

11. Isha prayer: The fifth and last of five formal daily prayers performed by practicing Muslims and prayed when complete darkness has arrived and the white twilight in the sky has disappeared. The word ‘Isha’ itself means night in the Arabic language.

12. E-book: An electronic book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on computers, smartphones, or other electronic devices.

13. Ulysses: It is a literary novel written by the Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941) and it was published in 1922. The novel, based on the themes of the epic Greek poem the Odyssey, describes one day in the life of three people living in Dublin; Stephen Dedalus, an Irish Jewish man named Leopold Bloom, and his wife, Molly. Many people consider this novel as one of the greatest and most original books ever written in the 20th century.

© Copyright 2019 Eyad Al-Samman. All rights reserved.

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