Cousin Dalia

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


The story of two cousins

Submitted: October 30, 2017

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Submitted: October 30, 2017

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She and I never touched but our souls did. The first time cousin Dalia and I met was a sight to remember. Or so my proud father told me. He had a way of remembering singled out moments that meant something and telling the tale with the wisdom of signifying a life defining moment. Apparently, my first encounter with my cousin Dalia was one of those moments. This was what he told me. I was eight years old and my cousin Dalia was six. She had come with my uncle Sherif from Canada for a visit to her overseas family in Egypt. She was born to two Mediterranean feature parents. I was told that my uncle Sherif, as a growing child and teenager, was a golden blue-eyed blond. Apparently, she had taken those features from him, without the blue eyes. At six, my cousin Dalia, among Mediterranean features cousins of hers, stood out. Her image was a combination of antiquated images of Jesus and modern day Madonna. Probably, my uncle was proud as he paraded these good-looking features to his mother, my grandmother, and my aunt, his and my mother's sister in Alexandria, Egypt. It was a short visit, and one which was not destined to be ever repeated. It was one of those visits where one was hopeful it would be the first of many to come, with the hope of bridging distant families and bridging gaping cultures. I, myself, was born in Canada, and inherited the same features as Dalia. At eight, I was golden blond with what people deemed as green eyes, the emerald features, that both boosted me and plagued me for the rest of my life. Perhaps it was this likeness that attracted, at that age, Dalia and me. Or maybe, it was the ability to communicate in the language that she had only known since which was English. At the time, my mother had managed to help me retain a fluent communication in English. So probably, I was the closest one to her age who spoke the language at her fluency rate. Another probability was Dalia's embracing nature. She was not one to walk away from people, and most likely her next of kin. She embraced them, tried to engage them at their level, no matter what barriers, language or otherwise existed. It could be all these factors that made sparks fly between us. These were the additional elements I had gathered from my father's story after I had been with cousin Dalia several times. But these are the events of the story that my father told me.

Being a golden blond among darker features of the Mediterranean people was not a golden opportunity sometimes. Like everyone, blonds are a likeable picture, till they stay a while with a group of people, and these people become too familiar with them. Just as much as fairer skinned people can be prejudiced against darker shades of people, so is it possible to be the reverse. Blonds have a bright outlook on life. It could be the look of admiration in people's eyes, probably adults, and the words of praise that accompany them. This happens in the world of adults. But in the world of children, once they are conscious of themselves and the "other", they are conscious that they are a disadvantage in the world of the blond. They feel they do not get as much attention. But children at that age seldom speak. They take action. Adults cannot be attacked. Who is the one, in their understanding, causing them the agony? Once they have identified the agonizer, it was time to victimize them. The best mode of victimization in children's world are games. The spider sets out the transparent sticky web for the fly. The spider invites the fly to their home. Once the fly enters, he is made to feel welcome and is called upon for a game. In this game, grabbing is available, making subtle remarks about the blonde’s dimished intelligence is viable. But the only one who is unaware of what was going on was the blond in the trap. This is repeated, with the blonde, and that is me, oblivious to this. Because, from the blonde's point of view, his cousins are his family, his friends, and basically the only world he has ever known. So it was with my cousin Hoda, on the Egyptian side. Whenever I went to her home, and I went a lot, she would invite me to play games. There was a sex thing involved as she always grabbed me then let me go. She and her elder sister, and sometimes my aunt, would say things that would hurt my ears, and the giggle it off. I never knew at the time but something ached when this happened. But I was having too much fun to let them go. After a while, it appeared the blonde fly had become a boring toy. Not only was he boring, but he was clingy. And this clinginess made him even more boring. Enter Dalia.

Apparently, it was some day in the Fall, as my father told me. He said he saw life manifest itself in the images of myself, my cousin Dalia and my cousin Hoda. Hoda had set out the trap as she usually does, even though she was bored with it, but that was her play area, fun time, and victimization tactic getting at the blonde who got too much attention. The family was invited to pay a visit at my grandmother's house to see the distant relative uncle Sherif and his daughter. I had no idea at the time what was going on except that I was going there for my playtime with my cousin Hoda. Once my cousin Dalia and I laid eyes on each other, we engaged each other, my father told me, in such a way, that we were lost in each other's world. Two souls that just touch. Two people who see each other for the first time, and there is more to be said about this than the silence that surrounds it. Suddenly, the spider turned tigress and was jealous of her possession. She had copyrights to make use of the blonde any way she saw fit, and no other Canadian blonde was going to get in the way of that. After a while of being bored with me and so victimized that it became boring, cousin Hoda suddenly developed a new interest in me. She invited me vigorously to come play with her in opposition to the new player on the scene. My father told me that this was really a human moment. A moment when a human being takes advantage of another human being till saturation only to be woken up in a moment of sobriety when the rival walked in. I reflect on my father's story, and how it had impacted my relationship with cousin Dalia in the years to come as we met many times under different circumstances. For each time, we were different people, and as we developed, progressed, and expanded, new forces came into play. Many things happen between two people, but when two souls touch, that bond is forever.


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