Such is the longing…

“A room with a view,

waiting for the words,

waiting for Spring to flutter its wings in my chest.

Such is the longing today.”

~ Lone Mørch


Photo: Our cat, Purrsimmon, as in persimmon the fruit.

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Walls That Talk…

Two things inspired this. Looking at new apartments to move. Our youngest starts high school in the fall and we would like to make her commute a little easier and safer. Also, especially in the winter months, maybe she’ll be able to stay under covers in the mornings a little longer. Second, work needing me to spread the same number of working hours over 6 days rather than five. I would like the same hours in 4 days, maybe even 3!

We’ve been living in this apartment, my sacred home, my holy sanctuary, my little castle for the past 12 years. The longest I’ve lived in one place my whole life, second longest is 5 years. When we first saw it, and as soon as we walked through the door, my husband said, “This is it!”. I didn’t really like it. But we had to move and we had to do it fast. My parents-in-Law were moving in with us from back home and we needed a bigger place, first floor ASAP. Mom can’t go up the stairs. The day of the move and after the movers almost put everything on the truck, I said goodbye to our old place. That old place I lived in for 3 years I’ll never forget. But that’s another story.

I took some valuables and drove the car to our new place. I was by myself for about an hour and I was tired. The one who’s starting highschool in the fall was only 2 and she was spending the day with my stepdaughter and her mommy. No cup to make coffee or tea. No cover. No chair to sit on yet. It was in the corner of the dining room that I sat and leaned my back on the wall. Then ended up laying down on the floor.

The walls talked. And I couldn’t stop crying. That was when I fell in love with this place.

The movers came. Filled the place with our boxes. When the 2 year old came to see it later for the first time she ran around to discover. It’s a rare setup. Every room has two doors. More hallways than necessary. This three-bedroom two-bathroom apartment has 27 windows and 13 doors.

The walls in all the places we’re seeing now are not talking. It’s too silent.

Then yesterday morning I got a text from the 22-year old. “Mom, I just saw you in a dream. Missing you!”

He then immediately called. I was telling him how I now only get Sundays off. How work is not letting me put my hours in five days. “Mom, it’s ok. It’s in our blood. We can do it Habeebti, my love in Arabic. You’re like your father. I’m like you.”

But how do I tell him?

That walls do talk…

That the floors miss our feet. And the walls look for us. That the sink longs for my touch. The curtains and windows ache to be opened and looked through. That the chairs want to wrap their arms around us. That this dinning room misses all of us, misses you most. The echo is very loud and the only thing that can silence it is new noise, or new walls!

How do I tell him?

That walls do talk…

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The beautiful young woman who makes my coffee at the one café near work asked, “What perfume do you have?”, with her womanly from the core of earth Ethiopian voice and lilt.

“Which one? The one on me all over, or the one on my wrist? ”

I walked closer to her and gave her my wrist. I didn’t touch her but could feel the warmth of her face. I felt her breath on my skin.

She said, “Not this one!”

I told her what the other one was and that the one always on my wrist is Terre D’Hermés for men.

“Is it your husband’s or boyfriend’s?”

“No. It’s mine!”

“Why do you like it?”

“Something about the scent takes me back home. It smells like earth. Not like earth when it rains. Like earth in your mouth.

You know? have you ever pulled a radish or a carrot straight from the dirt? And eaten it without washing it? That taste and the smell that rises to your nose. That is exactly what it reminds me of. Or, a ripe fig that fell from the tree, covered in dirt. You can’t possibly wipe all the dirt off. That is exactly what Terre D’Hermés smells like to me.

It smells like the beautiful taste of dirt in my mouth.”

~ Sawsan

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“Only” Human?

His window looks North. The room I slept in looked South.

How Human they are, my Mother & my Father. How beautifully Human.

Not “only” human!

Delightfully, seductively and sensually Human, with needs and desires. There were times my parents forgot I was there with them last month. Their conversations in the middle of the night! The laughing and the flirting. They so forgot I was there.

In Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Márquez said, “She discovered with great delight that one does not love one’s children just because they are one’s children but because of the friendship formed while raising them. ”
Few Sundays ago watching the sunrise looking southeast out my window, I realised one does not love one’s parents because they are one’s parents but because of the friendship formed when they’re done raising them. When the dependency is gone.

There is a different kind of love now. A friendship that makes me not want to come through anyone other than my Mother and Father, if I were to come again.

* photo: Montréal, January 2017

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The things they’ve handed down…

Close to 45 years ago, me with Baba, my father.

This past month we spent almost all the time in this same exact position. Him, sleeping on his right side so I can check his back. When he’s in this position he’s looking out a window facing north.

He had surgery in his spine to remove a tumor from his spinal cavity. It was pressing on his spinal cord interfering with sensation and control of his right leg.

I realised father has the softest skin I have ever touched, soft and white as fresh snow. I learned that one of my favorite soups, oatmeal soup, he first had along the eastern shores of The Red Sea, close to 55 years ago. Between graduating high school in Palestine and attending university in Alexandria- Egypt he worked for two years as an Arabic teacher in faraway villages in the outskirts of Jedda city.

One more thing I realised…

Three quarters of my journey in life I was riding along on his shoulders. His shoulders, his journey.

Love you Baba. Yes, life loves me and I love you.

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It gives before it takes…

“Time is not a thief.

Time gives before it takes…

Every day is a gift,

every hour,

every second.”

~Through The Looking Glass / Lewis Carroll.

Painting: Through the looking glass by Agnes Cecile.

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The Things We’ve Handed Down…


Last night my mother came and slept with me just to talk about life.

Once we went to bed I realized that I still had those glow in the dark stars all over my ceiling.

I’ve had them for maybe more than five years now.

I asked mom how come they’re still working after all these years.

She explained to me the way they work.

The reason why they still work is the presence of two lamps I have in my bedroom.

Which made me realize that I have two lamps in my life too,

my mother and my father.

Just like the lamps that keep those stars glowing,

my parents are the lamps that keep me going.

I do have a lot of other lamps besides my parents such as my siblings, friends, interests

& so much more.

But they have been the best parents to me,

mainly because they are my only parents.

They provided for me all along

and have shown me respect all my life no matter what.

They have taught me well.

This is a message to be grateful for the parents you have,

because they are a gift from God.

~ Layla R. Zeki

*Photo: Tuesday morning 1/3/2017. While making my morning coffee I found Layla writing her first blog post.

*Post is center aligned because this is how she wanted it.

*Post title inspired by Marc Cohn’s song The Things We’ve Handed Down.

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