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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