Morning Musings

When I was little, there were things I knew but did not know. Like: my grandfather left the south of Egypt for Alexandria, left his family behind. When I pictured him doing this, I saw his slim body bobbing along the Nile, saw him walking all the way North to Alexandria. My grandmother’s family left Greece for Alexandria. She left them for my grandfather, my grandfather who left his family in the South for Alexandria. Then, they had my mother and her brother and sister. My mother left them for my father, my father who left Palestine for Alexandria. (I haven’t seen his siblings in over 13 years. My uncle calls me sometimes. He is the one who doesn’t really believe in the angel Gabriel. When he told this to my father two summers ago, my father felt like someone dampened a corner in his mind, and since that corner was dark, he can smell always the mildew of his new religious confusion. He is a very impressionable, very sensitive man. Mama does not like sensitivity. Her solution to criticism is to not hear it at all because she talks all the time all the time constantly talks. She and my Baba live far away from their children. They left their children in America the way they left their old families. New families are still families to get away from.) When I was little we would go to Alexandria in the Summer. Once, my great aunty, Tante Munira, came to visit us in Alexandria. She was one of the sisters my grandfather left behind in the south. Great Aunty Tante Munira wore black all the time all the time I never saw her in anything but black. She wore a black scarf on her head too. When she visited her back hunched and she was old and she walked slowly to the balcony. I liked her smell and her hands which were covered in little blue vein railways. Tante Munira sat on our balcony which overlooked the dump and she knitted. The ball of yarn in her lap is black now in my memory, but I don’t think it really was a ball of black yarn. Her lap was black. I did not know when I was a child what it was like to go without sex for years and decades, like Tante Munira had done. She sat on our balcony overlooking the dump and knitted from the black yarn in her black lap, and Mama sat across from her, and I sat across from Mama and put my small feet in Mama’s lap. Mama leaned in and whispered, “Don’t sit with your back to Tante. It’s rude.” My back felt naked as though small rude clowns were facing Tante Munira and taunting her. I turned my chair around and the scraping noise of the black wooden legs against the white tiles made Tante Munira look up from the black yarn in her black lap and smile at me. Fifteen years later I saw a black and white picture of an old woman all in black with a black scarf on her head. She was so thin. I asked Mama if it was Tante, and she said it was my great-grandma, whom mama’s mother had run away from when she was only 17. I am now sitting on an Ottomon in the vast cold balcony of Michigan, and I feel as though my back is turned to everyone who made me, and all the people I once knew.

3 thoughts on “Morning Musings

  1. Great writing. I vaulted across cultures as I experienced a closeness with the sentiments and emotions.

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