As I’m sat on my desk, working away, “Hilwa Ya Balady” playing softly in the background…a feeling, a fleeting image took me back to my grandparent’s house.
I was asking granddad to put on Dalida, after the pleading my wish was granted and the living room was turned into our dance studio. The music begins playing and my sister and I would be lost into its melody, arms flailing, spinning round and round until we were too dizzy to stand up and maybe fall once or twice while we gracefully jump from sofa to sofa.
Slowly the treasures of my grandparent’s house would come out of their drawers and cupboards. The Hijil, that was too big for our tiny ankles and the bright green piece of cloth that we would tie around our non existent bottoms, were an essential detail for our performance. The smiles and giggles accompanied us throughout the evening.
Those were the days when grandparents were young and fun to be with. Now I look at granddad, the most active person I’ve known all my life, sitting at his desk reading his newspaper with eyes slowly drifting and closing into a sleep that was brought by boredom. He shuffles his way from his study to the kitchen to his bedroom like an old person whose life has become a burden on him.
I’m sure he’s still the same person, somewhere the tennis player, the gardener enthusiast and the opinionated jido is there. I can hear it in his voice and see it sometimes but these occasions are becoming rare occurrences. The sharpness and attentiveness have been taken over by the unfocused, blue rimmed brown eyes.
Bebe has turned into this unhappy and depressed being. Only when her sons and family visit does she smile from deep within her heart. They give her purpose to life. Yet, this is taken away just as easily as it is brought, by their parting.
It is sad to think that once upon a time my Bebe and Jido were full of life and laughter.
I miss them and I miss being a child, unaware of these realities.