No one else knows how to stage the farewells drama like an Arab daughter. Arab daughters?! Nobody. And this is none of those stories of Hare and Chameleon I don’t know Elephant. I spent enough seasons in the flare of the Sahara to earn myself authority to talk about Arabs and their daughters and even Bashir would tell you this if he were a clever person.
We would go to the Khartoum Airport almost every week. At least every week someone was coming into the City of Patience, or running away from God’s wrath. The trips didn’t just offer us the opportunity to get the freshest first-hand news from home; they also put us at the right position in the field when fate’s midfielder would bring that cross of maize floor or tilapia and we would be at the right position in the opponent’s defense to fire the goal home. It wasn’t about greed or even the food per se. When you are in a foreign land you always want to get a piece of anything from home even if it is a piece of shit from your neighbour.
So on such occasions I would see Arab families swing into the Arrivals or Departures. Heavy Arab fathers smelling juneyr notes in their jalabiya and scarfs making staircases to the sky above. Huge bodies from Omdurman or Wad Madani or even Al Dabbah in the north. They would sit with us in the lounge and we would all watch Al Shorook and see Al Bashir issue warnings to Amriykia. All along they would be talking in low tones and sometimes Father would kiss Daughter on the forehead. That is how brutal Arabs were. They kissed their daughters while we stared and prayed that they leave the job to the rightful candidates. But we seemed to have left our gods back in the villages because God never struck their necks. A jealous mother would enter the discussion and pinch the daughter or her father. Then there would be a chuckle, followed by calm and talking in low tones as Al Shorook breathed on the screen.
Then would come the hour Leopard ate her child. Father would rise to leave, and would hug the family before hugging Daughter a long passionate one. (Picture young man gritting teeth). Then he would turn to leave.
He never would leave like that…..
And this is where I will tell you Arabs are beasts, and that small beautiful Arab girls are worse. For when you ask me why I didn’t marry an Arab it will not just be that they were unreachable. They were also small spirits, explosives. These small creatures would coil and turn wild and wail. They would run to their fathers and grab their jalabiya not to leave. It always was a small Gulf War. Many of them collapsed right before our eyes. Many remained at the lounge hours after the man had gone. Many needed police to help the mother carry them back to the waiting car.
In the Sahara I learnt one thing, that goodbyes are the hardest experience hunger.
For I felt so broken on behalf of the father. I tried but failed to taste how the old beast himself felt leaving behind Yellow Flower with round lips and eyes of Eve.
Farewells have always been tough for me. I think it is because I tend to attach sentimental value to almost everything around. I remember one time I secured a job in another town and so it was a must to move. Yes I went, but I kept paying rent and coming back for pilgrimage. I think it was also the time I had lots of the president’s head and tails. And dung between my ears.
It’s been quite a while since we began doing stuff here. We sometimes stumbled upon sense and made it right. Sometimes we pulled a crazy line and we were happy. Or sometimes a sad one until we were happy that we were crying. We’ve traversed the world and met people. But I’m not sure that if war broke out today happiness and sense would still stand on our side anymore. I think what I’m fearing to say is that this place has become vague. You can’t expect to write boring stuff and then hope to have fun unless the person who bewitched you was also bewitched.
Or perhaps it is just the burnout.
Whatever, we need to go back to the drawing board.
Guys, this is a bachelor’s way of saying bye. For the moment. There is a long literary project I’m working on and I felt Eke the bird will fly away if I shoot with half an arrow. Perhaps you will be there to buy a boring book with my name when November cometh. And who knows, School Girl will be grown already and I won’t need police papers to show her around and tell Arabs to remain with their little beasts. And I will have a phone with a camera; you know what that means?
But most importantly, we are taking this break to breathe back the energy into this page. So roll that frown and make bread from it. (Big Emoji)
Bye (and I’ll miss you, and remain sad) till 7th November. 8 am.