14.2.08

The Rocking Horse

Well, the natural course of thing that preludes are followed by the actual main parts..Duh..

Here goes nothing..

When I read this, it feels like someone else wrote it. Some different person, yet I know it is me, 7 years ago in a dark room, in Amman..I feel like talking to the writer. To ask him about his opinion on things. And I imagine if I ever got the chance to talk to that person I wouldn't tell him anything, I wouldn't open my mouth.. I would just like to sit there and listen for hours and hear out his naive, childish opinions on life, love and dreams and hopes he holds on to them as long as possible..

And so it goes..

It was quiet, star-less summer night. Large, gray clouds veiled a silver, luminous moon. It appeared like a shy, young girl hiding foolishly behind transparent curtains. A gentle breeze blew sending involuntary shivers all over my body. The breeze carried the scent of wild jasmine and the sweet smell of strawberry-flavored argeeleh smoke.
I looked upon our “football-field” A dusty road .Two rocks were sufficient to make a goal. The constant kicking, stomping and occasional falling of the kids sent a cloud of dust making the kids seem like restless ghosts. I shifted my sight to the balcony next to ours. A miserable, tense teenager sunk deep into his tawjihi textbook, clenching it tightly like a pirate would clench to his treasure map. He wandered back and forth like a newborn gazelle that has lost its mother, unnoticing my sympathetic eyes. From the horizon the figure of an exhausted, filthy yet strongly built man shaped. It was the cotton candy guy. He was empty-handed except for a single pack of cotton candy. Usually, he would shake the whole neighborhood with his fresh, joyous shouts and sweet tunes of his harmonica. Today he was mysteriously silent.

The doorbell rang destroying my utopia. I opened the door. The heart-warming face of my father greeted me. “We have visitors” he said. With him was a ragged, untidy man in his mid-thirties. His unshaved beard made him look like a werewolf. He had clumsy features and dark, vacant eyes. He smiled baring yellow, smoke-stained teeth. Holding his hand tightly was a 7 or 8-year-old kid. He wore jeans shots baring bony, hairless legs. On his wrist was a large Casio watch with all its unnecessary accessories. He seemed anxious. Something was familiar about that kid. I realized I was staring at a mirror image of myself 10 years ago. The guests entered.
“We’re gonna sell our rocking horse” my father whispered into my ear. I was dumbstruck. All of my childhood memories hid inside that horse just like the Greek soldiers hid in the Trojan Horse before opening the city for their final assault. I guided our guests to the horse. I turned on the lights of the basement to reveal the horse. He seemed older and weaker than last time I saw him. Dust covered him and rust built-up between his hinges. Some spider even built cobwebs all over his body. The kid jumped enthusiastically on his back. He smiled a wide, ear-to-ear smile as he rocked back and forth, back and forth. Bittersweet memories rocked in my mind, just like the horse; Most kids enjoyed pretending to shoot each other to death, harassing girls or beating the Hell out of a defenseless kid. Yet on his back I slayed hundreds of sinister, cold-blooded dragons, I dueled valiant, iron-covered knights and saved the beautiful Princess before escaping with her to a deserted island. When the darkness of my bedroom would seem too scary and threatening, I would take refuge next to him and he would protect me from all the goblins and ugly trolls. I used to spend hours caressing his hair and stroking him gently; he would answer with a smile .He taught me the secrets of the universe in exchange for a few lousy cookies I fed him. Sometimes I would talk about the real-life dragons I lost against, I would complain about the bullying “knight” of my schoolyard and weep over the Princess whose heart I tried uselessly to win. He would nod understandingly and sometimes, just sometimes, he would speak with a god-like voice lightening my burden. Then we would share our triumphs and forget my losses. He was my best friend.

“I want it Daddy, I want it!” the kid cried beggingly. “You can have it” I answered unbelieving the words I just said. The kids’ eyes twinkled like little stars and he jumped up and down like a bunny. “Thank you, thank you!” he repeated. The kid’s father carried the horse away. Conflicting emotions raced inside me. My eyes moistened and my lower lip trembled as I bid the horse farewell. I managed a crooked, half-smile, knowing that another kid’s childhood has just started.

The horse winked back to me.

The End(for now)

11 comments:

inmotion said...

I waited for this. I'm not disappointed. Don't deflect my compliment with a joke. You're not a good writer. You're a man with heart. That makes you a very good writer.

Expated in Dubai said...

Ok I won't :) Thanks for the compliment

Kinano said...

Gripping, for the very least!

I think we all, at some point, had a rocking horse that was given away. I can clearly see why this piece won. It's timeless readers can easily relate to it.

Good work mate! I enjoyed it immensely :)

ismellolives said...

Reminds me with things I used to write in school. Let me ask you this, do you feel - reading back on this - that you used to be a better person inside? I always feel that way when I read things I wrote in the past. Was I naive? Heck yeah. But a better person for sure. It kinda makes me sad, when I re-read things like that. I always feel like I lost a part of myself that was for better or worse, a good part. That thing - whatever it is- that inspired me to write pieces like yours, is I think what I mourn losing the most.

It's still nice holding on to those memories of the self though, yeah?

Expated in Dubai said...

@Kinano, thanks mate..
@IsmellOlives, yes I agree with you. And I sort of implied that I do feel I was a much better person when I wrote this.. and wish to regain some of this lost innocence..

Rambling Hal said...

I wouldn't be so opposed to teaching if I could guarantee that I would always have students who would turn in a piece like this one.

Expated in Dubai said...

Thanks Hala, though I really doubt the seriousness of you taking up teaching, but I'm flattered anyways :)

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