Thursday, 22 July 2010


We pass Al K village, and we decide to stop there. I think I'm physically melting, and I have to peel myself from the car seat.The air conditioner whirs one last time, and I close the door half heartedly, I'm devoid of all energy. You'd think sitting in a car wouldn't sap so much energy, but somehow it has.

The sunlight is a bright white, amongst the browns and greys, and the area seems almost entirely populated by guys, apart from one small girl, playing amongst her brothers. The air is thickly scented with spices and aromas, indicating precisely where and what most of the women are doing.

That and at the heat of midday, most do the wise thing of staying indoors. Rather than what I do, which is trample around the dust. I see someone who resembles someone else. I wonder if they are somehow distant relatives. I pad along the hot floor, stupidly wondering if my shoes are going to melt and stick to the ground.

I almost get tangled into the barbed wire, that randomly lies scattered along the roads, and I look behind me, making sure I'm still in sight. I've reached my destination.
Its a shop that has brightly coloured things hanging everywhere. It almost looks like an eyesore amongst the rustic ruins of this place, though at the same time its pretty.
I want to buy everything in this colourful shop of things. There's nothing I need, or might ever need, but I'm grinning like a child in a toy store. Incidentally, it is a kind of toy store.
Outside are young boys sitting down, with the small girl running around them alone, they're joking and laughing, but quieten on my approach.
I smile, and some grin back at me, though a few refuse to meet my gaze, instead choosing to look into the distance, or onto the littered ground.

I stay standing there for a minute perhaps, trying to decide what to do. I walk into the shop, to be met by the cold breeze of a buzzing fan. Everything is so plastic and childish here, and coupled with the coldness of the shop, I stay statue still inside for a few minutes. The guy at the till stands, and after a while stares suspiciously at me.
I'm oblivious, and continue my staring.He raises his eyebrows at me, and asks if I want something. Instinctively I point at something, and he lazily gets it. I think he's clearly annoyed at me, though I'm not sure why. I pay for it and slowly make my exit. I reach the door, but then change my mind and walk back to the till. The guy is now amused, and asks 'ha?!' (what?). His angry reply, coupled with his bemused face cause me to reply meekly. He passes me the 7 ice creams, and asks me if i want anything else. I shake my head quickly, and rush out the door quickly.

The front of the shop is deceiving, my mind speaks annoyed. The young children at the front of the shop turn around to watch me leave. I stop near them and hand them an ice cream each. I notice one of the boys has one leg, where the other leg should have been, was a red sore stump. I keep an ice cream for myself, and begin to walk away.
"hey hey!" shout the children at me. I turn around.
" Come sit with us, if you walk in the sun, your ice cream will melt too quickly". I hesitate slightly, but they all shuffle and point at the sandy ground. One gets up coming to persuade me further.

I laugh and walk to them. We all sit in the shade, as they noisily eat.The little girl sits next to me, and she continuously leans towards me to stroke my arms, or my dress, with her sticky hands. I try my best not to laugh. She strokes my cheeks and that breaks my self control. I burst into laughter as some laugh along me for no reason, and others stare quietly.
Reluctantly, I get up. I smile at the children, and say goodbye, not before trying to learn all their names. They slowly wave me off.

I walk to the toilets, situated bizarrely at the front of the village.
The toilets are too horrendous for words, the stuff of nightmares.
Overcome with the overly sweet taste in my mouth, the image of the boy's missing leg, and the stench of the toilets, I promptly throw up.


jnana said...

I really admire your style of writing

HyperCritical said...

I really just want to echo the above comment!

Your writing is beautiful! Truly a picture painted!

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

That was a kind thing you did, Touta. :) The children will remember it.

Anonymous said...

Marara bess bedaga

Ihsiin said...

Ah, the world can often bear down on us with all it's infinite colour and blurry noises, so furiously and relentlessly that we collapse under it's weight. The desert wind is gently blowing.
Wonderfully written stuff.

Touta said...

thanks! so tell us about yourself? :D

thanks for your kind words :D what exactly are you critical of by the way?

i also did it to get away from their blank stares which followed me everywhere :P

balla :))

the world crushing down on us means we can rise up in a phoenix-esque style though :)

jnana said...

Nothing much to say! I'm an iraqi teenager, live in Dubai but at the moment in my beautiful country :)

JG said...

Nice story, Touta.

Hope you're having a good summer.

Best wishes...


hi touta
nice post.wishing you a "freezing" summer!! :D


Caesar of Pentra said...

Ahem.. *coughs*
*prods you with a stick*
You know why. *sighs*

Peace said...

I am new here so I am following as much as I can.
I'll back soon and I'm also from Iraq.

This is my blog:

Touta said...

interesting! how's it like over there? (other than intolerably hot?)

aaahhh, so many events, so much laziness to overcome. I have one extremely long post that i probably should start writing up..

ya reeeeeet. its perhaps the only thing i pray :))
have a happy eid and great summer too! (although its almost over and autumn is here now :D)

i can guess like sticks? hehehe

nice to meet you, and welcome to the iraqi blogs i suppose :D