Monday, 23 January 2012

You have to be taught to be second class..

...You're not born that way.

You always asked me to tell you the stories, but we never had time. You probably shouldn't be reading this, but I owe it to you.
Anyway, let me get on with it, or 'futhi il hichaya' as you so eloquently put it.

The weather was cool, the stars were bright, and yet again, I was alone. I think I'd left Grandma with her best friend (the Christian one, that's a story you have to remind me to tell you).
It was one of those walks where you breathe deeply, and you just feel full of life. It hadn't taken me long to convince everyone to let me out alone.

I saunter slowly. You might tell me that it's because of my arrogance. You're wrong. It's so I have time to witness everything. Soon, I start to wonder whether that slow driving car is following me. I take multiple turns and bends, and it turns out, it is. I stop at a crowded place, order a juice, then sit down. It parks right next to the pavement. I get annoyed and turn my back. Half an hour later, I get up, and contently realize the car is no more. Or so I thought.

Walking along the main road, it screeched out of an alley it's been hiding in. The windows whir down, and a young man tells me he knows me. You don't, I state, not turning to look at the face peering through the dark.
No, no I know you! He pleads. I ignore it, a wry smile on my lips. Its been 5 minutes of the car driving at the pace of my walking. I turn. 'What?!' I screech. I finally see the face to the voice. 'I know you' is muttered once more.
But there is hesitation in the voice. Tears in the eyes. I'm shocked to say the least.

I realize there is no one else in the car. Usually the cars are full of rowdy youth. It's a new car too. My mind starts working in overtime, my eyes already accusing. I was going to make a scene. But I'm taken aback by the whole situation.

I end up shaking my head apologetically. I don't know you, I finally mumble back.
His voice starts to trail off as I begin to panic.
It just seemed a little excessive to me. I shake my head once more, vigorously. I am vaguely aware I now have an audience. There's women on the balcony, and an old man taps me on the shoulder, and asks if I need help. Pedestrians turn their heads slightly, their ears trying to catch the non existent conversation.

For once, I am stunned into silence. I do the only thing I can think of, and keep on walking. The car becomes my shadow for another few minutes, until the heavy silence becomes overbearing. It screeches away, the windows closed once more.

The entire episode becomes confusing, and I resolve not to relate any of it back to anyone. The sadness of the driver freaked me out to say the least. Unfortunately for me, S had seen it all. She excitedly told her mother, who smugly told my grandmother. From then on, I had to walk around with S, since it was 'safer'. S is that girl, who kept showing off how good she was with children. Her mother is perhaps the bane of my existence. She forces herself onto any conversation, and has a finding fault with Touta speed, of 60 faults per minute.

I'm not going to lie, I find joy in ignoring her, and turning my head away when she talks. Sometimes I have the austerity to even play on my mobile. Loudly. You know how grandma is nice to even the meanest people, so when I'd do this, she would pat my legs under the table - I'd ignore the 'be polite' glares. Though what I don't understand, is everyone hated the S's mother . Why hang around with her? I'd despairingly ask. Because we don't want to embarrass her, would come the imminent reply.

I'd get annoyed. They'd let her embarrass me(or try to anyway), but would not stand up to her. Every time I saw her, she would mention how getting a qualification was futile. She would ask how I wasn't ashamed of not covering up (only my hair was out), and how I had the mind to walk around, rather than stay at home and 'help'. Everything I loathe, was defined by that mother. Now I had been suckered into spending time with her daughter.

You know how generally walking around, any girl would get hit on in the middle east? Well S would be that one girl, where she would have to hit on the guys. It was embarrassing to have to walk around with her, and trying to reign her in, was not successful. She always ended up flirting with some horrendous characters. And it turns out, she has a boyfriend. Who creepily looked a lot like her. Looks-wise, she had more in common with her boyfriend, than either of her brothers. Though I did read somewhere, that apparently people who look alike, are attracted to each other. (it was still really weird though, they even had the same eyebrows, same eyes, they did come from different countries though...).

Anyway, he was a shop keeper/worker, for that men's clothes shop. He was turning 18, so he was also getting conscripted to the army 'back home'. He kept asking her for photos, and all I could think, was 'put on a hijab and look in the mirror'. It would be a truer representation than any photo.

You're probably going to mention, that I'm unnaturally bitter. I am. Every walk, was basically her ditching me as soon as we were out of sight.Then when her mother called her, she would tell her, I had yet again walked off, 'engulfed in my dreams'.

Unexpectedly her little brother had joined me for a walk. Although 11, he acted like someone over 20. He made me laugh, with his grand hand gestures. He had seen his older sister practically run away from me, from their balcony. I think he already knew, seeking out confirmation with his eyes. He got it. She was holding hands with her boyfriend in a dark alleyway. Surprisingly, he kept silent, and simply motioned her to rejoin us. She did, but less than half an hour later, she had yet again slipped away. She confided in me, that her little brother knew, and simply told her to be careful. He would later drop small hints to the mother. She grounded S but didn't tell her why, her demeanor sour for a few days.


Her boyfriend started becoming more bold. Calling her house number. Waiting outside her balcony. Cheesy Romeo stuff with promises and passion. It was only a matter of time until her dad would recognize the repeated face. She called me sobbing, telling me her dad had beat her up, and to ask me to confirm the lies she told.
Despite the lies practically pinning everything on me, I took pity and agreed. He would be my boyfriend, visiting her house, to ask for my whereabouts.
The only problem was, I was never asked to confirm her lies, simply because her family hadn't believed them. The little brother had already told that it was indeed her boyfriend.
The mother had tried to blame my influence on the girl though, and I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth, over the whole ordeal. After a month, she was ungrounded, and up to her old shenanigans once more.I made a point of ignoring her 12 missed calls a day.

I feel bad that the only way she could gain a little freedom was by latching onto me. Everything in our lives were so different. Only now do I realize, the stark contrast between us was only serving to highlight the abyss between social classes.

6 comments:

jnana said...

I didn't realize how long this post was cause I was so engrossed in it. I love your story-telling skills.

But I'm really curious about the guy who was following you. Did you ever get a sudden insight that you actually knew him?

Typical on S's mom to blame it on your influence. Trust those kind of moms to find fault with anything but their own upbringing.

And LOL @ "wear a hijab and look in the mirror"

Touta said...

jnana,
haha i didn't realise either! I let my mind wander! :D which is fun from time to time :)

you know, i was actually scared that i knew him, but i didn't. Though when someone insists on something, i always end up doubting myself :S

glad you enjoyed it :)

Navi said...

I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include almost all important infos.

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The Cowardly said...

A contemporary Iraqi story,4 thumbs up

Touta said...

cowardly,
glad to see you're back! where's your writings? :)

Fowl Ideas said...

Fowl Ideas know no bounds.