Monday, October 1, 2012

Vignettes -- #1: Memories

Vignettes is a current writing project of mine, mainly a few short stories - some of them fictional, some of them real, and some just random musings about the state of the world we live in. 

It’s one of those things you find hard to forget. Even if it does evade you for a little while, it still finds its way back to the forefront of your memory, sooner or later, and you decide to document it, if only to acknowledge that you do recall everything, down to the very details. The thoughts, the feelings; they all come alive in your head once more, and there’s nothing quite like it.

This happened to me a few years ago, though the exact date eludes me. It was Friday, I believe, and I was just about done with Friday prayers. I was on my way out of the mosque, tying my shoelaces, when an old man walks over to me and starts putting on his shoes as well. Being the introverted recluse that I am, I really do not pay attention to the man, keeping to myself instead until I’m done and ready to leave. Turning towards the gate, I start to make my way to it when an old, craggy voice stops me.

“You know, it’s very different now.”

Turning again, I find the old man – dressed in his plain galabeyya and ‘Emama, his battered face a crisscross of wrinkles – standing next to me by the gate. He’s looking at the vast garden encircling the mosque, clearly lost in thought, and maybe even time.


“Everything’s different now. This garden, it should be green and beautiful. There ought to be kids running around, playing frivolously. There should be families sitting in the shade, men and women at every bench. But, look at it now, unkempt and dirty, with all those youth straggling around, doing nothing at all. Why don’t they play a sport or something? Where are all the youth centers?”

“Well, there are youth centers and clubs around, hajj.

“I know, but they’re nothing, shadows of what they used to be. I recall the times of the king…oh, you young people, you’ve truly missed out on those times. Princess Ferial, Qasr El Nil club, the parks everywhere…those were the good times indeed.”

“Eh, I guess things just change, you know?”

“Oh, yes, they do. I just wish the change was once, just once, for the best.”

And with that, he just smiled and walked out, leaving me there to ponder his words.

I just wonder, when I’m his age, what memories will I have to recount to my kids?

Oh, well. I'm sure I'll think of something.