You Name it, Papy.

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It took me a hell of courage to write. It’s not easy to hide, but it’s not easy to be out either. I still flinch at the sound of the keys jingling in the chain of any person’s hands behind the front door. I still feel the pain in my hands as I carry the groceries bags up the stairs, then all the way to the kitchen. And when it comes to salads, I still bring out the vegetables from the fridge, wash, chop, and organize them on the plate in a beautiful way. A layer of lettuce as the base, the cucumber circle coming next, followed by the tomatoes one, & finalizing the plate with the handful of sliced carrots & onion in the middle.. Never forgetting your favorite Italian sauce on top.

I was at an old book gallery couple of months ago and I remembered when you used to take me shopping for art stuff and for books. I remember reading my pieces of writings out loud to you. And I still do, hoping you’re hearing me from heaven. I now carry around the turquoise-blue crystals sebha I bought you on your last birthday… I still remember the swing you hanged for us at our old home..
Most of my nights, I recall the sound of your voice reciting Qur’an in the middle of the night before fajr.. how right you were when you said that this materialistic world means nothing..

But I miss your morning texts of how am the candle of light in your life or how am the glimpse of hope you’re holding on to.. I miss your goodnight hug.. and all the tenderness it brought to my life..
I miss our 3 hours daily daddy-daughter quality time we used to have.. I miss your theories about humanity & the world.. I wish I could tell you how I found out that most of them are true.. and I wish I could tell you about the ones I couldn’t find..

I wish I could tell you just how much you have influenced me. Just how much you have taught me. Just how much you were the most tender daddy in the world and how it always touched my heart in such a way that no one else can ever come close to. Just how the way you cared about me always made me want to be a better person. There’s so much I wish for, but most of all, despite the fact that I know how cruel & materialistic the world we live in is, I wish you were here. Sometimes, my thoughts of you are the only things that keep me going.

I have a paper on the billboard with words scrabbled upon:
“If tomorrow starts without me, And I’m not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
when tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right here, in your heart.”

After all.. no matter people keep saying that time heals the wounds and lessens the grief, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away. I will always wake up to the moments of heartbreaking realization that you’re physically gone.. no matter how much is said or written.. it always comes down to nothing..
Please tell them, daddy.. that sadness doesn’t necessarily come in form of tears from the eyes.. because in death, there isn’t much to say.. we just hope to come to peace with sadness.. because we just grow accustomed to it.. There are a lot of things that I’ve come to realize after you left. But I promised you to fulfill your wishes. And I keep my promises.

This is for you.. for you’ve once asked me to never give up writing..

I’ve missed you my best friend..

Your Ro2ro2,

In the memory of my loving father,
Roaa Ahmed Nassar
3/4/2016

Nostalgie pour les vieux jours

bcee4e263207452791870cab51ae358b Where have the letters gone?
The letters that are written from the heart to the heart. The ones that are written with ink.. with trembling hands and tears soaking the papers. Or those written with impatiently joyful souls and wide-smiling lips. Ones whose papers are scented with the lavender scent of a lover or the french vanilla of a sister or even the dust’s smell of a soldier’s clothes after-war..

Where are those letters that take time to reach from the sender to the receiver.. that go on a journey with the beautiful postman until he places them in the decorated box in the corner of the house garden. And a proud dad would wake up early in the morning, take the pathway all the way out of the house to grab them. Make a cup of his favorite coffee and sit in the terrace ready to read them. Or an impatiently worried wife spending the night beside her window in hopes of catching the letter right away from the postman.. Where are those letters, for which our hearts take the time to soak in the bubble of emotions they drench us with.. and also grant our hearts the time to wait and wait for the letter coming after. Or the time it takes to admire the envelope, unseal it, take out the papers and unfold them, inhale their scents and close the eyes to heart-fully wish, and then read the carved alphabets and caress the signature at the end..

Where have the flowers gone?
Not the kind of flowers that people now “get, give, and throw away”. Where is the beautiful red Tulip in the hands of the man in the navy blue tuxedo, waiting downstairs by the door. Or the radiant, charming yellow Gerbera Daisies flower that marks new beginnings. Or the extravagant pink Carnation pressed in between the pages of a favorite book..

Where are the flowers that smell like broken hearts.. the white Roses placed with tears on a grave. Or the old lady watering her Pansy & Petunias in her balcony.. or her edible Lilacs and purple Rosemary flowers.. I’ve never really liked picking up flowers and presenting them. Rather, it’s the idea of living flowers that I’ve always fancied; I hope one day I see the man in the tuxedo, holding a hand-size pot full of dirt in which my favorite type of flowers lives so that I’d get to care and water them to blossom..

Where are the good old things?
Some say they are forever gone, some say not.
I hope those things find their way back someday,
because I miss them a lot.

Roaa A. Nassar
Jul 27, 2015

The last pirouette

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This time, I couldn’t find my pink shirt as you found yours so I wore my black one.. perhaps because black was starting to suit me more lately.
Allow me to tie your ballerina pumps for you.. don’t worry, you’ve taught me how to make a good bow out of the ribbons. Off you commence my dear.. I’ll carry your worries whilst you dance. Need not to worry, I’ve carried mine so much that I’ve grown accustomed to it. Just like ballet. Ballet has definitely messed up several parts of our bodies, but it also made it stronger and more flexible. My body has become more prone to injuries and yet I’ve always been committed to make it to the end of the dance.
It’s been years we’ve always danced together.. we were a one of a kind, harmonic, symphony.. But tonight I shall not dance. Rather, for the time being, I’ll be content to just sit, ponder and watch as you rise and fall gracefully..

I, technically, see you but, subconsciously, I don’t. My mind is probably hovering somewhere else.. I’ve got this feeling one gets when writing a letter with black ink, carving the words with unease on paper.. I recall how at a certain point I was more alive, vibrant and definitely more joyful. And how unexpectedly , you happened to pass my mind every now and then. And whenever you did, you left not a smile but a resounding laugh that lightened life’s loads. You, my dearest friend, were there in times of need.. weren’t you?

I look at you; you’re now halfway through the symphony. Some people say that a friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. I say not. Those people have never tasted what distance feels like. Damn the distance that separates us my friend!

There are things I thought of telling you but retreated. Please pardon my awkward silence. I just can’t lift myself off anymore as before.. and that’s why am failing at pulling you up at your falls. I’ve withered my dear. I am not happy being distant and am not happy being near either. Am caught somewhere in between. And hell it is being in such a hazy grey world! The question is have you ever wondered why? why am I silent.. or where has the childish soul you’ve grown accustomed to gone? have you ever thought of asking me how am I feeling? and if I answer with “fine”, you would say “fine is not a feeling.. fine is just plain fine” and repeat the question? did it ever occur to you..?
My dear, if you do not water your rose, would it survive? ..

Now that you’re nearly done and am left with no answer to my thoughts, I stand up to dance ‘en pointe’. I slowly start a ballet pirouette, turning to see my gaze at the mirrors. A gaze filled by deep-rooted sadness.10735995_10152710449207420_685979659_n

Just a theory, my dear winter..

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I recall when I asked you why do you blame winter for sadness? And I remember you saying “In winter, the wind blows and hits the leaves to fall.. sadness hits peoples’ souls same way. You, my little girl, don’t hear the sound of leaves falling and crushing under peoples’ feet as they pass.. same way you don’t hear the moaning of peoples’ hearts hit by grief.” I let go of your hand & jumped away from a puddle, laughing at your theory.. and you shared me the laugh..

As I walk alone in this freezing weather, the sun sets and colors turn white and grey. I step onto the pavement to walk aside from the snow.. Oh if u were here! To share with me as before.
Now I feel my steps. Now the sound of leaves falling and crashing reaches my ear so clear. But you are not here and I don’t think you will be any soon. The sweet melody, created by the wind’s whistle, that we used to imagine hearing, has stopped too. And the wind blew hard, the leaves fell and grief hit my heart..

You know? Since it is nature that you’ve related your theories to, as I walk now I see puddles and a paper vanishing into the water. If only we could vanish this way.. who said that vanishing is bad? You know the greatness of having a memory that has a hole pouring what’s inside it out and not try to fix the leakage? I no longer hold on to memories.. And there is no appetite to make new ones. Sometimes I want to make the memories into paper boats and let them sail.. And by time they shall dissolve into the puddles.

I used to love when snow flakes descended as they do now but damn your theories! You know? Distance feels like the taste of snow on tongue; so cold at first but maybe warm when it melts later on. You know? Crying doesn’t necessarily have to come in form of tears. I stop and scream into the emptiness; scream of a jailed laugh..

Couldn’t you promise me? To not let me wait so long.. Not let me keep hugging hope.. ?!!
I slam the door shut behind me and run to my room. Alone in my room. Never been as tired. I have a hot cup of tea; hoping it warms the frozen inside of me. Happiness? Too much? Patience patience.. I look at the pile of letters I haven’t sent. Messages are not just ink on papers. They give hope to continue holding on in life. Oh but if only you knew..!
I grab the one on top; it reads “I miss you”. You know sometimes? I cant differentiate between keeping silent or speaking so I chose to let things out but halfway through it, my voice gets lost, so my eyes become tearful. Scared to bother others, I quickly wipe them away. Sometimes it feels lonely among people.. Maybe because you once were among them. Right now my brain is tired of thinking; of calculating the years, days and hours. Would tomorrow come and be fine?

If it’s about time.. Time has passed a lot..
If it’s about the end, the end would be that all this ends.

Daddy..

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My dearest,

I found a picture of us.. one that I had not seen in a while. It was of you holding me on just one of your arms. Remember daddy? when you said I was only as big as your arm.. you held me cautiously and loved me endlessly.
Remember daddy? The last time I truly saw you, I was graduating from high school.. you were so proud of me.. and I haven’t seen you since then. Remember when I used to wake you up in the middle of the night asking “may I please sleep in your hug?” And you would just take me in and make me feel warm and safe..
Do you remember the good times we had.. the sad times and the bad.. the times you stood by me when I had my silly problems, you would wipe away my tears.. and when sad & scared was all I felt, you were my knight in shinning armor..

Remember daddy all what you’ve taught me?.. you were my special Gandhi.
If I could write a million page story about your heart of gold.. I would still be unable to tell how much I miss you.
Some days I just sit and remember.. the endless night talks we used to have.. or the early 7 am ‘good morning’ tv show we used to watch while having a cup of hot tea together..
I came first on class a couple of days ago, I wished you were there when they called out my name on stage. I hope I made you proud. I feel scared sometimes; that the remaining remarkable moments in my life would pass without you..

you know daddy? sometimes I stay waiting by the phone because you said “I will call you tomorrow .”
I sit and stare.. waiting for it to ring. For you said “when you hear me,
it’ll all be gone.. all the pain & all the sorrow.”
But there I stayed or rather was left, waiting patiently alone,
wondering for how long will I stay.. beside the seemingly dead phone.

Today is new year’s eve.. On the same day every year.. I do not count the minutes to midnight to celebrate a new beginning .. rather, I add to the number of years that pass wishing nothing for the new year other than to see you again.. so there I am, I’ll seal this letter and leave it here beside the little gifts I brought you in hopes that they would reach you in some way by the morning.
I frame that picture I found and lay it down on the commode beside my bed. I look to the ceiling while I lay. I hope this is not the way it will stay..

“I have stopped looking at the stars in the night, because my life’s brightest star is no longer here. I miss you.”
Good night daddy..

sincerely,
your lil one.

My kryptonite

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I stood on the corner of the street wondering.. It suddenly occurred to me why you picked that place in particular, where we first met.  I entered the cafe and automatically my eyes shifted to the very same spot.. I recalled how you left without notice back then.. oh how the years have passed !
As I approached the table, you stood up to hold back the chair for me.. a gentleman you’ve always been.

We sat in silence as Jason Marz’s ‘I won’t give up on you’ started playing.. I wore my beige loose blouse that you’ve always loved.. and you had your grey stripped chemise on.. I ordered my usual iced, light cappuccino and you your hot, dark coffee.. we were like a chocolate milk shake.. opposites attracting..
I saw the watch, the one I bought you long ago.. the watch with the golden arrows and classy brown leather wristband.. it was turning old now.. but it still found it’s place on your wrist..

“so how are you?” you asked.. I easily found words pouring out of me casually.. as if it has been only since yesterday that I didn’t see you.. and suddenly I stopped. I slowly pulled the tress of hair on my cheek to the back of my ear.. I fought the tears back.. I fathomed what it was all about.
I asked you: “say something, please?”
you replied: ” I have nothing to say”
I said: “It’s not words that I want, It’s your voice..”
I was never so daring and honest.. rare were the times when I spoke my heart out in words to you.. maybe because you always seemed to understand me without the need of words ..

I looked at you with soul searching eyes..

you finally spoke.. ” I’ve missed you.. I’ve missed you today, particularly today in the morning! I’ve missed having coffee with you.. or rather just holding my hot cup of coffee whilst you tell me about your day.. I’ve missed the lavender scent I’ve always caught while I seated you here.. how while you spoke of the last good book that you’ve read, you seemed to radiate.. I .. ”
I could see a teardrop finding its way to frolic on your cheek as you finished your sentence saying:

“I have missed you.. my Kryptonite ”

 

Roaa A. Nassar
Dec 28, 2014

Neverland

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It was past midnight. She was alone. With dark spots under the swollen eyes, a pale face, and an injured heart she stood.. facing what she thought might be the gate to freedom. She took a step forward towards what she now believes is NeverLand. She felt sick. She took one more step forward and took grip on the handrail in front of her. She held it tight and started climbing till she adjusted and balanced herself to sit on that very thin line of iron. She sat there staring at nothing exactly. A step towards freedom she thought. Only it was the wrong route to the Never Land she wanted. Not really knowing why, she slowly retreated .. step by step backward till she fell on the cold floor.

It was a silent night and the street downward was filled with moonlight.
Lying where she was, she heard a soft sound..
that was nothing more than the tears of a cloud,
touching the earth smoothly and sharing their light breeze softly.
The clicks of the drops and the whistle of the wind seemed to her like two angels whispering..
She listened humming silently..
She wished she was stronger and tougher, not as weak as the leaf that couldn’t handle the morning dew..

She thought of Amber Morley’s words; sometimes all she wanted was the days to pass so she could live in a house filled with her books and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren’t covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of her family and friends. And when she leaves the house, she will be going to a job she loves, and she’ll return to a person she loves.

She looked up and saw the only remaining sticky note hanging on the wall facing her; “When exactly we go from kids to people, she was not certain. It isn’t about turning a certain age or graduating from high school – it happens when we’re not paying attention. Without our knowledge or consent, childhood slips away into the night and our innocence escapes us and we wake up one morning to find that we have become who we are.”

A rush of cold air suddenly crept in, caressing her neck and pushing a couple of tufts of her hair to brush against her cheeks. Gracefully, she tucked them behind her ear, took a breath and turned..
Soon it was breaking dawn and slowly the sun rose..

Roaa A. Nassar
Oct 8, 2014