Who is it? A story to be told ) (4/4) [Archives:2005/843/Culture]
By Salwa yehia Al-Eryani
For the Yemen Times
I will take care of myself. I can't understand this negligence and underestimation. The next morning I hired men to come and put barbed, thorny wires around my fence. I was watching the men work with great pleasure and gratitude. I'll see tonight how this thief, who thinks he is extraordinary, will enter my garden.
The Third Night.
That night I felt safe. Safety feels fantastic when you feel it after suffering dangers or risks. I was so tranquil I heard from my neighbor, the leader's house, music and loud voices and laughter mixed with giggles. Another dinner of his! I looked from the bedroom window and saw people entering the house.
Some were definitely men. Some were definitely women but dressed up as men too. The final result was that only men were entering the leader's house. The next morning I hired men to come and put barbed, thorny wires around my fence. I was watching the men work with great pleasure and gratitude. I'll see tonight how this thief, who thinks he is extraordinary, will enter my garden. This leader has no worries except making parties.
This is another soiree of his! That careless man who is neither responsible nor aware of his duty. He is not concerned about our safety and doesn't even know whether we exist or not. I hate him! Now that I feel safe and sound I am going to prepare myself a nice dinner and eat it in front of the TV. It will be my humble celebration. Suddenly a noise of a door opened widely and violently and slammed on the wall was heard. I jumped from my seat. I stacked my back to the wall. I was so scared I began seeing the watch on the wall as two.
The vase with one yellow flower in it, i saw as a bunch of flowers. I was not fine. I felt my courage running away from me in all directions like a deer escaping from a wild hungry lion. I tried to roughen my voice and yelled “Who is it?' My voice sounded so peculiar I assumed the thief would peep and ask me what I was saying? Yet, it seemed to scare him because I heard his footsteps run away like the previous times. I bet he thought someone was strangling me and didn't want to interfere in a murder so he chose to run away. Well it was good enough.
What is this that is happening to me? Why didn't the barbed wires rip him to pieces? Is this thief I am dealing with some kind of magician, ghost or an evil spirit. I honestly don't know. I gave up. That night all I remembered was sliding down and falling asleep exactly where I was on the floor. The next morning I woke up, changed my clothes and went to meet this stupid leader. The thief has reached a high percentage of causing me trouble and a telephone call to the leader will no longer do any good.
I want to see him and this time really emphasized that my life is turning out to be a punishment. I don't enjoy anything anymore nor do I have fun in my house. I don't even sleep safely. I arrived at the leader's house. His guards were there and all were drunk. Those who were conscious and walking were making two steps forward and one backwards. I was astonished. Drunk? The guards' drunk? Has shame disappeared from these people's manners? Drunk? In the morning? I rang the bell and asked to see the leader. Who is honestly not leading us to anything except being lost.
I was allowed to enter and waited inside. Waiting was like a punishment for coming. He came in after about an hour and with out any welcoming words he sat down and said, “I have looked for the sheriff of Policemen but couldn't find him. I shall order a man to look for him and when he finds him he'll tell him to be always fully prepared for any phone calls.” He smiled.
A smile means a lot. He looked funny. He imagined himself a peacock spreading its colored feathers. Imagining that they are feathers of wealth and authority. As to me I saw him nothing but a cockroach thrown on it's back. The smile supplied me with patience. I said ” Sir, the thief entered my house yesterday regardless of the barbed wire.
Wires. I have no expectations how he did that. It seems I am suffering an unusual, supernatural thief. Until now things are tolerable. Yet I won't hide my fears. Really, I feel that next time he will come in and stand in front of me face to face. The imagination makes me shreak. Sir, I repeat I am alone. I have no one to save me or protect my belongings if he enters. I demand that you put a guard at my door to make me feel safe.
You might say who does she think she is? Yet sir, I repeat please, please.” I heard my voice pleading and felt sorry for my self and started weeping. The leader answered, “all right.” I raised my face, asked, ” All right what?” I imagined he meant that he would put a guard at my door. He replied, “Barbered wires was a good idea.” I said, “No, it did no good, sir.” He thought for a while then whispered, ” I will tell you from where I got my barbered wires.
Go and buy wires like them. Yours are probably very cheap!” I interrupted him “Why do you have barbered wires? You have guards and some times an army protecting you so why do you need wires? And by the way my wires are not only cheap but they are free I found them in a street thrown on the floor because the nearby house has built an extremely high wall and doesn't need them anymore.” He asked with shown pride “What do you mean what for? I have precious belongings and furniture I have to protect. Look at that ivory.
It belonged to the largest elephant in all Africa. It is precious.” I sighed Then I said ” Ok sir, now what about me?” He replied quickly “I will discuss your problem with the sheriff. I promise I will.” I felt I lost all hope. I mumbled, “Really?”, and went out. Despair is also a quite comfortable situation. I didn't bother to wait for the answer. The entire idea of asking for safety, freedom, justice or even living peacefully is just useless. I felt my tears surrounding my neck like hands trying to strangle me. I didn't need any choking to let my tears run. So, I just cried loudly. It was insulting. This drama that I found myself forced in is a horror one.
I don't want to stand on stage nor do I want to act. I want to quit. I want to live safely and sleep peacefully. I really do. That night I decided to write. I concentrated in writing so much that I felt myself rowing in a boat and losing all fears. I wrote about my self and what I felt. I compared myself and my life to an ant and an ant's life. It carries its crumbs of food daily on its back to its hole.
It had no other right except that. It hasn't got the right to fear that some enemy would pile sand on its hole and block it. It has no right to worry that some foot would stamp on it and crack it. It has no rights. Yet they are few and don't relate to its life. If it died one day, and it obviously will, then its death will not make any problem as all creatures die, even after starving or after a slaughter.
Yet, hope keeps breathing in this ant's chest. I'll keep fighting and I won't hesitate. My writing was interrupted by a sound of footsteps coming up my stairs inside the house. I was paralyzed. All of a sudden and before arranging my reaction, the thief entered and stood in front of me. It was a lady. I screamed loudly. Not only was it a lady but it was me! It was like seeing my face in the mirror. It was terrifying. 'I' said to me “listen, don't you wait for others to offer you your rights. You go and fight for them and get them yourself.
Don't wait for others to supply you with what you need. You go and provide it. Don't wait for others to appreciate what you have done just enjoy it.” I was so scared I covered my face and shouted,” Go away. Go away.” Then I said, ” Don't worry I am leaving. I just came to tell you these few sentences. You only live one life so live it correctly.” Then I didn't hear anything any more. I opened my eyes and looked around. 'I' had gone away.