That brief moments of touching his rough hands was planted in my mind all day long. I almost broke one of ‘Ammo Kareem’s vinegar bottles while cleaning his store as part of the payment. Oh those big, hazel eyes surrounded by those arched long eyelashes. I think I’m humming love songs now as I’m doing my job. ‘Ammo Kareem is idly sitting in the corner of the dikken, watching TV and eating some snacks. Of course he is, who wouldn’t be lying around in this warm and cozy spring day? Customers enter and customers leave, all attended by ‘Ammo Kareem. It’s the afternoon and the weather is getting warmer and warmer. By now ‘Ammo Kareem is feeling really drowsy. He excuses himself to do some “errands” at home. I know the old fat man is going to take his afternoon nap. How I wish I could take one too! I stay inside the shop, counting the products over and over again. All was quiet and boring until my nose detected a familiar smell. A stench. Of cows. Could it be? No, I’ve never seen him here before. Maybe because I would be cleaning the dikken’s backyard or feeding ‘Ammo Kareem’s chickens. A familiar shadow crawls inside the shop and I feel my heart racing out of my body.
Oh goodness how handsome he is. Oh how can I stop myself from extending my hand towards his wavy, red hair. I guess I’m smiling because he starts to smile towards me. And as soon as those big lips arch, melt in my place. I try to turn my attention into something else fearing that I might fall to my feet.
He says, trying to remember the name I never told him.
Amir. Hi, you’re Ramzi right? How may I help you?
Hmmm the way he says my name makes my whole body shake.
My after said he could use some of your help as a form of repay. How about this weekend?
Weekend? Damn my only free days. I work for ‘Ammo Kareem weekdays. I had plans to go search for some natural herbs and some wild vegetables.
Oh, I see. Well you can tell your dad that it’s alright for me.
I say, a bit disappointed about postponing my plans.
See you then.
He winks at me.
How could I forget he’s going to be there. Oh the weekends just turned better! Had I known this I would’ve bought 6 more jars of milk. I skip around the dikken, happy as a child. I am interrupted by ‘Ammo Kareem telling me that I’m off and free to go.
Heading back to the house couldn’t get any better. This is the first time I smile in months! It’s been a while. Ever since Auntie Layla uttered her first “good morning” to me three months ago. She’s been improving with her communication. From words to phrases. Well I think it’s just me. I skip around, happily collecting various mountain flowers that sprung in the wilderness. As I reach the house I put the flowers in a vase and fill the vase with water. I am caught by my aunt who just came out of the living room.
Hello Amir, where have you been?
Oh, hi Auntie. Just the usual, hanging around in the woods. Only this time I got some flowers with me.
Alright, don’t forget to get me some flour and sugar tomorrow.
More groceries. Ugh this means more weekdays working at ‘Ammo Kareem’s. Auntie Layla has been acting weirdly. Milk, sugar, flour? This is the first time she asks for those. She’s even asking me to keep her a couple of eggs from my daily collecting. She’s also been concealing herself in the living room more often. I wonder if she’s alright. Well she’s been keeping her usual blank face and her monotonic rusty voice as usual. I guess I’ll just let her be and carry on with my rare happiness. I go up to my room and actually turn on my iPod. Oh the only treasure I could smuggle from home. I remember grabbing it quickly and putting it in my bag as I escaped my dad getting his shotgun ready. I never turn it on because there’s no Internet and I forgot my charger back at home. There’s no phone shop in this village. In fact I doubt there’s no shop other than ‘Ammo Kareem’s dikken and few rare gypsy merchants. Oh how I wish I could just magically get money and be transported to the city. Just to get a charger and one last sunset on the beach. But that cannot happen because Auntie Layla won’t give me money and the shortest drive to the city is nearly three hours long.
I sigh as I sift through my playlist for romantic songs. I’ve got tons of them. This is the first time I actually relax myself and drift off into another world. I might be exaggerating, but this is the first happy thing that has happened to me in months, even years. I wasn’t happy back home either. We had many family and economical issues. We were about to move back to the village if it wasn’t for my brother. My parents love him. He’s their favorite. Why wouldn’t he be? He’s smart, tall, muscular, brave. Everything I’m not. But most importantly he is straight and married with children. Much to my parents’ joy an approval. And I, the disgrace of all the family. Slowly, without noticing, I begin drifting off to sleep. The first actual, peaceful sleep I’ve had in months.