|The best that I can write about my mother is to paste down here the dedication that I made to here when I published by novel “Tikitian Imprints” in 2007…|
This book is dedicated to my dear mother, to the only person who always believed I was something, even at times when I failed to believe I was anything.
My Very Dear Mother,
I still remember, I still remember my first day in kindergarten, I remember the morning of a Saturday in late September 1971 when I sat there on that deck near the big green gate of the kindergarten where the tall Sudanese porter stood trapping the kids who came along with their parents into that new and strange world. I sat on that small deck with my short ground-unreaching legs hanging in the air lost and helpless with tears flowing on my tingling lips for having to be detached for the first time from the physical presence and proximity of my mother and/or grandmother for four whole hours. Those four hours seemed like a miserable rest of my life at that time. The whole incident seemed like the end of the world to me. I remember so well that ovoid pinkish-red lollipop that was a little smaller in size than half of my face wrapped in the yellow paper with black stripes that you got from the shop outside the kindergarten and came back to me with that day to reassure me that everything was okay and to re-remind me you would be back very soon to take me back home. You hugged me. It was a long hug. My fears dissolved in that hug, they vanished at least for as long as you kept hugging me. Indeed, I was such a helpless piece of flesh and you were all the strength that it had in that very big and cold world. Did I ever tell you the lollipop was so sweet? That really felt so warm and reassuring to me too by the way that day. I remember all that so clearly and so vividly my dear Mother.
I also remember the many times when you held me in your arms when I felt low or when I cried for reasons that were, though trivial for an adult, yet so big and grave for a tiny unsure little piece of a six or seven-year-old schoolboy. I remember your hug my dear Mother. I remember the warm
physical gentle pressure of your embrace on my fragile bones so well. I remember the emotional containment of your reliable love that never let me down and your constant devotion that never waned. And as I write about your love now, I feel I am being hugged by you. Yes, it’s turning so real, it’s
becoming so physical. I can feel my shoulders shrinking and getting closer together as they are gently squeezed in your hug now. Squeeze more. Squeeze more my dear Mother. It makes me still feel so reassured, serene and peaceful even right now after more than thirty years.
I do remember everything you did for me thereafter, but somehow, I always remember those two settings most specially and most clearly and most vividly whenever the sweet thought of you comes to my mind.
You dedicated your life to me. You always took such good care of me. You have always been such a reliable station of love and reassurance. And now, in your illness, I hold you in my arms, I try to reassure you that everything will be fine, I tell you how much I love you my dear Mother. But even
in your illness, and with all the pains you are suffering, still I am the same helpless kid who sat near the green gate thirty-five years ago, still I am the same helpless kid whose lips tingle and whose tears keep flowing for seeing you suffer all those pains and still you manage to be the same cheerful and
reassuring mother who keeps on telling me that everything will be fine.
I love you my dear Mother. I wish I could take some of the pains that you are suffering. I wish I could take them all. Yes, I wish I could take them all, most willingly. I wish you never had to suffer. I love you very much my dear Mother.
I woke up from my sleep an hour ago. Those words woke me up. I tried to continue my sleep. I was going to write them down tomorrow morning. But they didn’t want to wait. They were pressing. They just insisted on being written right now. So, with all the love that I feel for you and with all the tears that kept flowing on my still tingling cheeks and lips as I wrote those words, I wrote them right now.
—Your loving boy, Hatem
4:30 AM, November 14th, 2006