The Tragic Smile – L’Orient As we speak

When the muezzin’s voice rang out from the highest of the minaret earlier than daybreak to name the devoted to prayer, he set out earlier than the solar had totally risen to pluck the inexperienced tobacco leaves, all dripping with morning dew. within the shade of a trellis lined with a vine, he spent the day together with his household on the terrace, sitting on a mat that threaded them into cords via lengthy iron needles, the fingertips all sticky and black. Through the olive harvest season, he bravely climbed the timber with lush foliage to shake its branches, which have been stuffed with fruit, to drop them on a burlap laid on the bottom. Mahmoud lived to the rhythm of the seasons, however the meager livelihood within the village tasted of the bitter style of inexperienced tobacco leaves. In time he imagined that the hope for a greater future lay elsewhere; on the street resulting in city. That day he left the village, not with no twinge of coronary heart, to settle within the capital, which he knew solely by title, with a bundle of garments in hand. Earlier than taking the previous bus, he inhaled deeply, with eyes closed, as if for the final time, the recent and fantastic air that bore the scent of the earth, mingled with the nice, refined and intoxicating scents of the buds. who perfumed the air with their candy, recent scent: rural exiles. He discovered himself between 4 partitions, the place every little thing was mouldy, in a blind room with no window, darkish, cramped, the white partitions dripping with damp, with no furnishings however an previous foam mattress on the ground, and an previous stool on which his bundle put down garments. Positioned on the primary flooring, the room neglected the small courtyard of the neighborhood lined in ash grey sand and strewn with small pebbles, surrounded by a dilapidated block and in poor situation. On the entrance door, a tiny terrace, a spot of infinite ineffective and pointless discussions for lazy males, whereas the ladies gathered in a circle earlier than sundown beneath the wild olive tree of the courtyard. , sitting on wood vegetable racks, chatting in muffled voices, their our bodies transferring to the rhythm of the phrases exchanged.With out work and with out pleasant or household ties, the higher future was simply an not possible dream to attain. He realized that he had fled from distress to distress. On this overwhelming and hopeless want, solely Fatima’s smile may give him hope, make him joyful, alleviate his loneliness and put a damper on his tasteless and sad exile within the metropolis. Fatima preceded him just a few months to achieve the town. As quickly as she arrived she took off her scarf and her skirt got here to only above the knee. She smiled at everybody, together with Mahmoud; from that smile sprang an unreasonable ardour of affection, however sadly for him it was a love not nourished by reciprocity. With the intention to higher seduce her, he modified his costume model in a approach that did not appear like him: he left his puffy black harem pants as a substitute of a pair of flared pants known as “Charleston” with yellow checks and a floral shirt with a flat, broad legs and pointy collar, open on his bushy torso. He handed his day inactive, leaning towards the gnarled trunk of the olive tree, standing ready for Fatima to go by, taking part in together with his thick curled-tipped mustache that rose proudly. He solely had eyes for her smile, which gave which means to his life, however over time Fatima’s passages turned increasingly more spaced out. Because the disappointments from his absence multiplied, Mahmoud locked himself in his room, which for him was a harbinger of his grave. He started to think about his life within the neighborhood as a part of the preparations for the good room, and the whiteness of the partitions was paying homage to the shroud. After which, in the future, Fatima left for good with out leaving an tackle or rationalization. Possibly it was a wedding by kidnapping? His hopes have been crushed, he had neither the energy to stay nor the explanation. The disappearance of Fatima took Mahmoud’s life with it. Close by, the black crickets that punctuated our summer time evenings died, and the ladies modified their look, wore mourning garments, and stopped brushing black coals round their eyes. When the bulldozers had conquered this neighborhood by turning it into heaps of stones and sand, all that remained was this wild olive tree, its roots had resisted the sharp fringe of the bulldozer, ready for Fatima to go, ready for her smile to Mahmoud.

Alain DIAB

Writer

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When the muezzin’s voice rang out from the highest of the minaret earlier than daybreak to name the devoted to prayer, he set out earlier than the solar had totally risen to pluck the inexperienced tobacco leaves, all dripping with morning dew. within the shade of a gazebo lined with a vine, he spent the day together with his household on the terrace,…

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