Remembering One MorningIn Litterateur, Writings
Morning began. I am lying on my stomach (Urgh! What a way to start a day, getting flabby belly) I pull myself from the clutches of my pillow and blanket, I step down my bunk-ladder, we are five sisters and we share one room which was our living-room, but not any more. Obviously, I got the top bunk. I try my best with the dim light coming from the receiver (which are one red point shining through darkness and half of the numbers six and fifteen) to avoid the death traps my sister in the lower bunk sets for me every night, from a hair-clutcher, a prayer-mat put neatly on one of the stairs in order to slip as silk on a newly wed girl, her robe to cover the gap in her fortress she builds before watching movies, and sometimes there’s an iron waiting for me plugged in but thank god turned off on an iron stand, but this I have to say is my other bigger sister’s doing. After I grope through my sisters’ booby-traps and other clothes, desk-chairs, slippers and the net-wire landmines I reach for the door’s handle and open the door to safety.
The kitchen. Not a bad one for the hundred makeover changes that poor thing has gone through in trying to make it look as a kitchen, which it constantly and severely disapproved of.
I head towards the bathroom to wash for prayer, after drying my face, observing it and criticizing it, I thank god for it. I try my best to submit in my prayer and remind myself in which
raka’a I’m in. After I finish I go and do the usual morning stuff and school preparations that any girl does, then I get seized by a we-don’t-have-time-fit and start yelling at my sisters and beseeching dad to go and start the car. I step out of the car after I thank dad for the ride, I like to run towards the gate to look as a young scholar who’s yearning for education, I don’t mind the laughs appointed for me, especially the ones coming from my sister. This is the wide gate of the back field where the students gather for the morning exercises, and by the way we have a tight door at the top of 12 stairs with banisters at the side where the whole school including the teachers get crammed at at the end of the day.
I enter the establishment as my father calls it, and that we ought to respect it’s regulations and rules, and I wear my identification-card, get in the line, smile at some girls and start doing the exercises. The exercises are trifles and sufficient to move our limbs, but they are quite unwelcomed by some of the girls who would only submit to move what’s to the limit of their wrists. After it, comes the anthem that’s preceded by an oath and the flag’s call, and trailed by two other clarifications of what we are and what’s our purposes and who are our enemies (actually, thinking about it, it looks like a brain-wash process) but it’s not really, I was planning to do them self-consciously anyway (or do I?).
The school that I attend to is a girls’ school and considered the toughest in our town, but that’s not why I’m in it, no, it’s because it’s the nearest to our home.
Certainly after a year and a half of wearing that tiresome uniform of white shirt and scarf and grey long jacket and trousers and the same colors applied on what ever coat you’re wearing would lead you to a progressed stage of depression, apparently the designer haven’t heard of color-healing and so color-sickening. But who has the braveheart of Mel Gibson?
To manage through the 3 years of secondary school and take back HIS FREEDOM (and probably some detained personal objects, that is if they found them).
I study English language in the department of so called languages which only consists of English language and Arabic language, but we do have crumbs of French preliminaries, of course it doesn’t help at all after year and half of studying the damn thing, and the easy tests that the teachers pull to pass their students doesn’t help much either, considering that we ought to come out with something to keep face in front of people.
Our section from that department is wholly regarded by most of the country as a failure towards the ultimate failure, and probably marriage for some girls, and the students are considered cleaning ladies or receptionists in our school. Why? I’ll tell you. Our ‘English’ teachers(and it’s rarely to find a male teaching, except math teachers, most of them are males) are graduated from an institute for teaching English language right behind our school, and it’s known for it’s known reputation of sucking at teaching it, and of course the school can’t afford a lot of teachers and don’t have time looking for them, so most of our teachers are from there, and by the way, they’re either just married or just pregnant, and we are quite stuck with them. So you can imagine when a teacher comes in and doesn’t know how to pronounce most of the words, which are quite easy and part of the curriculum, and that she only needs to open the bloody book the day before giving the lesson and prepare it. Nor does she know what’s the lesson about and sets a whole bunch of unfortunate girls off course and lost.
I know that I’m getting a bit cranky and winy, but the state of education in our country makes me a lot worse things than that.
Anyway, we enter the classes, that’s after we pass the checking point where you’ll find the principal, the vice-principal, and another teacher who has the eyes of an owl, the first one is for terrorizing, only by her presence, the second one is also for terrorizing but mostly by her appearance, the third one is the scanning machine. And of course there are a lot of outlaws who get sent to the wall at the right, sometimes I see my friends there, sometimes I’m there, sometimes we’re both there. The best thing is to avoid eye contact and if they sent you, not to say a word and to accept the punishment which includes few name-callings and two burning red palms in the freezing morning.
As I enter the class, sit on my desk, stare at the teachers while chatting with my friend in a murmuring sound, I wait for my watch to advance and the bell to ring to permit our departure.
Taken from Mayo’s collection.