Wake up Hinda, Wake up!In Litterateur, Writings
Hinda climbed the staircase, resting heavily on the banisters. She was powerless.
The bed seemed extra delicious, with the clean meticulously tucked in blue sheets, the downy quilt that covered the bed like snow and the fluffy pillow that was the cherry on the top.
The horizontal posture in general lured her, not that she wouldn’t have dropped sleeping on the stairs, if not for the flat object that hit her full in the face, indicating the end of the fatiguing journey. To hang out in the limbo, to sail in the tumultuous ocean of dreams and to ultimately, rest.
One final task to do, turning the door knob. A procedure similar to turning the wheel handle of a massive circular vault door of a sunken ship, while it’s coated with all shades of green mold and its relock infected with rust that would prevent the dead-sleepy girl from turning it an inch more than it hadn’t. She peeped from the tight slit between her eyelids at the round demon that’s after ruining her life, reached her feeble limb to cling to it, and turned the damned thing with redundant effort. That’s done. Now, few steps to salvation…and down she tumbles.
The overflowed feathery blanket seemed to breathe as Hinda plunged into it face down.
While the while Hinda was diving into profound sleep, her mother was in bed, struggling to come out of hers. She heard her daughter’s tramps on the stairs minutes ago, dragging herself. Her mother tried to hoist her body but there was no use, it was unthinkable.
So, she called her daughter’s name, once, twice and thrice before she drowned again.
Hinda always dreamed. generally, she dreamed about her grandmother scolding her in a way that made her sob bitterly, for tumbling down the old dresser, with all the chinaware that was accommodated in its shelves for decades, or of the boy next door sitting on her kitchen table next to her, caressing her palms with a heart-shaped leaf from the shady lime in the park, that they used to play in when they were kids.
Or of her uncle’s dribbling ranch dog devouring her computer while it was plugged in, and finally electrocuting itself.
Or of her brother Salem smashing her father’s car into her school, releasing the students and setting them free to roam the streets, and to get hit by other cars! Finally, they turn into doves to become free once again, forever. Or of herself plummeting down from the rooftop of her house, but never hitting the ground, this one always made her wake up in a cold sweat. Or of the planet being conquered by purple ants, which covered everything even the human beings making the planet look like a purple ball from space, or of the ram her father bought as the Eid sacrifice last year playing chess with her on top of her bed. And of it winning!! Or of her forgetting to study for an Arabic language test, and wishing to wake up from this nightmare when her teacher handed her a titanic volume as an exam paper. Whether she dreamed about long buried memories or of unconscious fantasies, of wholesome childhood or horrors of adulthood, they were all in common. None of them appeared wholly. The dreams were shown in her mind as flashes more than of a projected video, always few reels missing and with smudges on the sides, and the light and sound technicians seemed to always be on a paid holiday. Even the white sheet that made the screen was rough and uneven.
But tonight, there’s something different. At the beginning of her sleep, Hinda was unconscious, dead to the world. But after a time, flashes started shading on her mind. And they were conspicuous, with jumps in scenes here and there. At first, all she felt was terror, that everything was going down. Gigantic lava dodge balls were speeding from the sky towards her house. By their speed the flaming tail was one kilometer long. She was alone at home. The sky was painted with smudges of black and blood red. She kept on running from room to room, her expression was horror-struck, and with mournful arched mouth and eyes she rubbed her hands nervously, thinking to herself that it was too late, too late. She rushed towards the bathroom and stood in front of the sink, trying to wash her face. She stopped short, gazing at its reflection in the mirror. There were no features; her face was murky and distorted, as if she was ashamed. She got outside; there was no land, only water with an infinite depth, and it was dark oily. Now, she was rowing in a boat, very small that would fit her only kneeling. She tried to reach to a wooden bridge, where other people were on, but suddenly the lava was pelting on them. She averted the bridge, but now, the water surface seemed to disappear, patches of it seemed to get sucked by some kind of a gap, and it was pulling everything behind her. She rowed and rowed with horror, until she was on top of a train with her brother.
The scene changed; she’s now in a barren land of some sort. The train was motionless. She didn’t know what to do, panicking she got down and started running with all her body engine capacity along the railway. She was running from something, something awful, but she couldn’t know what it was. She glanced behind to see that her brother sat coolly on top of the train, waving at her with a smile on his face and swinging his feet, she tried to shout and tell him to go and hide, but surprisingly, she found herself standing in front of her cousin Huda, who turned her and asked her to go and open the door for her friend, confused, Hinda stood in front of a door to ask who is it, but instead of saying that, she shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is The Greatest) for she thought she heard the Azan. Her cousin started laughing at her, and as Hinda turned around, she saw herself encircled by all of her family sneering at her with pointing fingers. She locked her eyes tightly, until she felt the dizziness that accompanied the dark. Suddenly, she was encircled by her father’s arms; they were an asylum, long perished. She recognized his smell, like the mint he used to have in his morning tea, fresh and soothing. A breath tickled her ear, and bore sound waves of a voice familiar and benign, telling her “never forget again” Then she opened her eyes, too fast and unwillingly, to see her mother turning in her bed, left and right, left and right. Restless and weeping with her eyes closed, clutching her nightgown. Hinda was seeing this view from up, somewhere, maybe on top of the closet, or from a hole in the ceiling, or perhaps on top of the chandelier. But somehow, she could hear her mother burbling, incoherently. So Hinda bent down, to get closer, to comprehend what her mother is saying. All of a sudden, her name seemed to fit the pronunciation her mother was trying to make ‘Hinda…Hinda.’ Hinda slipped now; from on top of whatever she was on, and with rapidness, she was pitching, like she used to in her dreams. And like in her dreams, she didn’t hit the bottom, instead, she slowly landed on her bed, and lied down, resting her head the same way she did when she first went to sleep this night, precisely.
A swift nudge on her shoulder, a feathery stroke on the sole of her foot, and a warm lay of coarsened hand on her serene face woke Hinda up, gradually. Despite the blurry vision and lateness of mental process, she recognized her mother’s blessed face and mellifluous voice, saying gently but hastily
‘Darling…wake up! Hurry! You’re going to miss the 3isha prayer! …Wake up Hinda, wake up!’
Taken from Mayo’s collection.