Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I Sit Here and Stare - Part A

Usually, the path to self-destruction is unclear, I’d read in the first English novel I found in the house. It’d said we make plans and never think of being caught in our own set traps. Not even once. This, however, wasn’t ultimately correct for I’d from the first day thought of how all this would end before it’d even started.

As I looked up at the podium where the priest stood finishing his lesson for that morning, I smiled. I’d learnt how to blush two years ago when I’d first visited the church with the family I was staying with. After running from home, thousands of miles away, I’d found shelter in a remote city in Italy were everyone knew everyone. There was war in Sudan and although the world remained silent while more and more of my people died each day, I’d embarked on this journey on the 21st of March to escape from it all. Running away wasn’t something I was ashamed of, however; the thoughts of the family I left behind were the only pain I carried on her heart every night whenever I sat down to dine with my new family.

I removed my eyes from his when he looked my way. I looked to my right at the youngest member of the Rizzo family and smiled down at the child, hiding away in the disguise of my dark skin.

I examined the three-year-old who was sleeping, mouth wide open but peacefully in her mother’s arm. Mrs. Rizzo caught my eyes while I watched the sleeping child. She took one pitiful look at me and sighed. I understood what she was saying without vocal communication. I understood that she too was afflicted by my new and yet expected life dilemma. I wanted to tell her that I neither blamed her or her husband for what was about to happen. In fact, I was indebted to them. Her husband who’d found me freezing to death near an antique shop had brought me home to his wife who bath me in hot water and clothe me in her oversized shirt. She’d served me a warm meal of chicken soup and biscuit with questions directed only to her husband. Afterwards, she gave me blankets and showed me to the room they used for storing flour. I’d been unable to sleep that night, afraid that this would all end by morning. But when morning came, Mrs. Rizzo asked for my name in English and all I’d recognized in her short sentence was “name?”

My mother had told me they would ask what my name was and to not be afraid to tell them whose daughter I belonged to.

 “NaNomi.” I’d immediately answered. She’d asked other questions and I’d watched her lips move in wonder of this language I neither understood nor spoke. I’d responded in Arabic and she’d been so startled she drew back in fear. I’d immediately told her that I wasn’t going to hurt her, I’d told her my story but she couldn’t understand any word I was saying either. My frustration gave way to tears and when I began to cry, I couldn’t stop.  Anger, fear, frustration, my tears streamed of those words I couldn’t say and she understood only then and drew me into her arms like the mother I was sure I would never see again.

 She’d said me they were poor. Husband and wife were both forty-five years old. They owned a small bakery where they made bread from morning up until whenever customers became scarce. Afterwards, they worked as cleaners at the church they attended. This had been their way of saying they couldn’t keep me who was nothing but something of certain strangeness to them.

“But three sets of hands will make the job faster, what do you think?” She’d asked her husband who couldn’t stop staring at me. I was to stay with them and while I stayed with them, I was to help them in their cleaning business. The job was all too familiar to me as it was the only job I’d been able to secure while in Sudan. I agreed to the arrangement and the next day while they got dressed for work, I followed along in Mrs. Rizzo’s clothes.

Our last stop for that day was at a church. It’d resembled the one my older cousin’s packed to, positive that this would save their souls. I was afraid to step inside because I on the other hand was a Muslim. This place and its firm walls was not me but this had been the first thing they’d changed—my religion. But it was for work, just for survival so I convinced myself to enter. I’d persuaded myself that I wasn’t betraying my faith after all I’d been the one abandoned by God and my country. 

An hour later, Mrs. Rizzo was amazed by my strength as she’d been amazed by the color of my skin the first night she saw me. Even with the help of a faint light it’d still felt as if darkness had come to pay them a visit. I’d accepted the compliment spoken yet not understood.

It’d been the sound of his voice that’d made the three of us turn around. He was standing in front of the door, tall and shining like gold. This strange man covering his pale skin in a clergy rope was the priest. He’d greeted Mr. Rizzo and his wife first with familiarity as he approached us with his hands folded at his back. This odd man terrified me. His steady walk towards me made me want to run for shelter in my mother’s bosom. What creature was this? I’d thought of him as light and I darkness, even darker than the deepest tunnel. If he’d been surprised to see me he’d disguised it well enough in the modest smile he shot my way. Unnoticeably, I’d curved my head and blushed for the first time and that, was my first sin. 


  1. "Id blushed for the first time and that, was my first sin"

  2. Really ? ?
    I guess it is deeper than I read

    1. Girl! There's so much going on in this first part. Read it again if you have time and just take a moment to understand. Maybe part 2 will help also.

  3. Replies
    1. I'm trying to decipher what wow wow


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