Siswar Sarah original (Arabic) / English

سشوار – ساره / Sishwar – Sarah

“Can you cut it like last time? It looked very good.”“Of course.”Um Ali is one of the frequent clients. People were puzzled with how to describe her or her job, and I was as puzzled trying to justify her frequent visits. I acknowledge that due to the nature of my job, I have to not only work by every client’s request but also pretend to be Shahrayar and listen to their tales like an accidental therapist… and their stories prolong to the very last vibrations of the hair dryer. Um Ali starts speaking about whoever left in Amman from her family and the problems that cover the smell of the Amber rice in the Iraqi houses.

“Tell me, are you seeing Sarah, because I haven’t seen her in a very long time?”

“I swear, Sarah is so strange and stubborn. Oh how many times I have told her to forget and leave with her mom but it feels like I was talking to a wall.”

Sarah is one of my favorite clients even though she is very particular about her hair and the way she looks, but as others I haven’t heard anything of her in a long time. She used to work in the national radio station in Baghdad before the war, but like many, she grew tired of Baghdad and its people and after her dad disappeared, her mother decided to leave Iraq. The disappearance of her father largely impacted her life and her flat’s telephone became her friend and its ringing tone was mixed with her heart beats that are longing to hear anything from him.

In March, I met her in the shopping mall, a place that became like a home for all the unemployed Iraqis in this gaunt city.

“I have no idea why are we still living here, it’s a waste of time and money.”

“…and how is your mother ?”

“She is fine, nothing new. She is in between the telephone and television waiting for them to call her and to tell her that her traveling papers are ready.”

Sarah has always complained about her mom’s desire of leaving with the help of the United Nations, and during her last visit to the salon, she told me that her mom had finished her immigration papers for Sweden, where her aunt lives and the other half of the Iraqi people. She never liked traveling. In fact, she was living in Amman with her heart remained connected to the telephone cord and to Iraq, waiting to hear the voice of her dad.

After ten days of Um Ali’s visit, Sarah surprised me with a visit. Her yellow dress reflected its color on her face, she sat calmly and said: “Cut it however you want,” teardrops started slipping from her eyes, I was trying to hear or read her lips, in between her sobbing “they called me ….they called me.”

*Sishwar: hair dryer in Iraqi Arabic.

– Amr Thameen

“تكدر اتكصه مثل المرة اللي فاتت لان جان كلش حلو ““مو تدللين”
ام علي من الزوار الدائمين للمحل احتار الناس بوصفها او تخمين طبيعة عملها و احترت انا بينهم في تفسير زياراتها المتكررة. لست اغفل انه بحكم عملي ليس علي فقط ان انفذ طلبات كل زبونة بل ايضا احتال شخصية شهريار و الاستماع غصبا لاخبارهن التي تطول حتى اخر ذبذبات صوت مجفف الشعر , تبدا ام علي حديثها عما تبقى من عائلتها في عمان والمشاكل التي اصبحت تغطي رائحة التمن العنبر في البيوت العراقية

“كلي سارة دتشوفها صارلهة هواية مختفية”
“والله هاي سارة غريبة شكد كلتلهة يابه ارضي بالامر الواقع وطلعي وية امج بس ميفيد قافلة”
سارة هي من زبائني المفضلين رغم دقتها الاستثنائية واعتنائها المفرط بنفسها ولكن اخبارها كغيرها انقطعت منذ فترة ، كانت تعمل في الاذاعة العراقية قبل الحرب و لم يختلف حالها عن الباقين الذين ضاقت بهم بغداد واهلها و بعد اختفاء والدها قررت والدتها ترك العراق. كان لاختفاء والدها وقع كبير على حياتها حتى اصبح هاتف شقتها في عمان صديقها و اختلطت دقاته بضربات قلبها المتشوقة لسماع اي خبر عنه.
في شهر مارس التقيت معها بالصدفة في”المول” ، المكان الذي اصبح بيت كل عراقي عاطل عن العمل في هذه المدينة الكئيبة
“والله ما اعرف ليش احنة كاعدين بعمان بس مضيعة وقت و فلوس”
“و اخبار ماما شنو ؟”
“هي هي ماكو شي جديد كاعدة بين التلفون والتلفزيون تنتظر يخابروهة يكلولهة اوراقج كملت مال سفر”
كانت دائما ما تشكو من اصرار امها على الرحيل عن طريق الامم المتحدة. وعندما جاءت اخر مرة للصالون
اخبرتني بان امها قد اكملت معاملات الهجرة للسويد حيث تعيش خالتها و النصف الاخر للشعب العراقي, لم تكن سارة من الشغوفين بالسفر وانما كانت تعيش بقلب في العراق موصول بسلك الهاتف الذي لا طالما حلمت ان ياتي باخبار تخص والدها
بعد عشرة ايام من زيارة ام علي التي هي الاخرى اطالت بغيبتها, فاجئتني سارة بزيارة للصالون كان يمتزج لون بشرة وجهها باصفرار القميص الذي ترتديه جلست بهدوء على الكرسي امامي وقالت: “كصة شلون ما تريد” ثم بدات قطرات من الدمع تختلس طريقها, حاولت ان اسمع او اقرا ماذا تقول شفتيها من بين خفقات قلبها ونحيبها  “خابروني … خابروني”.
عمرو ثمين
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