Monday, 15 August 2011


It is wonderful to be tall.

I stand on a broken chunk of cement and reach up into the highest branches of a fig sapling sprouting through a crack in the buckled asphalt of the exercise yard.

On the other side of high concrete walls and rusted barbed wire, factories hum and whir and pump black smoke into the sky, obscuring the stars.

Unseen among the rocks and refuse of the wadi, someone pounds out a rhythm on an empty plastic tub.

Indoors, girls shriek and laugh shrilly, clink cutlery on plates, scrape plastic lawn furniture across bare stone floors. Fluorescent lights glow pink through drawn curtains striped by iron bars.

The exercise yard is still and empty; no one sees as my fingers search through rustling leaves in the dark, gently squeezing smooth round fruit, twisting ripe figs free.

Growing unasked for and uncared for, they are small and green and dusty. I eat them without bothering to wash them, standing beside the scrawny tree, and they burst in my mouth, warm and moist and sweet. The air is so thick with dust and pollution that eating a little more grime makes no difference.

I search out more figs and eat until my mouth is tingly and fuzzy, as though I had eaten a honeybee.

Figs bought in the souq in the light of day could never be so sweet.


  1. INshaAllah your Ramadaan has thus far been a blessed one. Miss you. Do you get any other vacations besides Ramadaan from class?

  2. hehehe that sounds adventurous doesn't it?
    and may Allah bless the remaining days of ramadhan

  3. OPNO: Miss you too! We get a winter vacation, not quite sure when that is this year, Jan or Feb :) Eid mubarak.