Monday, September 27, 2021

Yahia Lababid ~ Encounter

I stirred in the small hours of the morning. Sensing a presence, I did not return to sleep, but ventured into the living room, apprehensively. There, by the balcony, sat a familiar figure—cross-legged and reading in the semi-dark, with just the milky moonlight for company.

I do not know how I knew, but I did. I recognized the intruder, at once, with a mixture of dread and affection. “I’m sorry,” were the only words to leave my lips. “I’m sorry, too,” replied my longed-for self, with a sigh of infinite kindness and pity.

He did not rise to greet me and, somehow, spoke without words, transmitting what was needed. Catching his glistening eye, the caring made me cry. “You’ve taken every detour to avoid me,” he gently reproached. “For every step I’ve taken towards you, you’ve taken back two.”

I did not know what to say in my defence (how could I protest against myself?). “I missed you,” he said, “and feared you’d forgotten me.” His admonishment was tender as a kiss. “I visit from time to time, and hope you’ll ask me to stay.” I knew what he said was true, and felt that way, too.

“I worried,” he continued, “if I postponed this visit, we might never meet, in this life … and so I came to sharpen your appetite.” He rose and moved towards me. “There’s no need to speak, return to sleep. But when you rise, try to remember me. And to keep awake.”


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