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get wrapped around each other. I think you really do want to know about my life, which makes me feel safe. It also strengthens my determination and my ability to express myself and remember the things I’ve been through. I need that kind of safety to be able to tell my story. It’s so odd to feel you need somebody neutral, or possibly even a total stranger or passer-by, in order to be able to tell all. But this way, you don’t feel you’re being censored or judged. I long to be able to hear my own voice, with you listening, and to hear my own confessions, totally uncut!

“When I turn on the TV at night and see scenes of death, I think of a Hollywood horror flick I saw once where werewolves turned into wolves that came out of caves when the moon was out. I also think of a legend I read when I was a teenager about a man who turns into a wolf when the moon is full. Back then, I loved reading things like that, and I’d imagine I was experiencing them myself. I dream of writing a marvellous legend with my body some day.

“But Youssef was never a wolf.To me he was the moon, and he did a number of paintings showing the moonlight reflected off the night sea. Missing him, and feeling hurt and abandoned, I headed yesterday morning for the seaside spot that had brought us together for the first time.

“My eyes wandered lost in the blueness of the sea, causing me to forget my spasms.There was a small wave lapping against a boulder, the sound of which reminded me of our first kiss.

“That was the first time Youssef had called me by name: Basma. Up until then, we hadn’t been close, and he’d addressed me as ‘Madame’ or some other formality. After finding out how crazy I was about a certain folksy seaside café, he’d invited me for breakfast there.We were sitting at a wooden table together and I was talking to him about a project that involved turning poetic texts into a dance performance. His interest piqued, he got excited about the idea and started asking me all sorts of questions. He encouraged me, telling me he believed in my talent, and offered me any sort of advice or help I might need in deciding which texts to use. His enthusiasm gave me a sense of warmth and intimacy that I’d never felt with anyone before. I noticed that poetry was a point of connection between us, and before I knew it, I was drowning him in details, even though I’m usually the type to keep mum about a project until it’s performed on stage.

BANIPAL 70 – SPRING 2021 83

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