“It’s hell to be betrayed by your own body! “So now I’m entering into a new struggle with it. Maybe I confused it and caused it pain by not listening to its complaints. Maybe I abused it, made it angry. Or maybe it’s running away from confusion. Did it want something I didn’t? We’ve always been so frank with each other.We’ve never held anything back. So why is it doing what it’s doing? I ask it, and it doesn’t answer, as though it’s either gone deaf, or just turned hard-headed.Then, when it speaks through its shudders and twitches, I don’t understand what it’s trying to say. And it doesn’t hear me, even though there was a time when it listened to me avidly.
“My body slipped out of my grasp. Then it dropped me and left, so I have to remember the story on my own. I’m relating the story both to you and to my body so that it can recover the memory it’s lost. I tell it in order to heal my body and myself, and to gain understanding. In spite of the muteness that’s afflicted it, I know for a certainty that it will recover its memory and seize the ability to speak. Then it will become the narrator of the story: its story and mine.
“What’s happened to this body that was so compliant and affectionate with Youssef? It’s showing a side that’s the very opposite of all the qualities I’ve ever known it to have.Yet something tells me deep down that I’m the only person who knows what’s happened to it.
“I was shocked by what I’d read. Something bizarre was going on. Who wrote these things? I wondered. Might I have written them during one of my bouts of delirium and pain? But I’m not a writer. When I was in school, the Arabic teacher viewed me as a failure at language. As far as she was concerned, I had no talent for writing essays or anything else. My body was the gifted writer, the pen that transcribed through dance whatever I wanted to say. My body was my magnum opus, my only ‘book’ being the performances I’d done. So, these words must have been a message from my body to me, to help me understand the reasons for my illness and to recover from it. I remembered having a conversation with my body where I’d heard it telling me something similar to what was written on those two pieces of paper. But could a body write with a pen? What I was thinking was crazy, really crazy.
“But who besides you can I tell about the things that go on with
88 BANIPAL 70 – SPRING 2021
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