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rated even more. It was as if I’d been hit by a tsunami, and before I knew it, convulsions had invaded my entire body. My neck muscles tensed up and I felt as though I was about to choke. Before long, I was having spasms in my ears and every muscle in my body, including even my feet and around my eyes.

“I resisted, promising myself and my body that I’d get well, and that life would embrace me again the way I embraced it. I smiled, looking down at my body to see whether it had really started to live in peace. Then I looked away again so as not to see its convulsions or hear its rage. After seeing the rivers of blood in Syria, Iraq,Yemen and Libya on the television screen, it had started shaking like an earthquake.

“After waking from a long, drug-induced sleep, I experienced a few fleeting moments of peace, but they were gone before I knew it. Without noticing exactly what I was doing, I stretched out my hands in front of me as though I were trying to escape from my body and catch up with those lost moments of tranquillity.

“They’d been like a spirit exiting my body, and all that mattered to me now was to recover them, even if it meant becoming pure spirit and leaving my body behind. I was afraid of losing the spirit that had brought me joy and had remained untouched by illness. Then, remorseful, I resisted the urge to flee and apologized to my body, holding it in my arms like a baby I’d given birth to, and which had given birth to me.”


“Anisa was busy writing her novel, and had gone a whole week without visiting me. But when she heard how exhausted I sounded over the phone, she rushed right over. My body had collapsed in no time, it seemed. I generally didn’t open the door for anyone, but I could tell from the way she rang the bell that it was her. I made my way to the door, stepping slowly and deliberately so as not to fall. When she saw me, she stared at me in disbelief. I laid my head on her shoulder, and she took me into her arms as I swallowed a tear for fear of making her worry even more. Seeing the stunned look in her eyes, I gave her a reassuring smile. I wanted her to know how brave I was. Without saying a word, she sat down on the couch across from me, observing my spasms with a mixture of bewilder-

92 BANIPAL 70 – SPRING 2021

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