Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alive & Well

Sorry guys, I know you're expecting a YotL post, but I had to clear my head. This post is a *very* special dedication to my uncle, Bu A7mad, who'd won a tough fight with cancer. It is a joy to have you back home, healthy and safe, and you make my heart swell with pride. Allah yisalmik oo ya7meek min kil shar inshallah. We all love you :*

--------------------------

Her rich boisterous laughter filled the air of our dim dining room, and I watched from the doorway as her grandeur captivated every single guest sitting at the table. The flickering candlelight skittered from stone to stone of her giant crystal peacock brooch – the one I had brought her for Christmas. Today, it is her birthday; my big, beautiful Etta is turning 48.
Holding a bottle of Pinot Grigio in my brown leathery hands, I took in the sight of her radiant mahogany skin, with her cheeks so round and full of joy, and her almond shaped eyes that twinkled, outshining the glow of the candles. My Etta is turning 48, but she doesn’t look a day over 29. She says it’s because of the cocoa butter she applies so delicately onto her face every night before we go to sleep, but I say it’s because of the laughter that never ceases to escape her raspberry-stained lips.
I love the way her bosom heaved up and down with every sweet breath she took. I love the way she daintily dabbed at the moisture that accumulated on her neck every Sunday at church, when the churchgoers would heat up the pews with every “Amen!” and “Praise the Lord!”. I love the way she hovered over pots and pans everyday at noon; I’d find her sashaying in the kitchen as if it were a model’s catwalk, slicing the bright orange carrots and stirring the thick brown gravy. Even today, her birthday, she’d managed to wake up at 7 AM without hitting the snooze button on our rickety alarm clock. I’d watched from bed, pretending to be asleep as she slipped into her favorite maroon dress; the one with the satin ribbon at the hem. She applied her make-up ever so carefully, and I fought the urge to spring up from bed and yell at her to stop – she didn’t need all that chemically infested make-up; she was beautiful just the way the Lord had created her. She spoke out loud, even though she knew I probably wouldn’t have heard her – she told me she was going to the beauty salon. Again, I had to stop myself from bolting upright and telling her not to go – she didn’t need all of those hot irons and chemical relaxers; I loved every kink in her hair just the way it was.
By the time I’d come back from the liquor store with the bottles of wine for her birthday dinner, I saw that she’d beat me to the cooking. There she was again, craning her neck over the hissing pots and pans, careful not to let the piping hot steam ruin her immaculate hairdo. I’d noticed that her nails were also done; they were pressed with blood red acrylics that I’d normally detest, but today, they looked like candy attached to her fingers. I’d kissed her hands and the nape of her neck, and she flirtatiously shooed me away, telling me that I’d have my share later on tonight.
Etta was, indeed, a one woman show. When our guests had arrived, the dining room lights were dimmed to perfection, making even the ugliest beast look like a fawn. The flame of the long ivory candles swayed from side to side along with the Jazz classics that were playing from our makeshift surround sound system. The table was set with our best china and Etta’s prized silverware. From the scent that was wafting from every steaming plate, I had known that Etta had once again outdone herself; Maple-roasted chicken with Creole spices, a seafood and sausage Jambalaya that would put the French Quarters to shame, and an endless array of sides including my favorite, buttered baby peas. Plates were laden with roasted new potatoes, sweet corn on the cob, succulent butter biscuits, and mouthwatering coleslaw. No, Jane Fonda was not a guest at this dinner, but Etta always told me that if the food doesn’t warm your heart, then it is not food at all.
Marion held up her fluted champagne glass to toast Etta’s 48 years of life, and it was then I realized that I had been standing in the doorway for too long. I quickly walked past the countless heads of glossy curls, tight braids, and nappy cuts until I reached the empty chair that was right beside my Etta’s.
I sat down and raised my glass as well, looking at my shining star with all the endearment my eyes could muster. Forty-eight years of life, my dear Etta, and we’ve only been married for two. Forty-eight years of life, and not a worry in the world has defaced your joyous demeanor. Forty-eight years of life, and you’re still as graceful as a hummingbird flittering in the warm sunshine of the South. You make life seem so effortless; not a single gray hair has sprouted in your lovely mass of curls. Never once have you complained about the Southern heat, and never once have you complained about the fatigue you’d felt after you’d collapsed in the living room.
Today is your birthday, my dear Etta, and tomorrow is your first chemotherapy session. I know you are not afraid to lose all of that beautiful hair, and I know you’re not afraid of losing weight and having your life drained of color and joy. In fact, your battle with life will probably be harder for me than it will be for you, just because I know that’s the way you are.
Today, you are enjoying your birthday to it’s fullest degree, because in your heart of hearts you are aware that this may be your last. Your friends don’t know about your sickness, because you don’t want anyone to worry – I’m lucky you didn’t keep something so serious from me as well. But that’s the way you are, my dear Etta. You’ve never stopped living, never stopped listening, and never stopped loving.
Today, I am by your side, holding your hand and feeding you a spoonful of your heavenly spicy creations. Tomorrow, I’ll be by your side, holding your hand and nourishing you with my love and energy. But always remember that even though I’m gone, the Lord is by our side no matter where we are.
I smile at you, and though I know that deep inside you are petrified, you still smile back. This is how I know that you will overcome. Happy birthday, my dearest Etta. May you live a thousand lives for the next hundred years to come.

38 comments:

ĐǻñĎõøðñ said...

tadreen i opened ur blog accidentally wela akteshef new post! ;)

me go read now =D

ĐǻñĎõøðñ said...

that was beautiful...to say the least ;**

oo 7amdella 3la salamat bu a7mad =)

Damsel in Distress said...

You left me in tears.

tigerlilly said...

Oh wow, I loved this! So touching and sweet, and details are amazing!

Baroque said...

Hi! Hi! xx

drama_ said...

DanDooon - thank you sweety :) Allah yisalmich inshallah ;**

Damsel in Distress - :******** i adore you walla don't cry :( thayagtay 5ilgi!!

tigerlilly - thank you :D hehe

Baroque - LOL hi ;*

B said...

beautifully written! ;*

S said...

This is just beautiful.. i actually teared up!
that never happened!
o el7emdila 3ala salamat Bu A7mad!
;**
ahh..
just don't be too long next time ;p

Change said...

just another symphony of yours ;)

7amdellah 3ala salamat your uncle..

Gutter Flower said...

this was heartbreakingly beautiful.. be'6ab6 5angatny il 3abra fi hal la7'6a! alf alf 7amdilla 3ala salamat ur uncle.. allah edoom 3alaih il 9e7a oo il salama oo y7mee inshalla yarab.. ;*

My.Silhouette.In.Red said...

simply beautiful

Zaina said...

il7imdillaaa 3ala salamtaaa :D!

Zaina said...

il7imdillaaa 3ala salamtaaa :D!

Missy said...

Alllaaaaahhhhh.. <3

7aLeeB KaKaW said...

7imdilaaah 3alla salamaataaa... :*

oo woooow.. mashalaaaaah teared up..(A) ;$ hehehe

Anonymous said...

L7imdAllah 3ala Salamta :)
SOOO TOUCHING I LOVE YOU :*
-Munera

Fourty-Seven said...

OMG! <3 You didn't miss a single detail!!! I love it 7amdilla 3ala salamat ur uncle!
xoxo

drama_ said...

B - thank you love ;**

S - awww babe thank u ;* Allah yisalmich! don't teaaar upppp!!
inshallah i wont be long..

Change - you are too kind ;* Allah yisalmich dear

Gutter Flower - Allah yisalmich 7abeebti oo thank you for ur kind words and well wishes ;****

My.Silhouette.In.Red - thank you dear ;* intay ilbeautiful

Zaina - Allah yisalmichhh ;**

Missy - hehehehe <333 ;** thanks

7aLeeB KaKaW - thank you 7abeebti Allah yisalmich ;***

Munera - 7ayati intay ;* Allah yisalmichhhh! thank u so much.. i love u too!

Forty-Seven - if you miss a single detail, you are not living :) Allah yisalmich thank uuuu :*

Lost b2amreeka. said...

alf il7amdilla 3ala salamat ur uncle, allah y5allee likom inshalla w y6awil b3omra ;*

Um-Loai said...

Your writing never ceases to give me goosebumps.

Your attention to detail is profound.

And you Uncle is lucky to have such an amazing, and talented niece.

L7amdillah 3ala salamat your uncle, allah y6awil b3omra

PearlsAndBows said...

7imdillah 3ala salamat ur uncle ;**

u never cease to amaze me mashallah ur writin is perfection!

Mrs. said...

el7emdela 3ala salamaat bu a7mad, this is such a beautiful and touchingly sad post :(

jooj said...

7amdla 3ala salamt ur uncle allah y3afeeh lekm inshallah :)

and I must say, your style of writing is amazing to say the least mashallah every word captures you and leads you to the next esloob yjanen w al descriptiveness makes it perfect! keep it up

moi said...

awwww:(, i want to give a an oscar for your amazing writings!!!!! wow wow mashallah! and you should publish a book! i'll buy the first 100 copy i promise;p

Anonymous said...

Your writing is amazing, 7ady a3eesh il jaw whenever i read anything ib ur blog :) Wallah, you should be a writer! have you ever thought of writing professionally?

Caperucita.Rosa said...

You know who told me about your blog, so I hope you don’t mind me reading. Wow! I’m totally blown away. You're such a strong and tender writer- an incredible combination!
~Rose

drama_ said...

Lost B2amreeka - Allah yisalmich 7abeebti ;* thank you so much ameen Allah yisma3 minnich inshallahh

Um-Loai - awww :$ a7rajteeeni!! thank you sooooo much walla :* Allah yisalmich 7abeebti thank u!!

PearlsAndBows - thank you 7ayati ;*** intay ilperfection walla.. Allah yisalmich :D

Mrs. - Allah yisalmich hun! awww it wasn't meant to be sad! it was meant to be inspirational! :** im glad u liked it!

jooj - Allah yisalmich dear thank you thank you thank you :****

moi - LOOOOL thank u sweety :* 100 copies! shitsaween feehum! :P

Anonymous - thank you soo much walla.. i'd love toooo bes a5af people love it now but when it comes down to it, no one will read/buy.. so i'm still thinking about taking a risk, bes theres also no one that offered to publish this LOL again thank u for ur comment.. really sweet of u!

ROOOOSEEEE :**** MI AMOR! :) finalmenteeee! i've heard so so much about you :* you are so wonderful, thank you for stopping by and commenting! and i'm glad you like the stories :) luv u!!

Anonymous said...

This is great!! I love it, i ending the story with a tear!! you are a great writing Mashlaa, u have to publish i book. I never thought of reading a blog but ur blog was great i read every single line and love to read more. 7emdalla 3ala salamtaa;** Mashlaa Mashlaa ur even better than shakespeare

-Noony

Anonymous said...

THERE WERE CONVENTION MISTAKES ON THAT POST^^^ This is great!! I loved it, i ended the story with a tear!! you are a great writer Mashlaa, u have to publish a book. I never thought of reading a blog but ur blog attracted me and i read every single line and love to read more. 7emdalla 3ala salamtaa;** Mashlaa Mashlaa ur even better than shakespeare. xoxo

-Noony

S said...

ee walla .. how about ityam3een ur posts, and publish a book?! seriously, we get to read something GOOD and voted by the ppl ;)

Jewaira said...

Glad to hear that your uncle is well now. I hope he stays healthy.

And happy birthday Etta. Lovely story.

Idream said...

I agree with the girls you SHOULD publish a book !
your writing is absolutely wonderful.

lost said...

You have been given the "butterfly award"..

love your story!
keep writing!

http://lostnconfused.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/butterfly-award/

Anonymous said...

i love ur blog bas plz kamlay ur 3aliging us wayid

Anonymous said...

I love loveee ure blog... Love the way u write..

Wala all these fabulous blogs made me inspired to write my own blog!! If youre intrested id love it if you read mine!

http://bahraindrama.blogspot.com/

Keep up the great work!!!:D

Anonymous said...

3aaad wallah 6awallti drama d'7ell allah nabi new post ....and yes el7amdellah 3ala salamt you uncle wa allah yb3ead 3ankom kell ham enshallah ...
bass tarah wayyyde shawgteenah ..I really understand that you are busy but I can't help it not to check your blog every day for a new post ..
miss your post & miss you
Married anonymous

Glitter said...

Salamtah alf salam,
wl 7amdlella elly Allah rajja3ah lekom salem.

Kha6akom ilso :-*

intlxpatr said...

Very powerful post, Drama. The romances are a lot of fun, but this post, this is serious stuff.