They finished their art class. They all sang, danced, raced to the other room, except for him. He remained silent, seated. People could easily miss he was even in the room. I was preparing to leave the room as well, until I noticed him. ”Hi”, I smiled. He looked away, but shortly returned his gaze to me. ”Is this your work?” I pointed to two pieces of paper in front of him, drawn on them a greenish slug and an ice cream cone, a smiley, bouncy ice cream cone. They were truly beautiful and neat. ”Yes, that’s what we did today” he responded, seaming less of a silent child. ”Do you know what this is called?” I asked, pointing to the slug. “No”. ”It’s called ‘Halazon’,” I said in Arabic. “Halazon?” He asked, making sure he got it right.
“I have a watch, do you want to see it?” after a moment of silence, he asked me. He was the one starting the conversation now. I said yes. He left his seat and went to get the watch from his bag. When he came back, he handed me a bright green plastic thing that I couldn’t grasp how it could pass as a watch, neither did I have the time to ask.
An old man entered the room, interrupting the conversation, barely with his words. His mere presence changed the feel of the room, or more precisely, altered the feelings of the young child I was now able to communicate with. “What are you doing here?” Ahmed asked. The old man was as perplexed as young Ahmed. He tried to start the conversation with his grandson, but Ahmed was filled with anger. He nervously returned to his seat. His grandfather sat next to him. “What are you doing here? Where is Iman?” Ahmed asked, looking in the opposite direction of his grandfather.
“Why didn’t she come?”
“She was studying, but I came for you, Ahmed”
“She promised. She promised she’d come, she promised she’d get me something.”
The grandpa had nothing to say.
“She promised she’d get me a watch.”
Ahmed kept talking, displaying his anger, his disappointment. “Is Iman his sister?” I asked. “She’s his mother,” the grandfather responded, smiling. A weak smile, a smile that carried a feeling of pity towards Ahmed. “Would you like me to leave? would you like to wait for her?” the grandfather asked, “Wait for her where? Let’s just go” Ahmed said helplessly, angrily. He stood up, took his bag and started walking towards the door. He left his drawings on the table, until I pointed them out to him. He was confused, he was talking, he was angry, and he couldn’t listen. He couldn’t absorb that his mother lied to him once more. She broke her promise again.
He left, refusing to say goodbye to anyone.