One Does Not Equal One

Amer K. Almassri


24th November 2022

For the first time, the plane does not land on my bed. I violently rub my eyes to be certain. I shake my feet a little bit pretending to shoo a fly. As an experience of freedom, I let the air caress my hair. I look at my wrist; it’s six in the morning… I hear a very distant voice saying, “Señores, rumbo a Madrid… Por favor pasen al stand número…” I remembered Salma, whose father desappeared with my diary. Also, I remembered my father, who desappeared twenty-six years of my life. Far beyond, I see Safwan, and we are almost equal for the first time in my life.

24th November 1996

My mother says: “It was pouring so much that I couldn’t see the sky, but I heard a loud knock on the glass from my small room in the hospital.” She also says: “I never knew you existed. I prayed to God to have a handsome son who would comb his hair to the right side when he grows up, and be respected and held in awe in his village. To get this son, I followed a certain diet, eating certain foods and staying away from others, as the women of the village advised me. She always continues: “I gave birth to a handsome boy as I wished but, surprisingly, there was nonstop pain. Between my feet, I saw another head looking out. It was your head. It was a happy surprise for me, and upsetting to your father who said, sadly, “I would have been more fortunate and happier if the twin had been males.”

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