اشترك في: 20 نوفمبر 2006
|ارسل: الخميس مارس 05, 2015 1:12 pm موضوع الرسالة: Suspicion- Yahya Fadallah alawad- Trans. Ibrahim Jaffar
A Short Story
By: Yahya Fadlallah Alawad
[Translated by: Ibrahim Jaffar]
Alwasila looked, distrustfully, at the chap who was standing in front of him- he gathered all of his senses when that chap touched him with his shoulder- he turned to that who was behind him- surveyed all of the sides with his sight- a block of humans different in sizes and details roping around him and he cannot but use all of that distrust- very suspiciously he is, instantly, agitated with every movement- a scorching afternoon- the kumsari (bus-conductor) steals, with an excruciating effort, amongst the commuters on that bus which was in its way from Omdurman to Khartoum. Only a few centimetres those which separate each commuter from another's foot- bodies have no other option but cramming together- an enforced cohesion which transforms Alwasila into a life of attention, caution and suspicion- each movement should be exacted with minute precision- his eyes were swiftly shifting and he was folding the hems of his clothes whenever he was sensing any touching- the knife was on the left arm- the black cardigan was the cause of his anxiety, for his right hand should grab the bar over him, something which was making the right end of the cardigan rising up with the body's movement. So he had, laughingly, always to repeat this movement. He pulls, with his left hand, the right end of the cardigan. But such an "idea" appears impossible. He swiftly turns around- he felt that someone has touched his shoulder- that suspicious look roaming about all sides- all that caution and attention- all that suspicion because he could not at all bear being an easy aim for pickpockets. But who are those pickpockets? Alwasila cannot answer this question but the only thing he could do is imaging that the block of peoples around him in this bus can never be free of them- those pickpockets- he pulls, with his left hand, the cardigan's right end- an abrupt reaction- he changes his feet's position because of slight friction with the body/person behind him.
- "Almorada; anybody down?"
"Yes- here, mate!" -
Alwasila was attention- he picked of the bus-stopping and released his right hand from the bar and gathered all of his extended organs around himself- sharpened his suspicious senses- a number of passengers were moving towards him amidst the uprising commotion- he has to be ready, for there is no guarantee that amongst all of these people who are leaving the bus there would be no one of those damned lot- he very well know that they will pass by him- inevitably, for he stands close to the rear door- caution is a must then, for those crafty thieves are gifted with an astonishingly swift pace- and it is only enough for the one of them to touch you lightly and then- ouch!- you find out that you have been nicked- he gathered the cardigan's ends around himself- those who were getting down the bus passed him by, but not before his vigilant senses closely followed their motions- he clasped his arms about his chest, taking care of any possible omission- he held the bar with his right hand and, with the left hand, he pulled tight the right end of the cardigan.
- "Go on, Gov.!"
Fidgeting newcomers trying to find places, something which made Alwasila again all attention and suspicion- sweat pouring down and all over the extensions of his face- very high tension imprinting its descriptions on every bit of an organ in his body- he feels very tired- but- that should be done, for what happened to Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, should, on all accounts, not be repeated upon himself- all of Alwasila's present suspicion is now strongly supported by that which had happened to Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti.
Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, had once come to Alsouq Alarabi. He was dragging behind himself a lorry of dreams embodied in the form of a number of sacks of Egyptian Broad Beans, Egyptian Foul. That was the year's harvest. Dreams metamorphosed into thousands of pounds when he won a sale for those sacks.
Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, carefully tucked those thousands of pounds away into the safety of his cardigan's inner pocket- he put them there with all of that vitality which transforms the seed into a fruit- he thought of going to the nearest restaurant- on his way to the restaurant, and amidst the thriving crowds of Alsouq Alarabi, someone bumped into him with all of that highly-strung intimacy and welcoming attitude of the Sudanese people so he instantly cried aloud: "Welcome, welcome, the generous one! Welcome, welcome Uncle Mukhtar! Let me hug you Uncle Mukhtar!" Then Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, entered into the man's embracing grip with that very same intimacy and that very same welcoming. But then the man came out of that embracing and with him also came out off Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, all of those thousands of pounds…. The year's harvest was simply, simply lost- the dreams of Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, were all lost- those dreams which were transmuted from wretchedness's waters and the clay of life- the man went to where no one knows; to where from which there is no return; and Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, couldn't even remember any single description of his face or physical form, but his voice is still ringing into his insides- there in the village he could never bear the taste of disappointment- he was swallowed by dumbness and silence- that Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, who was ever full of warmth, life and vitality- that Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, now lost his mind when he lost the whole harvest of that year's toiling simply because of that artificial intimacy's greeting- the village's children discovered in him an amusing game- it was enough to greet him with "How are you, Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti?" and he would, at once, be turned into a weird being issuing forth vague utterances and trembling all over his outer physical organs. He would then ridiculously fall on the ground and roll himself over it in very tense circles rising, with them, dust to higher, and higher, levels. The children would turn all of this tragedy into a game, for they would search for their fun throughout all of that suffering which have thrown to the wind (aye, to the dogs!) all of the memory of Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti. It was then only the intervention of the village's elders that- indeed- have saved the remnants of the life of Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, from the fatally cruel game of those children.
Alwasila's tension was eased a bit when his looks followed the greenness that's celebrating the meeting of the two rivers: the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The bus would then usually shakily move over the White Nile's Bridge. But, with every shaking Alwasila would adjust his cardigan's position with that very same maddeningly repeated motion, for he would, inasmuch as he was having in mind the incident of Mukhtar- the Son of Alharti, never let go his caution, his suspicion, his all agog attention, his exhausting tension. They do steal the kohl from the eye; dreams from memory: those who you would see, in front of you, affecting crowdedness while hunting for a treasure. There is no innocence. Do not be fooled, oh, man! Bodies were then still stuck together. That wasn't a trusted situation. With every touching and friction Alwasila would be transformed into a sensitive radar monitoring all of the motions entering his suspicion's realm (those which were on the left; those which were on the right; those which were on the sides) and he would never forget to take his care of particularly the person who was then positioned on the neighbouring seat.
- "The Central Administration- anyone down?"
- "Yes- here"….
Alwasila freed his right hand from the bar- gathered his arms around his chest in preparation for more caution and alertness…. And, aggressively looking at the passing-by passengers, he gathers the cardigan's ends unto himself and so strengthening his arms' grip on his chest that none of those getting down the bus would ever manage venturing close to the banned territory- he was carrying, in the cardigan's inner pocket, a smart sum of money- if he would lose that money, then all hope of increasing fields' production would be gone with the wind- he has to buy an irrigation 's machine and a pump for the lands, and he would never be at ease until hearing, with his own relishing ears, that irrigation's machine and pump thrusting waters unto the fields. Caution then should be applied to the maximum, otherwise……….
When, at Khartoum's Central Bus Station, he finally got down the bus Alwasila experienced a great sense of relief- that was success's taste- the money was still inside his cardigan's inner pocket and that was, in itself, an achievement- but- fear soon dominated his thoughts when he saw Khartoum's Central Bus Station teeming boiling crowds- the incident of Mukhtar, the Son of Alharti, wasn't in a bus; it was in the street, he re-noted- he looked around and moved towards Alsouq Alarabi- cautiously he was advancing, shifting looks hither and thither- avoiding crowds- he had safely to get to the Sons of Alsafi's shop (where always the village's people would meet) and, from there, he would then eventually manage, with the help of one of Alsafi's sons, buying the irrigation's machine and the pump- ever he was sensing the money's reality with his bare hands- and, in an attempt to keep away from the crowded streets, he swerved into one of Alsouq Alafranji's verandas- but he did not thereby allow himself any pleasure of leisurely shop-windowing- his mind was strictly confined to getting unharmed to the Sons of Alsafi's shop, for those thieves could be anyone and anywhere, could suddenly materialize to one from the middle of nowhere- he felt hungry but instantly drove that away when he remembered the priority of safely arriving to shop- he went out of a veranda, walked into another one, and while he was trying to pass, from there, towards the third one he saw someone standing between the two verandas- it appeared that that person had taken a certain interest in him- so, before Alwasila could pass beyond him, he eventually came near to where was Alwasila and started calling out: "Dollar! Riyal! Traveller's Cheque! Dollar! Riyal! Traveller's Cheque! Dollar! Riyal! Traveller's Cheque!" Alwasila did not understand a single word of that and thought it could only be a hawker's call for goods- the caller was saying his things in whispering- Alwasila indifferently passed before him but he never let caution loose- the caller again caught up with Alwasila whispering: "Dollar! Riyal! Traveller's Cheque! Dollar! Riyal! Traveller's Cheque! Dollar! Riyal! Traveller's Cheque!"- this time he was very close- Alwasila walked away, bearing caution and suspicion- but whenever Alwasila walked away that person thought that Alwasila was his man, and that Alwasila would then be looking for an out-of-sight place where that "clandestine exchange" could be conveniently performed- the chase continued and Alwasila still couldn't understand any of those coded words but he very well knew that he should be alert for any manoeuvres that would shatter out his dreams- he quickened the steps, trying to keep away from the Currency Dealer's chase- he noticed that the man was clean and elegantly dressed, with an immaculately white jallabiyya, a red native hat and shoes- markoob- made of tiger's skin- he was now sure that this is the very kind of people of which he should be careful- whenever Alwasila moved away the Currency Dealer increased the rate of the chasing….. And when Alwasila went further away of him and towards the Sons of Alsafi's shop, the Currency Dealer eagerly caught up with him even there, thinking what he was thinking- the man came closer to Alwasila: that who was full caution and suspicion- the man stopped Alwasils, saying:
- "How are you, Uncle?"
Alwasila held the man's hand, with all of his might:
- "From where do you know me? Uncle?! Very, very good, indeed!"
- "What is wrong, oh, Haj? Do let my hand free".
- "Oh, you thieves!"
With all of his force, Alwasila downed a thudding slap and blood gushed out of the ambitious Currency Dealer's nose- Alwasila's grip was still tightening on the man's hand while his face continuously receiving vigorous slaps- screaming was the man while Alwasila furiously shouting: "Uncle, oh, thief! From you do you know me? Uncle, oh, thief! From you do you know me? Uncle, oh, thief! From you do you know me?" – Alwasila's anger so mounted and fumed that he unsheathed his knife from around his arm and repeatedly swayed it before the man's face. But the man was soon nowhere to be found, for, with the sheer power of fear, he suddenly freed himself of Alwasila's grip and swiftly took to the winds. Alwasila was about to run after him, but he soon returned the knife to its sheath, saying: "Oh, you thieves! "Uncle", he said!" He then moved towards the Sons of Alsafi's shop, with all that caution, that suspicion, avoiding crowdedness, yet he didn't know that he has, in fact, slapped the real thief in these times of ours.
* From Yahya Fadlaallah Alawad's short stories' collection Tadaiyat (i.e., Free Associations). Re-published in the Sudanese newspaper, Alnilain- Canada, 1 August 1998.