precious .. precarious

by Nariman Youssef


Two flat tyres .. one early morning .. have me sitting on a plastic chair under a tree by the pavement of a side street.. outside a mechanic’s shop .. not far from the house where I first learned to speak ..


Waiting while ..

a savvy sassy boy in his early twenties ..

his girl watching from a few metres away .. out of sight from his boss .. her arms resolutely crossed .. her colourful veil in contrast with everything around her ..

fixes my car.


I’m aware of my first coffee of the day .. waiting .. on the other side of all this.


As the savvy sassy boy goes .. back and forth .. between my car and his girl .. I expect to feel impatience ..

I don’t.


I make two phone calls .. I take out my notebook ..

and continue to sit.


My breathing is slow .. my thinking is slow .. I’m slow to recognise the grounded lightness that I’m feeling as the pleasure that it is..


Pleasure rising like perfumed steam .. from the breath moving through my body .. the sunlight dripping through the leaves above .. onto my arms and onto the page ..


Rising from the heat of the pavement caressing my bare calves .. from the methodical frenzy of the ants .. in and out of the cracks .. in patterns that must make sense to someone somewhere .. but don’t ..


From the glistening playfulness of the red of my toes .. and my hand gliding over this page .. and my memories of these streets .. as old as I am .. as tenderly relentless .. as gracefully obscene.


There’s a faint pulsating pain in my stomach .. that reminds me there’s more to life than this lightness ..


I step aside and watch my pleasure .. precious .. precarious .. powerful as an instinct.


It could easily belong to that moment in the life of a fish when .. with all the natural confidence of a being in its element .. it runs with the current .. and opens its mouth .. to savour the bait.


Here for now .. I luxuriate in the delicate layers of this moment..

and continue to sit.