[36] Ripples, Susie Gharib

Spring heralds the advent of swallows at home, where each day before sunset, I watch them flirt with the tops of buildings and frolic with travelling clouds. My nerves resound to their chanting, a sonorous chorus of piercing cries as my eyes are lent a pair of wings. Their constant motion is a sacred dance. Imbibing their sense of comradeship, I feel the least forlorn. I believe they have the healthiest social life and bonds of love that fill onlookers with familial joy.

As children, we were incessantly on the move, with travel and an outdoor lifestyle. At home, a chimney with a pyramid of marble steps served as my private stage, where I used to dance to Smokey and Tom Jones before a huge mirror, which made every ripple in my slender body look monumental. As I grew up, dancing became ritualistic and only came to a halt when I embarked on postgraduate studies abroad.

Now, I mark hundreds of exam-papers every term with strict deadlines that left my stressed-out eyes with meteors shooting red through their already scarred white. My bottom has become a map for the strata of a sedentary life. Even my performance on the platform is restricted by a half-circle of eager students who sit close for fear of missing academic ores. This confines my movement to a little square bordered by the board and a desk that I rarely use, except as a chair because mine is often borrowed by my enthused students. I feel most of the time like a dolphin in a children’s pool, when I should be dancing in vast masses of blue. Despite the joy I derive from intellectual debates, I must admit that I yearn for the ripples that had once creased my shores.

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