That time, Majid and I used to lie on the floor with the worn out mattress that we bought from one of his friends who had left the country. We would wake up in the morning our backs aching in our little tiny room that had the kitchen counter an arm away from where we slept. We would constantly complain about the farting smells that seemed endless in our tiny little house. I never realized it at that time, but we were making our own little beautiful memories.
We had no TV, laptop or smartphones. We couldn’t afford it. I used to write him letters and ask one of the boys we know in the compound to rush the letter
to Majid’s office with his bicycle, if I wanted to inform him about something urgent.
I still have those letters.
When Majid came back from work I would try and make him different dishes from the cookbook that i’d asked mum to write for me before I got married. I didn’t know how to cook and so sometimes the dishes would turn out good and some days they would be inedible – due to the extremely burnt condition or salt overload – that we had to go outside and eat the delicious sandwiches the guy on our street used to make. Later on Majid would buy us lollipop candies as our dessert. Gradually, it kept happening, and I think it didn’t register to us that we had made a tradition of it. We would have candies every time, I made a mess of my cooking. And then it just started as a joke I remember, and Majid had said that he would store all the candy wrappers from the candies we ate to show our daughter when she grew up, how many times mama had to mess up to become a good cook.
Majid just believed that I would eventually become a good cook, and that gave me hope. He never complained about my horrible cooking either. The minute he tasted the food and found that he wouldn’t be able to have it, he would stand up, grab his wallet and take my hand, he’d just say “Come on, I think we are in need of fresh air”
He’s always been my favorite human.
Today, I look at the fifty jam jars that have the crinkled candy wrappers, collected over the years, on my kitchen shelf today, and I didn’t even realise that a tear was dripping down my cheek. I couldn’t stop myself from remembering those beautiful times where we would argue about sleeping with the lights on, or me screaming in the middle of the night because of the lizards that would cripple on our legs when we slept. It seemed like life was so miserable; yet so beautiful, and I knew as I still know today that without Majid I would not have been able to survive the situation we had without drowning in depression and being miserable for the rest of my life.
He made the most beautiful of memories out of the most miserable of situations.
We were marrying off my 25 year old daughter, Dalia, next mont. Time had flown by like the wind. She had told me once, “Mama you are the best cook I know, I really cant seem to process it in my mind that you messed up this many times, but this gives me hope and not only in my cooking, but in everything in life. Before giving up, I have to give it a thousand-candy-wrapper tries”, she’d tell me that she would start her own collection, maybe not with candy wrappers, her own little beautiful memories -but the candy wrapper way.