Wafa Nouari

Veiled Desires

In the dim light, red curtains drifted. A neighboring relative, who was drinking one night in my inn, chastised me: “Amel, leave this place!”

“I don’t care, mon amour,” said I, after kissing his lips forcibly. “Why cling to the old conservatism. The ancestors told me to be a lady of today. Come on! Enjoy the plump femme, mon amour.”

“Pour quelques minutes! Pas plus!” he told me. “On le fait tout de suite! C’est ma justice.”

We did it. After we sensed the climax of our relation, I advised him to change the color of his underwear and make it black to be more attractive. He was so bland. With black underwear, he would surely exhaust a lover’s energy.

Nadime lived in Lebanon until he reached age nine, then he flew to France and lived there until his twenties, when he cursed me by becoming my neighboring cousin and guardian. Our bond was forged not just by blood but by unspoken desires, yet it was tenuous. Our mothers are only half-sisters, and held no close sister-ship. Memories of my mother, blurred by time, were further disguised by the hushed tones in which she was mentioned—out of respect, or perhaps fear, of her own mother’s jealousy.

Before he left, he revealed he has loved me forever, since our childhood. His talk announced that I am still wanted as soul, not body.

I cried heavily. I tried to hang onto him for denying me and letting me suffer for so long. But he merely apologized with a kiss and went off, out of sight.

Whispered past secrets,
Red curtains hide deep desires
Love lost, memories found