The strength of the donkey mind lies in adopting a course inversely as the arguments urged, which, well considered, requires as great a mental force as the direct sequence.
Drawing together his brows in annoyance at being disturbed over such a trivial matter, T’s father shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t bother me with that,” he told his son brusquely. “Go to Michelet yourself and don’t come back without your exemption.” Continue reading
Who needs superheroes when you have a brother?
T opened his eyes to a cold blue dawn and leaped out of bed, flinging his window open, before hastily slamming it shut again to stop the freezing air rushing in. In his unheated loft space, he could see his breath hanging in the air and feel the roughly-hewn floorboards cold against the soles of his bare feet. The house seemed no warmer inside than out and, during the night, frost had crept across the glass pane of the window as if spun by wintry spiders. Listening to the wind rattling the tiles on the roof just above his head and the snow beginning to tap against the window, he shivered. Continue reading
Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance.
― Rodney A. Winters
“Andela a mmi?” (Where’s my son?) my father-in-law shouted as he strode through the door of his family home in Kabylie. Married for just three years, T was his first-born son and, as such, doubly precious. Not only was he the first child, but he was a boy, the heir and, as such, the repository of all the family’s hopes. Continue reading
Home is where you can always return, no matter how long you’ve been gone.
Returning to their village after their bankruptcy in Fouka, T’s parents felt as though they were retreating into their shells. For them, the house that they’d built during the years of plenty was a sanctuary, a cocoon, a place where they could rest —where they could heal. This was their ancestral land. Nobody could tell them to leave. Continue reading
The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her.
“Acu? Amek ? Acu? Tamɣart-iw?” (What? How? What? My mother-in-law?)
My father-in-law was shouting down the telephone, holding the receiver in one trembling hand, and repeating every word the caller was saying as if he couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “Shot in the head, you say? Dead? Allah yarhamha.” (God have mercy on her soul.) Continue reading
Men are restless, adventurous. Women are conservative – despite what current ideology says.
“A3yigh thi xedmah agi.” (I’m sick of this work).
Thus spoke my father-in-law, turning to his wife with a shrug, his brows forming one straight line above his piercing dark eyes. His face was stern, even a little melancholy, in repose. It was a long-boned face, tapering to a rounded chin, with a prominent Kabyle nose, under which grew a neat black moustache à la Hitler. Beneath a high forehead, his deep-set eyes were half hidden by drooping eyelids, and his gaze was steady and slightly ironic. Continue reading
Au milieu de l’hiver, j’apprenais enfin qu’il y avait en moi un été invincible.
In the midst of winter, I finally learnt that I carried within me an invincible summer.
― Albert Camus, Noces / L’été
“Aya, a thametouth, arfed imanime! (Come on, woman, start packing!)” my father-in-law had shouted at the top of his voice after finally arriving back in the village like a whirlwind after nearly one year’s absence, surprising his young wife who, during the previous months, had resigned herself to being under the orders of her family-in-law. Continue reading