There are days, you wake up “de-Bon-Pied,” with some eagerness in mind-reading sort of, a sense of where you are, solely being ready for doing something special that day; and an incline to wearing one of your preferences of cloths, like an intuition for perchance to meet someone you hadn’t seen for years. Then, I have a preset idea like, an omen, or a predilection, for listening Bach, or reading a book of a particular author. Thence, a book I took with me, The Art of the Personal Essay, to read while commuting. Once in the train, and was reading up to end of a passage from George Orwell,” Such, Such were the Joy,” the book struck my marrow to the core, suddenly, it triggered a déclic in my mind, in a snap, it sent me time traveling decades way back, to find yourself seating on a crowded wooden school bench, looking to brunettes, black hairs, and stressed blonde classmates, tablier-aprons, and flannel short pants dressed, with the catchy smell of ink tickling my nostrils and with soaked fingers.
Hours, and days, spent in classes without heating, or sweating on exams, at 94F outside, miles going by the way, back and forth, to school on foot, “Qu’IL Neige, Ou Qui’Il Vent,” be it snows or it pours, by the way.
How many shoes, and most of the time on plastic sandals, how many back of shorts worn on the benches of the school, and riding crops and square rulers, broken on strokes upon small hands.
By the way, I chanced to go to two different schools, one modern, the Public School, where you learn writing, reading arithmetics, History, Geography, and wonders, the other, the traditional, the Old Arabic Medersa, sitting on mats of tresses riding crops, where you learnt the Quran, by rote, some Arabic grammar and verbs to conjugate, gibberish words for poetry, the Arabian Nights, and dreams about lukums, Sindbad and seven seas, with same trait of reeds crops, broken but this time, on the soles of my feet, which ways you learn Humanity walking, a sense of evolution, and knowledge, and that was it.
The other day, forty years later, back to Earth, I found myself, seating on the bleachers of the Liacouras center, in the afternoon commencement of the students graduation, in Philie.
“Summa, Magna, Cum Laude” _Honors Latin Words spilled from the mouth of the dean presenting the graduates students, the center echoing with hoorays, and resounded in my ears, as the caterpillars like procession line of honored graduate students, a congressional gathering of monks passing one such as unthreaded dreads from a rosary by one before the dean to get hooded, and went away, to next student, “Summa, Magna, Cum Laude, ” repeated Four hundred, thousands zillion, hooray.
Images of past, and present-futur extrapolated, mingled in one tense, before your eyes, the goose pumps rising at peel of skin, emotions stuck to the throat, a bunch of roses, you hug your kid, a photo shot and you shed a tear, as such, such are the joys, you that burst in tears in your insides within, silently.