The Story of You

In the beginning, you were all I am curious about. I might not remember, but I know you were.

The cute beginnings of our story are the only part I am not supposed to remember. Yet I can still imagine. Maybe that’s why I like it more? Maybe our memories are all imagination of some sort?

I was 2 years and 3 months old. I was all over the place. Running, talking, and asking questions while enjoying all the attention. Then mom comes home holding you in her arms…

I must’ve said, “who is this?”
And mom and dad replied saying, “she’s your little sister, rima”.
“What is a sister?”

It was January 10th or 11th, 1977. I was too young to google, and google wasn’t there yet anyway.

Your hair was softer and lighter than mine. You didn’t have my thick dry curls. Your skin was fairer too. You looked more like mom. I think that’s when I decided I’m better befriending dad over mom. I obviously looked more like him.

At some point, I tried to throw you off your trolly. Mom claimed. I contest this strongly. I must’ve been trying to understand if gravity worked on you too as it worked on my toys. Or to make sure you are who they said you were, not a toy.

The days where your eyes used to follow me as I run around the apartment came to a sudden end when you started crawling slowly to follow me. I think I liked it eventually as I was the one winning any race. Then a few months later I felt the danger as you took your first steps. I realized I need to figure out a way to up my game or you will catch me and god forbid, even win the race. I couldn’t have that back then I’m sure.

I was fascinated by you. I think I was quickly beyond assessing the competition and enjoying playing with you. Though you loved your barbies and I loved my bicycle, yet we managed to find some cool games to play where I had to teach you first but you were quick to follow and lead.

When the two of us went to the nursery, I’d like to think I took care of you. Yet, knowing how absent-minded I am. Maybe not so actively, more like, every few hours? It still counts right?

Mom and dad used to smile lovingly and say how quiet and angel-like you were, only to frown a little bit after and tell me how much of a troublemaker I was. I believed them years later and you and I grinned in the process.

A couple of years after we met, our first brother was born, this time neither of us was alone in trying to understand “what is a brother?” as we joined forces in this new discovery process. We were best friends right there and then. And that’s when our secrecy support pact was made, despite us formalizing it many years later.

That is how I wish to imagine the beginning of you, and us. Anywhere I am.

The Story of You / قصة بداية

An ode to the beauty of your soul

Though I’m pretty self-sufficient and thus rarely lonely. The only loneliness that creeps on me is one that is longing to enjoy your company, for one more time.

And though it’s been 5 years since you found peace somewhere else, and 10 full years since you got ill, still you manage to manifest in different ways here.

Glimpses of you come upon me everywhere, especially around malls and shopping streets but more so when interacting with those closest to me…

With Diala, my best best friend forever (second only to you), when I tell her stuff I’m scared to tell myself and when we giggle on the silliest of words either of us utters.

With Shatha, with her ultra unconditional generosity, when she tells me all stories she knows and when she forces me to listen and checks if I am still following. We frown and giggle through all that too.

With Alma, with her unconditional capacity to love and give those that matter to her. When we get sad together from all the injustices in the world but also when we giggle endlessly about anything least funny.

With Ola, when we spend hours talking about her dad and our mom and family drama. Different but the same, believe me. And of course, we often tear up and giggle through all of that too.

With Rana, when she laughs hysterically and beautifully while none of us knows exactly why and when she’s quick to share the latest gossip and keep me in “the know”.

With Suhail, when he says hi to all his neighbors and basically everyone in the street and cafe. Like you, he makes helping everyone look so effortless.

With Ani, when she gets suddenly furious with all those crazy drivers when she plans and executes the best gatherings and her ultra superb organizing skills I was always jealous you had.

With Dima, when she talks endlessly about work and all its happenings and when she just laughs while still trying to tell us about her latest encounters with the world.

With Widad, when I get to see how I think you used to see me, opinionated and daring.

With Hana, when we talk endlessly about shopping and our agonizing need for retail therapy and of course her super love and admiration of your Biso.

With Lina, when I see the size of her makeup case. When she talks of the latest best facial cream and other stuff I don’t understand but I know you would.

And last but not least with Sattouf & Biso, when we recall many many funny incidents and still use the nicknames and the family slang you have created and evolved for us over the years.

You live on, siso. Every day and a little bit more.

Razan Khatib

Razan Khatib

Playing at the intersection of culture, technology, and values. Trying to structure my thoughts and share experiences, learnings, and insights. Co-founder of @spring_apps
Amman, Jordan