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TITA

If we are a family of wanderers,

 

then my grandmother is the gravitational force

 

that keeps us grounded 

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In her house, there are constants:

 

Tea is always accompanied by milk and sesame breadsticks

Water is kept chilled and rose-flavored 

And there is never a shortage of talcum powder

She hasn't left the house in several years

Sometimes I forget the version of her that used to

And it scares me, because that wasn't too long ago 

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I remember 

When she still ruled this street with an iron fist 

from her balcony

 

Delegating tasks to anyone below who would listen 

 

Throwing drielemons at stray cats who dared cross our gate

(and missing)

And dangling her wicker basket from a 20 foot rope to pull up her deliveries with uncanny upper body strength 

Samiha

(the forgiving one)

 

We call her Tita 

loving

stubborn

and fiercely independent

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She insisted on going to college and became the first woman in her family to do so 

She studied philosophy and married at the late late age of 26 

"All the girls wanted him" 

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"But he picked me"

she tells me triumphantly 


Professor of Geography

I have never met him, Prof. Mohammed AlSayyad

he died before I was born, but I carry his name in mine

The original wanderer 

The reason why the clock in Tita's home has three faces 

One for each son in their timezone

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I see Tita once a year 

and in between we blow eachother kisses over FaceTime

She asks the same question every time I call 

 

"When are you coming home?" 

"Soon, Tita"

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