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Gaya my Love

Mahmoud (arab)

I remember her name well, Gaya.

When she came to our kindergarten, she was the prettiest girl there.

I loved her then, when I was 6, a girl like a princess from the animated films,

the one that lives with the ugly dwarves or the one that gets on the horses

that the sorceress made of mice with her spell.

Gaya is not a common name in these parts, but it’s not the name, it’s something else,

it’s something in her that made me want to be in grade one and walk her to school

after which my mother would pick us both up from class.

And her mother would be my mother’s friend and allow us to have a slumber party

and then we’d learn the alphabet and do homework together.

But a week later, Gaya’s parents told the teacher Gaya is having a hard time with the language in kindergarten. Though they wanted her to learn our language, they changed their minds

and decided she should grow up in her natural surroundings.

I listened with ears perked and said to myself, natural surroundings? Wait, no…

there is no more a natural surrounding than this, wait, no, give her a chance,

maybe in a week she will learn my language, I’ll help her, I promise! 

I said all that to myself, because it’s embarrassing to sprawl out on the ground and cry out loud. But my prayers for her to stay didn’t help.

That day Gaya was taken from me. I have long finished first grade, but I still seek Gaya,

for more than 10 years since first grade,

and I still think of the prettiest girl in kindergarten,

the one who didn’t speak my language.

written by Shredy Jabarin

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