Men in the Sun 2
February 21, 2008
He turned his body around and laid on his back, cradling his head in his hands, and looked to the sky. It was white, and shining. There was a lone black bird soaring high in the sky, aimlessly. He didnt know why he was filled, suddenly with the stagnant feelings of the solitude of exile. It seemed, for a moment, that he was about to cry. No, it didn’t rain yesterday. We’re in Aab now. Have you forgotten? This flowing empty road, like a black eternity. Did you forget it? The bird was still sailing alone in the sky, a black dot on the glowing expanse above him. We’re in Aab! So, then, why is this moisture in the ground? It must be the coast! Did you not see it extended out as far as you can see in front of you?
“And where the two great rivers meet to form one great river that is the Shatt al-Arab, starting a little before Basra and extending to…”
Professor Saleem, the wizened, gaunt, and grey, said that ten times in his loud voice to a small child standing at the blackboard. He was a passerby, then, in front of the school in his village. He climbed a rock and started listening in at the window. Professor Saleem stood facing the small pupil and shouting at the top of his voice while shaking a long stick in his outstreched arm. “And when the two great rivers meet, the Tigris and Euprates…” The child was shaking with fright, which amused the rest of the students, who were laughing. He put out his hand and tapped a student on his head, who turned to see where he had been eavesdropping at the window. “What happened?”
The student laughed and answered him whispering, “Goat!”
He turned around and got down off the rock, finished his trip, the words of Professor Saleem still ringing in his ears, over and over: “and when the two great rivers meet…”