So it’s been a year. Over, actually. Fourteen months, to be precise. And it’s autumn again, you’re watching the vine leaves shrivel to brown, feeling the cool wind tunnel down the same garden walls, listening to the same pigeon cooing from six to six thirty, every morning. The same mu’athan calling his prayers, the gentle rhythm of this specific life circling around you, while you stand still. An eye of a passive storm.
But things have changed, haven’t they? You scratch the serenity prayer into the wall, and a tiny body rolls inside of your belly. A storm within, and a storm with out. Grant me the serenity.
Or is it the strength? Google is not your friend, offering you both versions, one in the same, from the blue light of your phone. You want it to be strength, because serenity means nothing to your godless heart.
But you’re sitting there, in the corner of the room, in a cross section of wind blowing from two adjacent windows. In mathematics this could be called the origin. Sitting at the base of two axes, you are neither travelling vertically, nor horizontally. You are existing, at the point of origin, and isn’t there some serenity in that? Are you godless after all?
Origin isn’t a bad place to be. From origin comes life, the foundation for progress, the upward thrust of the vertical, the forward stride of the horizontal. The mother and wife is the vital addend in this equation. One plus one make… three. A tiny third sum. It is strength she needs, not serenity.
Regardless of Google’s inconsistencies, the saying strikes a cord. You go over the scratches with your pen and dust lightly falls from the plaster. …to accept the things I cannot change.
You consider the last fourteen months and the bubble pops. You think, I don’t need a prayer. I already know the difference between what I can and cannot change. I worked it out all on my own.
Children scream and throw balls and fists in the street outside. The birds here are mostly silent, other than the pigeon with his foreign call. They skip between branches, small and insipid. When you Skype your mum the English birds are loud and abrasive with their happy cheer. Oh it’s nice to hear birds in the background, she says. No mum, that’s just an echo.
You look up, over the screen, watch a silent bird prancing between pomegranates larger than its own puffed out breast. You imagine her burrowing into the fruit, using the juice from its seeds to coat her feathers in cool sweetness, the leathery pink skin to protect her from the dusty desert wind. Your mum is boiling the kettle, white noise fills your ears and you pick at the prayer, powder filling the space between your nail and finger. Wisdom to know the difference.