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It is unlikely we meet again any time soon.
You will not call me on a Friday morning to arrive at my house with baskets of food and sauce to cook spaghetti together. You trusted only my skills of boiling water. All the proper food came from you. Already cooked.
We would speak our broken mother tongue, universally known as the language of lovers and romanticism, though we both forgot it too soon. We were constantly checking verbs and accents; we rarely got them right.
You will neither take me out for lunch to places only you know.
Once, during the 2011 revolution, we went to the outskirts of Sanaá to a restaurant which looked unbelievably dirty; the people were, instead, unbelievably nice and caring.
All those check-points just for food, I still do not understand it.
But you were always hungry and now I see how my memories of us are often related to food.
At the table, you used to tell me to wear glasses in order ‘to see food better’. I used to reply: ´´I don´t need to see more food on my plate, what I have is more than enough for the fill the entire neighbourhood.´´
Two revolutions, a coup and a war got in our way.
We had to stop our long conversations upstairs, in the mafraj – the sitting room on the last floor -, waiting for sunset, with the dogs paying attention to every word we said.
You knew everyone and I, the introvert, knew few. You were busy socialising, I was busy introverting.
Sometimes I hear your voice and remember the stories of when you arrived to Yemen in 1974. ´´When I landed at the airport, I did not see the building. It was made of an entrance door and an exit one. It was something like just a room. And from the airport to Sanaà, my mother and I, cried. There was nothing.´´
I presume we will not be going to visit your Eritrean friends any time soon, now.
No more smoked coffee, so-and-so music and story telling from other lands.
No more birthday parties dancing flamenco on Ethiopian music, afternoons with our Russian friend or over-analysing political quagmire.
Tonight I miss you. I miss you telling me ´put curtains on your windows before some majinoon (crazy) shoots you´ and majinoon was accompanied by the gesture of someone having a long beard. And me looking at you, crossing my eyes as if you were the majinoon.
Tonight I miss your telephone calls during the airstrikes. You were the only one to call so often, even when you were mourning your brother.
I want you to take this picture. It´s the view from one of the windows of my kitchen. I want you to remember that one day we had lunch together just there and this is what we saw.
We happened to be happy.
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