With quite some effort he stiffly unlocked the rusted but still living gate. Hereafter I expected him to stroll up his sleeves, gain some extra air and tighten his muscles wherewith he would supposedly prepare himself for the mighty operation of ‘opening the gate’, but the protrusion of his two fingers followed by some minor force was enough to make the gate glide open in a matter of seconds. Surprised I looked up, his unruffled happy face stared right into my face, and then into the face of my friend José who was standing just a knuckle joint away from me; “Are you coming or what?!” were the words that came nonchalantly out of his mouth. While that phrase was flying through the air in the process of reaching José’s and my system, he had already taken off into the large dried up field headed behind him and in front of us, casually he was walking after the aged fences that lined the gate. José and I immediately searched for each others eyes to see what we thought about the situation, but unlike usual I could not read his mind, not even bits. As a matter of fact, in that twinkle of time I saw all of a sudden nothing more but two friends that just graduated from high school, bewilderedly realizing that they were standing somewhere in the desert of Jordan, facing some stranger who offered them a cup of Arab coffee. We both knew that this trip had forced us to be more thoughtful about which person to listen to, which person to follow and especially which person to trust, but we also knew that at this point we’d rather surrender ourselves to the naive and irresponsible us, and just blindly follow the man.
Usually when I am trying to explain myself for a stupid action I underwent, I have to think for a while myself, because at the moment of defending or clarifying my action I don’t completely remember why I did what I’d done. But I guess that the excuse I gave myself back then, for surrendering myself to be naive and irresponsible, was because of the exhausted state me and José were in, plus the fact that we actually felt okay with this stranger. In that instant we full-heartedly believed that we were unable to purport our mature, grown-up selfs. Around a week before, we had our graduation and farewell to the boarding school and its people which we lived in and with for two filled years. These happenings were emotionally loaded and, unconsciously but consciously consumed untold piles of energy, which affected me obviously emotional but surely also physical wise. Besides that, the travel till then through Jordan had eaten up lots of our strength since we were living on not much more than canned food. The situation in which we were in was confusing, and I can say now that traveling from this unsettling point through a new interesting country, which in the mean time fed us up with the challenge of our newly learned skill as ‘being responsible’ and which above that by surprise also fetched us with a culture shock, made it even more confusing.
Anyway, José and I ease-fully nodded one by one confirming our befogged state and the agreement of following this man, who by then already had been vanished from our sight.
In reality it took only a few seconds till we decided to follow the man. We entered the land and curiously looked around to see what this place was all about. When we got sight of the man, we saw that he was not alone. The man we knew for relatively longer than the other said, while walking in our direction: “Look this is my friend Omar, he’ll make the best coffee in Aqaba for us!”. We started to talk with them and figured out the man that invited us was named Eyad. He brought us some white plastic chairs and encouraged us to sit down. I was struck by Eyad and his excitement. He was so energetic and enthusiastic, he couldn’t stop moving and talking, and just kept on explaining about the place we were at and the coffee that was being made. We asked him some questions and full delight he answered them, having a cigarrete in between his index finger and his middle finger. The field we were at was the playground of an old public school, which laid in the outskirts of the City Aqaba. The locations of this school was if to be described; in a desert between two opposing sandy mountains which were both clearly visible from the schools point. It was 7 o’clock in the afternoon and the temperature already decreased to a more bearable comfortable and soothing degree. We all sat down when Omar came back with a plate filled with Coffee. The created convention begun a bit awkward, but as the time passed it became more delightful than ever expected.
The sun slowly went down and the sky turned from beaming the fields yellow and orange, to beaming it purple and dark blue. The fields looked rather mournful, somber, and maybe even sorrowful when the sun completely buried itself in the earth. The literal atmosphere indicated the fact that another day had passed and that the night was preparing for awakening. The air was filled by words and laughter from the conversation that run and for a moment I overlooked the situation, which felt so extremely controversial! These two Arabs who were suffused by happiness though knowing myself that living in this area wasn’t the easiest job at all! Throughout the passing moments Omar was shyly listening and sometimes adding some comments or asking some questions. Eyad was telling great stories, of which one was about how he made more trees out of one tree because he just loved this specific tree and he had found a genius way to multiply this tree. José was sprightly interrupting and responding on Eyad saying how this globe could be saved from deforestation if this method would be applied. Eventually Eyad showed the tree he created himself from this special tree and hereby pointed to these two lonely trees in the corner of the playground, they were surrounded by a billion grains of sand that all together formed the bare land. He was so happy that for the rest of the evening that smile was permanently placed on his face.
For a moment I wondered around, not following the conversation. I understood that the scene we were in was one of weirdness and unknowing. I understood that the scene I was in was a definite transition phase, where the instant moment felt utterly strange and undefinable, the past seemed almighty sweet and memorable, and the future sounded bright, but hinted nothing else than mystery.
Puk de Roij