The Old Man and the Stone
– ….And I want you to bury it with me. That’s my will. I have had it since ages. I never let it out of my sight or my pocket. Do you remember your uncle Sadek who, God bless his soul, passed away when you were 5?
– Only vaguely
– He brought it from Jerusalem. He thought I am crazy. He thought I was being silly because I kept asking him to bring me a stone or a handful of sand when he goes to Jerusalem. I am never silly or kidding when it comes to Jerusalem. So when I say bury it with me, I mean bury it with me. Make sure to slip it in my hand. I am sure my grip will hold onto it. But if it does not you can either glue it to my hand or tie my fist up.
– Dad, you are still young. Why would you want to die this young?
– And make sure everyone knows about it. It is no secret. And it should not be kept a secret. I know you would be ashamed to tell others about a stone thinking I am insane. But even your uncle the most stubborn man that ever walked on earth was finally convinced and brought it. Maybe he wanted to make me stop nagging or maybe he did not want me to leave home heading in a long arduous journey to Jerusalem to get a stone. I do not care. He got a stone for me. From Jerusalem. A stone from Jerusalem. Unlike those people you see everyday, I am better off than them all. I own part of Jerusalem.
– Dad, if everyone who loves Jerusalem brings a stone, a rock or a handful of sand, we will no longer have Jerusalem. We will run out of Jerusalem. A picture would have saved you all the trouble and the embarrassment caused by that thing.
– It is not a thing
– Ok, ok, dad, ok it is a stone. The stone!
– A picture is not going to be like a stone that has been subjected to the rain and the heat and the cold and the dirt and the smell of Jerusalem. This stone is Jerusalem
– How so?
– I have never forgotten Jerusalem for one day since I had it thirteen and two months ago. When your uncle gave it to me I was..…
– Dad, do you still want to go visit my sisters next week?
– Yes. I would swear that sometimes this stone wakes up me to pray Alfajr.
– Of course it will. If you sleep with the stone in your pocket and you turn as you sleep on the side where you put the stone, it will wake you up.
– You do not understand. You really do not. It is not like that. I mean…
– Can I hold it, dad?
– Ok, but careful.
– Careful I say.
– Dad, that is too much. This has really become embarrassing and annoying. The stone! The stone! The stone!
– Shut up!
– Tell you something. Your nephew Ahmed told me long ago that uncle Sadek lied to you.
– What do you mean lied to you?
– He told his sons before he passed away to tell you the truth about the stone. It is simply not from Jerusalem.
– What do you mean? What do you m-m-mean not from Jerusalem? If he told them why did not they come to tell me?
– They were afraid that the truth might kill you! He said he felt too stupid to bend down and pick a stone. So he got you one he found in front of his house. An ordinary stone.
– STOP lying to me!
– I AM NOT LYING!
– Screw him! May he rot in Hell. Too stupid to bend down in .. in Jerusalem? Now he is rotting in h…he is …give me that stone… give it to me.. ahh ahhh
– DAAD! DAD! Dad stay with me! Stay with me! Daaaaad!