Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Conversations with the absurd - Fiction in Algeria

My phone rings. It's Kahina. She's supposed to be out with her boyfriend at this hour. It's their second outing together in two-years. Relationships here are often mostly distance relationships, conducted over the phone between lovers who practically live next door.  Kahina is turning out to be like Amine, a once very close friend who used to call me from toilet cubicles in hotels, restaurants, coffee-shops, to give me the details of the girls to whom he'd just been introduced. He'd decided to get married and had embarked on a bride search with his dad as mediator. He'd initially set his heart on his cousin but eventually had a change of heart. He couldn't tell his dad about what he called 'a detail'. "I really like her but uncle abused her when she was 12 and her mum's been hiding it from family members who all seem to know anyhow".

- Hi Kahina, are you in the loo?
- what? no, am in bed, am soooooooo.....
She lets out a cry. One of those long expiration that comes from the very center of her belly, from the little tender spot that connects up the heart and the ego. She sobs:
- he ....cancelled ... our meet-up, he ....doesn't love .....me, he doesn't .....care about.... me, i've been so... looking forward.... to this for...for... weeks, she cries.
- we all keep telling you he's an ass, take time to get over him, go out with friends, do stuff, we'll go out for ice-cream...
- from now on, am dating a European, she sniffs.
- to go and live abroad?
- because they're romantic, they take their girlfriends out all the time and offer them flowers.
- they do?
- I've seen it in movies...
- it's fiction Kahina, there's no...
- fiction happens in real life!
- ....you've got a point...

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