• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 08
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Who She Was

When we went down to the sea, Nanny would always say ‘Put your hat on, my friend in Egypt died from sunstroke.’

I, defiant as I was, would find ways to hang back behind her as she plodded down the little path that led to the beach. I would shake my head back and forward and accidentally on purpose the hat would fly off. As the too hot sun beat down on me, the burn would start on my nose and my head would feel light but I wouldn’t relent and put the hat back on until she turned around.

I never asked her why she was in Egypt.

She wore the same hat every summer, saying ‘Perfectly good hat, this one, got it off a man in the souk when I was in Tunisia.’

I, greedy and vain, would have a new hat every year. I would skip along the scorching tarmac that ran between the beach and the shops demanding a lilo or a beach ball or a bucket and spade. I was transported by the smell of the sugar spun into clouds of candyfloss and she would dig into her old battered bag and hand over the pennies so I could have my hearts desire.

I never asked her why she was in Tunisia.

When we went to sleep, I would complain that the bed was lumpy and that the picture on the wall was looking at me. She would say, ‘Now don’t be a silly, I had to sleep in a tent on my when I was in Lebanon.’


Who She Was

I, a child tyrant, took over her tiny world for a few weeks every summer and the whole sum of who she had been and what she had done was lost and irrelevant. She was a slave to my demands until my parents returned and took me back.

I never asked her why she was In Lebanon or who painted her portrait, and before I knew it she was gone.