Waves by Hawra’a Khalfan

Chocolate! Everywhere! For miles all he could see was chocolate, and his eyes bulged out as if they were going to escape their sockets; Kit Kat, Aero, Flake, Galaxy, Milky Way, Bueno, M&M’s, and oh! so many Maltesers. He picked up one of the Maltesers packets, pried it open with his teeth, and raised it up to empty the whole bag into his mouth. Before he could even take a bite, he heard a faint voice calling his name, “Abdulrahman.” 

“Abdulrahman!”

“Abdulrahman!” It kept getting louder and louder and all he wanted to do was to just chew on the chocolaty goodness that already filled up his mouth.

“ABDULRAHMAN!” He felt an invisible palm slap his face so hard that it caused all the small chocolates to come shooting out of his mouth like bullets.

He opened my eyes, and here he was, back again, to this reality- this dreadful reality. “Ugh,” he forced his eyes shut and could still see all the chocolate that was waiting for him. He forced them shut with even more energy, focusing all his power on going back to sleep. I can do this, I can go back to it! He focused. Why can’t I go back! Nope, I got nothing. Fine, I’m up but I am so angry at Mama. Why would she wake me up like that! At least I could have taken one bite of the chocolate if she didn’t hit me.

“I know you’re awake. Get up right now! Uncle Lothan is picking you up in 5 minutes to take you to work.”

“But Mama, I really don’t feel good today,” I knew this is a battle I was going to lose, but it was worth a try, anyway.

“Abdulrahman. If you do not get out of bed this instant you will make me slap you again, and I will not be gentle this time! Up. Now!”

He sighed, and said nothing else to her. I know we need this money, but I just really want one day off. I just really want to go back to sleep. Knowing that there was nothing else to be said or done, he jumped out of his bed and rushed to the bathroom. His mother always stressed the fact that him and his little brothers must use as little toothpaste as possible- to preserve it. He knew that if he was caught using more toothpaste than he needed, it’ll lead to a beating- but today his mother melted his chocolate world, so he couldn’t care less what the consequences might be. He went on to create a small mountain of toothpaste on his toothbrush as payback, it has so much flavor, it burns but it feels good, he brushed his teeth with a smile on his face.

He aligned his palm in front of his mouth and blew out a slow puff of air and inhaled it quickly to be able to smell his fresh breath. He now must be careful with his breath. If his mother got a whiff of how nice it smells, he is definitely get a beating later on tonight. Making sure to keep his mouth closed, he went to his bedroom to pick up the banana his mother always leaves on his bedside table for breakfast, and headed outside the house.

He looked at his banana and focused on the brown parts, pretending they were chocolate as he guzzled it up while walking to look for his uncle’s car. Uncle Lothan is sooooooooo rich! He thought, Mama said that his Corolla cost sooooooooo much money! And that he’s sooooooo lucky that he got to marry a Kuwaiti woman. Mama says we should be Kuwaiti. I know we aren’t Kuwaiti because they don’t pay to see the doctor like we do. I don’t know what we are. We live in Kuwait, doesn’t that make us Kuwaiti? I don’t know. Maybe Baba knew how to be Kuwaiti. Mama said that Baba died from Saddam. Since Saddam killed Baba, Baba couldn’t tell Mama the secret of how to be Kuwaiti and it died with him. Maybe even Saddam wanted to be Kuwaiti and that’s why he killed Baba! To get the secret! I bet Baba was strong. I am sure he killed so many men! Mama is too busy and angry to try and make us Kuwaiti anyway. I hate Mama, she is always sad and angry, and all she cares about is making sure we make money so Nasser doesn’t die. It’s not my fault Nasser has cancer, is it? I wish Baba was alive. Baba would give me chocolate, I’m sure! Maybe one day I will be like Baba and I will know how to become Kuwaiti, then I will make Nasser Kuwaiti and his cancer will go away! Where is Uncle Lothan anyway? He isn’t even here yet, she really didn’t have to wake me up so early and ruin my dream. I really want chocolate. Where is Uncle Lothan? He’s never late. Today is going to be different because he is late.

His train of thought came to a halt when he saw his uncle’s shiny new silver Corolla park next to him. “Hi Uncle Lo!” He said, giving him a toothful smile. “Where are we going today?”

“We’re going to Salmiya.”

“Ugh,” Abdulrahman hated working in Salmiya. The people were so rude and the cars went by so fast. “Can we at least go to the one near the supermarket? The bathroom will be close by.”

“Sure, son. Now look in the back, you need to sell thirty lights today. Can you do that?”

“It’s really hard to sell that many in Salmiya,” he looked at his uncle with a frown on his face. “They never want to buy them!”

“Just try.”

“Ok.” The rest of the car ride was spent in complete and utter silence. Salmiya. People pass red lights all the time in Salmiya. I don’t know why they don’t see me. It’s as if I don’t exist. They only see me when I knock on their car windows. And even then, they brush me off because they don’t want lights. Some people are nice though, they give me extra money, and they don’t even take a light! They just give me it, I don’t know why they don’t want the lights. It’s shiny! I wish they saw me. But to them, I’m part of the street. Maybe they got used to seeing kids like me.

It was now ten o’clock in the morning and it took them two hours to reach the traffic light. “I will come pick you up by this same traffic light at 11 o’clock at night. Here is half a dinar, go to the supermarket when you get hungry and buy yourself something to eat.”

Abdulrahman stopped listening to him as soon as he saw the money, his mind got preoccupied with all the chocolate he could buy. He gave his uncle a hug for being so generous and went to pick up the lights from the back seat. Should I go buy the chocolate now or keep it for later? If I buy all of it now it will melt in my pocket. So maybe I should just buy one chocolate now. Hmmm, which one do I want? He thought back to his dream and knew exactly what he wanted to buy, Maltesers! Waves of excitement hit him so hard, I knew today would be different! I knew it!

His uncle would get him in trouble if he knew that he was going to go buy the chocolate now instead of waiting. So he stood in place just long enough for his uncle to be gone while waving good-bye to him. He quickly looked at the traffic light to confirm that it is red and began to cross the wide street. His mouth watered as he thought about how full he was going to be in a matter of minutes, so he started walking a little faster.

The next thing he could hear was a car horn blasting loudly, but Abdulrahman had gotten very used to being honked at during the past year. Why is the car horn getting louder? Is the car getting closer? He looked to his right as quickly as he could but all he was faced with were the headlights of an SUV.

Abdulrahman Mit’eb, 8 years old, was pronounced dead on the scene.

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