The Days of Yore

Bordj Bounaama, Tissemsilt Province, Algeria

White clouds scud across the sky. Peace and quiet reign supreme. The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful fall morning and Khaled is wearing a happy smile on his face as he wends his way through the old city. He has gone out to buy antiquities and look at the old houses of the neighborhood. That’s the only thing that keeps him distracted from the unbearable sorrow of having lost his dear friend. He has only recently found the strength to leave the house again. His friend’s demise has hit him hard, perhaps because of how unexpected it has been.

As he strolls down the Street of the World, he starts to mull over what it is that makes something deserve a certain name. “Take this street, for instance,” he says to himself. “It’s a pretty narrow street, but still, it seems to contain everything that makes the world a miserable place: beggars, thieves, mercenaries, traitors, tourists, neets, …” It is his all-time favorite street to peek on the bright side of life, especially in the fall. After all, misery loves company. He likes to see himself as Oedipus, the one with swollen feet. Some might think he is being childish when he sighs and refuses to let go of the past, but that’s only because they can’t fathom how hard it is. They used to embark on adventures, he and his friend; steal oranges and listen to preachers.

He might have to retire early to devote himself to reminiscing full time. He knows it is unlikely things will ever return to how they were far back in the mists of time, but hope is beyond doubt always the last to die.


Written by Ahmed Sana.