stories untold

Time seems to be slipping through my fingers lately. The days sometimes feel long, filled with classes and homework and appointments. Yet I wake up each morning amazed that another evening has passed, that another day will begin.

The days fold seamlessly into weeks. Soon it will already have been two months, nearly one sixth of my year here. I have so many stories I want to tell, and it feels like there is not enough time in the world to tell them. My heart aches for the stories left untold. My head is filled with them, these stories floating aimlessly, just beyond the reach of my pen.

Why do I feel sad for the stories I do not tell? To me, it feels as though they do not have a home until I share them. These stories wander until they find a place to rest, a home where they are heard. Left untold, these stories can become lost in the fog of memory.

I want to tell you all the stories that filled my heart and stirred my mind over the last couple of weeks.

I want to tell you about all the taxi drivers in Amman, like the jovial old man who spent 25 years in Greece, and claims that he left his heart there. And about the many not-so-jovial men who are eternally frustrated at the city’s traffic and the inability of foreigners to close the doors softly when exiting the vehicle.

I want to tell you about the day that I just gave up on taxis in Amman, and decided to walk everywhere. How free I felt! What a great surprise to encounter a stairway covered in bright swaths of paint, adorned by a mural of a young woman reading a book.

I want to tell you about the little community we have built in my Arabic literature class. I want to tell you about my eternally patient and kind professor, and how we threw a surprise birthday party for her in class this week. And how much I enjoy the company of my wonderful classmates, from Turkey and Denmark and the United States.

I want to tell you about the kunafe ice cream I had in the fancy part of town with a group of friends who also studied at the University of Chicago. And about the European film festival that I attended this week, with a lady I met on the plane that also happened to share my alma mater. And the glorious yoga classes I have been taking, with the curiously mixed expat and Jordanian crowd that always shows up.

I want to tell you everything. But I know I can’t, and I am coming to terms with this loss. These unwritten lines will live on. Perhaps not in memory, but instead as a part of me.

[Originally published on Andrea in Amman blog, October 2016]

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