There was much more than that glass wall between us: society and the illusion of a good life. Every morning, for a year, I’d see her face. She’d stand behind the glass wall of my office and glance at me, her caramel-brown hair in a tight ponytail and her petite body in a drab white-and-black uniform.
When an individual acts upon his most evil impulses, we call that a crime. But when the deluded masses do the same, we call that war, Rania pondered as she stared out the window.
There is something ominous about Damascus, something that I couldn’t describe as the inexperienced, young occasional visitor I had been before my ordeal.
There was nothing extraordinary about it. It was like any other white-walled room in an assisted living facility. The furniture was minimal: single size bed, dresser, coffee table, and two chairs. I sat on the one facing him, placed the voice recorder on his side of the table past the glass of water in the middle, and pressed the button. The small red light began flashing.
The flickering light in this cell does not annoy me, not even in the slightest. Neither does the sense of impending doom, nor do the distant cries of the condemned. The scratches left on the filthy walls haunt my eyes wherever they roam. But I seem immune to such misery, for in such hard existence I feel most delighted. And only in opposition to all that is deemed joyful can I truly know who I am.
There is nothing that I find more repulsive than the dirty, melting snow on the sidewalks of Cluj-Napoca. People say that my dislike is rather peculiar, but to me, this unsightly scene, which becomes more frequent by the end of March, reflects the duality within the city.
Hell has long been my dwelling. My soul was born hovering above the fine line that separates dreams from reality—if the latter truly exists. It is rather tragic that our waking state has been regarded as the single most in which the real is experienced, while all we see in our slumber is derided as “unreal.”
The summer sun of Cluj-Napoca shone upon the suburb of Gheorgheni. Tall trees stood proudly in the green spaces between apartment blocks while red and white roses adorned the front yards of the few detached houses. Nothing ruined that scene but the sight of three open dumpsters bulging out of the nearby doorless lean-to shed whose outer walls had retained very little of their original white color and were now covered by a layer of dirt and mold.
Alajlani, Zaher. “Mission Possible: Intercultural Communication and the Quest for Finding Shared Meaning”. Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory, 7.2 (2021). Doi: https://doi.org/10.24193/mjcst.2021.12.11
Alajlani, Zaher. “Cultural Schizophrenia and Rebellion in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.” Journal of Romanian Literary Studies, vol. 19, no. 19/2019, Nov. 2019, pp. 890–896.
Alajlani, Zaher. “A Prediction of Ruin: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as Plot Device in Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’” Journal of Romanian Literary Studies, vol. 20, no. 20/2020, Feb. 2020, pp. 677–682.