(Further to This Old House 1)
As I rose to ready myself for the morning, I was distracted by something so familiar I almost hadn’t noticed it. It was familiar but not in recent memory. Only two bedrooms in the house have beautiful bougainvillea growing around them – the bedroom I grew up in and my father’s study (which is my current bedroom). The sun had risen to a level that it caught the backs of the pink bougainvillea petals. Nestled on their leafy vines, they create an organic form that resembles stained glass. The effect threw a fuchsia glow on my white washed walls. Bougainvilleas cannot grow in Canada which, while I was there, was much to my disappointment. I missed them so but, strangely, I’d almost forgotten how glorious they were and how lovely to awaken to.
More than anywhere else in the house, the kitchen holds the strongest memories for me. Being the only daughter I spent more time in that room than my brothers. And all the time I spent there was with my mother. It is fortunate for me that Sadeer and Aida had not gotten around to changing it. This morning I relished in every crack, chip, and malfunctioning appliance. One crack in the countertop, in particular, had me laughing out loud. Many years ago, my brother, Ghaith, who had envisioned himself a budding chef at the time, had burned a pan of fried Kibbeh. In his frustration he had grabbed the pan too closely to the element, consequently dropped the heavy iron pan on the counter, cracking the tiles in 3 places. The spoiled Kibbeh flew everywhere and the air was blue with my brother’s words of discontent. My mother ushered Ghaith out of the kitchen to tend to his tender fingers while she and I cleaned up the mess. We laughed so hard that our sides hurt. Poor Ghetho!
The appliances must be original to the house. They are so ancient it’s a miracle that they still work. But as I admired them this morning, the thing that really struck me was how like new (aside from the style) they looked. I remember my mother constantly scrubbing them. Today they still glisten. Only the stove is slightly temperamental and requires just the right touch to get the elements to heat. In Canada, appliances are expected to work for only 10 years – then you buy new ones. What a waste, I say, and what a missed opportunity to reminisce.