“Words which travel freely between languages, oblivious to borders and customs


Words which weave out of the wonder of dream and the beauty of the flying wings


They fly like butterflies towards the light


But never do they catch fire…


They remain stars that shine on in the darkest darkness.


These words may be mine, yours, everybody’s… just say your words and let them dream: let them fly.”


An Exceptional Day:


I stare at him while he is talking. It seems to me that today I am hearing with my eyes. If eyes do communicate, what can prevent them from hearing such an exceptional man’s words?


His small, almond-like mobile phone fully captivates my attention, so does his portable computer as small as my handbag, his sun-glasses which change colour with the intensity of the light. Wonderful accessories which heighten his exceptionality!

He is the exact replica of the ideal man that I have imagined and created deep in my own mind. He is the composite of all that I have admired in men since the moment that hot hormonal torrent ran in my blood. Here he is now, sitting across from me, in a very lovely sweater that I have dressed him in, in my imagination, composed of the many sweaters that I have seen in fashion magazines. His lips, I have copied from a famous singer’s lips.


His eyes, I have stolen from a TV announcer whose name I have forgotten, but whose eyes I will never lose admiration for.

Our chat is multi-lingual like a wonderful, delicious, mixed salad. I lean forward on my elbow, resting my face in my hands. I never expected that he would actually be sitting before me. He is so perfect. His hair is as black as mine, yet he is quite different, completely different… His liberal ideas thrill me and make me soar in the sky…


An exceptional man, I whisper to myself. Of course he is. Has he not been living in Europe?

I impress my face, my looks on his eyes and I imagine myself moving down to his heart. In modern terms, as if it I were moving on a hypertext link from page to page, one click at a time. His heart turns out to be another link leading straight to my heart, which has been waiting for such a very long time.

My dear Spider let me dance on your web. What a web! And what a fashionable, modern man he is in every way from his head to his toes: his shoes, language, portable computer, mobile phone, thoughts, glances…I was wrong to have loved literature. I will leave that poetry imbued with elegies and nothing but elegies, those short stories thick with gloom and sadness and I will learn his modern vocabulary: Software, Google, Messenger…the words feel strange on my tongue but I swear to cut it off if it does not learn them. I whisper them quietly, whenever I hear him utter these words, in an attempt to learn them by heart: Software, Google, Web, Microsoft…

I tell him: “I have an e-mail address”.

He smiles and tells me about so many means of communication. I do not understand much of what he is talking about, but I nod in agreement anyway. It is true that I never nod when I do not understand, but I will change for this exceptional man. For his sake, I will leave all those convictions, which really have left me nothing but sadness and fruitless expectations.


I am a contemporary girl. I am born not before today. From now on there will be no place for the word “before”.

He talks. I listen. I only have an old lexicon on my tongue. He says: masculinity is a hormone, feminity is a hormone, sexuality is an interaction of hormonal systems, love is a myth, marriage is an enterprise needing capital and insurance…he talks and talks and I smile and smile.

An Explosive Day:


I had just sipped my coffee when he tells me his astrological sign. I burst out laughing, spraying black coffee on the white tablecloth. How can a man, any man, be a Virgo?! However, he is not any man. Just a few moments ago he was talking about extraordinary adventures…he was talking about conquests of bodies, breasts, satisfaction… he should be a Taurus, a Leo, an Elephant… Yet I continued to nod in approval, in happiness, with ease even when he apologized for stopping long at certain details, I would gently say:


- That’s normal, very normal. That encouraged him to continue.

Why am I so forgiving, so tolerant? Is it what they call it ‘‘inter-civilizational dialogue’’? Is it globalization? Oh, he has a great deal of stories. He talks about them with respect, in refined language even when they are naked, drunken: they are gentle pretty women:


- We share our bodies. The body is the best means of dialogue.

How pretty is his neutrality and understanding. I feel my life is thirsty and dry, devoid of hot, sensational details. When he surprises me with his question, I blush. I tell him I experienced love only once, when I was a student at the university. I loved a fellow student. No, not that. We only exchanged confessions, dreams and Nizar Kabbani’s poems. When each of us received our sterile university certificate, we withdrew from the life of the other.

I know that you do not like such dry, short, cold stories. I understand that but I cannot create hot stories for you. You see, being here is different from being there. What I have told you I consider top secret. Please, don’t laugh. Don’t. Believe me. When my girlfriends used to talk about their love affairs, I would remain quiet, swearing in silence not to tell them a word about mine. Not everybody understands such feelings and desires, and you know that being here is different from being there.

Now he nods, encouraging me to continue. When I stumble over my words,, out of shyness, he smiles at me. I feel his beautiful smile gently telling me:


- That’s normal, very normal.


The Day of Emptiness:


I drink my bitter coffee. There are no sugar lumps left on the table, and the chair across from me is empty. I feel empty also. Nature fears emptiness: that is right. I am thinking about “Virgo”. He cannot be a Virgo!


He places his cup on the table. He takes the ring off of his finger and puts it down next to the cup. He pays his bill, picks up his small almond-like mobile phone and his portable computer:


“So, go and marry your fellow student’’, he says before leaving. “Never bare your emotional secrets to any man, no matter who he is”.

- Silence is golden, chatter is tin.


- Transparency is a crime.


- Ambiguous is life.

Where have I read or heard that? In a book? In a story? Is it advice from a mother to her daughter? From women talking in a public bath?
There is wisdom everywhere, why was I so heedless of it?


Damn! That black-haired man can also have black thoughts in his head. Why was I so careless?

A Normal Day:


I release my enormous delusion. I get this man, whom I have been composing in my imagination since the moment the burning hormonal torrent blended with my blood, out of my heart. The very ideal man utters very impolite words:


- I was a charming playboy. I have known many girls. Easy girls are the only girls in this country.

I hate normal and ordinary things, starting with ordinary flour and ending with ordinary love. I whisper to myself:
Your love is too still,


Your love is too ordinary,


And I get bored with ordinary love.

Now, I understand Latifa’s song very well. Perhaps, we share the same circumstances. Again, he tells stories with the same, boring, expected details but I don’t nod, I don’t agree and I don’t disagree. When he is done talking, I will foolishly say:


- That’s normal, very normal in any man.

My love adventures? No, never. Please, do not offend me.I was busy studying and working. My responsibilities were enormous. What do you mean? No, never. I am giving you this opportunity only because you look respectable. Please, it is time for me to go. It is not my habit to come home late and I do not like to go to cafés. Now that we are acquainted, what can be the next stage? I will put it openly, without hesitation, and I will wait for one day, one mouth, one year

Open doors
Open windows

Closed doors
Closed windows

And I,
Behind the sun,
Behind the moon,
Am waiting *



* From the poem “Waiting”, from Saleh Harbi’s collection of poems, ‘‘I See Women Watering Corpses’’.


Fatima Bouziane, is a Moroccan short-story writer born in 1973 in Nadour. Author of:"Whispering out Intentions” (Short stories) 2001, "Tonight, My Chance of a Lifetime?" (Short stories) 2006.

Mohamed Saïd Raïhani is a Moroccan translator, scholar & short-story writer, born on December 23rd 1968 in Ksar El Kébir. His publications in Arabic include "The Singularity Will " (Semiotic Study on First-names) 2001, "Waiting For the Morning" (Short stories) 2003, "Thus Spoke Santa Lugar-Verde" (Short stories) 2005, "The Season Of Migration to Anywhere" (Short stories) 2006. He has two books ready for publishing:"Beyond Writing & Reading” (testimonies) and "Kais & Juliet" (An E-Love Novel).

“Normal" is the sixteenth narrative text in the "The Moroccan Dream", An Anthology of Moroccan new short story directed by Mohamed Saïd Raïhani.