For Everybody His Own Hell

"Dream, from my viewpoint, is an extension of Reality. Through the gateway of dreams, many things are achieved. The major inventions were once only dreams in some people’s imaginaries. Then, it become with the course of time, a beautiful reality. It is not shameful to dream or even to exaggerate in dreaming...".

She takes a deep breath out of her lit cigarette: How can she put an end to her life? By suffocation? Hanging? or by swallowing a packet of drugs like in films? There are thousands of means to stop her pain. Despair and low spirits bring only pain.


She shed tears, washing away her anger and sadness. She will leave this wild prostituted word. She has no place in all this life of pretence. Despite her goodness and popularity, that she is a wonderfully sociable girl, to her those are added weaknesses in her being.


An invisible smile escapes her. Anger and the smoke form the cigarette seized between her lips do not allow her to see anything. Her laugh is nothing but a front of bravado she uses to deceive the tides of emotion rising high inside her, throwing her to the utter darkness.


All day long, her parents are quarrelling. Quarrels from sunrise to sunset. Only sex reconciles them... This cursed life! She cannot understand that: Insults and offences in the morning then hugs and kisses at night. What kind of man is her father, and what kind of honor is left for her mother? She closes the door to avoid talking about her parents, she moves to the adjacent room to ponder her life.


She does not know how many cigarettes she has smoked. This may be the third packet. She does not care for her health. She may be smoking to take revenge against herself, or just to blow away her worries, or again to seek a slow death by burning her lungs and her insides.


By committing suicide, she will do nothing new. Her bright eyes will be eager to meet the imminent death and today is the appropriate occasion to fulfill her dream. She gathers her strength to pass through the terrible tunnel and put an end to her life in such a daring, enviable style. She believes in another life across Death. Another life where she will have more wonderful things and lead a more peaceful life with no pains or sins: A world of spiritual purity.


I will miss her despite her foolishness. I have never ceased loving her with all my heart. She is my comrade, my friend. Despite everything, she has been for me like a spring breeze on a hot summer day.


I still remember that unlucky day when she quarreled with her mother. She broke out nervously at hearing her mother insulting her for being old maid. She was both injured and sarcastic:


- ‘Mum! Where have you been when I was in need of you? (…) Why are you looking at me like that? I have been smoking for such a long time. This is my only relief’.


She wiped away the tears flowing down her cheeks. Her mother would stop her, both shocked and surprised:
-‘Me! Shut up! For every body his own hell! ’


- ‘Where were you when I was a lost and wandering soul. You’re not my mother. I will root out my origins. I will tear my veins in two. I will choose my ultimate refuge. I will move away from you and your trivialities. Sorry, mum! You have come too late; I don’t want to hear anything anymore. Sorry is the usual word to be said in such circumstances but sorrow is useless when there are deep injuries. Farewell, Mum!’


She sneaked upstairs to the place where she feels safer and nearer to the sky, the only witness to her life. To the rhythm of rock-and-roll music, with her final cigarette between her lips and a sarcastic smile distorting her face, she blows out her last breath, drawing down the curtains of a play where she was the central character with her tortures, worries and shattered dreams.


Some tender hands have shaken me out of my nightmare. I looked up to find my girlfriend’s mother asking me about her daughter who had been next to me watching the film, ‘For Everybody His Own Hell!’.


I was so absorbed by the events of the film that I did not notice her withdrawal. My eyes were automatically directed to the door, then to the staircase. The mother’s eyes followed my eyes’ movements and in no time she was climbing up the stairs.

* The writer, Mouna Ben Haddou, is a Moroccan poet & shortstory writer, born in Ksar El Kebir. She has published many poems and short stories invarious Arab periodicals.

* The translator, Mohamed Said Raihani, is a Moroccan translator, scholar & shortstory writer, born on December 23rd 1968 in Ksar El Kébir. He published in Arabic "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 is getting ready for publication: "Beyond Writing & Reading " (Testimonies).

"For Everyone His Own Hell” is the fifth narrative text in the "The Moroccan Dream", Anthology of Moroccan new short story directed by Mohamed Said Raihani.