Most people remember incidents where they felt themselves to be the victim of ill will, yet forget other acts of good will that have been shown to them. My uncle with whom I lived with as a student had his idiosyncrasies, but at heart he was a kind and helpful man who had had to put up with various unbearable pressures created by my devilment and unreasonable behaviour. Whenever there was a major commotion or disruption at Battersea Polytechnic where we both were, I was invariably the moving force behind it and my uncle felt responsible.
He was overcome with shame on the numerous occasions when he was told how the culprit was his nephew. Blood ties are important in the culture of the Middle East, and any disgrace that descends on one member of a family is felt to reflect shame on all the others. My uncle tried desperately to tame me but the task proved impossible. It was as if my demons were out of control, and there was nothing my uncle could do except cringe and bare the circumstances.
In an attempt to win sympathy for his predicament, my uncle would regale any company with an account of the latest incident that had caused him immeasurable grief; such as the evening, during a party at the polytechnic, when I was in a ribald moods after a few drinks and attempted, in front of everyone, to disrobe a pretty, vivacious girl for the fun of it. The worst of it was, that the girl, far from being indignant at this treatment, did not seem to mind at all, but thought it cool and hip, as if she was playing a part in one of the new wave movies of the time. And then I had an urge to round off the evening on a dramatic note on my way home with various members of my gang, I smashed a glass panel at the bus stop with my bare fist. Naturally this act of bravado left me covered in blood, but I nonchalantly bandaged the hand with a handkerchief and paid no more attention to it.
My uncle was completely unable to fathom what had happened to turn me into this unpredictable youth who was capable of all sorts of aberrations.
As a small child back at home, I had been frail, shy and rather cuddly. The mature female members of my family have all petted and pampered me as if I had been breast fed and hand raised by each one of them.
Even women friends of the family would never lose the opportunity to take me to bed in the afternoon during siesta time so that they could snuggle my tiny head to their breasts to make me feel the particular warmth that only the female of the species can impart.
There was no need to look further for the reasons why I always felt such a close affinity with woman. It originated from the closeness of the female body I experienced from my earliest years. The very smell of a woman was more nourishing to me than my mother’s milk; it was like nectar from the beyond.
This kind of nurturing had left me with a sense of adoration for women. In many respects I considered them superior to men. They were God’s masterly creations, I used to say, especially at times when I was totally enveloped in the soft folds of the female form. Yet by evolution from loving child to wayward prankster, intent on causing havoc on the slightest whim, was a mystery beyond my uncle’s ability to solve.
Nevertheless, despite my failings and the torment I caused him, my uncle secretly admired me for my savoir vivre, a quality he completely lacked in his own personality and perhaps wished he could have had himself.