Saturday 26 June 2021

'Muscle Memory' by Sara Magdy Amin

Halfway through the sentence, he paused. A juvenile burn scorched his ears.

Your address, sir?

Ever since he came here his muscles have been training for their new life. His throat was adopting new hymns, ones that didn’t amplify boisterously over the wailing of street sellers and the blares of tuk-tuks through the alleyways of Muiz Street. No minarets called his eyes heavenward to a prosperity. His hands were learning new ways to be known.  He rearranged the letters that made his name, uncurled their bodies, removed their embellishments, reincarnated himself as A-h-m-e-d on the dotted line.

His tongue would abandon its guttural memory, once thickened by maternal emulation and invocations of the divine.

274 Kingston Street

Here, his entire body would eventually learn to yield to its new milieu, but his lips would retain the memory of that day they were shaded under palm trees, saturated with dates and honey, and her hair cascaded over her shoulders for the first time. His lips would never again seal quite intensely at “buh”, puff gently at “ha” and draw infinitely at “kuh”, and he would learn to say “I love you” only in a quick and short-lived part of the lips.

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