Odd Birthday

In summer I got a message from one of my Swedish friends who moved to America a long time ago. He wrote to me´: “Do you want to have coffee at Nytorget?”. I simply answered “yes, tomorrow at 10”, and just like that we met again as if he lives in Stockholm.

Last month I got an unexpected message from another friend who lives in Italy. She wrote to me: “I’m coming to celebrate your birthday in Stockholm”. We haven’t talked in four years, it was vague, I thought she was joking and I gave her my birthday date to make sure that she comes on the right day.A few days before my birthday, my boyfriend asked me: “why do you want to celebrate your birthday that late?” I got confused and asked him “what are you talking about?”. He said: “you want to celebrate with your friend”, and then I realized that I gave Nidaa the wrong day. It might be understandable to forget it, but not when you live in Sweden and your birthday is a part of your Swedish personal number.

However, I went to the central station to pick Nidaa. I bought a tulip bouquet and waited her for an hour, because she got lost at the airport and she couldn’t find the railway.We ran to each other laughing a lot, and since then we never stopped talking and laughing as if we knew each other ages ago.

First time we met was fifteen years ago, and since then we met only twice! Then we started talking only when I moved to Sweden and she moved to Italy. It was very strange to meet her again, this time we spent a week together at my home in Stockholm. We cooked together and did things like two perfectly normal girls, not like an artist and a writer. I took her to my favorite streets, cafés and restaurants. We were like two characters from a novel, she taught me some Italian swear words and suggested that we should meet next time in Lappland. We also listened to Italian and Swedish music while eating dates! 

Our language was mixed with Arabic, English, Swedish and Italian. We laughed ironically at it and switched towards the old Palestinian accents from back in Gaza.On last day, I took her to my old neighborhood and showed her my old home, I told her “I feel that I was born here in a previous life”. She said “I believe in the previous life”. 

At the metro station, we walked down the stairs while the musician was playing sad music, or it sounded sad because Nidaa was leaving back to Italy. As I said, everything was like from a novel. I hugged her quickly before the metro gates closed, she was crying a lot.

Later she sent me a message telling me that it was the best week she had since she left Gaza. It made me tear up and I felt wonderful.

Visit Nidaa here: https://www.nidaabadwan.art

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