Density

While he was approaching the bridge's gate, his mind was re-counting carefully the cost of his about-to-be trip:

“Twenty riyals for the gate fees.” he said implicitly and continued, “Fifteen riyals for the

car insurance, Twenty riyals for the return gate fees.”

Thirty riyals for the movie film ticket, an action film which he adores. The hero of the film can be Steve Segal or Jackie Shan, no complaints, for they both can restore life and liveliness to his blood swamp in which depression has nestled. And what would remain was enough for fast food meal. Thus his enjoyment will be fulfilled by spending a marvelous day escaping from an atmosphere full of dense smothering humidity.

Repeating, re-counting, he tried to kick his feeling of uncertainty of fulfilling his hope. He realized, where he lived, that there was no guarantee of anything, even if it was that simple. His experience was to expect anything to spoil at any time.

He wished that the idea of crossing the bridge to Bahrain had come to his mind before wasting his time driving around that long lifeless corniche, increasing his boredom and malaise, as much as it consuming of his car fuel. As he was aside the pay window, he drew from his left breast pocket the only money he had in that moment. A worn, folded one piece of one-hundred- riyal.

- "Bahraini Dinar," he replied, confirming to the customs officer who asked him about the currency of exchange he want to get.

Why did he choose the Bahraini Dinar although the Saudi riyal usually has the same value in Bahrain?

Toward the next window, where he presents identification, he drove through an ascending bridge which spilt the gulf sea into two parts. Above that height he experienced a feeling of a sophisticated ship captain.

 

At the next window, he waited for the customs paper. But he could not move. He was going back to where he came from because the employee who checked his driver license told him it is invalid, and he could not pass before he renewed it.

A bitterness of disappointment. It always added to previous bitterness. More disappointments, more concentrated bitterness.

He saw Al-Rashed Mall standing high on the return but he did not stop until he reached

King Fahd park when he saw a sign which made him think to spend some time there.

He stopped at the nearest petrol station because the fuel light was flashing. He said to the station boy, “Fill it by ten Riyals, " but his hand was extended with Bahraini Dinar. The station boy told him that one dinar equals only nine riyals. He needed only seconds before he tossed his head agreeing. From the station grocery he was careful to take exactly what he wanted because the grocer would value the dinar the same as the station boy.

He toured the park searching for a suitable place to take what he had bought and to read the sports newspaper. Quietness prevailed over the park. Only voices of little children playing can be heard.

The wet evening approaching, the green grass of the park was condensed by the water of the falling evening. It was difficult for him, as a single man, to sit on the numerous five- person seats close to the light-stand where he will be able to read, because girls, sometimes one girl, would occupy them. And sitting beside them will be considered ugly mixing. But the free seats were in dim places. In such a dense situation finding a seat that could protect him from rain became impossible. He put some of the unimportant pages from the newspaper on the grass and sat on them. After a few minutes of browsing the newspaper, he had blurred vision because the light was faded.

When he stood up, there was a spot of wet like a camel hoof at the back of his thobe. He left the park holding the rest of the already floppy newspaper. In his breast pocket were few low–value Bahraini money, behind it there was depression and a haunted heart.