Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Short Story: Domino Effect

Playing dominos with my friends the other day reminded me of the summer I spent with my cousin Ebrahim in my grandfather’s house when I was 7. The extremely hot mid-days denied us the pleasure of playing outside. We had to come up with games that would keep us busy after lunch.

The game that took the most of our time was not even a game. It all started when Ebrahim sneaked into my uncle’s room one day and took a dominos box that interested us. My uncle’s room was a forbidden area for the two of us. We were not supposed to enter it while he was not around. Ebrahim was a couple of years older than me. These two years gave him an adventurous spirit that I never had. He would do things that I couldn’t do.

We didn’t understand the dominos game so we started arranging the pieces in a straight line making them stand like a group of soldiers standing in front of their commander waiting for marching orders. We would drop the first piece and watch how each piece pushes the next one creating a wave that drops all of them in few seconds. The sensations kept going with each new arrangement but the 28 pieces were very little to keep us excited so we started adding other objects.

One day, right after lunch, following a scheme that we worked on for days, we brought out all the VHS tapes that my uncle kept in his room. My grandfather saw us getting into my uncle’s room but like always he didn’t say anything. He was a sweet and a kind man and never stopped us from doing things that we wanted to do. We considered him as our friend who was so close to us that we entrusted him with our secrets. The idea was to construct a building using the VHS tapes and use the dominos to knock it down.

I carefully built a meter long shaky building with the VHS tapes while Ebrahim arranged the domino pieces close to it with the last domino having a tape set beside it to gather the momentum of the dropping little pieces and hit the building with it. My grandfather was having his lunch time nap in a nearby room. The excitement was growing with every piece of domino Ebrahim set.

The scene was set for a formation we planned for days. It was a show with no audience except the dominos themselves witnessing a sensation of achievement of two little boys merging their love for building and destruction in a single scene. We put our fingers together and pushed the first domino and cheerfully watched the pieces dropping one after another until they knocked down the shaky building with a roaring noise. We were ecstatic with our triumph.

The beautiful feeling stayed for as long as the few seconds the 28 pieces of dominos usually take to drop each other. Our biggest achievement of that summer woke up our grandfather from his nap abruptly. He furiously run into the room and screamed at us so badly that we both burst into hysteric crying that would have gone for days if it was not for our grandmother’s intervention.

My grandfather continued the sweet and kind man he was but stopped being a friend that day. My 7 years old mind was too young to understand the extent the domino effect may reach.

Written as an assignment in a creative writing workshop with Deonna Kelli Sayed

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