You’ll Grow Up, and You’ll Understand

"Ramez Al-Nuwaisiri"

It must have been my mother who took this picture of my father, my sister and I, since she is the only one missing from the photograph. 

It was taken at the Tripoli Corniche. Since I am around five years old in the photograph, according to my mother, I believe it was taken in 1977. The camera had an external flash, used 110 film, and had a black leather case. We took photos with it until I graduated from high school. It even captured my participation in Tripoli’s poetry contest in the 1990-1991 school year, approximately. 

I’d often sit with my father and browse through old photographs like this one, and ask him for details about the locations and occasions, and the reason everything has changed so much: Why did my father no longer wear suits like the ones in most of his old pictures? 

Sometimes, I asked him why he stopped recording songs, especially since he owned a cassette player equipped with a microphone. When I was younger, he had used it to record songs, as well as some of our conversations.

There were many questions that my father never answered. He would look at me and say: “Tomorrow, you'll grow up, and you’ll understand.”

I’m older now, and because now I understand–or at least I think I do–I find myself giving my son a similar response whenever he looks at old photographs and tries to compare them with the way things are right now. 

Born in Cairo, he is a poet, critic, and editor. He has published several books covering poetry and criticism. He is the founder and director of the website “Balad Al-Tayyoub”. His main occupation is as an aircraft maintenance engineer for an oil company’s airline.

Ramez Al-Nuwaisiri
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