When my dad brings the bags from above our huge four door closet I know that there will be some change in our clothes. I will be surprised to see the forgotten summer clothes if we were at the end of winter. But I like more to see the forgotten winter clothes at the end of summer cause with the opening of bags containing winter clothes I will smell a more intense camphor aroma that I like and see its magnifisant source, those tiny naphthalene white balls which I resumbled to snow balls, snow white, and a type of candy at the same time having an intense urge to take one by the tips of my thumb and index fingers and put it in my mouth.
While my hands start pointing to the balls my father says:
- Don't touch them. Don't. Let me finnish my work Sami. Go to play with.......
- With? ...with whom?
- Sami go play with....with....
- With with?
- Go my love...just go..
- Why dady. I want them. You give me a ball, I will go. Deal?...humm? ok?
- Sami go...
- Do you need these balls?
- Will you through them away?
- In the trash bin.
- Which one?
- That big blue one?
My father stood up, called my mom, she took me to the kitchen.
During the following days I searched all the trash bins frequently during the days in vain. Till before few days when I was asleep in my bed in the hospital when I heard a sound of something rolling on the floor under my bed. I opened my eyes. I saw my room mate aggitated holding some white balls and rolling them to the corners of the room. I thought I was still dreaming those strange dreams I got when I eat a heavy meal. After a few seconds, the aroma surrounded me and opened the closed forgotten winows of my nose memory. I opened my eyes and sat down on my bed examining my room mate who said:
- For the cockroaches.
- Are you dreaming?
- I mean....am I dreaming?
- That smell (I smiled).
- Yeah of camphor (he went to the W.C.)
I stood up. pulled my pajamas up well. Bent on the floor and looked under my bed. It was there. My room mate came out of W.C. I asked him with the most kindness I can, as if am a child again:
- please give me one.
He smiled. Opened his drawer. Took a small bag. Gave me one ball and looked smiling into my face. I took it as a treasure. Went to my bed. I sat. Said to myself: and finally my dream came true. But I did not put it in my mouth.
I told Mwnqithe about that. And that man proved himself again as my living encyclopedia. He started talking about naphthalene and its relation to benzene and how the aroma can cause some pleasant sensation and that some kids get addicted to smelling benzene then he talked about Michae Faraday and magnetism and his discovery for naphthalene and at last he start to talk about the use of naphthalene as moth repeler in some management of some skin diseases. While Mwnqithe kept lecturing we went into the elevator. There were other people there who kept silent while looking at Mwnqithe practicing his lust of using his mouth in lecturing while his gaze was fixed above, somewhere, while my eyes were widely opened looking stunned in his mouth which he likes every now and then to close it as a pause then reopen it making some sound with his lips and tongue, kind of preparation to eat dinner. Two young men smiled to each other suffering to resist laughing at Mwnqithe mouth and my widey opened eyes. When I noticed those two men I realized that me and Mwnqithe were really funny. I laughed while I was looking on them resisting their laughter. Mwnqithe stopped lectureing and the two young men were sure that we are mad.
At the dinner we sat next to six surgeons who were talking about some patients as cases. They kept speaking with a loud voice. I asked Mwnqithe suddenly:
- Tell me about cockroachs.
The speaking surgeon stopped talking and looked at me thinking there is something wrong while Mwnqithe felt happy to have the opportunity to lecture again saying:
- How I like cochroachs of the city of medecine here in Baghdad!!(the other three surgeons started to look on Mwnqithe)
- Are they special? ( I asked while resisting a laughter)
- Sure..they came from France as a well known Iraqi proffesor in insects said.(The other three surgeons joined the first three surgeons to listen to what Mwnqithe was saying)
- How? ( I asked)
- With wooden furniture from France. Did you notice that they are small an yellow and living in furniture, while Iraqi cockroachs are big, black and live in W.C.
- Yeah thats true. (I looked at Mwnqithe with eyes that said: I really amire you, while all six surgeons smiled. I asked) Are you sure of these information? Did that professor said that? Are they really from France?
- If you are not sure go this night, hold a female cockroach, ask her this way: vous etes francaise? and she will answer you Oui or Non.
The six surgeons and me all laughed. When I went back to room I smelled naphthalene. Looked on the wooden drawer saw a cockroach sleeping on her back. I thought she was dead. I hold a paper and tried to hold the cochroach with it. She moved her legs trying to go back on her belly and walk. She suceeded to be on her belly, she walked slowly. She was dizzy. I felt sad for her. I took all the naphthalene balls from below our beds and throught them away in trash bin.