That Summer Night
By Nora Jaber
Copyright 2012 Nora Jaber
The thought had never occurred to me before that stuffy summer night. I remember wearily sitting in the passenger seat of Sajid's, my son in law's, Jeep cruising down a deserted street in one of the city’s poorer areas, when my granddaughter suddenly yelled for him to stop the car. I turned my head towards the direction she was pointing her finger at. It took me a few moments to register what I was seeing. Sajid however, didn’t seem to have noticed anything particularly odd and dismissed Basma’s shriek.
"Baba! Stop driving, help him!" she urged.
On the side of the road, a middle-aged man was forcefully holding a squirming young boy against the back seat of his car, trying to fasten his seat belt. I didn’t understand why Basma was taking the matter so seriously, the scenario could have easily passed as that of an annoyed father trying to settle his son down, but Basma saw past the surface. It was as if she could see into the little boy’s eyes and discern his silent cries for help. After a second cry from Basma, Sajid reversed the Jeep towards the scene. As soon as he pulled over, the other man quickly let go of the boy who automatically jumped out of the car and drove away. Basma walked towards the little boy who was now sobbing relentlessly and began to speak to him softly in an attempt to pacify him.
"What's your name?" she asked him but he simply shook his head. When she tried to put her arm around his shoulders, the boy pushed her away and ran off into an alley. We didn’t follow him. After all we had no knowledge of this area that was probably home to the boy.