Somerset, Jean Valjean and the Old Man

I was 22 when I watched Se7en. The movie was a hit and it is considered till today one of the best movies. While everybody raved about how great the movie and the acting were I was thinking of one particular character. It wasn’t the serial killer or any of  his seven victims. At 22, I found the life of Detective Somerset, played by Morgan Freeman, to be odd. Somerset was an old detective. He had no family and lived alone. For some reason this life style was not believable to me. I thought how come someone at this age has no family or friends.

In our 20s, we perceive life differently. We are still dependent and very close to our parents, brothers and sisters. We have many friends, the more the better. Going out alone is unacceptable. It is against the social norm and no one wants to be seen in the cinema watching a movie alone.

Now, in my mid 40s, Detective Somerset is one of the three fictional characters that are the closest to me. The two others are even closer and we have more things in common than I would like to admit. The Old Man in the Old Man and the Sea and Jean Valjean from the Les Misérables.

These two characters are my favorite by all means and their stories are the closest to my heart. I feel their pain, loneliness and guilt. My favorite movie scene of all time is when Jean Valjean felt free for the first time.

Middle age is a tough time in men’s life. It is the time, they notice dramatic changes around them. Younger people start addressing them with Sir, Uncle, or Hajj. Flirting with 20 something girls become creepy and with 30 something become sinful. It is the time, men notice they are getting old.

I was always fascinated by the lives of the Old Man and Jean Valjean. I read their stories when I was a teenager and the older I get, the more I relate to their lives. Some people believe loneliness and happiness are a choice, I don’t.

The saddest people I have seen are men in their 40s. Maybe in their 50s, men become comfortable with their age, but in their 40s, they live in denial of who they became.

 Jean Valjean and the Old Man lived a miserable life, but they determined to continue with their lives.

A friend once asked me “is it possible that a person may live their entire life miserable?” I answered: “No. God will eventually give them peace of mind.” Is happiness guaranteed before departing this world?



A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling well, so I took two days off from work. Since I spent the first day in bed, I decided to go out with my nephew the next day. He is two years old. We went to the park. He loves animals so much. Unfortunately, we don’t have a zoo in Irbid so the second best thing is a birds-house in the park. They have different types of birds. He was very happy. There were many children from lots of schools on school trips.

Suddenly, my nephew ran to me wanting me to carry him. He looked terrified. I carried him and he was shaking, but not crying. I tried to calm him down, but he was devastated. He didn’t scream, his fear was beyond this stage. It seems he saw a clown and that’s what caused his fear. He put his head on my shoulder and hugged me tight. I could feel how terrified he was. Usually, children when they are afraid they scream or cry, he didn’t do either. I tried to calm him, hoping he gets used to the clown and not fear him in the future, but he didn’t.

When I realized that it is useless to stay where the clown is I took him outside the birds-house. He didn’t want to play or let me go. He only felt safe and calmed down when we left the park. I felt very bad for him so we went to MacDonald and he was happy at last in their playroom. Luckily, Ronald McDonald don’t wasn’t there.

I heard that there are some people who have a fear of clowns, but I only saw it on TV and I thought it is not real. Actually, it is a real thing. Later in the afternoon, my mother told me that my nephew screamed, a couple of times, while he was taking a nap.

I Googled it and it is called Coulrophobia; the fear of clowns. It is real.

My nephew sees cats, dogs, donkeys, horses, turtles, birds or bugs and he runs towards them. He sees a clown and it is no way. I hope his fear of clowns is temporary though.

Going out with a two years old boy is so much fun.


Waiting death

Yesterday at the food court, I noticed a father and his son. The son, maybe 9 or 10, was wearing a medical blue mask and a baseball cap that covers his shaved head. The father in his late forties or maybe life denied him a graceful aging.

I was sitting at a table eating lunch while the father and his son were checking out what sort of food is available in the food court. I could tell it was up to the child to make the decision. He chose one that was at the end of the food court, but I could still see them.

I can’t forget the father’s face. I kept staring at him, more than what courtesy allows. Even without seeing his son you can tell how much this man is in pain. As if his face never experienced happiness before. He might as well be angry.

I don’t know why at that moment my body felt shaken. I was trying hard to keep my tears from appearing in public. When the father and son sat on a table, I was done with my lunch and went to the restroom to wash my hands. While walking my eyes started getting wet. I walked faster and saw the father was heading to the restroom as well.

We both were washing our hands at the sink. I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t. He went to grab paper towels and I was behind him. I wanted to put my hand on his shoulder and say something nice, but I didn’t know what should I say. He left without our eyes meet. I felt bad not saying anything to him. Then I thought what could I say, “Everything will be okay.” It may not be okay, I thought.

I don’t think it is the first time I see a kid in such situation, but maybe it is the father who moved me more. His sadness looked painful. I don’t know if he was angry or not, I assumed he was. I know why, but if so at who?

Humanity felt sorry for the gassed children of Syria, I don’t share the same level of empathy. I know these children will have a better life than if they were to live. My empathy goes to the parents of these children that I can’t fathom how they will live after such thing. I feel sorry for these parents more than for the ones that left this so called life.

The father left the restroom before me and I walked slowly behind him thinking:

Does he ask God to take his life and keep his son’s?
Does he ask God why He did this to his son?
What questions he asks God at night?
What dreams he had for his child before this thing?
Does he still have hope?
Does he still have faith?