The Cell



Mona El-Namoury

A Psychomyth
By Mona Elnamoury

Translated from Arabic Into English by Mona Khedr


He went into her luxurious cell. As usual, she was drawing on all sides of the cell's walls: skies, roses, trees and birds ... He could hear her birds chirping; he could feel the heat of her sun coming through the walls. He killed the birds to silence the singing. On the following day, he uprooted the trees. Came the third day, he commented on the radiance of her sun; he grabbed his paintbrush and dimmed it. He came back to pluck her roses. Once more, he wondered what to do about that sun, but he deferred the thought. All he asked for was for her to remain still. In return, he might have decided to beam to her face, talk to her, or pat her shoulder whenever he was around. To her shame, she tossed her colours and brush out of the cell’s tiny window. Still, every time he came into the cell, he could distinguish the far chirping of her birds and sense the distant fragrance of her roses. Never could he evade the warmth of her sun nor escape its mysterious glow which poured all over the cell’s walls and floors to blend them into one another as if it were Monet’s feather creating one of his paintings. He returned every day adamant to find out the source of music, light, and colour ... He thought they manifested themselves clearer to his senses every time he approached her body. He decided he should rupture that head of hers to determine once and for all if it was the source of this entire clamour, or was it his own imagination? He ruptured her head. All he found was the usual: blood, skin and bone! He stitched them back together again... The music faded; the fragrance of the roses disappeared. Only a faint streak of an anguished melody was heard every now and then. After some agony, and perhaps some sort of repulsed dullness, he made up his mind to let her go ... only to find that the extensive locks of her hair have permeated the cell’s corners and woven themselves around its furniture in the same fashion the threads of fabric interlace. Her flesh was glued to the four walls. Her blood infused the wall paint. He could not figure out how she managed to become one with the room. In one last attempt to find an explanation, he tore her heart open! All the caged little birds flew onto his face at once ... He panicked. The sunshine glared ... He went blind. The fragrance of the roses penetrated his nose like blazing iron rods. He watched the blueness of the sky and the brightness of the sun spilling out of her open chest, together with her gushing blood. Terrified, he passed out!
Are you still expecting me to complete this text? Don’t you ever think for yourself? Well, I will suggest some potential endings, of which you can choose one.
First (potential) end:
She rose to her feet, wrapped up the cell, folded it carefully into her heart, zipped up her chest, and squeezed herself neatly amid the ribs of his chest ... she is now one stubborn rib that knows where to position itself, and how to poke its companion from time to time.
Second (potential) end:
She pulled his heavy body out of the cell. She was keen to retrieve the keys from the right-side pocket of his pants, and also the spare ones from the left-side pocket. She locked the cell from within and dumped the keys out of the window. She made sure to block her ears with little cotton balls lest the fit of rage he would fly into on coming around should make her deaf.
Third (potential) end:
She tried hard to pull him out. With every inch she moved his body, there disintegrated fragments of her own skin. She dragged him back inside. Genially, she woke him up. She moved to a distant corner of the room and occupied herself with feeding her infant.