Orad fadhiiso

Written By Asha Mohamed

I learnt the earth was round when I was seven. I was on a train to sheffield and a quick game of rock, paper, scissors led me to a pivotal, transformative seat by the window. Forehead pressed against cool glass, my eyes quickly became transfixed with the view outside; with the rush of never ending, ever renewing stimulation brought on by the changing landscape. I loved it most when we passed by fields. When the grass outside flew so fast it would blur. When green faded to pale brown before rejuvenating itself from gold to green. I loved the way the trees and fields folded into sight. I loved that before they would fade from view, they would sweep away from my carriage not in a straight line but in graceful, whirling, circles.

How mesmerising it was to me as a child.

I would imagine that someone was looking down at my train as they whooshed by in a jet and from their window seat- and just for a moment- I too was swirling among trees, tracks and meadows.

These days I prefer sitting by the front glass windows of coffee shops. I gravitate towards those situated on the tops of winding streets, near busy stations and main roads, where the sweet scent of carrot cakes and tinny reverberations of acoustic guitars hover in the air before descending and intertwining with the sounds of grinding beans, scraping chairs and ceramic on wood. There is a peace that comes with chaos; like that moment you are stood, feet planted firmly on a platform’s edge and the train roars past inches from a face whose eyes have found rest in the benches sitting opposite.

“Can I take that?”

The name tag on the t-shirt of the barista standing over me says Shereen. I’ve never noticed that before. It is the moving limbs beyond the glass that captivate me. Some days I’m sat so long watching passersby their faces begin to blur, merge and morph. They seem to wander along unswerving paths with such cause and determination the air gets stuck in my throat. How strange to push down a panic whose roots go deeper than you have yet to understand?

“It’s ok, thank you” I say, pulling at my headphones, “I’ll be done soon.”

The barista walks past an old man making his way slowly to the empty table beside mine. Regal in his frailty, he is close enough for me to see the seedling fluff peeking from the fold of his hat. Have you ever noticed how easily dandelion seeds drift into spaces they don’t belong? How they too move gracefully and with patience from ceilings to floors as though guided by sentient winds eager to save them, to see them scatter freely outdoors? Have you seen how their rounded delicate bodies orbit in the still air twisting along a course they alone can sense? How fascinating it is to watch them glide elegantly between open windowpanes and disappear back out into the day.

I wish I knew what it is to move with such deliberate precision, steady in my resolution as I once was when I was seven and saw the world my way, when my eyes were windows for thoughts to peek and glide through.