Unexpected Guest

By : Nawar - Syria

I hurried out of my house toward the train station to receive my friend from the neighboring town, and as usual I did not get up until late in the morning despite the sound of the alarm clock that rang several times but I closed it every time to give myself more naps, and so I ate breakfast standing and then finished wearing my clothes while walking down the stairs of the building where I live.

When I hurried to cross the street I did not notice the car that was passing. Everything happened in the blink of an eye. The driver pressed the brakes, producing a squeaking sound that mixed with the sound of my body bumping into the car. I found myself flying in the air and then cruelly landing on the rough street asphalt. Many feet approached me, the voices of people around me filled with sorrow and pity. Then a voice rose and called for an ambulance. Slowly, these sounds were softening in my ears and I surrendered to fainting that cut my contact with the outside world.

**

I opened my eyes to find myself lying on a bed, my eyes nailed to the ceiling, certainly this is not the ceiling of my room, this is the first thing comes to my mind.

I sat down and took a look around. It was a strange room with an antique style; the dust covered every part of it. What brought me here?!

I went up to the outside, the room leading to a long corridor with a staircase at the end; I went down to the ground floor with caution and uncertainty, because until this moment I don’t know where I am.

As I reached the last steps of the stair, a woman came out of one of the rooms, and as soon as she saw me, she froze in her place, her eyes opened wide, her hand rose to her mouth to silence a cry that came out against her will. At the same moment I heard a voice of a girl coming from the top says:

- “Mama who opened my brother's closed room?!”.

I turned back, and there was a girl, who quickly looked shocked to see me, like her mother, but she spoke, and that helped me to understand what was going on, she cried in scattered words:

- “Ghhhh ..Ghost .. my brother! .. how? .. unbelievable!!”.

It seems that the presence of the girl encouraged the mother, as she also spoke:

- “Tidwa .. My son Tidwa has returned!”.

Her daughter interrupted her to say with emotion and fear:

-  “Mom, Tidwa has died a year ago, how he come back ?! It is a ghost ... a ghost”.

I completed my way down the stairs, I saw the mother retreat backward terrified, I felt scared myself  and stepped back up the stair, but the girl started yelling, I was confused what I should do, couldn’t find a solution other than sitting on one of the steps..  I took a deep breath and decided to talk, so I asked them:

- “Please tell me where I am and what is going on??”.

When I found no response from either, I tried to reassure them, I said : “Hold yourself .. I'm not a ghost and I will not hurt you”.

The mother moved towards me, the features of fear had disappeared from her face, replaced by surprise and curiosity, she said:

- “Tidwa, Have you returned from death??!”

- “Who is this Tidwa you talk about, I am not him!”

- “Impossible, you are Tidwa .. But Tidwa is dead!”. The girl said

- “My name is Maher and I am not Tidwa, Believe me, I don’t know how I came here! I remember hurrying out of my house and as I was crossing the street a car hit me. Then I opened my eyes to find myself in a room in this house”.

- “Do you want us to believe that you emerged from nowhere to find yourself in my brother's room, that room that has remained closed since his death!!”

Her mother moved toward me, she said sadly:

- “But you are a copy of my son .. No, you are him .. Oh God, I can’t believe it, Tidwa came back to life again”.

- “Please, I'm Maher “. I said desperately

Our conversation interrupted by the sound of the door of the house opens and a man enters and then freezes in place as soon as his eyes fell on me. Of course the reason became known to me, he thought I am his dead son Tidwa!.

**

The family sat around me in the living room after making sure that I was not Tidwa. They began to notice that I differed from their son in some ways, they said that my hair and beard and clothes were very strange. I also found their clothes and shapes strange, as if they had come from a long time ago!.

I got up and said:

- "I do not know how I came here, but I apologize for bothering you. I have to go home now”.

The mother said eagerly:

- “Please give me your address; you remind me of my son and I want to keep in touch with you”.

- “Well, I live in the neighborhood of Shidwan, in the fifth floor of building 34”.

The father turned his lips in surprise and said:

- “Shidwan neighborhood !! I know the city with all its neighborhoods, and there is no neighborhood by this name .. Your name is strange and so is the neighborhood, from where did you come to us?!”.

 

Suddenly I remembered my friend whom I had promised to wait for him at the train station, so I decided to talk to him and apologize. I took my mobile phone out of my pocket to talk to him, but I found the phone does not work, no signal, so I said to the father:

- “Do you allow me to use your phone to call a friend?”.

He looked at me with astonishment:

- “Phone ! What is a phone?”.

- “Is it reasonable that you don’t know what the phone is!”.

Then I extended my hand and showed him my phone, He grabbed and examined it, he frowned and took a deep thought and then said:

- “It seems to me that somehow, I don’t know how and I can’t explain; you have come to us from the future! The way you appear between us and your cloth and the device you carry with you does not suggest that you are from our time!!”.

I said after I was satisfied with his conclusion:

- “Or perhaps I am the one who has returned to the past”.

**

I do not know how and why, all I know is that I will stay with this family until return to my time, there is definitely a way.. and there is a question in my mind about Tidwa, why do they say I copy him?! Why did I come to this family that lost a son who looks like me? I do not know, there is something that is difficult for me to understand and will not rest until I know what it is.

**

I told the girl, Sao, after we finished eating:

- “Will you show me a picture of your brother”.

Sao got up to bring me the picture. As my eyes were fixed on something hanging on the wall, the father noticed my absent mindedness and asked me: “What's wrong with you?”.

I replied:

- “What is this.. Is it a clock?”        

- “Yes, did the clocks disappear in your time?!”

- “No, of course, but” ..

I got up to take a closer look:

- “But the division of time is strange, very strange.. It seems that day length is more than 24 hours!”

The father laughed then said:

- “Do not tell me that in the future the day will shrink by half!”

I said, surprised:

-“Do you mean that your day consists of 48 hours?”

He nodded positively, I said objecting:

- “It is impossible. This has nothing to do with the time of the past or the future. This is connected to the movement of the earth's rotation around itself and around the sun. This movement is fixed since eternity and cannot be disturbed; Otherwise life on earth will end!”

- “Hey Hey, what did you say?! Earth !!”

- “Yes Earth ... our planet”

He said sarcastically:

- “I have never heard of this planet, where is it located?! It seems to me, my son, that you came to us from another planet. It's like a science fiction story”.

I said with a loud voice against my will:

- “Unbelievable, sure you're kidding me.. And is there life outside the earth?! What is the name of this planet that we stand on now?”

Sao, who had come back with a picture of Tidwa, replied: “Planet of Junim”.

I said, wondering:

- “Planet Junim?! I did not hear about it, and I do not think it belongs to our solar system”.

There was a little silence before I suddenly asked to make sure of something that jumped into my mind:

- “Does this planet belong to the Milky Way galaxy?”

- “Milky Way?! No, the planet Junim belongs to the galaxy of Konadonia”

At this point of conversation I collapsed on the chair and felt as if the world was spinning around me. I thought at the beginning that I was back in time, but it turned out to be a lot more complicated. I'm out of the whole galaxy. I'm in another universe. Nightmare!

The father said:

- “I can’t understand, do you have a perception of what happens, son?”

I answered with a confident tone:

- “Yes I have”..

Three of them approached me and said with curiosity:

- “What is?”

I tried to explain my perception of what was going on:

-“We have - on our planet - scientists who came up with a theory called the parallel universes, this theory claims that there are many lives in an infinite number of universes. In other words I am on earth called Maher, a young orphan living alone in an apartment, working hard to earn my daily life and complete my studies ... The theory says that in another universe I may be in another life and in different circumstances, and what happened to me is proof of the truth of this theory. You are saying that I am a copy of your son Tidwa”…

I completed, directing my talk to Sao:

- “Will you show me the picture please?”

She stretched out her hand and gave me the picture. Tidwa was really like me, it was a copy of me, O God! Is this possible?.  I have always been a skeptic of the theory of parallel universes. For me it was just hypotheses of some scientists. How can I communicate with them and prove their sincerity? How? Will I ever go back to earth?. Is it possible that I died in that incident and my soul moved here? Is this happening with all those who die? That their souls go to their likenesses in other universes? And how can we make sure? There is no dead returned to life to tell us his experience with death!

 

My thoughts cut off by the voice of Tidwa's mother, who asked with pleasure:

- “Does this mean that you are my son Tidwa?”

I said to her laughing:

- “I'm not exactly your son, but one way or another you can consider me your son, I am a copy of him from another universe”

She hugged me, saying in a low voice:

- “I do not care about all the interpretations and possibilities that you mentioned, it is important to me that you came back to me, my son .. I do not believe myself”.

The father had another opinion, he got up and said:

- “We will become a famous family soon, I will inform the competent authorities of what you told me and I will show them what you call a phone. We may benefit from you in development our planet, Your planet seems to be very sophisticated”.

**

I returned tired from the outside, I stayed for several days repeating what happened to me for more than one person. Many scientists gathered around me and made me talk about earth and our entire galaxy, about the nature of our civilization and the discoveries we reached. They did not leave anything they did not ask me about.

They took pictures of me in the newspapers alongside pictures of Tidwa .. My story was questioned and some accused me of lying and others of madness. On the other hand, I knew a lot about this planet Junim, It is similar to the earth in some respects, it has a moon and belongs to a solar group similar to our group, they are now in the year 1064 according to their calendar since a great earthquake that hit their planet and killed half the population, but they reached things we did not reach in our history when we were at that time.

 

Tidwa's mother approached me and gave me a glass of juice, which I took from her thankful. I asked her after a short hesitation:

- “How did Tidwa die?”

- “He committed suicide”.

I was surprised:

- “Suicide! How and Why?”

- “I don’t know, his suicide was a shocking surprise for us, he was a young man successful in his studies, we opened an engineering office for him after graduating, he engaged the girl he love and was about to marry her, yet he committed suicide!”

I wanted to speak when the doorbell rang, the mother stood up to open it and a pretty brunette girl came in, she advanced to me saying: “Tidwa, my darling”.

I looked at the mother for clarification, she hastened to say:

- “This is Ulori, the fiancée of my son Tidwa”

Ulori continued:

- “Tidwa, why did you commit suicide and left me? How could you abandoned me.. How?”

The mother intervened:

- “Relax, my daughter, Tidwa is dead and will not return, this young man named Maher, he just looks like him, I made it clear in my previous visit to you so you can control your nerves and set down”.

Ulori sat down after apologizing but did not lift her eyes from me, she looked at me as if someone had told her that I would disappear soon, her looks is full of passion and longing and reproach, oh God how much love in her heart to Tidwa !!

She finally spoke after a short silence:

- “Maher, can we become friends? You remind me of my ex-fiancé, do you mind if we stayed in touch?”

I answered gently:

- “I don’t mind at all, but always remember that I am not Tidwa no matter how much I looked like him”.

She nodded with approval, and then I got up and left.

In fact, I sympathized with her a lot. I wished that in my previous life I had met a girl who loved me like that

**

day was long on this planet, hours were running slowly, there was time to do everything, their life system was strange to me, several meals of food a day, several activities during the night, and I found myself adapting to their simple life without a phone or Internet , without this technological development that swept our lives on earth, although in my previous life I was addicted to social networking sites and found myself satisfied with them, but I feel happy without them now..

The father spends the whole day at work, comes back relax for a while and then read the newspapers, go to meet with his friends and sometimes they come to him, the mother and daughter spend morning in the Home Works, When they finish, they are busy either sewing wool or embroidery, visiting neighbors, reading books .. The mother has a hobby of planting roses, pay great attention to the garden, and treat her flowers as her children.

 

And Ulori; what I say about her, a delicate and pretty, sensitive girl, took me with her to all the places she was traveling with Tidwa, and tell me about her memories with him .. Sometimes I wish I met her without having a link to her former fiancée, without my shape and movements being just a memory of him, would she have attracted to me then? Would we have had special feelings? I felt I was starting to lean towards her..

One day we walked together on a street when we passed a library that caught me with its elegant design. I asked Ulori to go in and take a look at the books, especially the historical ones. This side interests me because I want to know more about this strange planet. But what happened to me inside made me forget purpose of entry.. Because as soon as I saw the owner of the library, I rushed to her without thinking and knelt at her feet saying:

- “Mom, my beloved mother I miss you so much”

The lady was very surprised by my behavior and did not know what to say, While Ulori came to me saying:

- “Maher, gets up what happened to you?!”

I got up and apologized, the sudden situation made me lose control of myself; the library owner was my mother! Or the other version of her.. My mother who I lost since childhood in an accident that killed her and my father.

The lady looked at me carefully and said:

- “Isn't you the young man who came from another galaxy? I saw your pictures in the newspapers and read your story... Frankly, it is closer to the fantasy than reality”.

I said while I was looking at her eagerly as if she were actually my mother:

- “Do you allow me to call you Mom?”

- “Why?!”

- “Although you didn’t believe my story but you are the other version of my mother, I have been deprived from her since I was a child. I miss her so much, so when I saw you I couldn’t control myself.. Oh God how much I miss you”.

She laughed and said tenderly:

- “Although your words strange and your story difficult to ratify, but I don’t mind if you called me mom, I am deprived from this word because I don’t have children”.

I gladly kissed her hand as Ulori stood silently watching me; her looks were deeper than mere friendship. I wonder if she started to love me for myself or just because I look like Tidwa?. I don’t think I will know the answer.

**

I went back to the house and told them what had happened, and they became happy for me, Tidwa's mother said:

- “I think you knew now how I felt when I first saw you and I thought you were my son”.

I smiled at her and then I thought with myself and remembered my father, I wondered where the other copy of him?! Is it here in this planet or in another planet?? And will I meet another’s dead relatives?.

Sao voice cut my thoughts, she ask me:

-“Maher, why are you absent minded?”

I turned towards her and said:

- “Nothing important, but I want to tell you that I am happy with your family. I have found here the things that I have missed in my past life, the warmth of the family, the safety, the love and many things.. I wonder why Tidwa left all this and committed suicide ?! What he was looking for and did not find! If you were my real family, I would not leave you ever, and if I had a girl who loved me like Ulori, I would not give her up for dust”.

The father spoke after being silent all the time:

- “It seems to me, my son, that no one is satisfied with his life. Tidwa left us a paper before he committed suicide. He wrote, "I love you, but excuse me, I can’t go on." He does not seem to feel the warmth of the family and the happiness you talked about. Maybe because he wasn’t deprived of it, was born and found us around him... His life went as he likes and desires, or so we thought, he eventually chose to leave us and left”.

Sao said:

- “Honestly, from the first day I saw you, I considered you my brother. I hope you will stay with us forever”

The mother smiled and praised the words of her daughter:

- “Of course he will stay with us .. We are his new family”

I thanked them for their kindness and good treatment, and then I got up to take a nap. I was very interested in staying in the Tidwa room, which the mother insisted on keeping closed and allocated another room for me to stay in.

I said objecting after she refused to open it again:

- “But you told me that I am like your son, so please let me sleep in it, and will become my room from now on, is it not I am like tidwa? then I must occupy his room”.

- “But it is full of dust and we have not cleaned it for a while”.

- “Never mind! I will sleep there tonight, and tomorrow clean it”.

In front of my urgency she surrendered and opened it to me.. I entered and have a strong desire to lie on that bed, a desire I myself did not understand.. I closed my eyes and decided to confess my love tomorrow to Ulori, I will ask her to forget Tidwa and love me Maher..  a guest who come from another galaxy

**

I opened my eyes to see white ceiling, I tried the move but the equipment extended to my chest and my arms tied me up and prevented me from getting up, I saw a button hanging on the side of the bed and pressed it and it is only moments until several people entered the place, I asked them weakly:

- “Who are you and where am I?”

A woman in white said:

- “You are in the hospital, Maher.. You involved in an accident that made you enter into a coma and have finally recovered from it. Thank God for your safety, the doctor will come soon to Inspects and reassures your health”.

A doctor entered, he examined me and said after removing some devices from me:

- “You are better now, but we will keep you tonight to monitor your situation and then you can go out”.

Then he turned to the nurse and gave her some instructions and then went out.

I lifted my body a bit and asked the nurse:

- “How long have I been in a coma?”

- “Two weeks”

- “Only two weeks?!”

The nurse was amazed at my surprise and said:

- “Usually people who suffer from coma think that they only spent a day and are surprised by the survival of weeks and perhaps months. But you, unusually, think you've stayed longer”.

I did not answer her. She would not believe me if I told her that during those two weeks I had visited another universe and lived the best days of my life.

**

Someone knocked on the door of the room, I said come on, my friend Saied entered and said: “Thank God for your safety, man, we were worried about you”.. Then he smiled and said, jokingly: “Or did you commit the accident willfully so you did not come to pick me up at the station??”

I laughed at the joke, actually his coming to visit me in the city and my hurried to receive him at station were the reason for what happened to me..

In fact, I can’t forget what happened to me. I would like to tell the entire world that there is a galaxy of Konadonia, I would like to tell them about the planet Junim and the Tidwa family. But if I spoke they would accuse me of madness or say dreams.

I wonder what the Tidwa family did when they discovered my disappearance, they will live the pain of losing their son for the second time, and Ulori, her wound will open again.. They are good people who do not deserve pain.

In any case, I have recorded my experience during the coma and wrote all the details that I passed.. Who knows, science may develop and prove the validity of my trip one day.

**

Maher closed his computer and then got up from the chair and went to the lounge to sit next to his friend Saied.

Saied said when he saw him:

- “You seem to have finished writing, finally, I was tired sitting alone, all these days and you are still talking about this galaxy of Konadonia that you saw in your sleep and lock yourself in your room to write about”.

Maher protested:

- “It was not a dream, I actually visited that planet Believe me, I still remember everything as if I had just lived!”

- “I think you are a skeptic of the theory of parallel universes, do you remember how you argue with our friends who support the theory?”

- “Yes, I remember, but that was before the accident ... Now I am a strong supporter of it”.

Maher paused for a moment and then completed:

- “The most beautiful thing happened to me is seeing my mother, I mean the other version of my mom .. How happy to see her after all these years, do you know the impact of visiting someone dear to you in a dream? You wake up and you feel like you've already seen him! This is my feeling now when I think of my mother, I wish I didn’t wake up from the coma and stay in the planet Junim, I loved the simplicity of life in it, I loved its homes and residents .. I loved the presence of my mother”.

- “And Ulori? You were talking about her eagerly”.

Maher sighed bitterly:

- “Yes, I really loved her ... I wish I could meet her copy here on earth, certainly she is somewhere on this planet, or maybe she was born and died a long time ago or not yet created”.

Saied rose from his place, saying:

- Maher This is enough... Enough delusions, what happened with you is just a dream, and even if it is not a dream then it is something that has passed and ended, turn to your life, you are coming to the graduation exams, you should go to college,  you missed a lot of lessons”.

Maher surrendered and said:

- “Okay, okay, I'll go to college tomorrow”

**

While Maher stood in the college yard with his friends, Lena invited him to go with her to attend an exhibition of drawings of one of her friends, who will graduate this year from the Faculty of Arts; Maher didn’t mind and accepted the invitation.

 

In the evening, Maher was walking around the exhibition hall to watch the paintings. Lena called him:

- “Maher, Come to introduce you to my friend Salwa”.

Maher turned to greet Salwa, the gallery owner, and as soon as his eyes fell on her, he exclaimed with emotion:

- “Ullori!”

The girls looked at him surprised, he said apologetically:

- “Sorry, you look like a girl I know”.

Salwa looked at him carefully for a few seconds and then I asked:

- “Haven’t we met before? I feel I've known you for a long time!”

Her friend intervened to say:

- “You visited me in college more than once; you may have seen him there”.

Maher said vaguely:

- “Or maybe we met somewhere else” ...

- “What do you mean?”. Salwa asked with surprise

- “No, nothing .. I liked your paintings, you are a talented artist”

Maher smiled to himself, he found her .. It is Ulori, he decided to get to know her and get close to her. On Junim's planet it was not destined for Ulori to marry Tidwa, but here ... who knows how the end will be.

They came out of the exhibition hall, he offered to bring her home, she didn’t mind... They walked side by side; she turned to him, saying:

- “True Maher, who is Ulori that you called me by her name?”

He said smiling:

- “It's a long story I might tell you someday” …

- “It’s okay. I’ll wait”.

Lina intervened in the talk objected:

- “You seem to forget that I am with you, talking as if you already knew one another for a long time! Remember that I am the reason for your meeting, and if something happens in the future, the credit will be mine”.

Salwa said shyly:

- “Stop, what is this talk?”

Maher guffawed... He laughed as he did not laugh before, the road appeared clear in front of him, and will walk until he reaches his destination, and then, will publish the story of his journey in the planet Junim.. The story of the guest who comes without date.



* The above story is translated from Arabic. Original text : here


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