Friday, August 17, 2012

Uncle Usama

One of my dad’s very good friends is Uncle Usama. We’ve known him our whole lives. Ever since I was a child the things I would remember the most about him was that he was a doctor who took your blood (a phlebotomist I later learned), that he smoked a lot, and that he had the crinkliest eyes when he laughed, which was all the time. He is one of the kindest men I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, so let me tell you a story about Uncle Usama.

My sister sent me this photo a few days ago, asking me if I remembered this envelope. She’s spending the summer with my dad in Egypt and Uncle Usama came to visit them for dinner, bringing this letter along with him. Unopened, this envelope has been with him for at least 17 years. On the front of the envelope, in English and Arabic, it says: From Susan to dad. There’s also a gruesome-looking heart with an arrow going through it, and a pool of “bloud” (blood) draining out of it.

I had no recollection of this mysterious envelope whatsoever. Uncle Usama handed it to my dad, apologizing for the superbly late delivery, and told him that a very long time ago when my dad had gone to Egypt for the summer without me, I found out Uncle Usama was going to Egypt as well, and asked him to give my dad this envelope. Inside the envelope is a letter to my dad, sealed, and signed with a gruesome heart on the front of the envelope. For unknown reasons, Uncle Usama was never able to give my dad this letter, and it has been sitting in his paper collection for almost two decades. He apologized profusely and said that for whatever reason, every time he would see my dad he would forget to bring along the letter. But this time he remembered! The envelope is still sealed and the gruesome heart is just about starting to fade away, but Uncle Usama remembered this little letter from a little girl to her beloved dad.

As my sister was telling me this on the phone, tears welled up in my eyes. I remembered that as a child I used to love writing little letters and giving them to people, usually with candy and chocolates inside the envelopes as well. I specifically remember drawing this heart on many envelopes for some bizarre reason, and just the beautiful fact that Uncle Usama held onto this letter for this many years, reaffirmed in me that great people still exist in the world.

I talked to my dad on the phone and he was so happy, I could feel his happiness from thousands of miles away. He promised to hold onto the letter and not open it until the next time I see him so we can open it together.

Incredible people still do incredibly small things to make this world a better place. Thank you Uncle Usama.


Hanan said...

What I had forgotten to mention, was that Uncle Usama forgot to bring the letter along that day, and only remembered just as he was turning the corner to our house.. The minute he remembered, he turned around, went all the way back to his house, brought the letter, and drove back here.. he added about an extra hour onto his drive... in Ramadan!
So yeah.. definitely, wonderful people, still do exist! :) Alhamdolelah that we know such people!

bintbattuta said...

Hanan you dont know how much this event affected me that day and afterwards :) so thankful for such incredible people in our lives! <3

bintbattuta said...
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Unknown said...

This story is so touching. Loved it. I love it when those kinds of things happen! Gave me goosebumps all over!