When I first moved into the house, internal finishing work on the ground floor was just beginning. There were painters, plumbers, plasterers, electricians and many many more, still working on the site. My Mother and I moved into the second floor, which we had cut off from the ground floor by putting in a door at the top of the stairs. It was a purely illusionary gesture as the entrance hallway downstairs was of double height and opened onto the second floor. Anyone could have climbed up and been on the same floor as us. But it was tacitly, and silently agreed that that area was off limits as it was occupied by two women. And a small dog. Poochy the Yorkshire terrier.
Every morning I used to open the door on the stairs so that the workers could have access to the roof which was still being finished. We had moved in prematurely as we could not keep the big dogs in the apartment any longer, they were getting totally out of hand and had absolutely demolished the apartment. But moving in then, gave me the chance to watch, and in some instances, supervise the finishing work done on the ground floor.I got into the habit of walking through the ground floor while the workers were there, asking them about things they were doing and why, and in the process learned a great deal about what they did.
One morning, following my routine, I was going down the stairs to the floor below, when Poochy wanted to come with me. He was a really small dog, and the workers had a lot of really dangerous, heavy tools, and as per our culture, did not take very kindly to dogs, half in fear, from the big dogs, and half in disgust of being touched by their impure noses. So when Poochy spun around himself several times in excitement and yipped up a storm, conveying his appreciation that he is coming downstairs with me, I had to nip it in the bud, turned on him and very firmly said ‘No. Up’ pointing towards the floor above. Excitement gone, ears and head drooping, a scorching look of reproach at the inhumane torture I was putting him through, he reluctantly turned round and before starting back up, looked hopefully at me, in case I changed my mind. I didn’t, pointed up the stairs and said ‘Go. Now’. With a great deal of dignity he walked up the stairs and disappeared into the livingroom.
There were a couple of workers standing a few steps below me whom I had not noticed previously, walking down I nodded and said good morning, which they returned. I continued on my way and they were nearly at the roof when I heard one of them say:”Did you see that? Even the dog understands English! Damn our luck!” كتنا نيله في حظنا الهباب