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I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. She said she has tried to leave her iPhone at the hotel room, where she was staying, and go to the beach with just a book in her purse but wasn’t able to do it.

I had the best intentions to disconnect myself from the world but for some reason I couldn’t do it! She explained in a tone that suggested she was hopeless about her condition and perhaps also about the circumstances.

Do you know the true reason why you have to have your iPhone with you all the time? I asked, feeling too much of being a therapist.

I thought my kids might want to reach me. She said but her face didn’t support the statement.  I was planning on reading but as soon as I got to the beach I pulled my iPhone and found myself checking emails and browsing the web!

We both came to a conclusion that the need to be constantly connected became a debilitating condition for many of us. I don’t have an iPhone but I check my email (three separate accounts), my three Facebook pages, and my Twitter account many times a day, and I carry my cell phone with me at all times.

And what when the home phone rings while my family is eating dinner? I get up to see who is calling. Just in case it is an emergency. Emergency? What kind of emergency?

This conversation brought me back to the question: Who makes the choice? Am I responsible for my choices or am I only answering to something that makes me choose and my input is limited to accepting an outside calling?  But then again, if I choose to answer to that outside calling, aren’t I choosing as well?

Taher, the main character from my novel, “To Kill the Other,” struggles with the question about choices throughout his life.  Every time he faces the question, he visits “the room of meetings,” which is a place within each one of us.  It’s the space where we struggle and where we make decisions.

Here is the conversation the seven-year-old Taher had with his father:

His father told him all about the room of meetings, and Taher knew that it was the most important place on earth, since all decisions were made right there.

“Every man enters the room of meetings many times in his life.”

His father leaned toward him the same way he always did when he revealed the secrets of life.

“Why?” Every cell of Taher’s body waited for the explanation.

“Because this is the place where one makes decisions.” His father’s index finger rose to the sky.

“Decisions?” The boy’s eyes grew wider.

“Choices,” his father explained. “You choose what you want to do, or what you want to have, or who you want to be when you grow up.” His father raised his eyebrows. “You choose black or white.”

“Stones?” The boy came up to his knees. “The ones in the garden, near the flower pools?”

“Sometimes the stones, and sometimes … something different.”

His father’s explanation was complicated but convincing.

“Daddy, but I don’t know what I want. I like the white stones, but I like the black ones, too.” Taher wanted to learn everything.

“You will have to choose between the two of them.” His father’s voice carried a sad note.

“What if I won’t?” Taher lowered his voice.

“Then someone else will choose for you.”

“What if the other person knows best? Just like you?” Taher leaned forward.

“Someone else might know better and choose for you when you are a child, but when you become a man, you choose for yourself. Do you understand?” his father asked.

“What if I will always be a child?” Taher said, shrugging his shoulders.

“We both know that’s impossible, right?”

“Yes, we both know.” Taher nodded.

“And remember.” His father lowered his voice. “A man makes his decisions by himself. Nobody can do it for him.”

“Why?” the boy asked, smiling.

“Why?” The father smiled back.

“Because he is a man!” The boy’s hands traveled up the air like strong branches, repeating a gesture he had learned from his father.

“Excellent!” His father pretended to be surprised, but both knew the answer, since it had been said so many times before.


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One Response to “Who makes the choice?”

  1. blogolicious says:

    Lovely piece! Your father must be proud.