Uqab is a fifteen years old Bedouin boy. He is quiet, reserved, reticent, hardly speaks. A long time ago, a Bedouin warrior came to the village riding on a horse. No one knew him, who he was, where he came from. He wore a blue thoab, black serval, and on the head a white and red shemagh. He stopped at the well and took a long drink of water. After he quenched his thirst, he gave water to his horse and poured water over its body. On the horse was an infant wrapped in gray cloth. Boutheina, the village’s goat herder’s mother, saw him, approached, and asked whether he wanted to shelter the baby in a tent. The man agreed. Three days later, before sunset, the man died. They found his body on top of the dune with his eyes wide open.
Boutheina called the baby boy Uqab as a sign of grace and strength. Uqab grew up in the Sahara Desert, the area where the Bedouin had left him. He likes taking care of the goats. He learned how to lead animals without hitting them, how to communicate without saying a word. The people love and respect him; some are even afraid of him because he doesn’t like talking and sharing with others. The only person he speaks to is Tadla, who is two years younger than he. Tadla knows Uqab well. Tadla likes everything about Uqab: his big and dark amber eyes, his smooth skin, black curly hair, small ears. She loves looking into his eyes as if she understands what he wants to say.
One morning Uqab and Tadla start wandering in the desert until the sun slowly descended on the dunes. They set on the sand motionlessly and watched the sunset. There was no more suffering, hunger, war, and death at that moment. No words either; the golden sunbeams on the sand made them pointless. Instead, there was warmth, light, and a slow breeze blowing from the south. They felt an imperceptible bond uniting their souls with the billions of lights of the galaxy.
They remain sitting on the sand until nightfall. Suddenly Uqab got up, grasped Tadla’s hand, and both started running up to the top of the dune. Tadla could not keep up with him and fell a few times. Uqab helped her to get up, and both kept running. After twenty minutes, they reached the top of the dune. Uqab lied on the sand with closed eyes. “Listen,” Uqab told Tadla. She closed her eyes too. There was not a single sound of anything, and the silence was chilling. She was frightened. “I want to go home,” she told him and started walking down the dune. “Are you coming?” There was no answer. She kept walking, and she looked back to see whether Uqab was coming from time to time. At the bottom of the dune, she stopped and looked up. She saw Uqab’s small silhouette on the top of the dune. The silhouette started descending.