Fatimah Abouelsoud

Neighborhood views

Southeast · Larchmere · Essay

The reminiscing of a lover leads a deep heart out to the porch.

Light rain drops and freckles a mind that wanders higher in the sky with each breath, in and out. The eyes wander over the shells of trees that hold witness to the reconfiguring of pain. Wisdom is shared through the whispers of the leaves. Solace is found in the council of five, each singing a different chord of the season. 

Here, underneath an unobstructed gaze of the universe, she looks and listens at the goings of life. Here, dogs bark at the top of a hill that overlooks a quiet, underdog city that holds so much beauty once one is willing to accept the pain. It can be a sad city, tucked under the lull of gray clouds and cold.

                                                                        The air always leaves its residents tired. 

Somewhere, along the edges of this grayness, pockets of color and creativity blossom from that pain. Rainbows from the refraction of art paint one’s own pain in color. Under that gray sky, reflecting on self and society helps to part the clouds on any day. 

The sound of a radio debate cuts through the trance, bringing her back to the rows of two-family homes. Her thoughts spark tear ducts. The fullness of her heart returns the thoughts to her trees. Elected strangers that created friendships that formed family. People who she can’t imagine her life without. 

She looks inside at the heat pressing up on the cooler glass, leaving drops where their cheeks touch. Inside, the air carries the enveloping scent of spice and earth, sunflower and coconut. The wisps of a relaxed saxophone unravel under the rain. 

Her spirit flips through the treasures of her life, picked and stashed as moments. The shelves of books hold keys to worlds and emotions from all over time. No wonder she has a propensity to get lost in her thoughts. On those trains she rides on knowledge that lightens her lenses on life. 

Past loves are not ends. They are lessons, leaving deep roots with origins that fade over time. Those thoughts never really go away, even as minds mature and emotions evaporate. The city a snow globe that contains the flurry of flashbacks.

The last wisp of the incense tumbles into air. A dog barks one more time for good measure before being brought in from the cold. The last car on the block pulls into its driveway and families reconvene for the evening. Another cone of incense is lit, the tingle of clove invigorating her fingers as she begins to type . . .


Fatimah Abouelsoud

Fatimah Abouelsoud graduated with a degree in neuroscience from CWRU and seeks to build a bridge between art and science with her writing. The growth of her twenties has been shaped by her community, spirituality, and nature. 


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

Project Presented with Support By the Cleveland Public Library

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit cpl.org.