At Hava’s doorstep, 10:00 am:
Hassan, the naughty nine-year-old black boy, kicks open the door to Hava’s home.
Hassan: (Shouting) Hava, let’s go buy some ice-cream, Hava…
No answer is heard.
On the roof of Hava’s home, 10:02 am:
Hava’s mother is picking up the laundry she had hung to dry. With each piece of cloth out of the way, one more boat appears in the heart of the sea. There is a breeze and Hassan can still be heard calling Havva.
At Hava’s doorstep, 10:05 am:
Hassan is still standing in front of the door, and Hava’s grandmother is trying to throw him out.
Grandmother: Hava is not in. Go away.
Hassan: Where is she?!
Grandmother: I don’t know where she is, just go play with the other kids. Play with the boys, not the girls. Go on son, Hava is a woman now. She shouldn’t play with boys anymore.
Grandma tries to close the door on Hassan while talking, but Hassan is too stubborn and wouldn’t let him. He keeps calling Havva.
Hava’s roof, 10:10 am:
Hava’s mother enters a mosquito net, under which Hava is sleeping. From the outside of the net, one can only see a shadow of Hava’s mother, gently shaking and caressing her daughter out of sleep.
Hava’s mother: Hava? Havva, honey? Honey, dear? Wake up, it’s past ten. You should get ready to go to school. Get up, honey.
Grandma tries to close the door on Hassan while talking, but Hassan is too stubborn and wouldn’t let him. He keeps calling Havva.
Hava’s doorstep, 10:12 am:
Hassan tries to open the door while calling Havva’s name. Grandma stands behind the door, literally standing in Hassan’s way of getting in.
Hassan: (Sticking his head in) Hava! Hava, come play!
Grandma: Go… go!
Hava’s roof and the backyard, 10:15 am:
Hava’s mother is still in the process of waking her up.
Hava’s mother: Hava… Hava, honey… Get up, honey. Sweetie, get up… Today is an important day.
Hava: (Still can’t be seen from the outside of the mosquito net) Why is today important?
Hava’s mother: I won’t tell you until you get up. Honey, get up and come out of the mosquito net and have your breakfast, then I’ll tell you.
Hava: Why is today important?
Hava’s mother: (Coming out of the mosquito net) I won’t tell you till you get up and come downstairs. (and goes down the ladder)
Hava: (Sticking her head out of the mosquito net. A black spot in the white cloth.) tell me, why is today an important day? (Hears no answer) At least tell me for whom it’s important.
Hava’s mother: (All the way down from the ladder into the yard) Today is important for you, honey…. Come on down. I want to buy you something real pretty.
Hava: What do you want to buy me?
Hava’s mother: (Goes in the room) Come down here so I tell you.
Hava’s doorstep, 10:18 am:
Hassan and grandma are fighting. Hassan opens the door again and shouts.
Grandma: Hava’s not in. Get out!
Hassan: Hava is inside. (Facing the backyard) Havva, come play with me.
Grandma: Out, you saucy boy!
Hassan: Hava? I’m outside, come soon!
The backyard, 10:19 am:
Hava’s mother comes out of the room. She puts a veil on and takes the matted basket hanging on the wall.
Hava’s mother: Come down, honey. I’m going.
Hava: What do you want to buy?
Hava’s mother: I want to buy you something real pretty… Come down here.
Hava: Tell me, what do you want to buy?
Hava’s mother: Grandma will tell you why today is important. I’m going, honey; It’s almost noon.
The adjacent backyard, 10:30 am:
Grandma is sitting on a rug, benefiting from the shadow of a tree, and lovingly putting bites of sandwich and sips of tea in Havva’s mouth. Hava plays around, sometimes refusing to eat.
Grandma: Eat, sweetie. Eat, baby... That’s a good girl… One more bite, now.
Hava: I had enough.
Grandma: Starting today, you shouldn’t go in the street and play with the boys anymore…
Hava: (Pushes back the sandwich) I had enough, I don’t want any more.
Grandma: Where is your mom?
Hava: She went out to buy me something pretty.
Grandma: What would you like her to buy?
Hava: A doll.
Grandma: Dolls are for kids, you’re a grown-up now.
Hava: I want a doll with long hair.
Grandma: You’re a grown-up now. What you want is a chador, not a doll.
Hava: I want a beautiful doll.
Grandma: A doll won’t do you any good.
Hava: I want one of those beautiful dolls that my friend has.
Grandma: Take this one last bite, now.
Hava: No, I’m stuffed. I don’t want any more.
Grandma: Eat this one bite, honey.
Hava: It’s the last one, then!
The door opens with Hassan’s kick again, and Hassan appears in the doorway.
Hassan: Hava, are you home?
Hava stands up to go toward Hassan.
Grandma: Don’t go, Hava. I won’t let you go. You’re a grown-up now, you shouldn’t go out to play with the kids.
Restrained from going out, Hava sits on the rope hanging from the tree, riding on the homemade swing.
Hassan: Hava, let’s go buy some ice-cream.
Hava: Granny, please let me go play with Hassan.
Grandma: No, that’s not possible.
Hava: Please, let me go.
Grandma: No, honey, that’s not possible. Hassan, you go on, Havva isn’t coming.
Hava: We want to go buy some ice-cream. Please let me go!
Grandma: Have you done your homework?
Grandma: When did you do that?
Hava: Early morning. (Grandma sits quiet for a while, thinking, without saying anything) Granny, please let me go.
Grandma: No, I won’t let you! You’re a grownup now. You’re a woman.
Hava: Granny, please! Let me go!
Grandma: You’ve grown up. You’re 9 years old now.
Hassan: (Standing by the door) Havva, let’s go play.
Hava: Why was it ok for me to go out and buy ice-cream with Hassan yesterday, but I can’t do it today?
Grandma: You weren’t a woman yesterday. You weren’t a grown-up. You’re a grown-up today.
Hassan: Hava, come if you’ve done your homework.
Grandma: Hava has grown up now, she should spent her time with other girls, not boys. You go find yourself some boy to play with. Go on, boy.
Hassan: I’m not leaving without Havva.
Grandma: (Angry) I’m saying it nicely, go… You’re not going?! … Ok, I’m coming to teach you one or two things!
Grandma walks toward the door and throws Hassan out. Havva uses the chance to escape to the roof.
Hassan: (Still shouting) Havva, I’m waiting for you outside.
The backyard and the roof, 10:40 am:
Hava uses a ladder to escape to the roof. Grandma goes after her.
Grandma: Hava, honey, come down here. People will see you up there!
Hava: (From the roof) Hassan, where are you? Come.
Grandma: Hava, don’t play with boys, honey. If you’re bored, come to me. I’ll play with you, myself.
Hava: (Facing grandma from the roof) Why could I go out and play till yesterday, but I can’t today?!
Grandma: Honey, you were a child until yesterday, you weren’t nine, yet. You went to sleep last night, to wake up as a nine-year-old. You’re a woman now. Come down. This isn’t right!
Hava: I slept and woke up as a woman?!
Grandma: Yes honey, you’re a woman now. Come down here so I can tell you everything.
Hava: (Facing the alley) Hassan, come here. I’m here.
Hassan: (From the alley, looks on the roof) Why does your grandma throw me out of the house?
Hava: Hassan, wait a minute. Just one minute! My mom will be back, I’ll get her permission, and we’ll go.
Hassan: I’m standing here, be fast. I want to go buy ice-cream.
Hava: Don’t you go eating ice-cream on your own! Wait for me.
Grandma: (Still calling Havva from the backyard) Come down honey. Don’t play with boys. Listen to your grandmother. Come down.
The Alley and the roof, 10:43 am:
Hava’s mother enters the alley and sees Havva on the roof.
Hava’s mother: Sweetie, why are you standing up there? You’ll fall down! Step back.
Hava: Granny says I went to sleep and when I woke up this morning, I was a woman!
Hava’s mother: She’s right, sweetie. Honey, go down before you fall… Hassan, why are you standing here?
Hava: Granny threw me out. She won’t let Hava and I go buy ice-cream.
Hava’s mother: Follow me. I’ll ask Hava’s granny for her permission.
Hassan follows Havva’s mother home.
Hava’s home, 10:45 am:
Hava’s mother and Hassan go in. Hava goes down the ladder to the backyard.
Hava: Mummy, see what granny is doing? She’s not letting me go play with Hassan.
Grandma: You’re a grown-up now. You can’t play with boys.
Hava’s mother goes in the room and changes her black chador to her home chador with flower patterns and takes the veil off her face. She shows the black cloth she just bought to grandmother.
Hava’s mother: Mother, see if you like the cloth I bought for Havva’s chador.
Grandma: Let me see, dear. (Carefully inspects the cloth) It’s very beautiful.
Hava’s mother: (Sitting beside to the room window) Hava, come here, let’s see if this cloth fits you.
Hava: (Leaning on the ladder thinking of Hassan) Mummy, can I go play with Hassan?
Hava’s mother: Sweetie, come here and let me measure your size for the chador.
Hava: Please mom, can I?
Hassan is standing in a corner of the backyard, where grandma can’t see him. With hands, he gestures to Havva to follow him outside.
Hava’s mother: Honey, come here and let me measure the size of the cloth.
Hava: Mummy, please, please let me go play with Hassan. He won’t wait for me any longer.
Hava’s mother measures the size of the chador on her. Hassan gestures to Hava to follow him to the alley. Grandma sees Hassan.
Grandma: (Kinder this time) Hassan, my dear boy, you’re like my own grandson. Boys play with boys, and girl with girls. Go on dear. Go outside. Havva is a grown-up now, she’s 9 years old. (Facing Havva’s mother) Give me the chador, I’ll cut it myself. You might not do it right.
Hava’s mother: (Hands the chador over to grandma) Hava, sweetie, I forgot to bring the needle. Go get it for me.
Hava goes to the room to bring the needle.
Grandma cuts the cloth.
Hassan: (Running out of patience) Havva, if you’re not coming, I’d better go. The ice-creams will be over soon.
Hava steps out of the room and sits beside that same window. Hassan uses his hands to gesture to her to run away, but Havva just looks at him with regret.
Hassan: I’m running late. Havva, let’s go.
Hava’s mother: Honey, did you get the needle?
Hava: (Angry at her mother) I looked, it wasn’t in the closet.
Hava’s mother: Then come here so I can measure your size for this cloth.
Acting sulky, Hava turns her back to her mother.
Hassan: Hava, I’ll wait for you outside. I’ll go buy ice-cream by myself if you don’t come fast. (And leaves the house)
Hava’s mother: Honey, come here and let me measure your size for this cloth.
Hava: I’m not coming!
Hava’s mother goes toward her and tries to measure the cloth on her, but Hava pushes her back and doesn’t let her.
Hava’s mother: Sweetie, come see how beautiful the cloth I bought for you, is.
Hava: I don’t want to. I want to go with Hassan.
Grandma: Honey, it’s noon. No one goes out at noon.
Hava’s mother: (Feeling sorry for Hava seeing her sad and sulky.) Granny, let her go for today, she won’t go out starting tomorrow.
Grandma: No, dear. Today’s her birthday, she can’t go out anymore. You gave birth to her nine years ago on the same day.
Havva’s mother: I remember, granny. Havva was born on 1:00 pm, it’s not noon yet. So let her go out to play until 1:00 pm when she has to go to school.
Grandma: No, dear. Havva was born at the time of the noon prayer. I remember it was exactly noon when someone said “congratulations, you now have a grandchild”. I asked if it was a boy or a girl and they said it was a girl.
Hava’s mother: Granny, I’m the one who gave birth to her. Now, you’re telling me when she was born?
Grandma: You had a lot of pain and all you could think about was how much pain you had. You couldn’t tell night from day.
Havva: Granny, since I was born at noon, let me go play with Hassan till noon. At noon, when I’m 9 years old, I’ll come back.
Grandma: It’s noon now.
Hava: It’s not noon, it’s still morning. Please, granny, would you let me go play with Hassan for one more time?
Grandma: Go get the clock so I can see what time it is.
Hava runs to the room in joy and brings the clock back, showing the time to her grandmother.
Hava: See, granny? It’s 11:00 am. There is one hour before it’s noon. Can I go? Hassan will think I don’t want to play with him, if I don’t go.
Grandma: Honey, will you promise to be back home by noon?
Hava: Yes, I promise.
Grandma: How will you know it’s noon?
Hava: (Hava panics, trying to come up with an answer) Well… I’ll take my watch. Now let me go, I’m running late.
Grandma: Will you make sure you’re back by 12 o’clock? God won’t forgive, if you’re late.
Hava: Granny, one minute has already gone by, of the one hour I have. Let me go, now!
Grandma: I want to teach you how to know when it’s noon.
Havva: Well, I’m taking my watch. My one hour is almost over, now let me go!
Adjacent backyard, 11:30 am:
Holding her grandmother’s hand, Hava walks with her to the adjacent backyard. Grandma breaks a thin dry branch from a tree and stands it on the ground. Hava is in panic for the minutes she is losing, but has no choice and follows her grandmother wherever she goes.
Grandma: Look, honey. This stick makes a shadow on the ground. As long as it makes a shadow, it’s still morning, when it no longer makes a shadow, it’s noon. Did you understand?
Grandma: Here, put your scarf on and go. May God be with you.
Hava runs to the alley with the stick in her hand and the scarf on her head.
The Beach, 11:10 am:
Hava shows up and asks around to find Hassan, but Hassan is nowhere to be found. She runs into kids who are fishers.
Hava: Guys, have you seen Hassan?
Fisher boy: Which Hassan?
Hava: The one whose father and mother are dead.
Fisher boy: His sister came and took him with her.
Hassan’s home, 11:12 am:
Hassan’s sister who is wearing a veil, comes out of her home, closing the door behind her. Hava says hi to her.
Hassan’s sister: Hello.
Hava: Tell Hassan to come out.
Hassan’s sister: He’s not coming out, he has homework to do.
Hava: Please tell him to come.
Hassan’s sister: Why do you expect me to let him come play with you while your granny throws him out whenever he comes to your house? Go on, Hassan isn’t coming. (Turning to face their house) Hassan, don’t you go anywhere before you’re done with your homework.
Hassan’s sister leaves and when she’s far enough, Hava knocks at the door. Hassan is standing behind a window facing the sea and pushes his head on the bars behind the window in an effort to see Havva.
Hassan: Havva, I’m here. By the window… come here.
Hava: (Walks toward the window) Hassan, when are you coming out to play?
Hassan: I’ll just do my homework and come.
Hava: It will be too late by the time you do your homework. Can’t you not do them?
Hassan: No, my sister would beat me.
Hava: How many assignments do you have?
Hava: (Shows Hassan the stick) Do you see this stick? I have to go home as soon as its shadow runs out. Can’t you forget about your homework? (Stands the stick on the ground and shows Hassan the shadow.) Look, Hassan. It had a bigger shadow at first, it’s smaller now. As soon as the shadow runs out, I have to go home. (Going toward the window again) Can’t you forget about your homework?
Hassan: My sister would beat me.
Hava: Go get your notebook, I’ll teach you a cool trick. Bring your eraser, too. (Hassan brings his notebook and shows it to Havva.) Do you see these lines your teacher has drawn on your homework? Erase them. Tell your sister you did this homework today.
Hassan: Out teacher would know.
Hava: She won’t. Erase the lines and say you did this homework today.
Hassan: Go. I’ll erase them and come. My sister is back, go on.
Hava: I’ll wait for you right here.
Hassan: Get out of here, my sister is back.
Hava: Where should I go?
Hassan: Go to the beach, I’ll come there.
Hava: Be fast.
Hassan: Alright, I’ll be fast.
The beach, 11:20 am:
Hava gets to the beach. There is an old man fishing. Two dark-skinned young boys tie 2 empty oil barrels to make a small boat. Hava walks toward the beach. She sits down near the water, waiting for Hassan, and pushes her stick into the sand, measuring its shadow by the span of her hand. The two boys who are making the boat talk to each other.
Older boy: Make it tight so it doesn’t open in the sea.
Younger boy: It won’t open, but we still need paddles. We should have started by finding a paddle, now that we haven’t, we need to make a sail. See, there is wind.
Older boy: Where can we find a sail from?
Younger boy: We can go to the shore on that side, if we have a sail. Tie the rope real tight, so it doesn’t untie.
Older boy: Pick this up, let’s put it over there.
The two boys put the sticks they have tied together on the barrels. They gradually become curious about Havva, as Havva does about them.
Younger boy: (To Hava) What’s that?
Hava: (Still measuring the shadow of the stick with her span) What?
Younger boy: That?
Younger boy: Yes.
Hava: It’s a stick of wood.
Younger boy: What’s that?
Younger boy: What you’re measuring.
Younger boy: Yes.
Hava: The stick’s shadow.
Younger boy: Of what use is a stick’s shadow?
Hava: I have to go back home as soon the shadow runs out… It used to be a bigger shadow, but it’s pretty small now.
Younger boy: What happens when the shadow runs out?
Hava: When the shadow is gone, I am a woman. Because I was born at noon. At noon, this stick won’t have a shadow, I’ll be 9 years old and can’t play with boys anymore.
Younger boy: (Softly to the older boy) Is this much cloth enough for the sail? (Showing Hava’s scarf moving to the wind)
Older boy: It’s not bad.
Younger boy: Wait here, I’ll be a second. (Goes to Havva and touches her stick.)
Hava: Don’t touch my stick, you would mess up the shadow.
Younger boy: Do you want to ride a boat?
Younger boy: It’s real fun.
Hava: No, I don’t want to. I’m waiting for Hassan.
Younger boy: You’re not coming? We’re going to the other side of the water.
Hava: No, I’m not coming. I’m waiting for Hassan.
Younger boy: I have something real pretty that I have hid. Come and I’ll show it to you.
Hava: No. I have to go back home as soon as my stick’s shadow runs out.
Younger boy: Let’s go ride the boat to the sea together. I’ll save you if the rope unties. Are you coming?
Hava gives up. He takes her hand and walks her to the sea. He takes a toy fish out of his pocket and throws it into the sea.
Younger boy: Do you want that fish? See how pretty it is? See her beautiful tail? Do you want it?
Hava: (Tempted) Yes, I do. Would you give it to me?
Younger boy: Give me your scarf, and I’ll give you the fish.
Hava gives her scarf to the boy, takes the fish from him and throws it into the sea. The fish turns and twists and the waves and comes right back. Havva remembers the stick and the shadow. She runs back to where the stick is… The shadow is much smaller now.
Hava: (To the two boys making the boat) Hey, boy? I put your fish right here. I’ll go after Hassan, watch after my stick till I come back.
The boys have pulled up the sail.
Hassan’s home, 11:40 am:
Hava reaches Hassan’s home and stands at the window.
Hava: Hassan? Why aren’t you coming? There’s just this much left of the shadow. I have to go back home when the shadow runs out. Why don’t you come? (No answer is heard from Hassan) Ok Hassan, I’m not talking to you anymore. I’m here to say goodbye to you, but you don’t come out. Come on, the stick’s shadow is almost gone, there is just a little bit left of it. If you’re not coming, at least say so, so I can go play with someone else.
Hassan: (Shows up behind the window. Offers some money to Havva) Take this money, buy ice-cream, and bring it back here.
The beach, 11:50 am:
The two dark-skinned boys push the boat they’ve made into the sea. They then get on the boat and let the breeze take the boat away. A moment later, Hava shows up and checks on the shadow of the stick. The shadow is very small now. Hava looks at the sea, the two boys and their boat move away from the shore. She takes the toy fish and runs toward the sea.
Hava: Hey, guys? You forgot your fish! I’ll throw it into the sea, so it can swim to you.
Hava throws the fish in the water. The waves move the fish back and forth. Hava waves goodbye and the two boys on the boat wave back. The boat moves far from the shore. Hava picks up the stick and runs back the same way she came.
Hassan’s home, 11:55 am:
Hava runs to the window in panic.
Hava: Hassan? Hassan? Hurry, I’m late!
Hassan: (Comes to the window) Did you get the ice-cream?
Hava: They had no ice-cream left. I bough some sour tamarind pulp and a lollipop. Come on, let’s eat it.
Hassan: Give me some. (And tries to stick his head out of the window, but can’t. Hava stretches her arm and puts some tamarind in Hassan’s mouth.) Wow, that was sour!
Hava: Let’s eat them, say goodbye, and go. (And puts some tamarind pulp in her own mouth.)
Hassan: (His mouth watering because of the sour tamarind) This is too sour, give me the lollipop.
Hava: (At times putting tamarind in Hassan’s mouth, and sometimes putting lollipop in his mouth long enough for him to take one lick) Here is sour… here is sweet.
Mixing the two sweet and sour tastes, their mouths are watering and they don’t notice the time passing by. Hassan takes turn taking away the lollipop and the tamarind from Hava. Suddenly, Hava sees her mother walking towards them from a distance. Startled, she runs to the stick to check on its shadow. There is no shadow left. It’s noon, and one can even hear the call to the noon prayer. Hava is now a woman. She goes back to Hassan. Hava’s mother is only a few steps away. Hava and Hassan try to eat the tamarind and lick the lollipop to the end as fast as they can, in the few steps they have left before she gets there. Hava’s mother enters the shot. She puts the chador she just sewed for Havva, on Hava’s head, takes her arm, and drags her away. Hassan is still tasting the sour and the sweet in his mouth. While still moving his cheeks from the tastes, he watches Hava and her mother walk away. Hava’s mother is taking her to school while holding her hand.
The beach, noon:
The toy fish wiggles between the algae in the wavy sea. The two boys’ sailboat is grasped by the wind. It’s hot and humid. It is noon, to an extent that you’d think you wouldn’t find a shadow anywhere.