I have so many things going through my head right now. I want to tell you about our family’s road trip to Canada, how we drove for two days– six hours each– while stopping for the night to spare our younger family members boredom and our ears complaints. I want to tell you how three days (excluding driving time) to see my mother, brother, sister and her children are not enough. Yet make the right amount of time to avoid becoming a burden with children and demands of our own. Three days are the magic number for being house guests, an advice given by our prophet fourteen hundred plus years ago. From experience, our family concurs.
My thoughts are currently flooded with memories of how I was supposed to be the one who stayed. The one who took care of my mother. The daughter she’d hoped all her daughters would follow, and maybe one day she’d convince the others who’ve already left to come back and fill that apartment building she’s been dreaming of raising on the lot she bought many years ago in one of Cairo’s emerging suburbs. In hope that she’d be surrounded by her five children with their families. We now meet in some random country, and dream of reuniting, One of these days, we say. One of these days…
The lake is finally frozen solid, this is late in the season for the lake to fully freeze. I saw a man on skis getting pulled by a red parachute on the lake. It made me think of how this place is still foreign to my eyes. Even after crossing the border, without delays or stops for a background check–I am after all no longer an alien, our four matching blue passports fit flawlessly, unlike my former large green passport, nicknamed by most Egyptians ‘The Green Slipper’ (el shibshib lakhdar) signifying it’s insignificance. I have a love hate relationship with my green slipper, not because of my country, but because of what it reminds me of, the bureaucracy, how many government buildings I had to roam, how many tears I cried. The top officials making comments about per-headscarf photograph versus post head-scarf photograph. How all I could do was sit in a chair and stare back at one of the officials, trying hard not to insult someone up high so I can get him to sign approval on my papers. Today is January twenty third, two days from Egypt’s first revolution anniversary. The only change anyone feels, is now we can complain publicly, not behind closed doors. And everything remains almost the same, except that there are more conspiracy theories than before, and the streets are not as safe. We are two days from a revival of what the world watched a year ago, and this year people are anticipating the worst, for now the military has long shown it’s true colors. I have a bad feeling I can’t shake off.
Sorry for the heavy post, I’ve been trying to steer away from topics like these from this space… from life. As I write this I realize this is personal, It shouldn’t be shared. But I am worried, and I want to complain, I want to let it out because I can not articulate what I’ve just typed in words. In fact I do not wish to talk about it, even though it’s all my mother and brother want to talk about. When they start, I leave the room. I go to read a book that talks about just that, an oppression leading to an uprising, but the book is fiction. I know everything will be okay by the end of the book. So I read on as I wait for a date that was supposed to be celebrated this year, a date that was supposed to bring hope not anxiety. January twenty five, we are rooting for you, please don’t let us down.