Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drops of Sunlight

She opens her eyes. She must have been crying in her sleep; her eyelids are heavy and swollen. She doesn’t move off the bed, staying there perfectly still, looking at her night table with all the unread books, her desk with the stacks of papers, and the floor, which should be flooded by sunlight from her bedroom window, but is covered with shadows instead. Tiny drops of sunlight fall on the broken down wooden floor, escaping the intricate pattern of her curtain, but even those aren’t as bright as the sun outside. Drops of faded light are all they are.

She doesn’t want to go back to sleep. She doesn’t even want to close her eyes, but she isn’t getting up. Life has become such a chore, so similar to the broken down wooden floor, ruined from all her restless dragging of furniture around her room; her desperate attempts to make a change, an effort not even worthy of being a statement of anything. In a few minutes, she will start her day among the shadows, pretending that they don’t annoy her, pretending she is fine; a word she has grown to hate over time. She will say hello to people and smile, she will make jokes, she will eat when she’s hungry and drink when she’s thirsty, and indeed, she will be fine on every possible front. Between the smiles and the jokes and the food, and all the endless chores that add up to life, she will hope she runs into a drop of sunlight, not as bright as the sun outside, but brighter than the shadows, and she will hope it will last for more than just a passing moment. Maybe the drop of sunlight will be warm enough to melt some of the icy sorrow she keeps buried deep inside her heart, or bright enough to scare away her worries, her guilt, her disappointments, even if it only lasts long enough to give her a moment’s peace. Maybe she should even venture to hope that she would run into more than one drop of sunlight on this day.

She gets up, sitting at the edge of the bed, still staring at the drops of sunlight. She has nothing to look forward to, but there will always be a maybe. That will have to do for now.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Patience Is The Key To Relief

She walked into this small gallery in Zamalek, the gallery that her best friend took her to one day, the gallery that was full of all those authentically Egyptian knickknacks. It was a beautiful day on the winter before he went away for his PhD two years ago. They had walked all over Zamalek, had lunch in a small restaurant, all Zamalek restaurants are small which only adds to how adorable and cozy they really are, and they had talked about everything as they usually did. But that was two years ago. The second time she went into that gallery, it was last year, and it was to get a birthday present for her other best friend; a crazy man with a beard and a ponytail that never ceases to shock her on every occasion whether with how crazy he is, how utterly different from her he is, or simply, how he could be one of the sweetest most reliable people she has ever met. She owed him something special, and she knew just what to get.

As soon as she got in the door, she went for the small cardboard box on the floor near the cashier desk and knelt in front of it. She went through the black and white photographs, one by one, filtering the nicest ones out. She must have spent quite some time there, sifting through the photos of Egypt once upon a time when it was beautiful. It was a time she had only seen in old movies. Anyone know the scientific progress on time travel? They were photos of streets, shops, squares, the Nile, buildings that are still there in down town Cairo, and there were photos of people, Egyptians, smiling, poor, beautiful, and so so good. They don’t make them like that anymore.

She carefully selected five of the photos and gave them to the salesman while she looked around the shop. It had oriental style accessories, portraits of old Egyptian movie stars that will always be drop dead gorgeous, mugs, candles, bags and stuff made of cloth that could only be seen in Egypt, used to decorate walls and streets at times of festivities, and street signs! Big street signs, small street signs, refrigerator magnet street signs, some with names of prominent places like Tahrir Square, and others with Egyptian idioms, all gorgeous. One caught her eye, it said “Patience is the key to relief” in intricate Arabic calligraphy, and the English translation beneath it in a smaller font; the Egyptian version of “Patience is a virtue” which everyone knows oh so well. Wasn’t that what she needed? Some patience? Some virtue? Maybe she would indeed reach that state of relief, she just needed a reminder. And it was decided that on that day last year, she would buy 5 photos of 20th century Egypt and refrigerator magnet that looked like a street sign. She went home.

She definitely was not going to put it on the fridge; it was green and the sign was blue, she had SOME taste in colors, even though it fails her sometimes. No, she put it on her whiteboard in her room, the one on the wall behind the door, the one she gets to look at only when the door is closed. At first, there was no place for it, with all the blog article ideas in blue, to do list items in black, goals in red, struck out sentences here, doodles there, and dreams of learning how to ride a bike and learn the cello, not to mention all the things she was going to study, and all the story ideas, and whatever else that pops into her head. She eventually found a place for it, under the dreams written sideways and between the daily to do list and work goals, it was a tiny space but it will do. It will remind her to be patient, to do it one step at a time.

She sits now, one year later, with her desk chair propped in front of the whiteboard, door closed, and stares at her whiteboard. She has erased the dreams, put them somewhere on her ipad. She has erased the work to do list, it had no place on her personal whiteboard, work is to be done at work, but as she stares at the picture she took of the refrigerator magnet she loves so much, the one with the dreams and the to do lists, she sees the shadow of the list of articles and stories that have been there last year, and are still there now, never stuck out, never erased, and will probably never be written now that she doesn’t remember what they were supposed to be about. But she won’t strike them off, and she won’t erase them, she won’t even put them on her ipad, not unless they are done, maybe a year later, maybe two years later, and who knows, maybe right now. She has been patient for a year, she loses her patience sometimes, and she snaps out at other times, it was a tough year, tougher than anything she’s ever been through, but then again she says that every year. She hasn’t found relief yet but who knows, maybe if she stays patient, she will find relief, one way or another.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Am Angry

I am angry.

I’m angry at the traffic every single day. I try to put off my fits of road rage till as far ahead in the road as possible but I usually only last 10 minutes, not even out of Maadi. There is always the driver in between two lanes, or the one trying to overtake you, not to mention the slow slow slow movers who let every other car in the traffic jam take your place while you stay still for 15 minutes longer just because s/he’s the car ahead of you. There will always be the one coming from the far left to the far right that swears at you because you have to be the stupid one not to predict is glorious arrival, and it is indeed glorious with all the honks. And we mustn’t forget the ones that seem to flow into you from the side; they probably want to know how elastic your car can be against the large truck on your other side. I won’t even mention the pedestrians or the microbuses.

I’m angry at the country. Of course I’m angry at the country. I’m angry at how some people think that it’s ok to put people in jail because they may “seem” dangerous. I’m angry at people who hate the revolution because they’re too blind to see beyond it into the depth of the shit this country has sunk into. I’m angry at the revolution and everyone who took part in it because they let it die, and they let others die, and they gave up. I’m angry at every war, every famine, every sickness, every accident. I’m angry at every child sleeping on the streets because I can’t help him, and every old man begging in the street. I’m angry at every woman whose husband beats up. I’m angry at every man who condescends on other people.

I’m angry at how work is not satisfying me. I’m angry at how people think they’re doing the right thing while they’re messing everything up. I’m angry at people who don’t listen. I’m angry at people who make useless excuses. I’m angry at people who go out of their way to hurt other people. I’m angry at people who don’t apologize. I’m angry at people who are looking for ways to make you take the blame for World War II.

I’m angry at my family for being too scared and not giving me enough space. I’m angry at them for being too supportive sometimes when I feel like I don’t deserve their support. I’m angry at my friends for caring too much and I’m angry at them sometimes for caring too little.

I am especially angry at nosy people; the ones that come over to my desk and go through my stuff idly or ask me about how much I paid for my car, not to mention, where I’m going and where I’m coming from. I’m angry at the people that corner me with personal questions that I end up having no other way of answering except with the whole truth and nothing but the truth, despite me being an elaborate liar.

I’m angry at all those passing thoughts of the things my ex did to me. I’m even angrier at myself for letting him do them. I’m angry at being so na├»ve or trusting. I’m even angry at being mean to him sometimes, even if he deserved it.

I’m angry at everything I want and can’t have, about everything I wish I could do but doesn’t seem likely. I’m angry at every frustration, every disappointment. I’m angry at every dream I let go. I’m angry at everyone who told me to let go of my dreams. I’m angry at every story I haven’t written and every book I haven’t read.

I’m angry at being so stuck in this life that seems to have been set for me and fenced with electrocuted barbed wire. I’m angry at all the rules, and the comments, and society, and people. I’m angry at everyone who conforms to life as it is. I’m angry at the stale stagnant state we’re living in; the lack of change, and all the resistance to it. I’m angry at all the misconceptions, and all the falsehood. I’m angry at the lies that we make up and seem to believe.

Apparently, I’m angry at me for being born.

I’m angry all the time. It’s exhausting and scary sometimes and I think it’s affecting my health negatively; blood pressure and heart rate and stuff like that, so I should stop being angry, I just don’t know how. To me, being angry is being human. As a good friend always says, “it’s a savage world out there.” He couldn’t possibly be more right, he just missed how, since I’m always angry, I must be a savage too. Aren’t all savages angry?

P.S. I’m angry at how this post sounded better in my head.

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