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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  1. 7elwa aweeeeeee ya dina bgd:)
    keep it up

  2. super like.. hang in there cause it'll get a lot better :)
    "Anyone know the scientific progress on time travel? " (Y)
    kont 3yzek te2oli esm el Ipad lel asaf :D

    1. hahaha, the world is not ready to know that I name my stuff :)
      Thanks a lot for your feedback :)