The Tumultuous Months of 2011
July – it was the month when I received a phone call, consulted my Lord and a decision was made. It was the month that I scheduled a meeting with my manager to tell him that I could no longer create fireworks of activity in my classrooms in Cairo – he told me he understood, that he was sad, that I should do what I need to do and would be welcome back at any time. It was the month I smiled through moments of heartbreak, when the littlest joy could spark off a prickling of tears as I realised that that joy would have to remain when I left. It was the month when the sparkle was lost in my eyes and friends didn’t want to encounter it – gazes were averted and plastic smiles planted because no one really wanted to talk about it. That month was July.
August – it was my final month in Egypt and coincided with the month of fasting and my sister’s arrival. It was the month that I smiled real smiles and accepted the new chapter that would be written in my book of life. It was the month I climbed to the very top of the minarets in Ibn Tulun’s mosque, marvelling at the spectacular display of houses upon houses and the Citadel of Salahuddin that looked deceivingly closer than it was. It was the month I prayed the taraweeh prayers behind the owner of one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever been blessed to hear, and the month when I discovered a Somali restaurant that would satisfy my love of Somali cuisine, albeit several months too late. It was the month when I travelled to Ain el Sokhna, sat in a plastic chair by the edge of the sea and allowed the waves to caress away my worries. It was the month when I cooked iftar with two friends who forgot to buy onions, and accepted it was a pretty good meal nonetheless. It was the month that I had suhur in the shadows of the Great Pyramids and when I witnessed the sun rising over the Nile as I bobbed along on its surface in a wind-powered felucca. It was the month when I ran around with orphans as we chased balloons on Eid, and when I realised that counting my blessings would mean less fretting. That month was August.
September – the month when I couldn’t look friends in the eye, when I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry and then broke that promise the moment I sank into a dear friend’s embrace. It was the month when I had too many memories to be able to fit into the 4 suitcases I had, and when I had to leave a few behind – a part of me left here for Cairo. It was the month I sat on the plane and wrote 10 pages in my journal while the guy next to me had his eyes glued to Kung Fu Panda 2. It was the month I laid eyes on my mother for the first time in exactly a year, and surprised my children with the news that I was back for good. It was the month when my back was stabbed and whispers of lies were carried to the ears of those who held no position of importance in my life. It was the month when I closed my doors of communication as it became difficult to know who to trust, despite having always been quite trusting. Benefit of the doubt bit me big-time. That month was September.