Eleven days left in Egypt.
I came here in mid September for many reasons, most especially to escape an America that I believed was posing a real danger to Arab Americans, but another reason quite frankly was to lose weight. I was fat, and on the verge of Type 2 diabetes.
My waist size was 44″. I was, in effect, obese.
Yesterday, for the first time since forever, I was able to fit in the size 36″ cargo shorts I brought with me to Gouna as a marker.
I knew that no matter what happened here, whether I would write that novel or not, that if I could fit into those by the time I left, the trip would be a success.
And fit in them yesterday I did.
I didn’t have to wriggle in them even; I just slipped them on and buttoned up and it was no problem.
That is such an accomplishment for me.
I am no longer fat.
This doesn’t mean I will stop being invisible to all the 20-something beautiful Egyptian girls who have suddenly descended on Gouna this Easter.
They are breathtakingly gorgeous, but not for me.
I am an old man, now. If once I had a reasonable chance of catching a pretty girl’s eye, now I cannot.
But losing the heft of what has probably amounted to at least 40 lbs has its rewards. Akeed.
It’s hard to describe.
But you move easier. You are lighter on your feet.
You are yourself again.
Underneath all the layers of fat — taht as they say in Arabic — was always you.
Yesterday someone told me animals have no collective memory, and that is the difference between us.
I am no so sure about that.
Some think that Egypt has developed collective amnesia about the state of Israel.
I remember being by myself at night as a boy in Zamalek in 1956 and the Israeli planes bombing Cairo.
I remember how we were told to turn off all the lights, but that the flat across from me had left a light on the balcony.
My parents were not with me that night.
I was all alone. A little boy wondering if an Israeli bomb — probably made in America — was going to end his life.
I read the newspapers and see that little has changed, except that I made it okay, but 17 kids in Gaza did not yesterday.
I am going back in 11 days to a country that is run by an insane despot who loves Israel. He even had his daughter marry a Jew who is one hell of a corrupt piece of scheisse.
I am going back to America willingly; I will no longer run away. And I will join the resistance.
Fascists must be confronted everywhere they try to consolidate in the free world.
This reign of terror in the United States must end, and soon, and in November, Donald Trump’s world is going to drastically change. It will change even more drastically when he tries to fire Mueller and the hammer of impeachment ruins what is left of his vile presidency.
There’s many layers of meaning to the term state. One thing for sure is that Egypt’s long sleep under the Ottomans ended a long time ago, but many states around the world remain somnolent because their citizens are afraid.
Now there is so much global change we are almost in free fall, but trying to hold on to the straggly branches on the edge of the precipice.
Which originalist statehood fantasy is it to which we hope to return?
Yet don’t cry for me, Egyptina — to nick a line from Evita.
The truth is I never left you, and never shall.