Shutting the door on the past

I’m nearing the tail end of my third week on the wagon. Woke up as usual this morning very early:  4:30am to be exact.

I already have a tension headache from the pressure of all the work I have left to do between now and Thursday, when a real estate photographer will come to take pictures of the house.

I will be leaving NY on the 22nd, and will only come back up from Florida once the house goes under contract, and I have to empty it of my late Mum’s furniture and personal belongings.

There is a ton of stuff to do in preparation of the arrival of the real estate listing photographer.

A significant part of that work is deciding what to do about my parents large cache of papers and old, family photographs. 

After much deliberation, I’ve decided to shred it all.  Everything.  I grew up in Egypt, and when I was a teenager, well, I reckon that I was fairly handsome in those days, from a wealthy family, smart, and the co-founder of Egypt’s first rock and roll band. 

In many ways I stood out in the Gezira Sporting Club of that era, where everyone who mattered  knew me by name.  That sounds like ego, but it is in fact the plain truth.  We — my family — were leading nembers of the Cairene aristocracy of that time, the elite of the elite, when Egypt was still beautiful, and the river Nile still ran deep red and high every summer.

My parents destroyed all that when they made the monumentally idiotic decision to leave an upper class life behind, trading it for the grim existence of penniless immigrants in NY who had to scrounge around for everything the first few years and do humiliating things that would have been unthinkable in Cairo.

This life-changing, galactic mistake for the ages destroyed our entire family, and it destroyed me — as I increasingly turned to alcohol to deaden the pain of losing the ancient country I once loved, and finding myself at sea in a war-mongering, racist, Zion-lovin’ colonial project, one that despised most Arabs in general, and Muslims in particular.

Well, now my parents are both dead, and I am stranger when I return to Egypt.  No respect whatsoever was given to me when I last went back there about five years ago.

No one remembers, and if they do, the false friends of the past don’t really care — if anything there’s little more than schadenfreude, which they no longer even bother to conceal.

And so my decision has been made.  I have a treasure trove of historical photographs of an Egypt that no longer exists and I am going to shred every single one of them.  I would burn them if I could in the back yard.

I am also going to shred all my parents’ personal records — the tragic diaries, the bank statements, the tax filings, the faded diplomas, the now-meaningless certificates of achievement, the cheap medals, ersatz awards, and second-rate Cross retirement pen sets, because my parents are now both gone, burnt to cinder and stuck forever in some cold vault, and no one but a cousin in England really gives a shit — not even my own brother, who lives in the Deep South with an ugly-as-sin, deeply arrogant rube wife who holds a meaningless job at some God-forsaken US army base.

AA’s so-called Big Book states that “we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”


I regret everything about the past, and it is for that reason that I am now going to methodically erase every last vestige of it.

It has been almost a year since my mother died.  I feel that my own true life is only begining.

The past and everyone and everything about it can go to fucking hell.



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