Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Le Caire

My mother's best friend, a woman who passed at an age far too young, was Egyptian. She had a boy and a girl, which my older sister and I hung out with frequently. When my parents worked late, we'd sleep at their house. When I was five, I was playing at the park in front of the apartment complex we lived in and I heard an older Egyptian woman yell at her son. I rushed home to tell my mother that someone is yelling our language downstairs and I think they should meet. To this day, I consider her and her late husband like my grandparents in Canada.
"We are cooking some Egyptian dishes today, and Umm Ali for dessert, " she says. "I thought you said Egyptian food isn't good?" I reply. "Yes, but they have some good dishes, like zaghareed bil freekeh." "Oh yes! Remember when we ate it that time before the Fifi Abdoo play?" he jumps in reminiscing one of their many visits. "How can I forget it? The taste is still in my mouth 20 years later!" she replies. They both laugh.
As I ventured out to explore a Canadian city and province I had never visited, everything suddenly turned Egyptian. At the Forks, Egyptian 3D puzzles and Pharaoh figurines filled the shelves of toy stores, and chocolates in the shapes of Pharaohs lined the bonbonnerie. My return to the house is greeted with a call from my mother's Egyptian friend while my bookmark stops at a chapter when the main character begins her new life in Egypt.
I sit there imagining what it must've been like, how happy a time it was for them. I think to myself, it's too bad I was so young that I can't remember it. It's even worse that I don't think they'll ever feel joy about little things like that again.

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