My (western, productivity oriented) teeth cringed, annoyed at the emptiness, slow pace and lazy atmosphere of those coffee shops: open caves luxuriously kissing the streets of Cairo with their old radios hanging from the dirty walls (Om Kolthoum´s voice echoing throughout the place, colouring it with Divinity), round tummy men sucking (not smoking) their “shishas” and sipping their over sweetened tea as if there was no tomorrow.
…(Maybe there isn´t. Tomorrow – no tomorrow)…
It took me a while until I figured out those men – who irritated me with such candour – were daily gifts Egypt offered me: human islands filled with prejudice, unemployment, despair, repression(s) and lack of horizons but also hope (for no apparent reason), tranquility and peace. Yes: they were peace symbols, reminders that my crazy marathon is not all there is: mirrors of a dream I didn´t dare dreaming – not yet – and kings of Emptiness, royalty without a crown.
I learnt to LISTEN and to remain STILL with those men, abandoned shadows (like characters in a Munch painting) melting on the wooden chairs under the striking Egyptian sun. Those guys taught me to be enough. Me: enough. Wow! Not dancing, not creating, not proving myself at every single second: just me. ENOUGH. My teeth cringe, once more, at the thought of it.
I kiss those men and sing their voices in silence. They – like Egypt – are part of the tissue of who I am. Today and for Eternity – another pearl they offered me without asking a thing in return.