Thursday, May 22, 2008

I feel a bit anxious. Everything is actually great. But in two days we are moving to Maadi. In Zamalek there are these lovely trees flowering in red that I haven’t yet learned the name of in English or Arabic. They flower beside the girls’ school, surround the Chinese embassy with its newly installed, old-fashioned barbed wire discouragement. On this Thursday evening, the elevator goes up and down, and we on the top floor hear its two-tone announcement each time it reaches its destination, and we hear its telltale creak when someone is coming to our door. A satellite dish, caked in dirt, perches in the dining room. We had no idea we were buying that dish when it was installed. The spiders on the porch still watch me write, still materialize from behind the glass door that leads to the porch, the porch that I will miss though I rarely sit there. There came a point this spring when I was in a taxi, and I finally had the notion – as I easily read a book while the taxi jerked about, as the driver honked and lit a cigarette and cranked up the Quran on the radio, as the offending exhaust from every other car seeped in the open window, as kids in tight jeans and glittering shirts roughhoused within inches of murderous vehicles, as a traffic cop plunked his glass of tea onto the hood of a parked Hyundai – on that spring morning, I had the notion, the feeling: “This is normal.”


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