Friday, December 31, 2010


Asalamu Alaykom,

I really thought about what I was doing. 

Yes, the night out on the town with the Khalo was fun except it hadn't ended well.

I decided that I'd had enough of dates to last a lifetime and that I sincerely didn't need more of those; not in America or Egypt or anywhere in the world (or even the universe for that matter).  Dates were only fun if they resulted in a real solid relationship and they hurt like hell if they led to nowhere---or worse, led to haram.

So, I made up my mind that I didn't need him.

That's when he called me to make sure that I had gotten in safely.  I let him have it (and thank God I didn't know any bad words in Arabic or I probably would have used them).

"If you wanted me to be safe, then why didn't you walk me to the door?"

"Yosra, I don't want people to talk badly about you.  If they see me at your door, then they'll start talking."


Still...I felt too mixed-up from the vast array of feelings that I decided to protect myself and my son.  I told this man that I wanted a few days to think about things.  I told him not to call.

He was stunned and immediately distant.  I felt how I had done something big and irreversible.  I couldn't take my words back.  We hung up and I honestly didn't know if this was the end for us.  It felt like a bad ending to be sure. 

That Sunday, it was back to work and it felt good to be with people again.  Being alone in the apartment had been challenging.  One of the ways I was combating loneliness was being on the internet too much (again).  I needed people.

It was nice to see the other teachers from America.  The one I had traveled with was having a grand time with her Egyptian fiance and his family.  She was going out every night and was half awake back at school. 

There was also an American teacher in hejab who had come over with her husband so he could study to become an iman.  I felt a kinship with her since we both had made a lot of effort to move to an Islamic country.  Though she told me that if it didn't work out in Egypt, she'd be OK heading back.

Me?  I knew that I couldn't head back.  There was no home for me to go back to. And here?  I had no fiance and no husband.  I needed to succeed because failure meant something akin to death for me and my son. 

It was funny to hear how this teacher and her husband would walk long distances to the McDonald's so they could satisfy their hamburger cravings.  They needed that fix.  They also needed a new home which was closer to civilization.  Their low-rent apartment was in a bad area of town.

Afterschool, she and I rode home together and she asked me to call the Khalo's family.  She and her husband wanted to view an apartment which the family had for rent. 

I called. 

He answered.

It felt good that he answered.

I explained the request and he arranged an apartment viewing for that night.

The American teacher and her iman-in-training came to my home that night and I walked them to the shop.  Khalo was gracious and outgoing as usual.  He arranged a car to take them to the apartment.  He and I would walk the route with Mr. Boo. 

Walking with him through his neighborhood meant that everyone was seeing us.  He didn't mind.  I began to believe his story of wanting to protect my dignity.  I felt for a moment how it was to walk with a good man.

At the house, the others were already viewing a lovely home.  I couldn't afford it as it was a thousand over my budget.  Maybe these two could afford it.  I tried not to envy them as they began negotiations.

Next to my chair sat Khalo.  It felt good to sit next to him.  I wished for just a moment that it was us negotiating the rent and that this lovely place could be ours.

The night wasn't over.  Turns out we all had to travel to one of the many tourist shops selling papyrus.  His brother-in-law had to meet the couple and give his approval.  Once again, everyone piled into a car except us.  We walked, then took a micro-bus, then walked some more.  Every step of the way I saw and felt that he respected me and cared for our safety.

At the end of the talking, drinking tea, and eating sweets (a must for any Egyptian business deal), it was time to say goodbye.  I braced myself for walking home solo.  This time it didn't hurt like before.  It felt uncomfortable, sure, but not rude. 

I was feeling good once more about this man.  A few days later, it was time to tell my mom just a little about Khalo.  I do think that we are only as sick as our secrets.  I didn't want him to be a secret.  I called mom on the MagicJack and told her. 

My mother laid into me worse than she ever has.  She thought I was being stupid, naive, immature, insane, reckless, careless, and probably a few adjectives I'm forgetting. 

"Another Egyptian man?!  Like the last one was so great?"

"He's how old?!  What are you thinking?!"

"He does WHAT for a living?  And you really think he isn't after you for your money?"

She asked me to think good and hard what I was doing to my life because it wasn't only my life----I had the care of my son to consider.  I knew that my mother cared but the way she chewed me out was painful.  I hadn't anticipated her being so angry at me.

Was she right?

Maybe I was clinging to a person who was a short-time answer.  Maybe I did need to stand on my own two feet in Egypt and not rely on a man.  She was right that men had let me down in the past.  And his intentions?  My mom is always one to second-guess people's intentions whereas I try to leave it to Allah.

Allah knows best.

Chapter 19

1 comment:

Um Zakarya said...

Assalamu Aleykum dear sister,

Looooool your mom's words sound just like my own mother's when I tell her about someone new!Your conversation with her really made me smile.
My mom alway tries to figure out what are men's intentions, and now I tend to do it as well after so many failures.I guess it's hard to just trut someone.But as you said we should only make duas and leave the rest to ALLAH SWT.