Ep. 10 – Joyride To Egypt: My Turn To Dance

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The lights were low and the music was playing softly in the background. My usual nightly routine after tucking my children into their beds always brought peace to my little condominium on the edge of the pine tree forest. Our street was the last one in our community, dead-ending at the woods, which sloped gently down to the bank of a creek. My condo was one half of a duplex, the last building on the street, enjoying this prime location of quiet, undeveloped woodlands. The community was gated and guarded and a very peaceful place to live. Leaving my patio door open at night was never a concern, and as usual, this night the warm breeze drifted lazily in, bringing with it the clean scent of pine.

Having just finished reading the latest email from Mohamed, I sat at my desk pondering his question, “Are you scared from love?” On the one hand, yes, I was scared from love. Love hadn’t turned out to be a very reliable friend to me. In fact, I felt quite sure love had never been a friend of mine at all, unfortunately. I felt scared, to say the least, from feeling anything that might be masquerading as love. But on the other hand, I was feeling weak and giddy from the excitement of a dream materializing right in front of my eyes. That hand wasn’t feeling scared at all. In fact, quite the opposite!

The conflict I was feeling revolved around this crazy mix of emotions. How is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never actually met? Can you fall in love with a photograph? With an email? Of course not! Can you swear he’s telling the truth? Of course not! Can you please hit delete, and get away from this blasted computer? Of course not!

Heavy sigh… I hit “Reply.”

In spite of all my stress and turmoil, I resolved to communicate my conflict and fear as honestly as possible. I felt Mr. Answer to my Prayers deserved at least as good a response to his email as he had given to mine. I felt scared of making a mistake, but I also felt it was probably the most exciting mistake I would ever have the opportunity to make in my life. Could anyone blame me? Of course not!

And then, capping all of this emotion like someone closing a window in a storm, I noticed a peaceful and wonderfully happy feeling swirl inside of me, immediately after hitting “reply.” It was amazing! The music playing in the background came forward shyly, dancing to the tune of my typing. I smiled at this beautiful idea…

From: Aisha
To: Mohamed
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 22:50:50
Subject: yaaaa Mohamed ;^))
My Dear Mohamed
You are sweeter and dearer every day, and I think you will like me without my glasses ;^))) Each time you reply I learn more nice things about you.

Ok, I have an idea to follow your thoughts with mine… tonight I choose to dance with your words, as you have danced so nicely with mine!

My dear friend Aisha
Thank you very much for the nice long letter.
I will try my best to slow down as you want me to do, but I am not sure I can do.

Hmmmm I can see this, so I will have to introduce you to the guard of my kasbah…

My girlfriend Kim comes to my house to cut my hair and she laughs and calls my home a “kasbah” (castle in an oasis in the middle of a desert) because it’s decorated nicely with exotic fabrics and pillows and plants everywhere…

I think maybe it is an oasis, really, it’s very private, only for me and my children and my plants and pillows and hahaha a hot tub, too! Well, every oasis must have a pool… don’t you think? Oh, I don’t live somewhere special, it’s just a condo in a wooded area, a modest place with a nice creek running next to us. It’s very quiet on the outside, and my condo just happens to be a kasbah on the inside… ;^)))

So every kasbah has a very wise and strong guard, are you following me now?! He’s the guy your genie has to be scared of… and smarter than, if you want to get inside! Be careful!

You will just have to be the traveling sultan in our fairytale, and I shall be the princess in the land of the setting sun… as we get to know each other through our emails I shall be more and more glad for your visit to meet me in person. I am already intrigued by you, Mohamed, I want to meet you to look in your eyes, and I want to know your smile… I have a funny feeling about your smile already ;^)))

Life for me is simply a very short trip. We have to enjoy it very well by Halal way, and we must leave our fingerprint with the very good memories in our friend’s heart to live with them after we go!

Yes, you are sweet like chocolate, aren’t you, if you understand this… especially the point of “by Halal way,” because doing things in the way God wants them done is the only way to do things!

As you know I am very honest.

I’m learning, and I love it

To be honest with you as I am trying to do always, you are the latest friend I have, but your name jumped to the top of that list very fast

;^))) Wonderful! But I hope that list isn’t very long???

Which schools? And why?

I was thinking of my children, sweetheart, where would they go to school? It’s way early for such a question, I realize, but the children’s education is very important… I may be making too many assumptions, too, we need to talk much more of course, but I wouldn’t live without them so I have to know what to consider in terms of providing for them, too.

Well, and it’s so much more than just knowing that they will handle such a wonderful change successfully, I really am reassured by your words about being their Dad, because that is even more important to me. I am a woman who is supposed to be a wife… I want a happy family more than anything, and I can only be the wife I am supposed to be to a sweetheart husband who is also a loving dad…

I want to tell you how much my heart hurts just writing those words, that’s how honest I am being with you. I want this family life, not just for me, but for my children too. I know you understand this, don’t you?

Please tell me more of your previous life, Mohamed? I don’t want to ask anything too personal of course, but please feel free to share with me on this, too, ok?

Are you thinking about working again after you will be with me? I don’t think I could live without you even one hour! Anyway the closest one is in Cairo, one and a half hours drive

Now you know of course I was asking for schools for the kids… oh, but you are soooo sweet! I loved that you argued with me but still gave me the answer… in fact, I have to blow you a little kiss for that one ;^) this is my kiss –> * <– so here you go: ;^*
;^)))) <— and lots of smiles for you, too!

I know a genie you can’t kick away, especially if he comes from inside you: The Love!

Then I must have lots of grapes nearby as I read your emails, and I will throw grapes at your genie when he tries to tickle me and I'm trying to pay attention to your words…. hahaha I think it's your genie trying to distract me, and if I get too upset with you, the guard will put you outside the gate in the desert until I am too sad because you are missing!

Hahaha now you see a little more of Aisha tonight… pretend I am a perfume, and Aisha is the name on the bottle… do you smell the scent yet? It is sweet vanilla and ripe juicy plum, and rich dark desert musk ;^)

I feel you will involve. You will feel in love with me very much, and you will marry me. I believe I will be your fate for the rest of your life.

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I will tell you this, I believe in fate. I believe in Allah, and I believe Allah fashioned my fate… and I believe that He knows day by day exactly what I am doing, even when my way is not clear to me.

And I know that I asked Allah to bring me a man such as you. When we know each other more, I will tell you more about this, I think you will like what I will share with you.

I must tell you, I am shocked by the degree to which we seem to match each other’s needs, and as well we seem to be at the right moment in our lives for this to be really exciting!

Sometimes the reality is more beautiful and more great than Alf Laylah or any dream

I want to meet you, Mohamed, I want you to look me in the eye and say this, and see if it’s true.

If I decide to go there I will do to vist you, not Virginia, to see you and give you chance to know me enough. I am sure you will choose me if we become very close. Are you scared from love??

No, I just don’t want to build false hopes. Photos are good, but my thinking was that we should meet and know if we are representing our feelings honestly. It is just as important to me that I know I am honestly representing myself and what I have to offer, as it is for me to know that you have made this decision to pursue marriage with me with the same honesty.

Never mind about business, I worked hard all my life and the most important thing for me now is to share my life with you and we can sit down and relax in Egypt without worrying about business or working. Or we can do whatever you like us to do.

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Hahaha Ok! Wow you make it seem so easy, I think it must be, but I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t really understand how it could all happen. Yes, I asked Allah for you, and hahaha I think I know what to do with you, but I think it must be your job to explain how it can all happen successfully!

I am really very happy to hear from you this invitation. I love to see you personal, and I am very excited to do, but I am afraid!! I told all my family and my friends I am going back to Egypt for good to retire there!

But I’m only talking about a short visit like a week… just so we could have a face to face meeting and an opportunity to talk in person… it’s so important to know for sure. I’m sorry, I am so frightened of making a mistake. I feel I might be lying to you if I do not know for sure that it’s ok for me to encourage you, or for you to encourage me.

So I would like you to know me more and more before we meet, at least you feel something or decide something about me…

But to go all that way to reach you before I know where is my place in your heart, it could be break my heart very cruel, after I have very deep feeling about you. When I move from here, it would be very clear for everyone round me here that I found someone there, so if I come back by myself it will hurt me very much.

But wouldn’t this be about the same for you as a business trip of some sort? I’m not sure if I’m explaining myself clearly. I’m not asking you to move, just come find out if we are right to continue before we get that broken heart…
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Is it right to base our feelings on a photograph?

If I fall in love with you I will fall very deeply, and I will not want to be away from you, I don’t care where we are, and even I already told you I will be completely thrilled to live in Egypt. Egypt sounds sweet and chocolatey to me…

please come visit me so I can look at your hands and know if you are the sweet chocolate sultan husband who will feed me egyptian food with his fingers!

I couldn’t understand what do you mean by “protect your children safety” – is this from me?? If I decide to go there, it is meaning I decide to be dad for your kids before I will be your man!!

Well, not every man is honest, as I’m sure you’re aware, and it would be foolish for me to just trust blindly anyone with whom I speak… No, to be honest, I don’t really know how to easily distinguish truth from lies, of course, so I can only determine truth from the speaker’s choice of words. I try to be a good listener, and for my part, I tell the truth. I have learned that time always reveals the truth, and uncovers the lies… and also that blind trust is very risky.

I am waiting the more questions you keep doing. It will be a good point for me, to give me enough space in your heart

Alright, yes. I do see that the more we know of each other, the more reasons I will have for wanting to meet you. This is a convincing point.
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Well, logically, I didn’t imagine you would be happy to just jump on the first plane tomorrow, of course, so I never had any intention of quitting the questions. I’m enjoying them very much.

I like your answers, you are very thoughtful, and I’m always tickled that you are also playing with me… it’s funny to me and it makes me like you even more.

But of course, there’s the conflict. It makes me want to meet you even more, so I am sure I am being honest with you.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? What do we do about this?
Well, I’ll leave that question for you, and leave something else with you, as well. Here’s a picture of me with my glasses off… in return for your wonderful answers, my sweet fairytale sultan… I reward you for the way you keep answering me! The picture is dinnertime with my parents, children and sister in Rome… the first dinner we have all 6 ever enjoyed together at one table, because it was the first time for Dr. Mary (my youngest sister) to meet my children. It was a very special dinner, and lots of fun for us all to enjoy Rome together. (My children and I are only drinking water!)
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Oh, by the way, school is finally and officially over for the year for my children tomorrow. We celebrated by going out to dinner tonight, and I will take them to my Mom’s house in Pensylvania for the weekend tomorrow. So I will be thinking of you while I’m gone, and I’ll check my email as soon as I get back on Sunday afternoon.
I’ll be thinking of you and smiling ;^))))
Have a wonderful weekend, Mohamed, full of bright sunshine and lots of smiles for you, too!
Salam wa Tisbah ala Khair, ya Mohamed


So much had happened in the space of one week. My life had definitely turned a corner. But this new relationship with Mohamed wasn’t the only drama playing out at the moment. On my way into work earlier that morning, I was informed by the guard that my Base Pass was expiring, meaning that tomorrow my car wouldn’t get through the guard gate at the Naval Base where I worked. Ordinarily this isn’t a very big deal, I must simply renew my Base Pass. But, unfortunately, this wasn’t one of those ordinary times. My car was still in my ex’s name, and the vehicle registration had expired two weeks ago, at the end of May. Technically, it’s illegal to drive a car with expired tags, but I was doing it anyway. I knew my ex wouldn’t sign the registration renewal form. He didn’t comply with the judge’s order to sign the car title over to me when our divorce was final, so there was no reason to expect fairplay about the registration renewal, either.

Now I had two troubles, and the second was worse than the first. I couldn’t renew my Base Pass without a valid car registration. So I couldn’t drive my car to work tomorrow. My car was effectively dead. I was very sure this was exactly what my ex was hoping for. The judge had awarded him his ugly blue work truck, and awarded me the white Cadillac Sedan de Ville with the black leather interior. My ex obviously thought if he couldn’t have the car, at least he had figured out a way that I couldn’t have it either.

Stressed out and certain of a long night ahead, I stayed at my computer and turned to the next pressing need. There seemed to be no other answer, except to salute my ex with my middle finger. I spent the night car hunting, browsing all the ads I could lay my eyes on. It took most of the night, but before dawn I knew exactly which dealership I was going to in the morning, and exactly which car I wanted. I would simply buy another car, and park the caddie in front of the condo until I could get the jerk to sign the title over to me as the judge had ordered. I didn’t know how I would accomplish this and drive the kids from Virginia to Pennsylvania tomorrow, too, but my mom was expecting us and our bags were already packed for a weekend vacation in Valley Forge. Yay Hurray – School’s Out For Summer! And, God Willing, nine hours on the road would be a pretty good test drive for my new car!

Scotty! What’s taking so long? Beam us out of here!”

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