Staring at the strange display appearing magically on the screen of my cellphone, I started pressing buttons randomly with both thumbs, holding it as I had earlier seen that damn Genie doing. Colorful fireworks were still spraying out the end of the antenna like a rainbow sparkler, dazzling my vision and making it difficult to see the ship in the display screen. Entranced and enchanted, I marveled as the ship came clearly into view, as though by focusing my eyes clearly on the ship I zoomed in on the pilot’s window. Or maybe I hit the right button at the right moment. There at the helm stood the captain of the ship in a navy blue suit!
I hit another button and my focus zoomed in on his face. Instantly I recognized Mohamed, smiling at me with a look on his face that told me he knew my deepest secrets. Then he waved at me, and a loud bleating noise blasted my face like a fog horn blaring from the front of the ship. I flinched, shutting my eyes against the sudden shock and almost dropping the phone as I fumbled with jangled nerves to control my hands to hold onto it. The fireworks vanished and my phone bleated again. I struggled to regain my sanity as the ship melted into a sea of light and letters and numbers. Finally I recognized that the bleating black object in my hand was my cellphone, and cracked up laughing in a fit of crazy delight.
“Kim!” I answered my cellphone with a peal of laughter, “hahahahaha, Kim! Oh, girlfriend, you really missed a good one!” All of a sudden I realized my phone had come back to normal, and a wave of depression slapped my face. “Oh, damn!” I continued into the phone, “Now it’s over! Why did you have to call me right now, of all times?”
“Are you high, woman?” Kim demanded, sounding aggravated. “What are you talking about? What did I miss? Are you okay?”
Confused, I stared at my cellphone and wondered what to say. The wave of depression was followed by exhaustion, and I sighed deeply. “I’m okay, Kim, I think I was dreaming… I just woke up and figured out I’m talking to you on the phone… isn’t that wierd?” I wasn’t even sure if I was lying, maybe that’s what really happened! I continued, “Can you call me back tomorrow?”
“Sure, of course! I just called to see if you want to go to the beach tomorrow!”
The beach? Kim was inviting me to the beach? “Tomorrow?” I asked, a confused memory flitting through my brain of Scheri dumping me for that damn Genie when I wanted her to take me to the beach, “What day is it, Kim?”
“Hahahahaha, girlfriend, you need to go back to bed. I’ll call you again in the morning! Buh-bye!”
I could hear her laughing at me as she hung up. Thank God! What a relief! What a mess! What just happened? The noise in my head was incessant and I really needed to shut down. I stared at my cellphone and wondered about my sanity. I slid my cellphone into its charger and I did the same to myself, sliding between the covers of my bed, hoping to recharge my head.
There is an inlet off the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach that the tourists never heard of, and only a select few of the locals have ever found. The road leading to the entrance of this awesome little hideaway is deceptively camouflaged, appearing for all the world like a boring residential street leading into a boring residential subdivision. My teamleader at work was terrific at finding little gems like this, and he had mentioned it lately, giving Kim and me the street name. When she called me again in the morning, I pretended I didn’t remember her calling before, conveniently rebooting the conversation and starting over like it never happened.
It was a wonderful day at the beach, the children loved the calm water of the inlet and I had no fear of waves knocking them over. The sun danced on the smooth surface of navy blue and I tried to ignore the memory of Mohamed in his navy blue suit, piloting his ship and waving at me through the window. It was a day of warm gritty sand crunching under our beach towels, as we lay on the beach staring up at the clouds skimming through the sky on a blustery breeze. I dozed lazily while my children built sandcastles, we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just like when I was a kid at the beach, and we drank lots of cherry koolaid trying purposely to make big red mustaches on our lips.
It was late when we arrived home from the beach, tired but fully satisfied from the fun. The children went to bed early and then I went to my computer directly. The reality of the day had recharged my brain, the nurturing effect of hot sunshine and cool water on my skin had refreshed my senses, convincing me my sanity was still intact. I felt I could handle another wave of fantasy, strengthen by my newly suntanned grip on reality. Opening my email, I found Mohamed’s letter, read it with a pounding heart, and quickly hit “Reply.”
|Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 01:18:28|
|Subject: Mohamed al Asali – my Honey ;^*)))|
|Ya Mohamed My Love Forever|
|I love these words which I just read in your email:|
My Love Forever Aisha
After you choice me by your heart, same as I do you, I can promise you now I am your boyfriend, husband and your love forever. Nothing can take me away from your hand, even when I die I will be always round you and you will feel me always inside you. Don’t worry, our dream will become true, I trust you very much as I do to myself, because I feel every word comes from your deep heart, same as me. It could be before the end of summer I will be with you there. Everything will be fine. You are the best gift from Allah, I have been waiting for you for a very long time.
|You are my blessing, my Darling, that Allah has made for me! If you can promise to be such a husband to me, and my best friend forever, then I swear to you my happiest reward on this earth is to be your loving wife and sweet best friend forever, too, my love. I can not believe my eyes every time I see a new email from you, and I can not believe my heart how it leaps at the sight of your name!|
Don’t ever worry about your age, you will never be old, the love will make you younger 20 years. I am very sure I can make you interested to me even when you reach 70 years old, by just magic touch or warm kiss. I’m saving my health for you, I will make your face very happy and shining. I love you very much more than any time ever happened in my life.
| Oh, sweet sultan of my heart, clap your hands to the music and sing if you like to! (do you like?)
Your princess is smiling and her face is shining as she is dreaming about your beautiful casbah, and dancing under the stars for you!
…that reminds me… your rooftop isn’t within sight of that big building next door, is it??? I hope not! ;^) we might have to plant a few more vines up there, if it is!
I love to share with you everything in my life. You are my love and my best friend, and I will prepare a visit for you to see me here and my area here in Egypt very soon.
My Darling, about my family:
God (Allah) helped me to make a very good professional family. I have three sons and one daughter. My oldest son is a family doctor, but this month he will promote to surgeon specialty in Egyptian Government hospitals. He is younger than me 18 years and a few months, he is married and has a daughter one year old. He never went to Canada, and he doesn’t like to do.
My daughter is a chemistry teacher in Egyptian Government High School. She is married and lives in Egypt, she doesn’t like to go to Canada also.
My middle son graduated law university in Egypt and has a license as an Egyptian lawyer. I sponsored him to come to Canada, and he has his Canadian citizenship, but he doesn’t like to stay there, he will be back to Egypt maybe after two or three months, to open his own office as an Egyptian Lawyer. He is married and has one daughter, three months old.
My youngest son is my only one responsibility now. He got his High School diploma from Egypt, after that I sponsored him to come to Canada, and after he arrived a few months, he got his Canadian Citizenship at the same time as me, because he was under 18 years old when I got my citizenship. He went back to Egyptian University, studying to be an Accountant and will graduate (Insha’Allah) in 2000.
About my ex-wife, she works as Headmistress (Principal) of an elementary school in Egypt. She got cancer after our marriage broke down. She came to Canada last May ’98, because she was thinking the medical here could do more, but my older son said to me it’s the same, there’s not any chance. She used to live with my middle son in Canada and I did see her once a while, and for sure I forgive what she did to me. She went back to Egypt at the end of ’98, we don’t like her to die in Canada, much better to be with her family here. I am glad because she doesn’t suffer from the cancer before this, she didn’t feel any pain until now, although she is in the end.
I have a very good relation with all my kids, they are very understanding and would like to have a good relation with my wife in the future if she likes that. This is enough about my family for now.
| I thank you with warm whispers in your ears for so many things, Mohamed, for the wonderful introduction to your family, and for the beautiful honor you do me. I think you will never stop smiling with me for a wife, and all of your family will love me because they will see we are so deeply in love. And I will gladly open my arms to your family, too, I could not ask for more happiness, my darling.
Oh, and I love your reassurance that everything will be fine. It’s fine, then! I am happy to trust you, and I know you will be here as soon as you can, and we will be able to visit you there, too!
I am deliciously impatient, and I don’t mind admitting that it’s quite funny to me… hahahah I think I need to throw grapes at myself!!!
And then at you, Sultan Funny Man, you better watch out what you promise me, now I’m trusting you for a verrrry special 70th birthday present…. we will still be shining at 70, both of us, that’s what you make me think!
My Darling, my Love, I am yours. Feel free to know anything about me, and tell me anything you want me to know.
|I think I want to know you more and more, and I have lots more questions…
like, who planted the vines up on the roof?
And I have more answers for you, too, Honey/Asali… please tell me more sweet names like darling and sweetheart in Arabic, I would like that, too… Habibi is every other word in the music I like, that means Darling, right?
Well, Habibi ;^))) I guess somewhere in the beginning I told you my name… hahaha yes, it’s horrible that I didn’t even tell you my full name until now. Please forgive me, my full name is [deleted for privacy], I just had my family name restored to me now that my divorce is final. I remember telling you I came to Virginia from California, I was born there, in Long Beach. I’m the oldest daughter of 8 children, only one brother is older than me, and we are 4 boys and 4 girls. I went to High School in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve always been a girl who likes to travel, and I have loads of funny stories I will share with you late at nights, just like Scheherazade, I hope you will love it!
I moved out of my family home at 18, settled in Virginia and got married. My ex had a daughter who came to live with us, and I had to postpone having children because life was very hard and added to that a 12 year old step-daughter who didn’t get along well with her father. I think she learned good things from my example, even under the bad circumstances of him drinking and yelling and arguing with both of us constantly. She and I would probably still get along, but although she knows her father was wrong, she and he are family, and I am the outsider.
We weren’t yet divorced when she moved out at 18, and my daughter was just born that same year. When I finally felt I couldn’t wait any longer for my babies, I had three pregnancies, one right after another and lost all three babies. In the first year of our marriage I had also lost a baby during pregnancy, but the doctor told me that was pretty common for first pregnancies. Now, losing 3 more babies was very sad and depressing and I wanted to give up. Our bills for the doctor was very high! But my Doctor ran more tests and found my thyroid is low, so she gave me medicine to take and finally I got pregnant without any troubles.
My daughter’s birth was very beautiful, I didn’t have any medicine, all natural, and she was born to Rimsky Korsakov’s classical symphony “Scheherazade.” I kept asking the nurse to keep turning over the cassette tape, it was the only thing that made me relax, this beautiful music! My son was born three years later, when I was 34. I waited a long time for my children, I guess you can understand now how precious they are to me!
Well, my Darling, that’s a lot to tell you, but these are things we share. You have had a long time of doing the responsible thing, and so have I. I admire you and respect you very much for what you have shared with me, my Love. I really do believe we will always have compassion for one another’s feelings because we have shared them and understand.
These things are past, though, and I want to share something else, something happier, something sweeter, way more friendly, and many million times more loving… I think maybe Allah protected our energy and health for this time, I believe it may be true, what do you think?
Want to know something else I think? I think it would be wonderful to spend the summers on the beautiful rooftop in Egypt, and the winters in the hot tub on the patio in Virginia… maybe we could talk about how that could work? Maybe we could maintain both places, that way if you need to take care of business for your farm it wouldn’t be too hard? Is that unrealistic? I was just thinking what a wonderful homecoming it would be every summer to go home to your house… what a sweet dream!
All my love to you, with big hug and warm deep kiss from your sweet lips
| I will be dreaming of you, my Darling, and smiling at you all night long ;^)))
I hope you have a peaceful day, I’m sending you a reward of invisible butterfly kisses all day long, tickling you because they will kiss you when you don’t expect it… all day long! I hope they will energize you again after spending all that effort finding out the reality about the kid’s education.
I love knowing how much you care about me already, and if you were my husband right now, I would give you a wonderful back rub… and more!
I am all yours,
|Sweet day dreams, my love
I looked at the time in the bottom corner of my monitor. 1:28 a.m. it was already 7:28 a.m. in Egypt, and Mohamed would be just starting his day while I was just ending mine. We were revolving in cycles, orbiting nights and days, orbiting dreams and realities, orbiting each other in a dance like a comet cycling a planet, coming closer and closer to the inevitable explosion.
Excitement was building in our brains, cycling blood warming in our veins, our hearts beating in time together, tied to each other by the hand of God. I could feel Allah pulling tightly on His strands of love, pulling Mohamed and me closer and closer!