(Episode 1: JOYRIDE TO EGYPT)
My last glimpse of reality was three days prior, July 27, 1999, at 3 a.m.
I had been soaking in my hot tub on the patio of my condo, trying to soothe my jumpy nerves.
Now I sat reflecting on that lovely moment of 3 a.m. bliss. It was summer, the night was a cozy dark blanket between me and the rest of the world. My kids were asleep, our bags were packed and stuffed in the car. We were ready for our 5 a.m. exodus from reality.
My children thought we were going to see the pyramids.
I was soaking in my hot tub as a kind of ritual cleansing. I wanted to wash my old life off and start my new life fresh and clean. My whole family thought I was crazy. One of my brothers had tried had to dissuade me, even threatening to tear up my travel documents to “protect” me and my kids. My mom was so upset that at the last minute she refused to let me park my car at her house and would not give us a ride to Newark International Airport as we had earlier planned. I was already a nervous wreck, and this new thought of paying for half a month of parking at an airport added another heavy burden in my baggage.
I leaned back in the hot water, eyes closed, and played “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” one more time. The result was always the same, always exciting to the point of shivering, even in a bubbling hot tub. Maybe I was crazy, but I knew I was going to do it.
I was going to Egypt to marry a man I met on the internet.
I had never laid eyes on him, and it was all arranged. Within 24 hours of our first meeting, I would be his wife. Signed, sealed and delivered.