Friday, December 25, 2009 By Maryam
I remember well that Christmas. We both were sitting on the open air at that restaurant for people who stopped on their way to visit the monasteries in the middle of the road from Cairo to Alexandria. It was a very cold morning, so chilly we both laughed at the fact that we did not bother sitting outside the restaurant, while the cloudy sky menacing a storm greeted us so far away from our home. I was full of thoughts, some of them I could express, others were still difficult, still so tender, like a newborn child. You listened and sip your coffee with me. There were papers on the table, my writings that I was reading aloud, my hands under wool gloves that you had given me as a gift during our trip to Greece. I was also wearing a cap in wool, it was brown, and I was wearing earrings in silver, the so called creoles. All the external clothes and things adorning my body were so strange to me at that time. But you listened, while our coffee started to become cold. So many things were going to change in our lives. So much struggle I was already starting to put on paper; stories, tales, poems, single lines, everything was written, these were a big part of the beautiful things that I keep with me always, those memories that were in fact a transition of my soul. We were not too far from the desert, we had many things to do, many places to visit, and people to greet. You had come from a country not too far and wanted to spend some days with me. You found me different but would say nothing with your words, but I could see your questions in your eyes. Then, I started crying about what would happen with our future, a present that made us apart physically and yet... close with question marks, so many question marks regarding our own persona. Then, I remember, as I was sweeping, someone from inside the restaurant came to our table with gifts. They were for me and you were amazed and said "they love you". But I could not understand. I opened the gifts and I saw a card saying Merry Christmas. A card with jingle bell music inside. A box in crystal with flowers, roses, and more music. A calendar that was a magnet. I looked up. There was a Muslim girl smiling and saying "Merry Christmas!" . She kissed me and I felt that in that place something had just started to happen. And now, so far away, I smile with bitterness when I see the differences, the political intrusions at something that merely comes from the true heart. The sublime acceptance and the sublime true tolerance that comes from people who have never wanted anything but conviviality, love and friendship. How could I forget that cold Christmas morning so far away from the 25th of December in the cozy and warm house with a tree filled with stars and lights, so far from the long streets filled with shops, filled with books, games, movies to be sold and put under the tree... Yes, I have lived different Christmas days in different places and all of them were beautiful and special, above all where one could think Christmas has no meaning, or is not celebrated. Yes, I have seen it be celebrated with smiles and acceptance of someone who changed many ways of behaving. Jesus is everywhere in many forms and inside many hearts, not only Christians. And to them I dedicated my poems, my stories and thoughts without knowing. Everything that represents union, shelter and love is celebrated as it is even outside religions, because it touches our mystical vein, and this.... is far from what man created.
Ya Haqq, Maryam