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The Walls of Being

EGYPT | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [101] | Scholarship Entry

The old house shook as the train passed. I opened my eyes again -it’s dawn already- I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. The train passed every thirty minutes, and I wondered how many sleepless nights could pass until I got used to this roaring sound and the tiny quakes it made?
Sola was sleeping to the right of me. She seemed to be accustomed to the roar. At the end of the day this was her house, even though she left it behind to study in the city. Her four years absence did not seem to interfere with her sleeping habits. She knew she was home.

I allowed my eyes to roam in the room…
To the left of my bed, a huge red painting hung over the wall. It featured one of the church’s clerical figures. The golden crown he wore and the material of the painting reflected his hierarchy among the other posters that decorated the walls of the room. The posters portrayed nameless faces of monks and sisters. I was hesitant asking Sola about their names and stories because I didn't want her to feel that I was coming to Minya to write about her as a religious subject. To me, she was a friend that I had asked to help lead me in a tour of her hometown. For her, she was the priest’s daughter who invited her Muslim friend to her house. Sometimes I felt she was afraid of me judging her or her religion in my writing. Every time our discussions diffused into religion, she raised her hand to tuck a curl of hair behind her ear, a gesture that she did whenever she felt shy or confused.

In the middle of the wall, a wooden cross existed, virtually dividing the room into two parts; my part and her part… and for a second, the same thought haunted me again, what if I suddenly became amnestic while being here? Not knowing the story of my past or how I ended up in that place? Would my story change then? Would I end up knowing the icons on the wall and accepting them?

I turned to the other side of the bed. The train didn't pass, but I felt its tiny quake trembling inside of me.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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