“Hey, Cleopatra. Long time no see. Where have you been?” a message from Mark popped up on my screen as I was checking my emails. My heart was beating fast. I didn’t know if I should ignore him, respond or just shut down the computer and act as if I didn’t see his message. What that person told me the other day ruined everything. In a sense, it was a message from God and an answer to my prayers. But on the other hand, an inner voice kept telling me that something was not right. Also, it was difficult to see his messages and ignore him entirely.
“Hey Marina. How are you? I have been trying to get a hold of you for a while now. Everything alright with you?” another message was sent from Mark on a different day. I could not resist this time. “Hi Mark. I am fine, thank you for asking,” I answered with reservation. “Is the family ok?” he asked. “Everybody is fine.” My obvious unfriendly tone was noted. “Great to hear. It looks like you have been busy lately. Just wanted to check up on you and say hi.” I could tell how confused he was. However, I stood my ground, sucked it up and said; “Thank you for checking. Talk to you later, bye.”
A few weeks went by with no communication with Mark. The Egyptian saying, “away from sight, away from heart” was proven right. Mark was almost out of the picture until I saw him in one of the Egyptian demonstrations against former president “Mohammed Morsi” in front of the White House in Washington D.C. A lot of Egyptians who live in the States went there to demonstrate against the fascist regime of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to support their families and friends who live back home. Since I am not a huge fan of driving to D.C., one of my friends offered to give Marby and I a ride. Once we arrived, we headed to the White House holding our Egyptian flags and signs. As I started to chant with everybody else, I noticed Mark coming towards me. “Hi Marina, how are you? I didn’t except to see you here!” I could tell how excited he was to see me. “Oh, Mark! I didn’t expect you to be here either,” I answered with a surprised, happy face. “Why not? Am I not Egyptian too? Sisi yes, Morsi No.” We both laughed hard as he was showing off his Arabic language skills.
We spent most of the day protesting and chanting with everybody else. It was like a déjà vu to what took place two years ago-then, when we demonstrated against former president “Hosny Mubarak” in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. As the day concluded, people started to wrap up and got ready to go home. However, Mark and his friends wanted to hang out for a little bit around Georgetown in D.C. He asked if we could join them. Even though I wanted to spend more time with him, what that person told me was still ringing loudly in my head. “Sorry Mark but I can’t,” I said. “Why not? It’s still early and the weather is beautiful. Please come.” He begged me to stay. “I am sorry, I really can’t. Also, we can’t just tell our friend who drove us here to go back by himself. As we came together, we should also leave together. It is not appropriate to ask him to leave like that. He is not our chauffeur.”
My response was like a slap on his face. I could tell from Mark’s facial reaction that this was going to be the last time to see him. He probably thought that I was in a relationship with that friend. It all made sense to him then. He misinterpreted the distance I imposed, my reserved interactions and sudden change with him. As much as I wanted to clarify any misunderstanding and tell him the truth behind my indifferent stance, I remained silent. I didn’t have the guts to confront him nor did I need to justify myself. To me, he was the one who owed me an explanation.
While silence prevailed, our eyes spoke volumes, asked many questions and blamed the circumstances. In the meantime, I knew in my heart that Mark’s page was turned off for good. He looked deeply in my eyes, shook my hand tightly without saying a word and we both went our separate ways.
To be continued….