Chapter 2

 

More fragments (speaking for myself)

My dad was a very liberated and open minded man. A bit nervous he was though. And he was all the time speaking about the West and advanced countries. He would always say “we should set our meals around the clock. That is why the West is so civilized and advanced”. In Eid (the feast), when the whole of Egypt is busy making Kahk (a kind of cookie made at the end of the month of Ramadan), he would snicker “Indians do not care about what they eat. My friend eats a grilled fish a day but his house is full of all up-to-the-date technological devices”. He did not understand that his friend was a miser to eat just one grilled fish a day! But he was also liberated in a greater sense so as to leave his girl choose for herself. Unlike Eastern approach, Baba taught me ambition. And ambition for Egyptian girls was tiresome. Neither the society nor men were on good terms with ambitious girls. I had my own character, chose my language college (although Baba had always hoped for a physician daughter to take after my parents), chose my job as a translator and teacher and chose my husband. My father always empowered me with the freedom of choice.

But as was said before, neither society nor men were on good terms with ambitious girls (those with character and personality). I always fought with my older brother who had embodied the cruel Eastern society. Khaled, who was just two years older, was at the top of his lungs when I returned home at 11 pm whilst he never came back before 2 am. “I am a boy” he would say.

‘Maybe it would have been better if God has created women with penises so that they can come home late like men.’ That thought always came to me when I learned how bad people can talk in defense of their thought. Yet it never occurred to me in my adolescence to fight back in this cruel manner.

 The cause of pain in whatsoever fights erupted based on gender basis was my firm belief that girls were far more polite and responsible than boys in Egypt. When I was out, I was with my friends trying a new kind of coffee at a new café, a new dish at a restaurant, or doing some shopping. But when he was out, he might be hanging out with girls, smoking, or trying all the taboos which society would always excuse for ‘he is a man’! But I stood up against that concept. On the other hand, Baba always stood against us both!

me: I am free to come whenever I like

Khaled: No, you aren’t. Stop acting like that, you are a girl.

Nadia: This is stupid; I am as free as you. I am even better, I know what you do with girls, and everyone in this house knows what I do. Mama knows all my friends. I give details of all places I go to. I call before I get late. You don’t.

Khaled: I am a boy.

me (looking at him defiantly, bitterly and non-convinced): ………

Baba (in an unusual calm voice): Khaled, why do you claim yourself the right to be late and your sister not? The has to be some rules in coming back to the house.

Khaled (with his eyes raging): Baba, you’re talking to me and leaving her?! This is such an insane house! But look Nadia, I am telling you I am not like Baba and if you ever came back late again, I would beat you …

After each argument, both of us would leave the room; Khaled to his usual meetings on the cafeteria with friends and I went to my room where I sat alone with the lights off and tears trickling down my cheeks.

Darkness was a must whenever a relation had to happen between me and hubby. I never felt at ease when he looked at my body with the lights open. Not that I had a bad body, not at all. But something in me shies away. I would hunch my shoulders, try to cover my chest and stand with an angle so that he was never able to see full picture of my privacies. A candle was my perfect haven for this job. I liked that we did some sweet talk before the action began. But he, as an Eastern man, loved the action to begin and the talk to die and bury. He did the gentle touches, played some tricks for some excitement, but he never asked me if I was ready or wholly aroused to proceed to the second part. No wonder then I hadn’t reached orgasm but very few times.

I have reached orgasm in other aspects though. Whenever my husband or my brother told me I couldn’t choose because I am a girl. Whenever either of them laid his hand on me, I would turn into a zombie. I would lose control. I would forget my abilities or strength. I would forget about the whirling storm inside me and just attempt to lay my hand on him the same way he did. That was me.

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