Private Post : The Betrayal of Life
A few days ago, my friend O. passed by and picked me up after work because he wanted to go out and talk and stuff. We passed by Mc Donald's and picked up a couple of large cokes (It was hot out), and then we headed out to Heliopolis (a neighborhood in cairo) to meet our friend Peri. Peri wanted to eat something, but had no idea where she wanted to eat, so O. suggested this new place called "Makany", which means "My place" in arabic, because it had excellent salad and light food, which is what we were feeling like having anyway. So we agreed to go there to check it out. Something new to do, you know? Anyway.. We get to the place, and it’s pretty cool: it has this awesome layout, the service is friendly, and the food seems inventive yet delicious. Everything is ok, except, for some reason, I couldn’t feel comfortable. There was something bothering me about that place, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I then walked outside, walked in the back and saw the street that the restaurant gave its back to, and the stores there, and suddenly it all came back to me, and I finally figured out what was bothering me about that place. It was Aunt Gigi's old house. Hmm, let me explain, since you probably don't know who she is. Aunt Gigi isn't really an aunt of mine, but rather an old friend of my dad. She was this fun and crazy woman that loved kids, and me and my sister used to go to her place all the time, because it was right next to my Dad's work. She always had the best candy, she always had the best TV shows, she was always funny and fun and always knew cool stuff. She used to read the tarot cards to my sister all the time, and she is the one who taught me how to read them. She however, for some unexplained reason, refused to read mine. One day I remember I begged her to do it, and she relents, opens the cards, and the after looking at them she takes them away. She tells me that she won't do it; that my future is better to remain unknown to me. The woman was divorced, and had two daughters that almost never visited her, and an ex-husband that was an asshole, and who did nothing but try to make her life hell. I could never figure out why things were this way, but I guess it was because the woman was like a big kid. She wasn't a grown up in any way, shape or form, and that's what me and my sister loved so much about her I guess. As far as we were concerned, she was one of the best things that ever happened to us. Then one day my dad came home and informed us that Gigi died. Just like that. Brain aneurism. No one could do anything. Gigi was no more. I remember that I cried for her, and I didn't cry for my grandfather who died just a few months earlier, because I loved her so much. It bothered me for a while, the fact that a woman like that was gone like that while her jerk Husband was still alive, and then like everything else, I forgot about it and about her. Life moved on, and new memories erased old ones, which slowly faded away. I guess they are designed this way for a reason. Just the way of the world, you know? That was 12 years ago. And here I was, sitting in her house again, and it's no longer her house. In my memory I can see the old living room and the big dinning room where I used to run around as a kid, which now are the seating area in the restaurant; her bedroom where we used to watch TV and the meditation corner where she read her cards, which is now the Kitchen and the fridge; the set up she had in her Garden where we used to sit and enjoy a beautiful sunny summer day, which is now the restaurant's garden. I can see it all, and I can see that it's all gone. No trace of the history of the remarkable person who occupied this space for 20 years before dying 12 years ago. Just a nifty hip little restaurant, where all the waiters speak to you in English and the coffee costs three times what it costs in coffee shops. She was GONE! You don't think about stuff like that, you know? You don't think of what will happen to your house after your death: you figure your kids will live in it! You figure that the place that holds the memories of a life no different than any other except that it was yours would carry on that memory forever. That's part of what you leave behind, and you figure people will respect it. But they don't. A fresh coat of paint, some new furniture, some new tenants, and every trace of you having ever lived there is gone. And the joke in this particular case is that it won't be a place where a new family will come and make their own memories; Instead it's a place where people come, eat, converse and leave. It's a place no one really occupies: Just a brief stay and we will be on our way. We got places to go, you know? Heh, come to think of it, this case in no exception, because that's almost exactly what it's like to live in a real house. That's what people do in houses, right? They come, they eat, they relax, they have conversations or fights or whatever, and then they are gone. Nothing personal; we are just motes of dust you see, with lives so short we might as well not live at all. I guess that's the real betrayal of it all: That there is nothing personal about it! Just the way things are. It would be semi-acceptable, or at least understandable, if this eradication of our memories was done out of hate or malice, but the fact that it's done out of nature, out of the need for money, that you are doomed to disappear just because it's part of the cycle, that's the true betrayal of Life : That it goes on without us! As if we’ve never lived at all!