To be gifted with such beauty, with such adoration.
To be gifted with this love.

I like to think of myself as a woman of  my word.
Never go down without earrings.
She said.
It was not my word I have been breaking, it was hers.

For two days now I have gone down without earrings. I never do.
I was afraid my mommie would notice. My lack of adornment. If I walk quickly, she wouldn't notice what is missing between the curls.

Alaa Abd El Fattah is still in jail, even though General Tantawy has declared that investigations into the massacre of Maspero at October 9th 2o11 have been moved to Civil Prosecution.

Alaa was the first who said it. We fear our mothers more than bullets.

I am afraid and that is why I have not been wearing them.

I fear the terror at the pit of mother's heart crawling up to blind her from anything else other than what she wants, that we stay with her, that we will not go "there".

I lie. I break promises. I put up pretences.

I go.

I am afraid.

Tying the first watch I got – the one my mother gave me – her old watch, around my wrist, I look at the brown leather jewelry box where earrings live.
I open it. I move my fingers through silver and stones. Gropping.
No. Not there. Not when anything could happen.

I remember last January's ends and the buds of February as I translated instructions for those braver than me.  It was very specific.

Do not wear any kind of jewelry they can  pull you from: necklaces, pendants, earrings, etc.

I don’t have studs.

And so, for the past days I have gone down with my ear lobes naked.
I play around the small brown bedding where they lie trying to find one to wear that matches my mission.
Then I ask myself, whose gift, whose love, do I want to sing in my ears if I die today?
Despite my cowardice and constant removal of myself from harm's way, I play the game.

My grandmother's old silver earrings, which came to me as a gift on my 12th birthday.
The pearls I got from a circle of beautiful women the day I got appointed at university.
The jade ones I made from the four honey stones Khaltoo Mona gave me before she left us.
Mother of pearl – 19th birthday – from 4beautiful , now, women.
Yemeni jade set in Yemeni silver along 12 years.

I decided not to wear any. No studs, no rings. What if one of those killing us ran after me for some reason and grabbed my from my earring and tore it out of my ear?

I would have another one of those. I would have to transform them.

Another one like the crescent lost in Alexandria's winter.
The Celtic design with silvery blue from my grandma's lands.
My mama's little sterling hear – rose quartz so soft – which now lies at my throat in a chain.

No earrings to Tahrir today, I decided.

As I breathed his long missed smell in the first half of the day, I didn’t need to reach up to my ears and feel empty.
He filled them with lapis lazuli and coral set in harmony and meticulous detail of every minute he spent choosing them.

The taller, more cynical me.

The first time I went to Tahrir Square was with him.
Now, I tell him, "I will call you when I'm there".

Things do go around in rings.

Everything does.
We start at a point and we end at the same point. But at the point of ending we are no longer those who set off. We grow and we carry with us the fullness and the wholeness of a complete ring closing around an ear lobe. And then we move on to the next ear, the next pair.

This time is different. We all know. This time we move collectively. Together, past the borders of Tahrir Square, to reach its fullness.

This time we will not shy of wanting to be complete.
This time we will remember.
Egyptians have never sung to crescents.
We've always sung for full moons.

Wednesday, 23rd of November 2011.


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