Iftar at Isabelle’s

Ian Bassingthwaighte in Guernica:

Adbusters_84_Personal All that remains are pitted dates. Everything else has been eaten. The plates have been licked and the glasses emptied. Residue lingers on the table: dirty napkins, forgotten forks, leftover crumbs and morsels, plastic water bottles. “Would you pray more if I left you?” I ask Isabelle, a Cairo native and the girl of my dreams. She pretends to be religious, but I don’t mind because she’s pretty when her head’s pressed to the floor.

“Probably,” she says. “Are you going to?”

“Not yet,” I say.

Wendell laughs, but I don’t think it’s funny.

Wendell is a fat man with a twisted wit and he wants to fuck my lover more than I do. He is the best friend I have and I would loathe to lose him. He has a glass in his hand and he raises it. I raise mine. Isabelle raises the entire bottle and we drink until the room spins faster than the Earth does, which makes us dizzy and prone to tipping. We go outside and into the city, which is a messy conglomerate of heat and waste. We would breathe air if there were any, but instead there are varieties of emissions and so we breathe those instead. We dodge speeding vehicles as we meander blindly across highways and side streets. Isabelle whispers a prayer at each crossing. She says it for all of us so that we won’t get splattered. One street short of the Nile, a cat scrambles across the road and is squished halfway to the other side by a bus. Then I mimic the cat and scramble too, but I make it. Divine intervention or slop-fed luck, I don’t know which. But I’m the winner this time and I celebrate by cheering.

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