letter from cairo

1383221373837Wiam El-Tamami at Granta:

Cairo moved on, as it does, settling into July. I went to stay with my sister. Between my travels and her own and various distances of other kinds, we hadn’t spent much time together in years. As hard as it was to be, it was better to be there, staying up all night, drifting around each other in the rooms; to not have to speak or say or come out of ourselves, to know there is no explanation for now. To just be there, quiet and with her, the wanass of her – a wisp of a word meaning something like this, the consolation of company.

I can’t tell you much about that haze of days, where each one went before sliding thickly into the next. Hours were spent staring into computer screens, eyes like bowls. I suppose we slept, but sleep was something cobbled together from stray hours, after dawn or afternoon, and it didn’t much resemble rest. Things seeped into our dreams.

My sister continued to work; hers was a direct battle against the ugliness. I moved untethered around the house, not knowing what to do with myself, trying to write, to wrangle out some words at a time when I wished above all for silence.

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