Where I come from, people are accustomed to

conforming to what the majority dictates,

rather than embracing their own interpretations.

Over there, it is embarrassing to get emotional

with a movie, and often will a cousin rise from

their chair saying that there’s something in

their eyes. Fathers don’t take their sons hunting

and grandmothers who are one hundred years

old go to the market by themselves to buy

vegetables for lunch. People where I come

from are proficient in the art of gossip.

The story about the Coptic shop owner who

died while drinking next to his cow had been

in thousands of mouths for years, as well as

that of the old woman who put a mixture of

prescription of drugs in her friend’s tea causing

the latter to walk out naked one day.

They agree that Hotel California is a song about

drugs and that there’s something dark about

that house in Port Fouad. Where I come from

everyone who says they’re fine are crying in

the bathroom and everyone who says they quit

smoking are stealing a cigarette in the balcony.

Siblings don’t exchange terms of endearment,

mothers don’t cook all days of the week and

alienated sons and daughters wake up in the

middle of the night to stare at the darkness

from which they’d come and to which they’ll go.