We waited in line over two hours at the airport on the day we were scheduled to fly home from Athens. Zenetta had insisted we stay with her until the ash from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption cleared, but how long would that be? Zenetta had been sleeping on her couch for 10 days already. Mom and I knew we had to move on. We decided on Santorini, the Greek island from where the nice American couple ahead of us in line had just returned. We took notes from their guide book. But when we got to the desk, and the man told us we would have to go stand in another line to buy tickets to Santorini, we balked. The sign behind the desk said there was a plane heading to Cairo in 45 minutes. "What do you think?" I asked Mom. "Lynne lives in Cairo," Mom said. Why not?
After landing in Egypt, mom kept her cool. I had a panic attack that didn't fully subside until twenty-four hours later when we arrived at Lynne's apartment, her husband, through a bit of acrobatics, having secured a flight home for us in four days. This was April, 2010. Lynne's husband, who works for the American government, said something big was brewing, though no one knew exactly what. In December that year, the Arab Spring burst into full bloom.
Meema, our cab driver, taught us to say, "you're crazy," in Arabic. "Everyday my wife says to me, Meema, you crazy. Enta magnoon! And I say thank you my wife."
"Enta magnoon!" Meema yelled to a man riding a donkey. "Enta magnoon!" he yelled to an old woman trying to cross the street. "Enta magnoon!" he yelled to kids hanging out the door of a crowded bus. "Everyone!" he yelled shaking his fist as we flew down the restless streets of Cairo. "Enta magnoon!"