Wednesday Briefs - I Left My Heart In Egypt


I Left My Heart In Egypt

I left the air-conditioned coach and passed through the invisible cloak of heat onto the sands that dominated me. I only ever felt this way when visited Egypt. I’d travelled the world exploring the magnificent relics that history had left behind. But it was Egypt where there was something extra.

Before me stood the Great Pyramid, with the Sphinx in its shadow, guarding the way. I followed the crowd behind to the Step Pyramid and ventured inside. Down and down I went – bent at the waist to not hit my head. Though, a part of me wouldn’t have minded, for, in the darkness was where I knew him. In no time, I was stood in the room that in eons past held the body of Djoser, encased in his sarcophagus; his soul awaiting transportation to the heavens. Home to me was not in the pyramid, but close. I knew Pharaoh was watching from the stars, and it would have been remiss of me not to pay my respects to him.

My family had branded me insane, but the medics had agreed otherwise. For years, something pulled me to Egypt. But I knew not what until I visited ten years ago. It was in a hotel nearby that a dream that had frequented my childhood struck again. And I knew... I knew I had to come back again and again.

Since then, every year, at the same time, I stepped onto the sands of Giza with no idea of what was to greet me. Every year I bowed to Djoser in the hope that he had returned him. For I knew my Tarek had gone to serve his king. It was several millennia ago, but I believed that once he had served his time, Pharaoh would let him seek me out. I had returned with nought but a dream. A dream I had to believe – unless my brother was right and I was truly insane.

I breathed in the aromas around me. They no longer gave me memory. They stank of modern odour. Rubber sneakers and over perfumed bodies.

Keeping my eyes on my feet, I made my way up and out to a scent more in keeping with my dreams – heat, camels and sweat.

Down the hill, I saw men selling their wares. T-shirts that ran in the wash, scarves to cover cold shoulders as the sun gave way to night, and other trinkets. Their sale helped people put food on the table, and I always bought something. For me, the only true activity to partake in was that of a camel ride. They smelled, they spat and they made noises that had never evolved. And I knew their scent would take an age to wash off.  But, the undulation of the ship of the desert lulled me back, and for a while, I was taken to the time where I began; to the time where I fell in love and lost him to Pharaoh.

I spied a man with an empty camel on the outskirts of the throng. I ignored the armed guard assigned to the coach, who was trying to stop his charges straying, and headed towards him. As I drew close, the tall Egyptian turned from tending his animal and faced me.

My world stopped. His hair was covered save for unkempt bits that drifted in the sandy, scorching breeze. But, I knew those eyes. I knew that nose and the plump lips of his mouth. I saw him utter words that made my heart leap, “Omar?”

“Tarek,” I whispered.

Step by step we drew closer. Was it real? Was this the Tarek of my dreams? Within inches of each other, we stopped. Tarek outlined my face with his fingers, “By the Gods, is it you?”

I caressed his hand. I could feel the grains of sand and grease from the camel. When his fingers wound around mine, the touch was my Tarek. “You made me a promise.”

Tarek smiled, “I remember, Omar.”

He took me by the hand and led me behind the step pyramid, away from prying eyes. “By my Pharoah Djoser, I promised to weave my fingers into your hair, slide my hand up the inside of your thigh and around your waist, give you a kiss that would convey my heartache at our parting, and never leave you again.” 

My Tarek followed his words with actions and when our mouths met, I knew I was home. What I’d once lost in Egypt, I’d found again and I was never letting go.





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