Burned


He woke up exceptionally early on that day, pressed a gentle kiss against the forehead of his loved wife while she still sleeps. He got dressed very quickly and headed off to work.

Cairo at 6:30 am in the morning on any day of the week is an exceptionA-man-enjoys-a-cigaretteally beautiful place. You would really get trapped between the mesmerizing beauty of the city and the ugliness of the true life it has become that you see around every corner before it all gets covered up with even more ugliness of human behavior.

Ramez drove the roads of Salah Salem, making his way listening to his flash drive that is hooked up to his car’s sound system, a mixture of 50s songs.

He arrived and parked his car in spot close to work, one of the perks of being there too early. He got up to his office building on the 16th floor where he was greeted by Am Abdo the office boy, and asked him for a fine cup of coffee. While Am Abdo was a bit surprised at the early arrival, but he didn’t bother, he had already seen enough from the world and figured the young man either came because of some urgent business or something else.

Ramez sat in his office, lit up a cigarette and opened up the window to change the air.. He looked calmly at the cigarette as its smoke began to dance in the horizon right before his eyes as it fades away..

“You just don’t get it!” these few words kept echoing in his mind , it was the final argument that shut down the night, after a set of other arguments of “who told you I want to be helped?” , ” All your focus is about solving the issues! and you can’t solve them!” , this was not his first time that he would end the night in such a way …

But lost as he is , he knew he was quite alone on this one, for every woman he met , said “No man could ever understand how we feel” , problem is , every man he met told him “you’re wasting your energy! Why even bother? if she doesn’t want it don’t bother!” , or the sort of answer in the likes “Dude aren’t you putting food on the table ? making ends meet ? That’s more than enough!” ..

He was trapped.. Trapped between what he wanted and envisioned and  what the world he lives in is like..

“You just don’t get it !” , his voice screamed in the back of his head in response “What don’t I get?? That I should watch her suffer as I just listen and nod and watch the person I cherish most just suffer further… Just because ?”

On many occasions and conversations he would notice that his entire society of men and women, believe that men have no deep or entangled feelings.. That everything is straight forward.. What they both do not know.. That while women.. all of them , or on the worst.. Most of them , live these feelings, and deal with them even if in their locked bubble where they feel completely alone … Men on the other hand tend to hide from them and even run from them ,because they have absolutely no idea on how to deal with them.. They were never taught to handle complex emotions, they go for the easiest solution ever.. ‘Anger’ and it works like a charm every time , every single bloody time, why? because no one sees behind it, every man and women falls for this trick.

“We don’t have complex feelings” a voice in Ramez’s head came to him but he replied with a clear voice “We don’t ?” , even Am Abdo heard him and asked him , if he was talking to him , and Ramez smiled gently and sent the man on his way.. “No we do! and it is going to always be your nightmare Ramez!” another voice in his head said , and then added ” And do you know why?”

“The answer is simple my good friend. People have simply no time for you, or your tendency to analyze thing and drag into long conversations.. They don’t want you to find the root of the problem and work on fixing it with them, they can’t tolerate going into an argument with you for more than 10 minutes because you want the details.. ” The voice came again..

Ramez still staring at the cigarette, trying to fathom what kind of man he is. “What wrong am I doing if I try to help the person I love ?” he tried to ask the voice in his mind and the answer came straight away “Do they want your help? Do they need your help ? Maybe, perhaps but they won’t ask it , and if you offer it they will reject it. Simply because they do not feel they want it”

He slipped into the back of his mind, hearing all the conversations arguments, thoughts he’s heard from everyone he knew.. including her. and the more he thought about it, the more it drove him to sense of being incapacitated, the sense that he is the one who’s wrong, he’s the one to blame, that he shouldn’t do except what people tell him.

The way of how the society works, has always been a challenge to him, he the believer that a person could change ‘somethings’ about themselves only if they want to, or work hard for it, apparently he’s living this alone when everyone does want to just keep doing what they are doing because ‘No one will understand them’ from one side and another side ‘it’s too much time and effort and we have no patience, or energy to put any effort’ these 2 sides of the coin, that excluded him and kept him in this odd position that he has lived for the majority of his life. It would seem to Ramez as if he is meant to be lost, he is meant to be that odd ball.

Ramez drifted well into these thoughts and a mix of emotions didn’t wake up until his a moment when his cigarette burned him.. And he realized that it was time to put it out..

” That is it , that what all of it is !” he exclaimed to himself , ” We live in a time, where people hardly have tolerance for themselves, and everyone believes they can never be understood, everyone wants something and expects it to be done from the other side quietly and without the slightest of notions.”

“Men just want to carry on hiding from themselves because they have never thought of what to do about it, and continue to try to keep their lives simple because they’re afraid of what is within them and they cannot confront it” , While women ” have built this fortress around them because they have not seen any hope or signs of hope of anyone being there for them  and hence have resorted to being alone, even if with someone”

“Just so perfect that I feel , this is all so horribly wrong or I am the one who’s wrong which might seem like a plausible solution”

Ramez closed his eyes and let himself drift into a nap, because his mind could no longer find a solution or an answer that would satisfy him..

Ramez woke up an a couple of hours later only to sounds of his colleagues coming and as they passed by him there was a newly wed couple among them..’ Amal’ and ‘Karim’, and Ramez said hi to them noticing something was written all over their faces.. Ramez asked them , “What’s up guys?”

Amal instantly replied  “You  men will never get it Wallahy (I swear to God in Arabic ) , you don’t feel and you don’t understand”

And Karim just shook his head and pushed in front of her to move her in front of him in a more of theatrical way ” Let go mate , let go,  that’s how they are!” and amidst this mess Karim pops his head back through the door way ” There’s a match tonight coming to watch ?”

Ramez looked at him and he couldn’t believe it , he nodded quietly then thought to himself.. ” there is no key to unlock my dilemma, there’s no right, or wrong , there’s nothing I can do.. but remain quiet ”

He stretched a bit looked out of the window as the streets became more and more crowded.. How many suffer in silence? men ? women ? These stereotypes that were created.. The mental crushing the society does to each and everyone..

Ramez decided to just not try to answer the questions in his head, for no one would really want to discuss it, after all , no one has the time to go into long arguments, and everyone’s adamant about their own view, no one man or woman is willing to stand on the other side to see what it’s like from a different angle , women are convinced men will never understand , and men simply choose to run away from everything they don’t understand and both begin to use ‘let it slide, this too shall pass’ policy .. He pushed it all to the back of mind and decided to let his working day begin.

Ramez got a call , it was from his wife, he picked up ” Good morning Zahra!” he said and was greeted from the other side ” Good morning dear, you left early today ? ”

“Yes! I wanted to think a bit about last night, and didn’t want to cause any noise around the house and let you also sleep at ease”

She replied him “That was last night, let it go”  , he nodded quietly “Perhaps, but anyway I will try to do what makes you most comfortable”

And then there was a moment of silence , and nothing to be said , he thought maybe they’re both as lost as one could be..

Ramez ended the call , “well I’ve got to scoot, I’ve got a meeting in 10 and I haven’t prepared my slides yet, will call you later”

She said “OK, have a good day” and hung up .

 

 

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