February 18-21, 2005
I awoke on Friday to gentle tapping on my door at 7:00am. I was groggy and confused, but had been tossing and turning for hours anyway. I went to the door to find a disheveled Khalied. He looked as though he hadn't slept and his eyes were wide with emotion. He told me that he had been thrown out by force, beat up, and his things had been taken the night before. He asked me to run away with him to I'smalai, the town he came from. He told me to meet him in the cafe around the corner as soon as I could.
Sleepy, confused, overwhelmed, and scared I started to think. What was I to do? I went down to the hotel cafe to find out some info. My friend Monem was getting the cafe up and running. As soon as I saw him I broke out in tears and flung myself down on the cozy floor cushions and cried. Monem sat with me and tried to calm me as I mumbled about being a peaceful person just looking to relax on vacation and make some friends. I felt like I was making people crazy and all I was doing was being myself. Monem tried to explain to me as best he could, all that he knew about the situation. I could tell that what he was saying had come straight from Akhmed's mouth, and was one sided. I could see in Monem's eyes that he didn't really know anymore of what was going on than I did. He gave me some jumbled up story about how Khalied had been involved in a similar situation previously and had tried to get women to marry him so that he could travel. Monem told me that Khalied needed money and wanted to get away from here and would use me. I begun to cry more. What was going on. People needing money, marriage, using people, fighting, stealing, throwing people out, all over a girl (me) who isn't interested! What, why me? I didn't feel like this info was true about Khalied. He never asked me for anything. I was so scared and sad. This dramma made me want to run home into the arms of my love and hide. All I could think about was my love back home. My head was spinning. Didn't I come here to get over such thoughts. Didn't I come here to heal from dramma, and find myself, and new friends. I finished my crying and collected my thoughts and went out to meet Khalied to tell him to leave with out me. I did not want to be with him, and the thought of leaving here to go to his home town overwhelmed me...It sounded too "romantic", and I DID NOT WANT FREAKIN ROMANCE right now!I wanted to be alone and hide from these stupid boys.
I went out to talk to Khalied, and explained that I did not know what was going on. I told him that I would not join him on his journey to I'smalai, and I needed time to myself away from this drama. I explained that I did not know what the history between the boys was but it was not my dramma, and I wanted no part in it. I told him of the story I learned and I cried from exhaustion and confusion.
Khalied told me the following things:
1. The drama was all about me and no history. There was no history. All was fine before they both met me and fell for me.There was no situation where he had tried to get anyone to marry him, he needed no money, and would ask for nothing but time from my beautiful heart.
2. Akhmed was all messed up and jealous, and was using his money and power to control the situation. Akhmed had a gang of young men grab Khalied, take his things, and throw him out. (Khalied showed me bruises all over his chest, and a bloody lip.)
3. All Akhmed wanted from me was to sleep with me. He would use me and that was that. Akhmed was a fox, a bad person.
By now my head was spinning. In my world there are 3 things revolving around truth. His side, the other his side, and the truth. I now had been well versed in his side, and the other his side. Where the fuck was the truth! I was sad and angry and confused. I told Khalied I did not know what to believe. I told him to leave me alone for the day. I told him that if I was feeling up to it I might find him later, but for now to GO SLEEP! He looked like a mess and needed a good rest.
I went back to camp to do yoga. After a while Akhmed woke up and I asked to speak with him. I told him that I was so upset and angry about what ever was going on. I told him that I was a peaceful person and did not believe in fighting. I told him that I will never be anything but friends with him. I told him that I was thinking of leaving, I was sad that he had acted so horribly, and that I did not even want friends who acted that way. I told him that I did not know the history or care about the history. I knew the present, and that I had no intention of causing such problems. He was sad, and sorry, and felt very bad. With the most sad look on his face he pulled out a present from his pocket. He told me that while I was gone with Khalied yesterday, he had brought me this and had waited all night to give it to me. I opened up the present and inside was a necklace charm shaped like a heart with little sparkle diamonds (not real diamonds). It was beautiful. How sad. He had gone and gotten me a present and come back to find me missing for 8 hours with another "suitor". I thanked him for the present but told him I could not accept it! I told him that friends dont give each other these kinds of presents, and that friends dont start fights over each other. I only wanted friendship from him! I could see sadness and remorse in his eyes. I could see that his actions the previous night were something I would never completely understand. This was a cultural difference between us! At the end of our conversation Akhmed excused himself sadly, but before he went told me one thing, "Please, take this present as my sister. Know that all I want is for you to be happy. If you are happy I am happy. You are like my sister now.". Hesitantly, I accepted this and told him that I hoped the drama was over.
During my stay in Dahab, after many conversations with many different people I came to an understanding. In their country women are sacred. They cant even show their hair or skin because it is so tempting. The affection between men and women is so infantile and pure. Many people marry with out ever meeting the person. The women never get to talk with men other than their brother, father, or husband. Even the conversations they have with these men are not completely open. Women dont hug men, or grab there arm in affection. Men and women cant sit for hours and talk. There is no such thing as platonic friendships between men and women here. The culture is so prude in this way. Here I come along from America with my yoga princess tank tops, my crazy hair flappin in the wind, with my happy, huggy, affectionate self to talk for hours with them. I was something they could not fathom. I gave them kindness, affection, and good conversation. They fell for that. In there culture men protect women. In there culture men are suitors. In there culture the Bedouin and Egyptian people rival one another. Akhmed was Bedouin, Khalied was Egyptian. They both talked trash about each another. I felt so naive about getting myself into such a situation. But, I have accepted that I was unaware of these aspects of their culture, and every thing happens for a reason. I have now come to understand the deep reason's for these experiences. I will elaborate later. For now, my audience, my world, my family, my friends, all I can tell you is this is my path. Many people would just pack their bags and say fuck off to the whole bunch. I couldn't. I thought long and hard about it. I thought about leaving. But, I felt like even with the dramma, the heaviest danger was over. I felt that there was a deeper lesson to be learned for all of us. I felt that if I acted cautiously and aware, and if I was patient and let the situation play out, then we would all gain some greater knowledge about ourselves and life from this experience.
That day I asked for time alone to think. Akhmed and Khalied both gave me the space. I went snorkeling with another friend, I did yoga, I took a nap. I spent the rest of the day calming myself. That day I went inside my heart and I asked the goddess to bring me WOMEN! Please, please, please, bring more girls, more women, for support for me, as well as to disperse the male attention all seemingly focused on me.
There is a goddess!! Yeah! She brought me first a woman from Germany named Carmed. Carmen had been staying at camp but had not hung out much, due to a stomache ache. On Saturday she and I both wanted to go to blue hole, the most beautiful area with reefs for snorkeling and diving. We shared a taxi with a nice man named Adam. All day we snorkeled, sun baithed, gabbed, and giggled. We also met another woman named Leah, from Australia. She joined us in our fun. It was so nice to be with women! That evening Carmen and I went to dinner with another amazing gal named Maribel. Maribel was from Ecuador and had also been staying at our camp. She had not been hanging out that much because she had friends all over Dahab she spent time with. The three of us went out for a delicious meal, and chatted about life. After dinner Maribel and I made plans to go to a party.
Maribel and I went to the party but the room was all smokey, and we were not that into it so we left. While walking we begun to tell our stories of history, life, and spirituality. Maribel is such a deep, spiritual person. She is so pure, happy, silly, fun, and open. She had just gone through a similar transition in her relationship with her partner. She was on a similar journey to me, looking to refind herself and heal. She reminded me a lot of myself in many ways. It was so good to find someone wild like me. She was also very beautiful, and affectionate, and had encountered many situations with suitors also. I started to feel a little better about my dramma. I knew we would spend the next few days bonding. She was as happy to find me as I was to find her. Women are scarce here, and its good when your traveling alone to have a gal to confide in.
The next day, Monday, I went to meet Khalied. We met at our special rock by the sea. We giggled and skipped rocks. After a while his friend Salim came to find us to tell us that Akhmed was looking for me. I was not looking for any more dramma, so we ran off to find somewhere else to hang out. The three of us took a taxi out to the Lagoon, a calm area of sea enclosed by sand. The lagoon is amazing. It is a wide open area with few people, a great view of the mountains, and the lovely sea. Salim, Khalied, and I all played together for hours. We went swimming and played floating games. We held hands and went under the water to see who could hold their breath the longest. We had a swimming race far out into the sea to a floating dock. Once I reached the floating dock I looked down into the water. The water was at least 30 feet deep, and chrystal blue. It was so beautiful. We all lauged, and smiled, and baked out in the sun to warm up. This was so perfect. No dramma, no one wanting anything from me, no confusion, no talking, just being happy together.
Salim had to go back to work and left Khalied and I to finish the afternoon in the sunshine. We baked out on the shore and talked. I have to say that some people have the power to reach into the core of your heart and unplug the hole's there. Khalied did this with me. My sad heart had holes made by disappointment from my previous relationship. During these last few month's I had to plug those hole's. A girl cant just sit around with a bunch of hole's in her heart and cry forever. She must move on. She must let go. But to do so, she must find a way to fill the hole's in her weak heart. I had plugged these hole's. But, when I was with Khalied, he looked in me and he grabbed the string on the plugs and pulled them. I cant exactly explain how he did so for to do so is impossible. One cant describe intangible things precisely. Maybe it was that he was really looking into me and saw me for all that I am. Maybe it was that in such a short time he truly appreciated all that I am. Maybe it was that in his eyes I could see real love for me, the kind of love that I waited for from my love. Maybe it was that a man who met me for a few days could have what I waited 3 years for from my love. Maybe it was that he truly expected nothing in return from me. He wasn't asking me to love him. Maybe it was that he cared to see me heal and be whole and knew that my plugs in my heart would not allow true healing, only temporary relief from the crying. What ever it was, he pulled those plugs and I cried. I cried for the sadness of losing in love. I cried for the sadness of my parents losing at love. I cried for his sadness of never finding love until now, and then finding it in me, who does not love him the same way in return. I just cried, he looked at me and said that it was ok to cry, that he knew my heart was broken, and he would be patient until I got it all out. He cried too. All of a sudden he had tears and he was so empathetic for me. Wow! What an experience. I cant believe it. After many tears he asked me again to come with him to his home town. He told me that we would be taken care of there. He told me to look at him here. He told me here in Dahab, he was a pauper, a simple man. He stood still wearing the clothes he had on the day he was thrown out of the hotel. He looked like a pauper. He told me that he had the possibility to live different than this, but chose to go on a journey to explore life really, humbly. I guessed from these statements that his family has money, and he chose to come here and be the poor cafe worker for the learning experience and spirtual journey. He told me he wanted nothing from me, just to walk and talk with me. He only wanted to give to me. Now that he had found me he only wanted to bring me to his home to show me who he really is, to be with me with out dramma. I was scared. I told him so. I felt so deep for him. I felt like I wanted to know him, to talk with him, but I was afraid. I didn't want to go be with him alone, away from here. I didn't want to feel anything but friendship for him. I didn't want to get into a vulnerable situation. I wanted to just relax on vacation, heal, have friends, laugh, swim, be. He told me we could do that all in I'smalai. I told him that I couldn't explain it, but I couldn't go. I think that I could have fallen in love with him if I would have let myself be open. I think that I could have gone to I'smalai and be taken in by this lovely person and their family and life and fallen into that moment of perfect love. But, I know deep in my heart, I was not ready for all that. I cant tell you why, I just know I wasn't. The lesson was here, it need not go further. Right in this moment, and the few more to come was the simple humble lesson.
Love should ask nothing in return. When love does, love fails and turns to hate. Love should be given freely, not asked for, waited for, or lusted for. Love should be appreciated for it is rare and powerful. Love can heal or break you. Love is everywhere and it comes in different shapes and forms. You will always love again. It will be different each time. You never get over love, or end it, it forever lives in your heart. Love transcends language or time. Your heart chooses who ever it wants to love and your mind takes no part in this choice. Your mind chooses or makes decision about when and who to feed fuel to love with, but love lives in the heart alone. You can love after a minute of knowing someone. Love can grow with someone you didn't love before.
I told Khalied I would not go to I'smalai, but I would love to spend more time here with him. I told him to do what was best for him. He told me he might leave. We parted ways with a huge, beautiful, heartfelt hug! I told him that I would go looking for him the next day and we would hang if he was here. If he chose to leave, I would wish him luck and love in his journey ahead. I understood that his time in Dahab had come to an end. I understood that even this day, he was only still in Dahab because of me. He stayed because he wished to know me.