Judith Barry | Cairo stories | Dalia

…Cairo stories – Dalia

Dalia | Five Suitors

Well… her story is one that she cannot tell mama and baba, especially not mama… Iʼm her older sister, I know.

You know, itʼs become somewhat of a competition… Oh, youʼre laughing, itʼs not funny. Her and her friends do it, too. They do it all the time, they compete, but my sister, sheʼs the clear winner.

You know… it all started way before University… if only she had just… if only she had just stayed at her old job… I wonder… And, my sister, sheʼs a good girl. Sheʼs kind and sheʼs pleasant and she doesnʼt want to hurt anybody. And she knows, she knows really thereʼs nothing wrong with their choices. They make good choices, mama and baba.

The first one he was thirty three… sheʼs twenty one… our brotherʼs friend… She says, “He does not like my clothes… mama and baba donʼt have a problem with my clothes…” The second one, he was very conservative… The third, well, he was our cousin and of course she loved him… she loves our cousin, but, like our own brother.

Mama always says “God willing, love will come…”
I wonder? Maybe she really means, “God willing, children will come…
And when children will come, that will be love.”

You know… then there was the fourth. Heʼs the one that I think she still remembers to this day… He was a very good, very handsome man. But, he didnʼt like the coiffure where she works and he doesnʼt want her to spend time with her friends. So what did she do? Every time he would stop by the house, she would make sure to go down to her job at the coiffure. If he set a time to see her, yes, sheʼd be home, but sheʼd tell one or all of her girlfriends to be there. And she would talk about was how much she loves her job, how she loves working at the coiffure…
I donʼt know…

Then there was the fifth … and … I think about it sometimes. It must take so much
energy to do what she does, to spook them away, kind of, like casting a spell and at the
same time doing it very charmingly, using your womanly charms.

You know, as a girl, you wonder, “Will there ever be a time when you can just be
yourself?” You spend so much time being bashful, being modest, and watching out for
your reputation, trying like you donʼt want to be found, but you desperately are hoping
someone finds you. And then, someone finds you, and it turns out, it isnʼt always the
person you wanted to find you. And still, youʼre sitting there and youʼre waiting, and
youʼre kind of lost. And you know, I see the years can go by, the years go by… itʼs like all
along, youʼre… youʼre just hiding.