The Struggle

“On the count of three!” mom said. “No wait, after the blue car.”

It is always a struggle to cross the street. I wish for crosswalks, but the Egyptians cross the bustling streets fine with no worries or fear. Here, the people are one with the cars. In America, we are one with the sidewalk.

Before, on a narrower street, crowded with butcher shops and fruit markets, there was a foot between the meat hung outside the butcher and the road. Many times I had to choose between walking into the meat and being run-over.

“Cow head or car?” mom would say.

One time, lost in thought, I didn’t notice a car coming from behind me. A lady pushed me out of the way, scolding me for being reckless. But it’s not like the drivers are cruel. There is just a different standard between pedestrians and drivers. One that I’m not used to. This little difference in culture, somehow, is the hardest to become accustomed to.
I used to watch in awe at how effortlessly my cousins crossed. Only with them, I would feel a mix of exhilaration and fear walking in front of a car so close. On my own I wouldn’t dare.

“One, two, three, NOW!” mom said dragging me across.
She finally found a gap in the on-going traffic.
Halfway there, I freeze. I am a deer in the headlights unable to look away or move away from the car coming. Mom yanks at my arm, but I am not fazed. Horns blare, and mom yells at me not to hesitate in the middle of the street. She yanks me again, and I snap out of it. We run to the sidewalk laughing with relief and cheering at our meaningless feat.
I turned around looking to congratulate my older brother, and I see him. He is still on the other side of the road.

-mariam

 

I wrote this about crossing the street in Egypt. I’m so pleased with this piece because it made my dad laugh and thats a hard thing to do. 🙂

 

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