I was looking around a facebook group for people who want to be writers when I found this exercise: write about yourself in the third person starting with your surroundings, state of mind…etc. for 15 minutes…
You will not believe what came out of me, fair warning though, this is loooong, and depressing, but if you don’t mind… read on.
It was a very cold winter day unlike any that he was ever used to, and Amr was hunched in front of his laptop writing about himself. To whom or for what was he writing, he did not care. He just kept on punching the keys on his laptop, actually lighting the lamp next to him as it was dark and cloudy outside although it was actually noon.
It is hopeless, he thought. It is useless. There’s no point in this. No point in anything. You try your best and you don’t succeed. My best is not good enough. A couple of years late in college and my career seems to be already off the chart for me, waving goodbye at me before it even started.
He wrote on and wondered where does he currently stand. He has been through a needless, grueling process of education since he was 4 years old. Now he’s 27. 20+ years and still not good enough for work. 20+ years and still not good enough for employers, who, now younger than he is, think it’s their god-given right to sit there, gloat, look at him, scrutinize, interrogate, just coz their daddies knew the right people while Amr’s own father fucked up.
It is funny coz Amr had told his father many years ago that he had found out the problem with his college. An international college that promised its candidates certain jobs not only in but also out of this goddamn country. Amr’s old plan was to study in Canada, until the GUC opened with its fairly good prices and open promise of an unrivaled prestigious certificate, until…
“Your certificate is no longer accredited abroad,” said the dean of his college, Leila Mahran, to hundreds of shocked students that she had gathered for an announcement.
“Right now, only the biotechnology degree will be awarded to you from Germany, but unfortunately I regret to announce to you that your pharmacy degree will only be an Egyptian one,”
She continued her monologue, oblivious to the rising buzz of outraged protests rising in the lecture hall all around her.
“All the same, best of luck to all of you. Any questions?”
That same day, Amr confronted his dad, asked him if he could transfer to biotechnology. His old fashioned father did not even know what that discipline was, and based the rest of Amr’s path in life on his ignorance of a discipline although not required or even known to Amr’s current goddamn country, is desperately sought out thtoughout the rest of the world
Amr was weak. He did not want to burden his dad. His dad’s wife and Amr’s mother had just passed away and they were both burdened with the care of Amr’s little brother, Amir, who was 8 when she died, and by a new step mother who harmed them both a lot more than she cared.
And so, Amr decided to continue in Pharmacy, yelling at the top of his lungs to his father on that day, that there is no future for that college in this country. He would be studying, he said, almost as much as a doctor, in order to be nothing than a drug-grocer or a drug-peddler salesman, going around bribing doctors due to the intense competition into prescribing his company’s goddamn antibiotic although it is a copy of a copy of a copy of 30 others…
His father disagreed, saying that I have connections and I will get you a decent job here much better than any job you can get elsewhere in this country or out. Amr said no, there is no job that this college offers that would interest me. I will take this certificate and mark my words, dad, I will throw this certificate in the fucking trashcan where it belongs.
His mother died too young. His career ended too soon. His education misguided too late. Amr couldn’t take it. He failed all his subjects. 4 years straight not failing a single subject, yet on that year when all the doors closed in his face before he even graduated, he could not find the strength to go on.
He couldn’t take it. He started getting happy. Really, really happy. He was going around, making many many friends of total strangers, every other sentence he spoke was either a valuable wisdom or a hilarious joke. He kept going in that direction. He was ecstatic. He was euphoric. He was so extremely happy that he found his friends…l inside his head… that he lit his candles… coz he found GOD!
A faceless man sitting at a desk after many days of no sleep…
sentenced him although he was no criminal… to be confined in rehab although he was on no drugs….
The days dragged on. Minutes felt like hours, days felt like weeks… the months? Like years! Years on end suffering in the depths of the abyss of an eternal darkness that Amr never would have believe was capable of a mind that he though was lost… his own mind had betrayed him… left a note and nothing but misery behind it… and simply disappeared…
For days, even after he left the hospital, he spent days on his bed, lying on his stomach. He could not handle the burden of the sound of the AC although it was 30 or more degrees outside. He could not handle even the weight of a cover on his body or a his head on a pillow. He lay there for days and days, with sleep taking some eight hours but feeling like minutes, and waking taking the hours in between another blissful escape of sleep feeling like an endless stretch of time.
Yet he could not kill the time. He lost the ability to move. To talk. To eat or speak or think or even…do.
He could only wait.
Many years passed. Amr pulled off a miracle. He had met a girl, wooed her with a picture of his old body building self, yet she was shocked that what remained was only a wreck. Muscles shrunk, eyes sunken, fats grew, lips twitched… yet she took him in all the same… nursed him like a mother and a father like the ones he never had… a mother that was long dead and a father who was long lost… then he pulled of another miracle… the subjects of his college had piled up to the amount of 12 subjects instead of just 6…. he was actually being examined in two of the hardest subjects in one day, each in a test that is 3 hours long… yet somehow he passed. Everybody was thrilled! He was not! As he promised his dad, he walked up to him, requested the job that his father promised, yet his father opened his hands to him, apologized and said, “Amr… I’m sorry…
“… you were right my son… I could not find a job for you… I’m sorry…”
“It’s okay dad… I forgive you… now excuse me…”
“Where are you going?”
“I am going to try and repair the wreck you made out of me… goodbye….”
That’s all that Amr has to share today. He took a deep breath and looked at the facebook page, surprised that 15 minutes stretched to 30 and a few hundred words stretched to thousands… he wiped the tears from his eyes, put aside his laptop and got up, walked to the window, opened it despite the chilling cold, took off his robe, and smoked a cigarette, smiling that somehow a wreck like him survived, and gets to enjoy the coldness of life only a few days from his certainty that he would enjoy the coldness of the embrace…
Amr is my real life name and I no longer care about who knows this anymore. Apparently I discovered that whoever is dumb enough to be outraged by this blog usually doesn’t find it (and when they do find it, HA! it feels good to piss you off!), and whoever I know who is open minded enough to tolerate this blog are usually the ones that do. I have actually come far enough in my life to proudly wave this blog in the face of any of the corpse-munching ravens out there as a big fuck you, I’m still breathing, playing, writing, feeling, loving, crying, shouting, laughing, smiling and getting laid while you rot behind your ethic-starved existences.