Minus Two

I had to get my teeth cleaned the other day and Marianne wasn’t there do it. She wasn’t there the time before, either. A whole year has passed since the last time I saw her. You know, she probably doesn’t work there anymore.

I got obsessed with the Egyptian Revolution all on my own, but I had two Egyptians to talk about it and its aftermath with and I loved it. There was my main Egyptian, THE Egyptian, of course. And Marianne, my dental hygienist. I learned what I could from things I read, then filled in the answers to my questions (so many questions) from my conversations with them. It was perfect. With one being a Muslim, and one a Coptic Christian I felt I was getting a well-rounded perspective on things, one that I couldn’t possibly get from the news.

Marianne told me other things too. How her husband was getting along after finally getting his papers to come from Cairo, how much she missed her family, how she worried about them. Same for the Egyptian, what it was like to grow up in Alexandria, about the military, how different Egypt used to be.

But Marianne is gone. And the Egyptian is gone, too, the relationship bled out from the slit in its belly when we returned from Malaysia in July. Maybe there wasn’t much left to bleed anyway. Doesn’t mean the wound is healing quickly.

And the new hygienist wanted to talk about Rob Ford. And I don’t want to hear one more word about Rob Ford. Not. One. More. Word. And she didn’t praise my flossing or my gum health. “How’s my flossing?” I had to prod. Marianne was the one who finally convinced me to floss and she always remembered to lavish me with accolades, even though I’m a grown adult and shouldn’t need them.

“Oh, it’s great!” the new one said. “Couldn’t you tell? No blood!” Well, yeah, I could but I don’t think you understand how this relationship is supposed to work.

Without any Egyptians to love, how can I figure out what to believe about everything that’s going on over there? Do I even keep on trying?

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