First Runner Up – Sara Rifaat

First Runner Up - Sara Rifaat

buy Cialis Soft 20 mg France Project Leila by Sara Rifaat

“It is a waste of time, money, and hair” It’s all I say when my doctor suggests I should start taking my treatment. I have been diagnosed with blood leukemia two weeks ago. Being a thirty five year old gentleman with no family history with the disease, I definitely didn’t see it coming. Oh don’t stop reading just yet, my story isn’t a soft copy of the fault in our stars or a walk to remember, I am just someone who decided to write this while I reconciled myself to the fact that I might not make it to the epilogue.

The doctor finished his speech about how the light of the dawn breaks through the night darkness even when almost everyone is questioning the light of another day, but his eyes disagreed with his mouth, they were shooting me with pitiful looks that saw I was too young for this, and I should have had a life ahead of me. I leave when he wraps up his speech knowing exactly where I am going. When I reach my destination I stand in the middle of the road, head up starring at the huge sign hung on the building “Artificial insemination Centre”. It takes me a moment before I decide to walk in.

“Good Morning Sir, how can I help you?”
“I want to meet Mrs. Erica Fields”
“Do you have an appointment?” she doesn’t bother to look me in the eye while she speaks, her eyes are fixed on the computer screen.
“Sir you can’t meet her now, you have to schedule an appointment first”
“Aha, Allow me to teach you what you can’t do. You can’t talk to me without bothering to look me in the eye or even try to be a little decent and smile to my face while you wipe away my hopes of meeting someone today. I am meeting with your boss”
“I am sorry Sir, just have a seat and I will see what I can do”
I look around to see a woman looking at me curiously, so I go over and share with her a couch while we wait. She looks away when I stare at her back.
“Is it me or are people a little bit ruder than normal?”
Her eyes examine me before she says “It depends, I can’t remember the last time I walked into a place and the front desk girl smiled to my face”
“Aha, so I suppose I won’t be leaving heaven” I murmur to myself.
“What did you just say?” she raises an eyebrow at me, confused.
“Just a complicated theory, if you walk over to that receptionist and tell her that you are a cancer patient, she is going to offer you a drink and get you to meet her boss momentarily, so if we only smile and be nice to people when we pity them, then this world is no heaven to cling to”

Her eyes are fixed on mine while I speak, she is so determined to understand, she got the kind of look in her eyes as if no one knows anything but us.

“Why are you really here” she swallows hard.
“I could ask you the same question” I decide to stall.
“I came here with my friend; she is in there right now.”
“I bet you are against this idea” I make a guess.
“How do you know?”

“Well you keep adjusting the way you are seated which means you are uncomfortable here, when you mentioned that you are here with your friend your eyelashes flickered in disagreement, and right now you are twisting your hands in anxiety feeling exposed and transparent”
“Who are you?”
“Good question”
She pushes her hair backwards with both of her hands; my stalling is driving her on the edge. I only stall because it is hard to put myself out in words. I wouldn’t know which side to expose to her; I guess the best manner to illustrate myself would be this.
“I am Art”
She shoots me with her uninterrupted gaze waiting for more than what I said.
“And when Art is interpreted into so many words, the viewers are no longer interested. It is important to stay curious.”
“And what would Art be possibly doing in an artificial insemination centre?”
“Believe it or not, I found a way not to die” I blurt out.
She links everything I said throughout our chitchat, and she concludes “You are a cancer patient”
 I proceed “And no body walks out of that alive” “But there is a chance that what I do in the very few days left might be more than what I would do if I were immortal.”
“You want to have a baby from a stranger” Her eyes widen with each word she utters. She processes her conclusion while she says it.
“I could do that in a bar, but I am here for something else. I am here to meet my wife”


The rude front desk calls my name to interrupt our conversation. I stand up to walk in, but I stop to look back at the stranger whom I’ve just had with the most genuine conversation I have had in my whole life. It doesn’t surprise me, since I am actually here to meet a stranger that can change my life. Looking at her, she is still sitting on that couch looking up to me without a word. Her eyes are the widest I have ever seen, if there is a word for those eyes it would be ‘moony’. I exchange one last eye contact with her before I walk in.

“My secretary insisted that I squeeze time to meet with you” Erica fields stands to greet me as soon as I walk into her office. She looks older than she did in the commercial I saw for her centre in the papers the other day. She is probably in her sixties, and she probably hasn’t paid a visit to a hair salon in weeks now since her black dyed hair is suffering white roots.
“Well, I guess she feels guilty for her lack of a decent face” I sit down on the chair facing hers.
“Did she bother you?”
“No, I tend to get bothered by something more than a secretary who had a bad morning.”
“So, you wanted to meet with me Sir. How can I help you?” she puts on her eye glasses and looks back at me for answers.
“I want you to make me immortal” I say it like it’s the most conventional thing to say.
“Excuse me?”
“I have been diagnosed with Leukemia two weeks ago, and before I came here to you I was at a doctor’s appointment, he wanted to start with the treatment, but then that would make me spend the left days passed out in a hospital while I watch my hair fall and that is not how I want to die.”
“I am sorry”
“Don’t be” I interrupt her “You are going to fix me”
“What is in my hands to do?”

“If I told you now that you were to die tomorrow, you would jump from you chair and go spend the few hours with your family. You would do what it takes to carve your name on the walls of their memory because oblivion is a nightmare we stay up all night not to sleep and go through. I’ve always thought that when I meet that stranger in Rome, she will be the one. And while we travel the world she will come to me, and whisper to my ears that she is pregnant. We will get married on the road, and I will be indecisive about which lesson to teach that boy first! But I have never been to Rome, I haven’t met the one, She isn’t pregnant and I don’t have a child…I only have too much to teach him. I want an extended soul Mrs. Erica, I want that baby. I want you to make me meet with women, who want to be artificially inseminated, and maybe I could convince them to get pregnant the natural way. They want a baby, I want a baby, I am dying, so they are going to be single mothers anyway. We could exchange benefits. I know that is not part of your job description but I could pay for that favor”

I can’t tell for how long I stayed in there with Mrs. Erica, our conversation could have gone for hours. All I know is when I walk out of the building I find her waiting for me.  This time, she is not a stranger sharing with me a waiting area-couch, this is no coincidence. She is a woman who chose to wait hours for me to come out of a building because she wants to know. I betted on her in my mind, I won the bet. I smile wordlessly Order online Cialis Soft , I am glad I met my wife.

“You are still here” I say.
“You look like you knew that too” She says puzzled
“I am afraid if I said yes, I’d freak you out”
“Put a check on that because you already did. I don’t even know what I am doing” she looks around confused “I am waiting in the middle of the road for a man that I don’t even know his first name, waiting for him to explain himself to me, and with each word he says I get even more confused.”
“Do you want to sit down?”
We walk to the nearest restaurant, and we sit down and order some afternoon coffee.
“Are there traces of whip cream on my face or do you randomly gaze at people with those wide eyes of yours?” I say sarcastically.
“No, in front of me there is only a normal person having some afternoon coffee, nothing more or less”
“You expect me to be sobbing because I am dying?”
I put down my coffee, “Now I just ordered this coffee, and I can’t tell the waiter that I am not satisfied with it therefore I’d like to change it with a lemonade, but what I can do is” I grab a spoonful of sugar  “sugar quote the truth so it is not that sour anymore for me to swallow, I can be okay with what I have with a simple modification. The lesson here stranger is that fate is unchangeable but it is editable, we can take it as a package and start modifying it until it fits. I can sob today and I will still be dying tomorrow, or I can decide to change the world today and still die tomorrow but in the way I choose.”
“Leila” she says “my name, It’s Leila”

She eases in her seat; I can see she is not scared of me anymore that she decides we shouldn’t be strangers anymore.
“You know you can ask that question you have been holding back in your throat” I take a sip of my coffee.
“Who are you, a mind reader?”
“My major was in psychology, I have studied every single detail about the human body language, what I have learned on the long ride though is that you don’t always want to know what’s on people’s minds. The truth could be a curse. Your question?”
“Don’t you find it selfish, that you bring a child to life when you are certain of his fate?”
“It is because I am certain of his fate, I want to bring him to life”
“You won’t even live for him” she protests then rethinks it through and decides that that wasn’t the nicest thing to say.
“I am anything but selfish; I will be offering him things that half the living dads don’t offer their children. For years now Art has been used by the wrong people for the wrong reasons. People forgot how it is to draw a painting for the message that is covered up between the colors, how it is to write for the impact you might leave on someone’s life, how it is to dance for the feeling you pass along for the audience with every move, to sing for the world to lose its agony as the souls sway with the rhythm. They only crawl for the cash now, but I will be turning all that around because I will be raising an offspring with Art.  When he comes to this life, I will have prepared for him the right environment to grow and develop. He will find me in every corner in the house, by the window where he will find flowers, and a reminder note to water them every day, on the walls where the paintings are hanged, he will find me in every birthday letter I have written, in the eyes of the woman I choose to be his mother, he will know me from the lessons in the book I have written for him. I have it all planned. Leila I am a perfectionist. “

The perfectionist” She repeats carefully with her eyes fixed on me.
 Her voice is the last thing I listen to before we fall into unbreakable silence, It doesn’t bother me, it’s that comfortable silence you don’t normally share with a stranger which proves my point, that she is not a stranger at all.
“I want to be there” She breaks the sound of my heavy breathing.
“While you search for this woman, I want to help you find her. I’ll make this work”
I smile at my near-future wife who just offered to help me find my future wife, little does she know, I have met her already. Lesson 1: Time is a game changer.

Mrs. Erica sets up meetings with some women who are interested in being single mothers; I guess she decides to help me out of pity, even though she thinks I am a man who lost his mind for cancer.
Leila comes along and attends all of the meetings with me. She says that I am that state of mind she won’t re-bump into again in life. I leave the door half open for her to crawl gradually into my life, I let her fit perfectly in that gap, like those pieces of Lego that fit together with no effort of pushing them, which gives you the feeling that they were one all along.

Every woman I meet with is a story, One has made some wrong decisions, that lead to some misfit relationships, that resulted in her wanting to be a single mother, canceling the word ‘Men’ from her dictionary, Another hasn’t met the right one or even heard of him except in fictional novels, A third one is a feminist who thinks men are just balls with not a single parental duty but of course she flowers her words while she speaks them out to me. What they all have in common is that they walk out of the room as soon as they hear my story. They listen to cancer and they *phew* run, they don’t listen to the following line where I say that the doctors assured me there is only 5 percent risk the disease might be passed along to the baby. What I see as precise Injustice  is the fact that I listened to each and every one of them talk without interrupting or mentioning that they are all psychopaths who have issues that are result of bad relationship choices, and they want to get back at men by diminishing their role in society which will turn them into unreliable mothers. They all walk away from trouble; they pick the side walk because the main road is dynamite-dangerous. All the women walk away except one woman that is glued to my side; Leila is there through it all, she frowns at every woman who walks away from me as soon as I tell my story, and whispers to my ears that she wasn’t the right one anyway. She thinks that I am lost, that I haven’t found what I have been looking for but what she doesn’t know is all those meetings I wasn’t testing those strangers, I was testing her. Lesson 2, the best way to test someone is when they don’t even know they are going through a test.

I almost listen to her inside thoughts as she pictures herself as the woman. With each inappropriate woman we meet she is one step closer to realizing that she is the model answer to the question mark at the back of my head.

A week later I decide to take her to my home, it’s when we move to stage two; her “grasping” what she is about to get herself into. As soon as she steps in she examines the place with the very same wide eyes that look at me like I am her godfather. I let her roam while I head to the kitchen to make us something fresh to drink. The next thing I know is I walk in on her in my office holding the book. When I walk in on her she is already lost in the pages, reading word for word, indulged in those lines.

“ehhm”, I murmur
“Ahh”, my voice brings her back to earth, she recovers fast “I am sorry, I just…I saw the title on the cover ‘Dear Kid’ and I could only dig in”, she blushes.
“It’s okay, you can read it”,
As soon as she hears that she fixes her eyes back on the pages, drifting through the lines to another world. For hours I watch her read. So concentrated, and so determined, I think she almost forgets that I am with her in the room. At some point she stops and looks up to me shocked that I am still right where her eyes left me two hours ago.

“You”, she says “You are someone that happens once a billion year, you sound so sure of what you are doing. We have met countless women, none of them was even close to appropriate and that hasn’t shaken you a bit! You haven’t even seen or talked to your doctor, you don’t know if you are to live another day, yet you are solid! I worry, I shake, I doubt but when I look up at you all I find is someone relieved, like you guarantee an infinite life. Who are you“, she looks me right in the eye searching for answers “God?”,
“No, Leila I am not God. I am a man who has faith in God. A believer”,
my answer comforts her. She looks at me in complete astonishment; she looks up to me like no one knows anything but us.

I fall asleep on the couch half way through watching Leila read my book. I am woken up by the sound of her sniffing. I open my eyes to her holding the book tightly in her hands, and then she closes it carefully and rubs her teary eyes hard. She has read it.
“There is a certain beauty in the truth Leila; it’s that only the brave can handle it.”,
Her eyes still fixed on the book between her hands, she says “You are indeed a perfectionist”, she sighs “I know a woman who could be the one”,
“I know a woman who could be the perfect one too”, I say.
She looks at me with fierce determination, her eyes are panicky, now is the time she knows she wants this but she is scared that it is too late.
“Who is she?” she asks puzzled.
Purchase cheap Cialis Soft 20 mg “She is you”,
“From the very first time I laid eyes on you, I knew. Something clicked when we had our first simple conversation, when I talked to you everything I planned for, everything I thought of fell right in place. When I met you, I felt sure. I knew that the right person would take away all the side thoughts and fears that whispered to my ears every night that I was a psychopath who lost his sanity to cancer.”,
“You knew all along? And you still met with those women anyway, what were we doing? Socializing?”,
“I knew, but I was waiting for you to know“,
“How the hell did you know I would be the mother of your child if only I knew now?”,
“I saw it in you, there was always a possibility that I be wronged but I wasn’t”,
“How do you trust me with this? I don’t even trust that I am good enough”,

“It’s this determination that makes you so right, and without that sting of doubt no one would ever strive for anything in life. If people go to bed everyday feeling that they are flawless, there would be nothing to wake up to tomorrow. Mistakes are the creators of new days Leila. You went with your friend to an artificial insemination centre even though you didn’t believe that what she was doing was right; you are loyal and supportive. You have studied in various universities, you have travelled, roaming for inspiration, you know that you weren’t brought to this world to be an accountant behind a desk hidden somewhere in an air-conditioned building. You were brought for a much bigger case, you have it in you. You and I had an instant connection back at the centre from our first conversation, I haven’t only known you for two weeks now, but I have known her –the mother of my child- since forever, and I see her in you”,
She doesn’t say a thing, she just looks me right in the eye and drifts away gradually until she is not with me in the room anymore. She is wanders in her own thoughts.
“Where have you gone already?”,
“Nowhere”, she reasons “It’s just nice seeing myself in the reflection of your eyes”,
I smile.
“So”, she turns to face me “What now, we go baby shopping?”,
“No”, I laugh “We get married”,
She smiles lightly, blushes and looks away. Out of all the women in the world she is the wisest, most beautiful, spiritual one. Women mostly care about the cover ups of things, like how he proposed, what ring he bought, where their honey moon will be, and who of my gang I should call first to show off about it, but in front of me now is a woman who doesn’t belong to the species. She is ready to get married to a dead end who has got no ring, no honey moon, no fantasy, for all he is got is a couple of months left and a thousand more breaths to take. Momentarily I feel something sting on the inside, I am worried I might fall in love with her, Buy Cialis Soft cheap because that wasn’t the plan.

For two weeks the only person I see is Leila, She invades my life with her dwelling eyes that are home to me, her spiritual soul that assures me of my choice every day, and her remorseful smile that regrets she hasn’t met me earlier in life. We talk about everything there is, that we forget to sleep or eat and sometimes breathe. I get used to her presence that her absence unbalances my life. I am comfortable around her, and I no longer mind collapsing right in front of her eyeballs. When the pain is unbearable, when I suffocate, everything in life doesn’t make sense anymore; why we’re here, why we gradually fade out, it is all illegitimate damage, but only one thing that is real, reasonable, and rational, and that is her.

After a month and a half from meeting Leila, she officially knows everything about me, and of course everything she needs to know to be the mother of my off spring. She studies every corner at the house, the paintings on the walls, and the plants by the window seat, the study room, my book, and the letters I wrote for my future extensional soul. Everything is planned and in place and all what’s left is to actually make a baby.

I learn Leila’s life story, her parents are hopefully in heaven in the company of God. She has acknowledged their absence at such a young age, it turned her into an over protective person of herself. The seed of determination grew in her veins, she was determined to empower herself with all the support she should have had from her parents. She matured at an early age, studied at countless universities with an afternoon job as a waitress. There were times that she’d stay up for a whole day but that didn’t bother her, she was looking for something, she didn’t know quite what it was but she knew that when she’d bump into it, it would change her whole life. She searched everywhere, in knowledge, in the experiences that every day brings, and sometimes even in the hollow skies.    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
“I’ve found what I have been looking for, it is standing before me now”, she says while she looks at me. She says that she thought she had tasted the sourness of love before, when her heart clung to a warm shoulder and out of the blue she found herself holding on to thin air but now she knows that that wasn’t love, it was just a desperate search for comfort. When I ask her what she thinks love is, she says and I quote “Love is a diverse pulse out of the route; doctors don’t have any medical explanation for”,

 My whole life I have been saving up for that one opportunity that would take every dollar in my bank account, I was certain that at such an age I would be working on some project, my own project, I would be the creator, putting all my guts in one hell of a career. But careers are tied up to futures and beginnings and mine is tied up to my end. It’s the project where I prove that once upon an Art, Art was priceless because it was worth the whole planet, my project testifies that Art not only inspires, it has the power to raise a moderate person. Us humans are full of flaws, while we raise our own kids we are biased by the power of emotions which always leads to bending a straight line, but the thing about Art is even the flaws are intentional because through them we understand that the right is mainly an edited wrong.

One night, half way through our long endless conversations I put my hands in my pocket to find the ring I bought earlier for Leila. She will need it as a token of strength, a reminder that I am with her in spirit, that she needn’t worry, and I can’t deny the fact that she deserves to be treated like a lady, proposed to, so it is what I do.
Her jaw drops in surprise, she knew we would get married in a matter of days but she knew that it wasn’t going to be anything like how people usually get married.
“So”, I open the small box “May I?”,
“It is pretty, but no”,
I raise an eyebrow.
“Not that simple”, she says “You know what we are going to do? We are going to get married in Rome, and while we roam the world together I am going to tell you that I am pregnant. That fantasy you once told me about, of how things were supposed to be”,
“What are you talking about?”,
“You are thirty five, you are acting like a sixty year old, thinking reasonably, not allowing even the slightest bit of you to feel worry or misery but somehow you can’t fight your own instincts. I want you to know that it is okay to be a mess, just not someone’s mess. So if you break down in front of me I want you to know it is okay, you can trust me with your misery. But don’t lie and tell me that you don’t want to see a new side of the world before you have to…” her eyes are watery “go…Even your Son would want you to do one last thing for yourself”,

 People are power supplies; they empower one another through cables of love, friendship, sisterhood, brotherhood, motherhood…etc. We reinforce one another to encounter all the bumpy roads there are. That’s why sometimes it is essential to ignore the itchy feeling of misery on your chest so as not to pass it to those with you in the same circuit (the loved ones) All I want for Leila is strength, I trust her with my life now I would crash in her arms to taste her warmth but I only want her to remember the strong version of me, I want it on the walls of her memory when she is a mother, when she tells my son about me, so I keep myself in one piece. I decide that we go to Rome, I do want to see one last face of the world that isn’t as ugly as cancer, that grinning receptionist, that sympathy look on my doctor’s face, there is more to the world than that. I don’t want the last memory to be as dramatic as that. Simply, Leila and Rome are my chemotherapy.


I leave my past, my medications, my pains, I toss it all behind and I fly to Rome with a person that was a stranger two months ago, It was never about the person you knew for the longest time, it was always about the person that could twist your life into a different direction in a split of a second. I like to think I only twist people’s lives and not vice versa but I cannot say that she didn’t change anything in me.
We spend ten nights in the magical land they call Rome. I propose to her as soon as we set foot in the streets of Rome and even though we have planned to get married all along, even though I knew from the very first moment I laid eyes on her that she was my wife, something inside me shakes, for this moment is full of doubt and I could only look up at her moony eyes wishing for a yes signal to relief my troubled heart. Yes, she shouts it and it cracks through the skies of Rome. Under a trillion stars, we dance on top of cars, we roam all the places, we walk all the streets, we forget to sleep, we stay up all night, we try the fancy food, we intentionally get lost in the middle of nowhere because sometimes being lost, not relating to anything or anyone, not having to be somewhere at some point, is the most free feeling you can ever know. One night while we are having dinner at a fancy restaurant on top of a hill, it feels like we are on top of the world. She looks at me with her fixed eyes; something in her is whispering to her mind that maybe if she looks away I could vanish into nothingness. She is always worried that I won’t make it to another day, and even though she has acknowledged my disease the very first time we met, she chooses to go with me to the deepest places, to indulge herself in my world and therefore she is the strongest woman I know.

“If someone told me two months before I would be with you in Rome right now I wouldn’t believe him for a second”, she says sarcastically.
“If we knew what tomorrow would bring, life would be awfully a bunch of boring expected days”,
“And despite that we always try to know the sealed”, she states
“We want to be ready”, I reason “But there is no such thing as ready”,
She hesitates to ask but she does anyway “So you are not…ready?”,
“I will never be ready to close my eyes and never open them again, but I have enough of faith to keep me in one piece even though I know what is coming”,
“I am sorry”, she puts her hands through her hair “I shouldn’t have gone there”,
“I know what’s going on in your head Leila, I can hear the sounds in your head as good as you can hear them. It’s okay you can tell me what you are thinking”,
“I am thinking”, her eyes are teary while she says “You really deserve to live“, She sniffs her tears away wishing she had the power to turn them off. It was the second time I see her cry, I’d seen her before when she first read my book, but this was the first time I see her sob.
“You…” she is weaker than to make a proper sentence, despite that she tries “You deserve to live and watch your son live too. You deserve it all with the perfect and the shitty parts of it, life. I am trying not to question God’s plan about this, I want to have faith like you. Make me believe”, she sobs.

I watch her in pain and all I want to do is stop her suffering, I can’t help but wonder how big her heart is to owe me such love when she has known me for only two months. I try to ease the air a bit so I say “Maybe…just maybe I am too good that I deserve to be having tea with the lord up there rather than on earth with the random people”,

She half smiles, so when I fail to change her mood I decide to confront her “Leila, There is something you need to know…the greatest thing that ever happened to us is that the Lord gave us life, and it keeps happening to us while He decides to re-grant us our lives every morning to live another day. It’s a gift. And you know what you are doing to me? You are giving me a life. An extended soul, because I have something I can offer the world, so I am going to offer it through a soul that you and I, Leila, are going to create together.”,
Her face lights up with hope, like a lantern. Her moony eyes are still watery, they shine out. At that moment, she is more beautiful than the starry skies of Rome.

“You always say that I know it all and so I control everything around me, I am always in charge, I am the planner. But that is not true, only God is in control Leila. Before I met you I wasn’t clingy to life at all, this world hadn’t offered me much to cling to, and the plan was to meet someone, exchange benefits and work it out, But falling in love with you was never part of the plan and I couldn’t control that
She processes my words for seconds in astonishment before she says “I thought I’d never hear you say it” she smiles.

Those ten days in Rome are the most I’ve lived, on my way home I was having one of those inside jokes with myself, wondering how people live and die and call what’s in between a ‘life’ without passing by a city as lively as Rome.

For days, whenever Leila walks in on me to tell me anything I’d be waiting to hear certain news, and maybe because I am waiting for it, it feels like forever when it doesn’t happen. I start wondering if maybe all what we have been planning for will suffer a twist of fate and won’t happen. Until one day I walk in on Leila standing in the Balcony, her head up directing to the sky as if she is having a talk with God, her hands fixed…on her belly.

I put my hands on her shoulder carefully to steal her from her thoughts, she turns to face me, it takes her one look at my eyes to anticipate the question, she nods with tears in her eyes, we both stare at her belly and what it beholds of life and hope…two things she and I have been striving to have. She buries her head in my chest.
“I was begging God to gift us more days for you” Her voice is stern, persistent.
I kiss her on the forehead and whisper “I am going to find peace”
“When I look at you” she wipes the tears on her cheeks “I am a believer”
We stand there in silence as the cold air brushes us both. For a moment there while she is in my arms, we are one; she and the baby are extended parts of me. I look up at the starry night sky, and I see something I have never seen before; a ray of light penetrates the clouds, it’s like God is peaking out of the sky comforting me that it is going to be okay. It’s magical.

I don’t stay around for baby-shopping, cancer deprives me of the simplest pleasures but I am fine with that. It turns out that the two months I spent after finding out I had cancer where worth my whole life time before knowing the truth.  If life were counted with the good moments, I would be a billion moments old because I had everything I could wish for with Leila in two months time. I’d say I am lucky, and you’d laugh because how come a cancer patient could possibly be any lucky? But I am lucky because being in shortage of life, I decided to take a risk and leave an impact in the world, maybe I wouldn’t have done that if I were alive while you were reading that, maybe I would have been a government employee with a routine that killed me every day, because when he looked at the mirror he was not just incapable of changing the world but also incapable of changing his own life. I repeat, I am lucky because one moment with the right person is enough.

Dear Leila,

If you are reading this then I must be having that tea with the Lord I told you about before, you must have tried to wake me up one day and all you found was a lifeless body, I have no clue about my end but I am hoping it’s as less dramatic as possible. You once told me that when you look at me you are a believer, well when I look at you I feel alive, you wipe away everything, the fact that I am a cancer fighter, that I am dying, you wipe away my pain, you are the medicine that is yet to be discovered, you are my chemotherapy.

While you are reading this your baby bump must be big enough by now, I know how hard it is to raise this big guy on your own, I have left you with my Art to raise him but sometimes it won’t feel enough, you are going to need me in person with you, you are going to need to listen to my voice telling you it’s going to be okay. That is why you should head to the left drawer at my bedroom and look for a metal box, when you open it you will find a bunch of tapes, I recorded them for you. I have left my baby with all he needs to be a survivor, and I haven’t forgotten you either.

When he comes to life he will only need your warm chest to find comfort. When he grows into his own skin later and he starts asking about me, read him the short stories I wrote for him every night before he sleeps, don’t leave his side before he falls asleep. Never avoid his questions, just answer him and make everything clear, don’t leave those question marks hanging at the back of his head, create a conversation with him like a two way street, hear him out and talk to him. Every year on his birthday, give him one of the birthday cards I’ve written for him, make him feel my presence in the simplest of ways. Oh and remind him to water the flowers.
Later when he is a teenager, you will feel the moment he is ready to read my book, to know me for real through every chapter and every lesson I will teach him, I plan to gradually turn him into a man that I –from the skies- will be proud of, and you –from the grounds- will be dignified with. One more thing, Leila, always provide him with all what he needs to create Art. Teach him that only the smart can interpret their ideas, feelings and emotions into an essay, a painting, a dance, a song…Art.

Ps: I trust you with my extended soul, Leila…Likewise I trust you with the love of my life, so take good care of yourself.

                                                                                            Adam, The perfectionist

Name: Sara Amr Rifaat
School: Nefertari International Schools
Phone Number: 01211388756

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