I was accustomed to the occasional hand-me-down drive by. I sat next to my sister on a worn out construction block thrown in the middle of the roundabout we usually sat in. The sun’s scorching rays burnt our skin during the month of May, but we didn’t care. We watched Cairo’s traffic stampede all around us. There were honks, hostile howls and screeching tires; everyone was in a hurry.
But this week was different. Ramadan was next week, and people were in a hurry to finish preparing their homes. I don’t know exactly what they bought, but food was definitely the main thing. And that meant Layla and I had a better chance of getting food and, just maybe, clothes and money, if we were lucky.
Then a car that looked just like all the other cars stopped by our roundabout. The car window opened, the driver signaled me to come over, and the woman inside handed me a plastic bag with something in it and said, “Happy Ramadan.” She had those big sunglasses that cover most of a person’s face and wore a pink and grey floral veil over her head. It was so pretty.
She drove off into the rest of the stampede, and all I could think of was the bag. There was something hard inside. I could never understand why they put whatever they gave us into old grocery bags. Were they ashamed of what they were giving us?
I unraveled the bag and found five lollipops and two of those huge plastic Easter eggs with candy in them. My jaw dropped, and I could feel my eyes get wider.
“Layla! Layla! Come and see!” I shouted.
We started screaming and shouting and jumping and laughing in our mismatched hand-me-down pajamas. And all I could think was:
It’s beginning to look a lot like… Ramadan.
Edited by Talmage Wise.