Tuesday, November 17, 2009

it becomes clear at thebes

Our insanely defunct train rolled up into Luxor from Cairo an astonishing eight hours late. That’s right, eight hours late. It was a night train, but not with beds, with seats. We were tired. We marched like zombies to our hotel and immediately crashed. After many hours of sleep, we woke up before dawn and were drawn like magnets to the monuments in the capital city of ancient Egypt, Thebes.

Before we went to bed Alex was doing some peculiar things - taking a stroll to ‘check out the rooftop at night’ and borrowing my ipod ‘cause he just wanted to listen to some songs.’ When I asked him why he was doing these things that he wouldn’t normally do, he just grinned. In the morning after some intense haggling we made it to the temple at Karnak before any other tourist that day. It was a crisp desert morning, with the sun’s powerful blast just coming over the horizon.

We walked through the gigantic plaza towards the ruins. This temple was a supremely important place for the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom. Their power was unsurpassed thus far in history, and they had the means to create any structure their power-hungry brains could conjure. This particular temple is the size of St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London put together. Inside there is a giant forest of enormous columns, each in the shape of papyrus, which grew on the banks of the Nile.

As we enter into this fairyland of ruins, each column encrypted with ancient art, Alex asks me to listen to the ipod with him. It is Regina Spektor’s song “Us.”

They made a statue of us
And they put it on a mountaintop
Now tourists come and stare at us
Blow bubbles with their gum
Take photographs, have fun, have fun

We’re living in a den of thieves
Rummaging for answers in the pages
We’re living in a den of thieves
And it’s contagious, it’s contagious, it’s contagious

And right there, he drops down on one knee.

Here we are, together, and it all becomes clear to me. We are fleeing the thieves, the liars, the corrupt, which seem to abound in the world. We know it’s contagious, this gluttonous, greedy aspect of humanity, so we wander, searching for answers. We’ve drifted around the globe and have seen more in these few years than most find time to notice in their long lives, and it all comes back to this. Now we’re here, at the site where civilization began.

He slides the ring on my finger - this symbol the Egyptians invented in the form of braided papyrus stems - and now it feels like the spinning of the earth is slowing and it’s only him and I, and this is the moment we decide to spend the rest of our lives together.

1 comment:

Oksana said...

you've made me cry, and for this i love you