Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CXXII. Alexandria – My Vacations (8 of 10)

For my first party, my cousins discovered to their horror that I had taken a book with me and was attempting to read in the dim light of the party room. They promptly removed the book from my hands and told me that the object of the party was to dance with girls, drink, and eat, and not to read a book.

I sat miserably for the next hour until I finally summoned the courage to get up and ask a girl for a dance. The girl who accepted my invitation was older than me. She had to guide me on the dance floor since my knowledge of dancing was – and still is – quite rudimentary.

I danced with this girl for the best part of the night. At a certain point, one of my cousins whispered to me that I should ask her for a date; I promptly did so at the next dance. However, she graciously declined on the grounds that I was younger than her.

At the next party, I considered myself a veteran, and proceeded to invite different girls to dance. I got refusal after refusal for my efforts. Eventually, I noticed a girl who was discreetly staring in my direction. I smiled at her across the room, and she returned my smile. I invited her to dance and she accepted.

For the rest of the night, the two of us forgot the whole world, including the teasing of my cousins and the older sister of this girl. This time there was no need for any of my cousins to remind me to ask for a date. The name of this girl was Rita.

For the next two months, whenever we could, we went out together. Our dates were kept secret for two reasons: Rita’s parents had forbidden her to date, therefore, she was seeing me behind their back. In my case, I was concerned that my aunts, uncles, and cousins would tease me mercilessly if they found out that I was going out on a regular basis with a girl. Normally one boasts about these things; but by now, surely you have concluded that I don’t travel down the road taken by the rest of humanity.

That summer will forever be associated with the enchantment Rita brought into my life.

For long hours, hand in hand, we strolled along the corniche. We talked about our hopes, our plans, our aspirations. We also went swimming, and when we could afford it, we attended second run movies.

Before we knew it, the last day of my vacation was upon us. On this day, while we walked along the corniche, we both had tears in our eyes. What made the whole thing more difficult was that we could not part with a promise to write to each other. There would have been questions from both sets of parents.

The following summer, my first priority was to call Rita. To my dismay, I realized that this was the telephone number of a different family. Next, I went to her building and asked the bawab (superintendant) whether her family still lived there. He replied that they had moved to Port Said.

I was completely devastated. Right here and there, I decided that I would mourn the whole summer! You don’t mourn for long, however, when you are 16! A week later, I was my old self again. To assuage my guilt, I resolved to give her name to my first female child.

Years later, while looking for a name for the baby girl with whom my wife and I had been blessed, I came across the name of Rita. I remembered the long forgotten promise I made to myself. I suggested the name to Norma, and she liked it.

And so it was that another Rita entered my life!

Comments are closed.