I joined her on that rusty table in that same café downtown. I seated myself in front of her to have a better view of her soul. Black circles highlighted the depth of her eyes, and looking at those eyes I saw tears but when I looked into her eyes I saw what words will always fail to express; determination and persistence wrapped in faith and belief in a better future! I examined her tiny petite frail figure and wondered how she could handle it all. Her hands are so small and delicate, her feet are so tiny, her headscarf hid most of her forehead, and her lips parted into what seemed like a smile.
“Tell me what happened” I asked her with genuine concern.
“I am no longer afraid” she said, “I no longer fear my father! I no longer fear people! I no longer fear cats! I no longer fear loneliness! I no longer fear the streets! I no longer fear strangers! I no longer fear death!” she paused and looked at me wondering if I understand the magnitude of her transformation.
“I understand” I said briefly and abruptly.
“Every time I chanted down with the regime or down with Mubarak, I broke down one of those fearful oppressive icons in my life! When I walked with the protesters, I felt at home and when we ran away from bullets and batons, I felt among family. When I fainted from tear gas or when I collapsed with pain, they carried me with all their strength. I was no longer an angry feminist in a world of men; we were all human beings fighting for our rights!” She looked at me again and smiled “you will never feel this kind of solidarity unless you were there yourself!”
“I did go once” I said as if I am trying to defend myself. I pointed at my pregnant belly trying to explain why I was not there more often. She did not seem to care! She was not judging me!
“In one of the confrontations with the police, I ran into a side street trying to hide. An officer saw me! He chased me from one street to the other. I looked at him and saw hatred and callousness in his eyes. He saw that I was unarmed. He saw that I was just a girl seeking shelter. I came to a dead end and he raised his gun in my face! That moment I knew that he killed fear forever. I was ready to die. I did not close my eyes. I looked at him and dared him to shoot. He was going to shoot but for a young man who came out of nowhere and attacked him. That man saved my life!” she said.
I did not want to interrupt her, I nodded!
“Seeing dead people became normal! Seeing people with injuries in the face, eyes, chest, arms, legs, or backs became normal! Walking on spilt blood in the street was also normal. The sounds of screams, pain, chants, and death will forever resonate in my head. The scent of tear gas and its effect on us will last for a lifetime! The violence of the police officers towards a bunch of unarmed citizens will never be forgotten! Our martyrs will also never be forgotten; their souls gave us the strength to go on for days and nights on the streets!”
“How do you feel now that it is finally over?” I asked her timidly.
“It is not over! We are just starting!” She said with a sweet smile.