Dreams of Anubis
Maria Isabel Pita
Copyright ©2012 by Maria Isabel Pita
My life-long friend, Caroline Jordan, was working in Cairo, Egypt. She had found what I considered the dream job―photographing mastabas in Saqqara for an Egyptologist writing a book on the Old Kingdom burial ground. Yet I was the one who had loved ancient Egypt since I was a little girl.
At approximately five-years-old, I’d accompanied my mother to a public library, where I’d wandered through the maze of bookshelves pulling volumes out at random. I remember one particularly dark and heavy tome was too much for me, and falling from my grasp it landed open at my feet. I know now that I was looking at a black-and-white photograph of an Egyptian bas-relief, but at the time all I could do was feel. I eagerly ran to find my mother, dragged her by the hand back to the book lying on the floor, and pointing down at it cried, ‘Home!’
During the long plane rides from Boston to Cairo, I passed the time lost in colorful daydreams, and by the time we landed, I felt stiff as a butterfly born in a jar. It had taken me fifteen hours and twenty-two years to finally make it to Egypt. I was so excited that the throbbing, teeming chaos of the airport didn’t surprise me; it seemed natural, like an extension of my racing pulse.
It took me another small eternity to get through Customs, but at last my blue passport was imprinted with a circular red hieroglyph, and stepping through the gate I spotted my friend almost at once. Her long pale arm was swaying like a branch over a darkly heaving sea of native heads.