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￭ s m i l e
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2004-04-18 | |
He closed his eyes and felt it: the warm, no, the stifling breeze of the desert, carrying on its wings imperceptible grains of sand, the heat that melted your brain and drowned you in a pleasant unconsciousness, the hum of the Nile flowing in whirlpools, smashing the banks of luxurious vegetation… He just let his imagination fly and the past rewinded slowly. It was like a virtual game which he could play whenever he wanted; like a runaway or, why not, an elopement, for Egypt has been his love ever since he heard of it and his foot stepped on the ground of pharaohs and queens.
Ramsey opened his eyes and smiled. Taking the picture of the Sphinx in his hands, he began to examine it closely like he was seeing it for the first time. The photo’s margins wore the stamps of a fire and the photo itself was scratched by the wind which had blown at that time in the Valley of the Kings. An old man with disheveled hair, wearing short pants and an undone white shirt was standing in front of the colossal Sphinx. He looked like an archaeologist only that he seemed to be in vacation, visiting an old place which he had explored many times and seen many more but never got tired of. If the photographer had concentrated more upon the man than upon the huge monument, Ramsey could have seen the sorrow in his father’s eyes. It was not the frown nor the wrinkles on his forehead that showed his distress but his bright brown eyes. Like he knew that it would be the last time to see Egypt.
And the Sphinx: a big construction looking like a fierce lion having the head of a man, a sign of the powerful pharaohs that rules then. If he looked closer, he could see the inscriptions at the base of the monument, like an incomprehensible language which hid too many, like the silence that spoke too much. The giant paws and the body itself sitting on the cold, paved socle gave him the feeling of home. And the whisper of the Nile, the perfume of the ancient world brought back from the dead through the memory of his father, made him swear that he was standing on the steps of the monument. In his madness, Ramsey was capable to hold out his hand and expect to touch the statue.
Meanwhile, it began to rain and Ramsey felt like he had come back from a far-away land. He was astonished even puzzled. Thinking he was traveling to the past, he didn’t see that his madness wasn’t madness but inertia, as he was inside the Sphinx. It explained the sound and the smell, the mood and the unconsciousness, and now the memory of his father. Right in front of him, like a ghost! Pure madness! There were no ghosts, only mummies.
He kneeled on the wet sand, took his head in his hands and started to cry: the past was mixed up with the present.
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