The drive home

Cairo's streets, the way a crying driver would see them, on February 9th, 2015. Rana Taha

Cairo’s streets, the way a crying driver would see them, on February 9th, 2015. Rana Taha

It hits you when the engine starts running, as soon as you exit the street where you’ve been parked, where you’re likely to run into familiar faces. As soon as you get on the road, the crying fit hits you.

You don’t remember if the tears start rolling first or if it’s the loud wails that take the lead. Either way, they happen at close range from one another. If someone would look inside the car and catch a glimpse of you, they’d think you’ve been crying your whole life. That’s how strong the gush of sobs is; an accumulation of hours, if not days, of nursing that lump in your throat, silencing those watery eyes.

Any music playing does not make it better. It either gets pushed to the background, to the extent where you cannot tell anymore which song is playing, or worse, it makes the crying fit stronger. Every damn lyrics strums a broken string, even the happy songs make you realise how unhappy your life turned out to be. The music doesn’t help.

Sometimes, people might give you looks, especially if you stop at one of the traffic lights and fail to stop the tears. You put yourself in their shoes; what would you think if you look at the car parked nearby and find the driver crying their heart out, their sobs almost audible? It’s not the most normal sight in the world.

You remember all the warnings about crying while you’re driving, especially when you hit the bridge and find the metre going past 80 kilometres per hour. They make it sound as if i’s as dangerous as drunk-driving. Well, your mind is not exactly in its best state, your vision is most definitely blurred, and the memories that keep coming back to you are the worst form of distraction. No, it’s not a wise decision. Almost as bad as driving through the rain when your windshields are broken, if not worse.

As you drive toward your home, you realise the tears need to stop soon. It reminds you of that day you were in ninth grade, home alone, watching a movie, when the lead actress’s husband died as soon as the movie began and you started crying your heart out as if the lead actress’s tragedy was yours. You cried non-stop for almost an hour and a half and only stopped when you realised that your parents could come home at any moment, and that you would not be able to explain your tears to them.

Almost ten years have passed and here you are, saving your tears for the drive home, clearing your eyes as you park below your house, because you still cannot face them with your tears. No matter what happens in your life, work disasters, family tragedies, personal shit, you still believe tears are not to be shared. They pat you on the shoulder and ask you not to feel upset about it; you nod and listen like a good girl.

Except, you can’t help but feel upset about it. That lump in your throat will not go away no matter how many shoulder-pats they give you, no matter how many words of reassurance they utter.

All you can help to do is dry those tears, wear your most normal smile and pretend like you’ve had the blandest day and are living the happiest life.

Because your tears only belong in your car.

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