The hot, musty wind rushes against my face, caressing every inch of me, like a mother greeting her long lost child. I taste the sandy grit that settles upon my lips, and I smile, because I’m finally home.
I missed the bustle of the streets at noon, the endless honks and hollers of passing cars and their noisy drivers.
I missed the speckled gray Hamamas and their haughty prancing, until they figured you had bread in your hand.
I missed the pain of my bare feet against the heated marble floors of our courtyard.
I missed the soothing rhythm of the language that was so familiar, so mine.
I missed picking those special leaves from the tree right in front, for my grandmother to place between layers of old clothes to preserve their fragrance.
I missed being woken up each morning by the gentle voice of the caller, inviting those who listen.
I missed the deep smell of the ever burning wafts of bukhoor in my living room.
I missed the bitter taste of a small cup of musky brown coffee.
I missed the scratching sound of flat sandals skidding along the sidewalk as the boys played with a tattered ball.
I missed the delicious taste of the layers of savory Mutabak in oil stained paper bags.
I missed the classy blue ink pens hooked backwards on the front pocket of every mister there was.
I missed the friendly A.M. knocks at the front door, for tea and a chat.
I missed the lovely smell of the cloth of a new Abayah from a hanger up high.
I missed the Sukari dates that always arrived fresh downstairs, every week.
I missed the recitation of my favorite Imam, that took you soaring to the heavens and back.
I missed riding the majestic stallions along the Corniche in a whirlwind of dusty freedom.
I missed the vendors with their buckets of steaming Baleela dished into white bowls.
I missed the satin touch of the Kiswa against my hand as a prayed like never before.
I missed the golden calligraphy in the Rawdah.
I missed the grueling climb of Uhud and An-Nur.
I missed the surging, tall fountain in the center of that one roundabout.
I missed the feeling of pressing my face against the grail, behind which, in Jannatul Ma’ala the body of Khadija (r) and the body of my great-grandmother was fortunate enough to lay.
I missed the ‘Bride of the Red Sea’.
I missed the heart, and body and soul of this land.
I missed my home.
And as I shade my eyes, a single pearly tear escapes onto my brown lashes, a tear of gratefulness that : I’m home.