We arrived at the airport and met the "expeditor." I handed him my passport and my AUC badge. I informed him that Hamadi had received a visa and entered the country and left the country before the Revolution. The expeditor was a jolly man named Mark, and he remained pleasant yet impassive as I told him these details. All of us were in the dark. No one new what the reaction would be to this bureaucratic maze in a time of military rule.
The driver and I stood anxiously at the gate. Women passed by, some in black Nekab with feet covered and gloves on their hands, only their heavily-kohled eyes showing. Young women stood with their boyfriends in tight jeans and high heels. Taxi drivers came up to me repeatedly asking in Arabic if I needed assistance. I anxiously checked the board. Flights from Tripoli, cancelled. Flights from Benghazi, cancelled. Flights from Aden, on point. Where was the flight from Dubai?
As we waited, the driver worked on my Arabic with me. His wife is from Morocco, where they speak Arabic and French. I learned to speak my first Arabic sentence waiting for goozy (my husband). It surely sounds like nonsense to you, but for me it was a significant moment to go from single, isolated words to an entire sentence. "Ana saafa dunia bil nahaar." (I see the world in the daytime.) I picked this sentence, because this was my first time coming to Cairo's airport in the day. Suddenly, I could see where I was going in the bright Egyptian sunshine. As I mused on my accomplishment, my husband appeared at the gate, safari jacket pockets full. The expeditor had expedited. Goozy fi el beit. (My husband is home.)