January 30, 2011
Last night was the most frightening night of my life. When I crawled into bed around eight, Brandon was shaking from fever, so I made him take medicine to bring the fever down. While trying to soothe him, we heard the gunfire start. Around ten, a voice came over the radio telling the Marines that looters were on their street, and gunfire was heard only a road away. Two minutes later, someone else reported gunfire around streets 17 and 18. We live at 17 and Orabi. The radio grew quiet for a time, and I drifted off to sleep.
At 11:45, the phone rang. If there were voluntary departure, would we like to leave? Brandon told them yes, and we tried to go back to sleep. Brandon slept, but I only slept fitfully, the sleep where I woke up thinking that I had never been asleep in the first place.
This morning we woke up, and everything was quiet. The day was a clear as I’d ever seen it and the birds were singing. After breakfast, I sent Brandon to bed and folded yesterday’s laundry. The girls and Edwin played quietly, and I could almost believe that it was a normal day.
Then Brandon came in. They were starting authorized departures. And so now my room is full of suitcases, mostly packed. Sophia and Kathleen have their shoes on and are busy packing their carry-ons. They are excited and keep telling me, “Mom you have two options. You can stay here and be killed, or leave and be safe.” I don’t want to leave, more than anything in life I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to be with my parents for an unknown length of time, at least 30 days. I don’t want to be without Brandon. I don’t want to leave Egypt this way and never come back. I don’t want to have to be transferred to DC early and live in DC for a year on five suitcases. I don’t want to have to worry about Brandon every single minute. I don’t want to be in somebody else’s house as a guest for who knows how long. I don’t want to leave. If I could have a magic wand and wave it just once, now would be the time.