In the first per­son sin­gu­lar now, our Cairo col­lec­tive is a trea­sure now lodged some­where between my heart and my gut, like a love let­ter still not sent. In New York, I had stepped into an enchant­ed inter­sec­tion, so that through a for­tu­itous con­cate­na­tion of coin­ci­dences and con­tin­gen­cies, whirling through time and space, we found our­selves sit­ting and drink­ing with Mee­doo in his Cairo apart­ment late at night. Mee­doo led us to Mohammed. Mohammed led us through a maze of back­streets, packed with humans teem­ing, stream­ing in both direc­tions, to enter his Sufi drum and dance cen­ter, on the 5th floor of an old apart­ment build­ing in the bel­ly of town. When we get there, it is mid­night. The cen­ter has many rooms, and a bal­cony with tables full of young peo­ple. Mohammed intro­duces us to anoth­er friend he calls a great drum­mer. Mohammed, Mee­doo and the friend begin an off­hand drum ses­sion in a room emp­ty but for a few cush­ions. The room has a win­dow, which is open, high above the crowd­ed street below. Direct­ly across, there is anoth­er apart­ment with an open win­dow look­ing into a kitchen, where a few peo­ple are gath­ered around a table. The drum­ming from our win­dow is good. A woman gets up from the kitchen table and begins to dance. She dances in the win­dow until the drum­ming stops.


For many nights after that we danced at Mohammed’s apart­ment. We cel­e­brat­ed our con­ver­gence and the con­sum­ma­tion of our joint effort. When we left Cairo, I was fly­ing. For months I nur­tured my devo­tion, prepar­ing a man­i­fes­ta­tion that had not yet tak­en shape when Covid ‑19 cast its sud­den shad­ow over the world, and we were forced into indef­i­nite retreat.