“Excuse me, Could you please take a picture of me here?” A friendly stranger approached and asked.
“Sure thing.” I reached for his camera.
“Please, make sure that you capture the pyramids in the background for my wife to see them.” He instructed.
“You got it.”
“Thank you so much.”
“Not a problem. By the way, where are you from?” I had to ask; I couldn’t tell from his accent.
“Germany, and you?”
“I am Egyptian/American, and I am here on vacation too.”
“My wife and I went to NY back in 1988.” The stranger commented
“How come she isn’t here with you now?”
“She is gone.”
I fumbled the words, “I am very sorry to hear so
“It’s OK; she has been gone for about 10 years now.”
There was a moment of awkward silence. A look of bewilderment was written all over my face. And I was thinking to myself “this guy just asked me to take a picture of him with the pyramids to show his wife.”
“That look on your face is pretty familiar; you are probably thinking that I am a mental case.
“No, not at all. I am just a bit confused because of your earlier request to take a picture to show your wife.” I just didn’t know what to say. “Are you remarried?”
That same dumb look was on my face, still. It was hard to hide it this time. “I am sorry if I am being nosy; can you please explain it to me?”
“Not at all. I am happy to share the story. My wife passed away in 97 of cancer. We were married for 35 years, 257 days and 14 hours when she died.” He paused. “I know she is not part of this world; she still lives in my heart, and she is a part everything I do. And no I am not living in denial, or in the past if that is what you are thinking to yourself.”
“I wasn’t thinking that at all.”
“It’s OK. You don’t have to lie to me. I know what most people think of my odd behavior, even my own kids don’t understand it. People forgot the true meaning of love and its value.”
“I totally agree with you, but I still don’t get the whole picture thing.”
“Oh that,” he smiled “well, my wife and I had this long list of places to visit, and Egypt was one of them. When she passed away, I was lost and helpless, so I decided to keep on with my life without changing any of our original plans.” His eyes sparked. “I did the same things that we have always planned to do when she was still around, and I always make sure that I take the pictures that I she would’ve liked. When I am back home, I go visit her grave twice a week, and I share with her the details of my every move as if she was in front of me.”
At this point, I was speechless and in a state of disbelief. “This guy must be crazy or something for sure.” I was thinking to myself that he must be some anti-social freak that can’t get over his dead wife, but then again if he was anti-social, he wouldn’t be talking to a complete stranger like me.
“Wow! You two really loved each other.”
“We sure did; she was the love of my life. We met back in medical school, and we went through everything you could imagine together. She was the only person that mattered to me and our love never died one day through 35 years of marriage, and it still beats strongly in my heart just like the first day I ever laid my eyes on her. She was my friend, my family, my lover, my business partner, my wife, and the mother of my children; she was everything that you can imagine.”
“I didn’t know that kind of love still existed in today’s world. I have never thought to myself that I’d hear a story like yours in real life. I am used to hearing these kinds of things only in movies or romantic novels.”
“Real love never dies; it’s greater than life, and much greater than death itself. It doesn’t die till both of you are dead, but it never dies as long as one of you lives and honors that love you once shared.” The old stranger replied. “I have tried to see others and create a new love story, but it was impossible. No one could compare. So it was much better to live alone with all the happy moments, and memories she has left rather than pretending to love someone else, because of the fear of loneliness. She is everywhere I go, and she is always around to keep me company.” He said with a smile lighting up his face.