Al Khamsa Khallas

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I finished the 5th novel yesterday afternoon, as I expected. It was the best by far. The first was meaningful, the second just so-so, the third was too hedonistic and shallow to really enjoy and the 4th was poorly plotted. But the 5th made up for all of it. It seemed like it was just going to be a fluffy summer story but it took a turn into amazing depth and tragedy. And the style of writing was very reflective and philosophical.

The theme of it was along the lines of “life moves on”, echoing the same sentiment someone else recently told me. Not long ago I thought about how I know nothing about my great-grandparents and their generation, or anything preceding them. Three or four generations from now, chances are my posterity will know nothing about my or what happened in my life that made me who I am. What gave me life or took it away. They won’t know how much it meant for me to live in Egypt or how dearly I loved my late father-in-law. They won’t be aware of the unique family situation I came into this world to and how it colored my entire life. They won’t understand the appreciation I have to be making a connection to my paternal half-brother now, only after our father’s passing. All the things I bleed and cry over, and all the things I strive for and celebrate, will be virtually meaningless a lifetime from my passing.

Because our life is not significant to any one else the way it is to the self. I (and we all do, I imagine) live our lives like we were our own Caesar or Ghandi. We imagine ourselves at the center of a great saga, and want to leave an enduring legacy. But in most cases, our lives and what we valued in them, gets washed back out into the sea of constant time passing like broken shells on the beach.

This concept saddens me and relieves me at the same time. I want to think of myself as more special and important than to be so easily forgotten, but the responsibility of living up to near-perfectionistic standards to be deserving of such an honoring memory is cast off me. If I made every choice in my life poorly, and screwed up everything I wished for until the day I leave earth, soon enough no one else would remember or feel impacted. Whatever damages I cause will blend and fade like a footprint in a sand dune after days of breeze. And whatever gold locket I dropped there while walking, will be buried as well.

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