I’m sat on the roof of my house, thinking that in some ways this is a great country in which to be a woman. The rooftops of the old city are the dominion of women and cats, and it’s beautiful. I’m watching the sunset behind church towers, and further away behind minarets. Soon the lights on Jebbel Qussan, Damascus’ mountain, will come on, it will get too cold to sit outside and Paul and Rami will take Sophia and me to some play. A friend of there is in it (we’ve met and exhausted our linguistic overlap) and Sophia, my newest housemate, is here to finish writing her Master’s thesis on theater. Paul is utterly charmed by the way she talks to herself in French while looking for the word in English and its too good an opportunity for him to pass. Now though it is official sunset and although most of the coulor has faded from the sky the muezzins are calling the faithful to prayer. I can look into the neighbor’s courtyards, into some of their rooms, but as I live in the Christian quarter I see no one praying. Next door to has an olive tree, but what is most appealing about sitting on the roof is the higgledy piggledy arrangement of houses. I can’t work out where the roads fit in. as chance would have it while I can see into all the neighbors only two sets of them can see into ours.
My relative invisibility up here, combined both with the way I can see everything, and the way (consequently) none of the boys I live with are allowed up hear makes it an almost secret place, special at least. Its remarkably quite, it almost feels like I’m not in the city anymore.
Damascus has been here since before the dawn of time, and since before the dawn of time the rooftops have belonged to the women and cats.
Even by Syrian time the boys were late. The play had, for some unaccountable reason, started on time so we went to the Russian cultural center, laughed at the ‘art’ on display and played pool instead. Pauls excellent, Rami and I are intermittent and Sophias enthusiastic about this strange game she’d never played before. Paul wimped out at the critical moment, but has pretty much stopped beating himself up about it.