The taxi careened across the Brooklyn Bridge while I dozed in the back seat, exhausted from several long days and late nights at the office. I find that the best sleep is the kind I'm not allowed to have - catnaps during a critical scene in a movie, snoozes in a dark lecture hall, the nod-and-bob on the subway - it feel so much more delicious than sanctioned sleep.
I awoke suddenly when, in my fragment of a dream, the taxi stopped short. I awoke to the car weaving through traffic, the driver speaking Arabic on his cell phone.
Perhaps it was the distinctive sound of Egyptian dialect that transported me to Cairo, where I lived for a time when I was in my early twenties. In my drowsy state, I thought I was there - a young girl out on her own for the first time in a sprawling, fascinating, exasperating place.
For a moment or two, I was crossing
an enormous patchwork city, inhaling dust and the acrid scent of burning refuse
and worrying if the driver knew the way to my dark, unpaved
history, so much emotion in a fraction of a second.
When I saw these photographs by Denis Dailleux, my heart stopped the way it does when you see a former lover.
The nostalgia they evoked in me was so potent that I felt overcome by a terrible ache. It was as if my heart was saying, There you are, Cairo! You are just the same. And I am so different.
Did you miss me, mon amour?
Dailleux's photographs are uncommonly beautiful - see for yourself here.