On the Wing

Every now and then I am a bird.

Cairo, 2013

Cairo, 2013

With all the benefits involved. I can fly. Up over the houses. Over towers. Soar to the skies if I want to. The big city doesn’t look down on me. Instead, I gaze down on them.
Then I’m a pigeon, but not the kind who’s hunting breadcrumbs in the town square.Not the one who drops a load in your hair. I’m the pigeon without a flock, the pigeon who flies all alone. The one which lands by myself. You can call me Atito, the others do.

I can’t fly all the time. Wouldn’t be able to achieve anything if I did. Now I’ve just been hired as a security guard. Starting tomorrow, but first I’m gonna fly.

First day in that new job. I didn’t show. Boss told me I could be a cleaner, and I’d advance in the ranks later. No thanks, I’d rather fly. I want a proper job, so I can respect myself. So my girlfriend can respect me. I love her, but she hates the fact that I can fly. So does my mom, sometimes she hides my wings. I often wish that I couldn’t fly at all, but I have to. I must.

My girlfriend phones me a lot, she wants me to quit. She’s not allowed to marry an aviator. Well, unless he’s a pilot of course. I’m not. She has threatened to leave me, but never do. I try to get a job every day. A decent one, so I can escape from the nest. Not the one on my roof, but the one I live in myself. With my mom. Just me, my mom and the pigeons on the roof. They fly too, but without me.

I built the nest on the roof myself. It started as a simple cage, now it’s eight meters tall. Here I keep my pigeons, and we practice every day. I let them go, and they return when I wave a flag. Once in a while I take my pigeons far away and release them. When flying they always find their way home, just like me. One found his way from Lebanon.


I earned 3500 pounds on that bet. I made sure it flew a bit longer, and I even flew some myself.

You might thing flying is a good thing, but it ruins you. You just wanna soar, all the time. When I wake up I wanna fly, there’s nothing else to do. The whole neighbourhood knows of my airbourne adventures. A lot of people won’t trust a man with my set of skills, and that leaves me without a job. And without money.

I ask my mom for cash, and God for help. I get the money, but haven’t seen any help yet. Perhaps he could help me land. He should know a thing or two about flying, since he’s all the way up there.

So is my dad. He left me, my mom and the pigeons when I was three. Never to return. 21 years later I’ve built a nest identical to his, colours and all. I even considered flying all the way up to him.


And never, ever land.