GOOD NEWS: Salah made it back to Egypt! I'm unsure how to spell his name, but Salah is my friend who runs Downtown Diner during the day. He studied 20 years to be an agricultural engineer, but makes more money running a pizza place in Minneapolis; however, he had to leave his family behind in Egypt and has lived in this city for nine years with a roommate.
It used to be that he could fly home and see his family every couple of months, but what with Bush did to the economy and international travel, Salah hasn't seen his wife and children in almost two years. He's been planning a brief vacation for several months but it kept getting pushed back and postponed. It broke my heart to hear about how close his plans would come into being, only to get yanked away again, and it was clearly tearing him apart.
I haven't been to Downtown Diner in a couple weeks but today I biked up to visit him. I didn't recognize the guy behind the counter, though. "Where's Salah?" I asked him.
He was a little confused at first and asked, guardedly, "You know Salah?"
"Yes, he's a friend of mine."
His eyes lit up. "Then I am your friend, too." He told me Salah successfully flew back to Egypt to visit his family. I was so excited I could hardly slow down my chatter to communicate this to my new friend. He was pleased to see someone else so happy for Salah. I'll have to go back and memorize his name, establish a new contact.
I've been slack about keeping in touch with Salah, I need to rectify that. I'm just really, really happy for him and I hope he's having a great time. I look forward to hearing about his trip when he comes back, and I hope it's not so long before he gets to see them again.