What Divine Comedy Is about
BEBAWI / DIVINE COMEDY
A Novel by
SABRI g. BEBAWI
Copyright © Sabri Bebawi, 2017, 2018
Library of Congress
All Rights Reserved © 2017
Printed in the United States of America
To my wife, Marisela
To my sons Christian & Daniel
“Through me you pass into the city of woe: Through me you pass into eternal pain:Through me among the people lost for aye.Justice the founder of my fabric moved: To rear me was the task of power divine,Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.Before me things create were none, save things. Eternal, and eternal I shall endure.All hope abandon, ye who enter here.”
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
For my muse, all the young girls of the world, and my closest ally, friend and companion, Marisela, to my family and all the children of the world from whom I acquire immense knowledge. Also to my dearest friends who impact my life on daily basis: Dr. Sonny, Dr. Sukhmani, Safwat, Androula, Shahnaz, Lina Simon, Laila Simon, Eddie Shalhoub, Natalie Harb, Simon Simon, Maria Guevera, Daniela Veizaj, Ginny Offstein, Atef Khalil, Celine Zamoyska & Taran, Dan Dion, Tracey, Jessica, Lily, Dr. Eric Hanson, and Professor Kathleen Hanson, and all the others whose names are printed in my heart.
To my physicians who work tirelessly and unselfishly to save my life, Dr. Mike Vasilomanolakes, Grammy Award Winner, Dr. David Shen, Dr. David Rosenberg, Dr. Nancy Godfrey, Dr. Farin Azadeh, Dr. Michael Kim, Dr. Trevidi Kashyap, my Italian brothers Dr. Mario Curti, and Dr. Thomas
Asciuto, Dr. Laura Manuel, Dr. Christopher Witson, Dr. Harry Karp, Dr. George Macer, Dr. Stevens Grant, and Dr. Stephen A. Hightower. To all of my nurses, especially, Elizabeth Alvarez, Lucy, Va, and to all the victims of medical and life challenges.
Also to all the nurses and staff at Todd Cancer Pavilion for making my therapy experience as tolerable as possible.
Special thanks to my legal advisors and friends Mrs. Ruth Shamir and Mr. Golan of the Law Firm Popkin, Shamir & Golan and my personal Honorable Barrister, Joseph Henein, Esq.
In Memory of My Beautiful Cousins The Honorable Major Samer Rushdy and his brother, the Family Prince, HRH Maged Rushdy
In Memory of My Long Time Friends -
The Honorable George Simon and the Honorable Barrister Abbas Alaei
The author and the publishers of this work stress that the names mentioned are not all real. Some names are fictional for the protection of the privacy of the person; the person, however, is real.
Men whose sense of taste is destroyed by sickness, sometimes think honey sour. A diseased eye does not see many things, which do exist, and notes many things, which do not exist. The same thing frequently takes place with regard to the force of words, when the critic is inferior to the writer.
There are only two ways to react to life’s trials and tribulations: Either to become frustrated, bitter, angry and feeling sorrow, or to see all events as comical and, somewhat, whacky. There has never been a day in human existence that did not have surprises and astonishments; how each of us reacts, determines the outcome.
Life is a divine comedy; the line between fiction and non-fiction is very thin and elastic. One can stretch it from fiction to reality or vice versa; another can cross the line all together. This writer finds the difference ambiguous and indistinct that often he is oblivious whether occurrences are fictional or real; he only sees all things as a form of a divine comedy meant to amuse and charm. He does not mind it at all; to him, whether it is fiction or otherwise is irrelevant; what matters is that it is.
This writer is not disquieted whether his tale of his past twenty-five years is factual or fiction. For him, the difference is inconsequential, and he prefers that his readers decide. The fable is such an implausible one that many shall see it fictional; but to him, it is his life as he is accustomed.
He shall take you on a stormy journey through his medical, emotional, and personal life of the last twenty-five years, since he was a thirty-five-year-young man. He has been so fervent, optimistic, and creative, that even his physicians have been overawed.
My name is Alexandre Akpors. I live in the only modern Fascist State in the world of the year 2017. How this State became a Fascist, no one knows and I assure you no one will ever know. I shall not name the State out of respect for my readers’ intelligence. I shall only write that its leader is referred to as POTUS, which stands for (Pathetic Oligarchy Treacherous Unavailing Savage.)
It is not a great time, but it is not a bad time, either. To borrow from the great Charles Dickens novel “A Tale o Two Cities,” “It is a season of light; it is a season of darkness.” I am attracted to the light, and I walk toward it each time I am able to spot it, which happens not too often. This is a suggestive part of the divine comedy, of which this tale is being told.
Where do I begin? Well! I came to this Fascist State in 1980; it was not a Fascist State, yet; it was a major drug dealer under its leader, then, Ronald Reagan and his deceptive wife Nancy Reagan. When I was a vibrant thirty-five-year-old professor living in a modest apartment on Paramount Avenue in the city of Downey, California, on a gloomy day in 1991 or 1992, I suddenly felt an extraordinary chest pain, jaw pain and general discomfort. I called my ex-wife and my son, Christian, immediately and, since they lived very close to where I was, they came over and we called for help. The ambulance arrived shortly and I was taken to the nearest medical facility, which was Downey Hospital.
Evidently I had a myocardial infraction. I was removed from Downey hospital via ambulance to UCI where I had a heart surgery, and after a couple of days I returned home. It took me six-months to recover, but I was on Cardizem and Nitroglycerin for several years.
In addition to the extraordinary fear of that omen episode, I had to wear a heart monitor around my neck for many months. Up until now, I have to go through a stress-echo test once a year to ensure that my valve, since I have MVP, which stands for Mitral Valve Prolapse, works effectively. And according to the Mayo Clinic, this “occurs when the leaflets of the mitral valve bulge (prolapse) into the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) like a parachute during the heart's contraction. Mitral (MY-trul) valve prolapse sometimes leads to blood leaking backward into the left atrium, a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.”
Premonition has it that I see Dr. Michael Vasilomanolakis, who is also a Grammy Award Winner, once or twice a year for advanced check up and advice on the many medications I currently take. Dr. Vasilomanolakis has become a great friend and I trust him blindly. My Cardiologist brother, Dr. Alfons Bebawi, has met him and he agrees with me that he is one of the greatest doctors ever. Having a Cardiologist brother is another face of the divine comedy that never ceases to amaze or amuse me. I watch; I feel; I smile and look at nature’s large grey eyes staring with a smile that I feel nature folds up in embarrassment. I smile a little longer and wonder about life and its blissful slapstick.
It is Thursday morning. I am now married to a Mexican beauty named Melina. I had finished my Bachelor degree in Journalism and my Masters Degree in English. I had been teaching as a part-time faculty member at many colleges and universities including Long Beach City College, Golden West College, Rancho San Diego College, (which is now Santa Ana College) and at the universities of Fullerton and the University of Dominguez Hills.
I was happy and content with my life then, but on that Thursday morning, I suffered severe urinary tract infection. I had been suffering from urinary tract infections so often that doctors were puzzled, yet, prescribed antibiotic for me. This time I saw a new young Vietnamese doctor who had practically saved my life.
Dr. Sigel looked at my medical chart studied it for a while and told me he was not happy with the persistent occurrences of urinary tract infections and referred me to a bladder specialist. I forgot the specialist name, but he was brilliant. He conducted a Cystoscopy procedure and went though my penis to my bladder. I remember how painful that was. As he was inside the bladder looking around, he said “Mm! Ah! You have cancer my friend.” The words did not register because of the pain I was experiencing. He pulled the catheter out and explained to me that I had a tumor on the edge of the right side of the bladder and I had to go to surgery immediately.
Two days later I was at the hospital having a cancer tumor removed from my bladder. I stayed a couple of days at the hospital and left home with a catheter that I had worn for two weeks. I had to be off work for a few months. I learned that the tumor was grade three and was rather serious.
I went to the City of Hope for Chemotherapy, which was, at the time, a very new therapy for bladder cancer called BCG. Every Friday morning, I drove from my apartment in Belmont Shore, at the time, to the City of Hope for my Chemotherapy.
As I have always done and always do, I smiled at the divine comedy and what life throws at me. I was never sad, worried or afraid. To me, it was just part of the portent of the life we all live. And to test me further, the presage wanted to see how far I would stretch the line between fiction and reality, I discovered that my wife, Melina – at the time – was having a long time affair with her boss from work. I must admit I was devastated because of the astonishment and not realizing whether I was living a fictional event or a real event. Evidently, it was not fiction. Or perhaps it was; who knows! Life in its very core is a fictional divine comedy.
Here is how the story went. Melina used to go to work at six in the morning. I opened my eyes at the moment when she was stuffing sexy underwear in her purse; I was surprised but did not say anything. When she came back at night, she was dressed in a different dress than the one she had left with in the morning. I asked her why, she said that the dress got dirty and she had to change. I never questioned where she got the clean dress from but I knew it was hers. I opened the closet to see the dirty dress; it was spotted or splashed with what I believed was sperm. When I confronted her, she swore it was milk of her baby – she had a young child but was not mine.
My law training as a prosecutor and my journalistic talents went into full gear and the interrogation started. Before long, Melina admitted that indeed she had sex with her boss, but she said he had raped her. And here is her exact story: “He pushed me on a couch; lifted my dress up; turned my underwear to the left and inserted his erect penis into my vagina, but just before ejaculation, he pulled out and ejaculated on my face and dress.”
As I am of law and order, I called the police. Two police officers arrived within ten minutes. A male police officer who was speaking with me about various topics, and a female officer who took Melina to the bedroom and until now I do not know what Melina had told her. Both police officers gave us numbers for victims of crimes and said they would be in touch and left.
I had been very compassionate toward Melina believing she had been a victim of a horrendous crime. It was not the best of times. It was a time of no lucidity; it was a divine comedy of fiction and non-fiction alike.
I, Alexandre Akpors, was still receiving Chemotherapy at the City of Hope Hospital under the supervision of the great scientist Dr. Robert Kawatchi. For those of us who do not know what BCG is, it is live tuberculosis bacteria inserted into the bladder to burn the inner wall and burn the cancerous cells with it. It is terribly painful. Not to divert the omen, augury has a reason why we have fast food restaurants such as In-N-Out Burger and McDonald; it is to help people like me who are receiving BCG Chemotherapy. I could not hold peeing until I reach home, so I always stopped at In-N-Out restaurant at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Second Street to pee the burning substance in my bladder. Isn’t that in itself a Foreboding?
On a Wednesday morning, my phone rang. It was Mr. De-Salvo. He introduced himself as a detective at the Los Angeles Police Department and asked if I could go to meet him in his office. I agreed, got ready and drove to the LAPD downtown Los Angeles. No word can describe how ugly and uncivilized East Lost Angeles is, but this is not our concern now. I arrive at the station; I introduce myself; I was led to a small room with two quite overweight men who introduced themselves by name as detectives.
“Please sit down and make yourself comfortable. Do you want a cup of coffee?” I agreed and they ordered a cup of coffee for me and told me I could smoke if I wanted to do so, and I did. I slowly pulled out my pack of Dunhill Cigarette, took one and placed the box on the desk, then, I lit my cigarette quite calmly actually. I felt as though the detectives were surprised at my calm and quite disturbed by what they were about to tell me.
“We are afraid we have some news that might be displeasing to you. We visited the person your wife accused of raping her and we found that she actually lives with him; her clothes are there; her neighbors know her and they often have parties there. We are so very sorry to tell you this, but your wife is indeed living with Randy on regular basis and we do not know how she could be living with you, too at the same time.” I felt that the detectives were expecting me to faint, collapse, get angry or act violently, but they seemed quite amazed, and looked at each other, when I smiled and took a buff of my Cigarette and offered my appreciation for their work. They kept apologizing and I kept asking them not to – to me it was nothing but divine comedy at work – what could be more divinely comical than that? Did I cross the fine line between fiction and reality? I did not think so. Did I stretch the elastic line between fiction and non-fiction to either direction? I did not think so. It is up to you my dear reader to decide whether this is fiction; I know it sounds so fictional, but it is just life in it clearest divine comical state.
I, Alexandre Akpors, had already hired a famous female attorney, an attorney I knew. She has always been known to fight for women in situation where women are forced to do things they do not want to. I did not know what Melina wanted. I sent her to Attorney, who was able to settle Melina’s phony rape case for a few hundred thousand dollars.
I filed for a divorce and left the apartment. I did not want any of this immoral money Melina received. At such point, I was face to face with the darkness waiting what to expect next. I stayed with my ex-wife for a couple of days and soon found my what had become home for twenty some years: 301 Bay Shore Blvd, in Belmont Shore. A beautiful one-bedroom apartment on the bay in which I had the most exciting life and the divine comedy and I became very close friends.
It might, or might not, be important to mention that Melina took me to court asking for money though her famous female attorney got her a few thousand dollars with which Melina bought an apartment building. Because her divorce lawyer against me was a shark and I was spending a lot on my lawyer and court expenses, I decided to agree on what Melina wanted which was about thirty-thousand-dollars. Soon after the court judgment, I filed for bankruptcy. Melina lost a great deal since she had her apartment building under lean for her lawyer who was shrewd enough and knew where I was going.
Prophecy and I continued playing the game of life. At the apartment in Belmont Shore, although I was still receiving Chemotherapy because my bladder cancer returned twice, I had parties and gatherings. The apartment was like an intellectual hub; people would come in and out, serve themselves with food and drinks and I had a great time enjoying the comedy of life depicted in my friends’ lives as well as mine.
Through Internet communication, I met young Algerian-French beauty named Lola. Lola was the most intelligent, well-read and well educated young girl I had ever met in my life. I was in my early forties and she was in her late twenties. We learned so much from each other, though I am sure I learned more, but I was able to teach her Arabic and she was simply brilliant.
Sadly, Lola and I were not emotionally or sexually compatible, but intellectually more than compatible. We shared four great years together, but I was seeing other girls and she was seeing other boys. It is significant to say that I rescued Lola from her Islamist husband and sheltered and protected her. Now, I am glad that our relationship did not work out because I learned recently that Lola has converted to a stricter form of Islam and has become religious. To me, a religious Moslem is a killer at heart and can do great damage in the name of the Allah and the Satanic Sharia in which they blindly believe.
Lola suffered a great deal with my medical conditions with the return of the bladder cancer and the chemotherapy. Additionally, I had lost all my teeth and decided to have teeth implants.
These teeth implant divine comedy episode was a form of a disaster. My Dentist was, and still is, Dr. Lara Manuel; I can only describe her as brilliant. My Orthodontist was Dr. Ravi Smith, a competent, compassionate and caring doctor. Poor Lola went through the whole painful process. First, was taking my teeth out; second was implanting bones and crafting gums; then came the process of the actual implant.
The process of the implant took years during which both Lola and I suffered.
While I was living with Lola, I fell in love for the second time in my life. She was a pretty girl from Chile whose name I have to withhold for her safety. This love affair was Equivalent to a Hollywood production of love affairs. It lasted a while but it had been based on, unfortunately, deception. My Chilean beauty was married.
Divine comedy has its way o play with us games of chess and often wins. On my birthday, September 13th, my beloved came in the morning to tell me she had to break the relationship. It is in my character that I never argue or discuss such matters; I smiled and said ok. She left, and I broke into tears and severe depression. I have never seen or talked to her since.
By this time, Lola had found her now husband and I remained alone in my castle. I dated several people, but one stands out was my Japanese student Rea. We dated a short while and she also left.
At that time, I was struggling with my bladder cancer and my teeth implant. My cancer was controlled and then I just had to have a cystoscopy every six month. And my teeth implant were falling one after another; my bone craft and gums implants did not take, so my implanted teeth had nothing to hold on. I lost them all and I had to resort to wearing dentures. Divine comedy at it best or worst, depending on perception; it is divine comedy, nevertheless.
Remember, dear reader, at that point, I was still teaching part time in various colleges. They called us “Freeway Flyers” because we were to run rom one college to another. And by that time I had lost Lola, my Algerian friend, and Rea, the Japanese beauty. Mind you, I had been weary of my age and how time flies. Aging in itself is a form of a celestial act that we all face on daily basis; some of us are aware more than others. I had been, have been and am fully aware and severely saddened.
Before long, I met a beautiful Iranian friend named Toto. She and I had a great rapport except for the fact that she was a true Muslim and I did not and do not like religious people. That is not to say that Toto was religious, but she did believe in Islam and that was sufficient for me to judge.
We had lived together for two years. She had been working on her license and I was writing my PhD Dissertation. We helped each other a lot and had a wonderful relationship. I think perhaps we loved each other; however, Islam stood a wall of steel between us. The affair had to end. Divine comedy never ceased to amaze me; and, as always, I laughed.
When Toto and I were together, I was already a full time tenure professor at San Jose College. I received this post in the year 1999. I was very happy, indeed, as finally after so many years working as a part time faculty member, I was then a full professor. It was the best of times until Toto and I separated and I was alone again.
Toto also suffered some of my medical problems with me. Then, it was the prostate. I had so many issues with the prostate that I had to have several surgeries to adjust its size and to help my urinary function. It was then that I used to see Dr. Pugach and the City of Hope doctors at the same time.
Dr. Pugach shall never be forgotten; he is inexplicable himself. He operated on my prostate and in the process he rendered me impotent for life. I am not a savage capitalist, so I let it go. I just left Dr. Pugach and found another brilliant Urologist, Dr. Hightower who is taking care of me until now.
Divine comedy is life itself; it does not come and go; it does not rest; it does not negotiate. It is our every moment of life on this planet. I had my share of cancer, chemotherapy, prostate and impotence problems, and teeth implants and loss within a very short period of time.
I continued suffering from urinary tract infections, getting used to wearing full denture and adjusting to my impotence considering I had been a very sexual being and sex for me was everything meaningful in life.
Dear reader let us look at this together and analyze how cruel this divine comedy can be. Now that I had lost all the girls I mentioned above, I met a great girl named Lina. With Lina, I shared the most precious of times. We shared unforgettable moments in Paris, Rome, London, Amsterdam and Barcelona. These memories are implanted in my head and shall never be wiped out.
Lina and I have always been pals up till now. It is just the divine comedy did not allow us to share life together for one reason or another.
Lina suffered with me a lot and spent nights in hospitals with me. During our time, I suffered several ailments in addition to my bladder cancer and chemotherapy. It had been during my time with Lina that they discovered nodules in my lungs and I had to go through a very invasive lung biopsy surgery at UCLA. This was/is perhaps the most serious surgery I have had. I was out of commission for months and months. That surgery did not stop the ongoing chemotherapy or cystoscopies – they had been going hand in hand.
As soon as I was about to recover from my serious lung surgery, I found a tumor in my right neck that was growing rapidly. After visiting a specialist, whose name I have forgotten, I learned that I had a tumor in my parotid gland and a surgery was imminent. The divine comedy had no intention to give me a break or to allow me to rest.
Let us pause for a moment here and examine that fine line between fiction and reality. Have that all been fictional or real? Does writing it make it believable or more of a fictional anecdote? How about the medications that my Lungs’ Surgeon prescribed for me? I took one tablet of the Oxycodone and that was the first and last time I did. I was in an unknown zone; unknown world; unknown dimension. I felt I was with a larger group of people lecturing and discussing Dante’s the Divine Comedy. I was suddenly in the year 1320. We, the group, examined the afterlife and we traveled through hell, purgatory and heaven. All not with a religious but an intellectual flavor since I believe in no god; however, we spoke of Dante’s journey through the three realms.
Suddenly, I found myself in bed next to Lina trying to reduce my high fever with ice pads. When I asked her where I was, she surprisingly replied, “Right here, darling.”
Voila, that what pain medication does to one and that is why I refuse to take them and trained my mind to deal with pain. I developed high tolerance for pain as I constantly convinced myself I had no pain though every part of me was aching.
It was my time with Lina that my health suffered the most; I had the most serious and painful surgeries: My lung surgery, my parotid gland removal surgery and the continuation or my teeth implants and loss of implants.
As for my parotid gland surgery, the doctor had made an error and was supposed to reopen me again for another surgery. Strangely and mysteriously, the doctor disappeared and was nowhere to be found. I went to the office for my pre-op appointment only to be told that the doctor is not and will not be available for sometime. No more information was given and I could not decipher this divine comedy moment despite my attempts with many of my doctors. I have not had that surgery, yet.
The consequences are not that pleasant. In addition to the normal side effects of losing saliva and having a dry mouth, the area of the surgery is constantly irritating because of nerve damage; another divine comedy play in which I have to participate with my usual smile. I rub the area of my right neck practically non-stop because of the irritation – something with which I have to live.
It was also during my short eye-blinks with Lina that I had my right hand surgery. Dr. George Macer, one of my greatest doctors and friends, operated on my hand for carpal tunnel syndrome and my right thumb for a trigger thumb surgery. These went without incidents and all was fine. One must not forget the many cystoscopies with biopsies and the many catheters I had worn during that time with my dearest friend Lina. She sure had suffered physically and emotionally with me, and that, I shall never forget.
The unforgettable dilemma that Lina had to endure with me was when I suffered from, at the time, an unknown disease to Americans. I had eaten a dish at George the Greek on Second Street in Belmont Shore and I was assured that it was made that day; only later I learned it was three days old. I thought I was poisoned. I had lost twenty pounds in one week; I had severe diarrhea. I was fatigued and Lina and my dear friend Daniela actually thought I was dancing on my grave. I went to Los Alamitos Hospital at least seven times. Each time, they would test my stool and say there was nothing wrong and send me home. I resorted to calling my physician brother. After telling him what had been happening, he became angry and said: “Tell the stupid idiotic doctors to test you for C-Difficile.” My brother was sure I had C-Difficile, which is Clostridium Difficile Bacteria - a Potentially Deadly Infection - Lina took me to the hospital again immediately and asked that they tested me for that disease. Sure enough, my brother, who lived and practiced thousands of miles-away, could diagnose me correctly.
In its arrogance and belief that this is the greatest country on the planet, American never thought that such a third-world disease could infect people in America. So they never tested for it. I had written a nasty letter to the hospital administration and another to the department of health. I received an apologetic response and a promise that they will from that point check for that disease as a routine. I know that they now do.
Time had come for Lina to have it with my eccentricities and me; she left me. It is in my innate nature not to beg anyone to stay with me; It seem to me that Lina had expected that I would, by my nature, which is a divine comedy in itself, did not comply. And I lost a great and a dear friend. Alone again. I had then finished my PhD studies and still working as a full tenure professor at San Jose College. I would travel to San Jose three times a week and complete the rest of my work from home the other days. Alone again as I had often been. This time, because of sickness and weakness, I felt also lonely and insecure for the first time in my whole life ever. It was not the best of time.
Now that the saga of Lina and I has passed, the notorious divine comedy brings another one; it was sweet and short. Over the Internet, I met a young girl named Sabrina. She lived in Las Vegas and we had some good communication over the Internet and the phone. Sabrina is a semi-black beauty; she is well-educated, divorced and has a pretty young daughter. After communicating for about a month and a half, I decided I was going to visit her in Vegas, but I would stay in my own hotel. She pleasantly agreed and the date was set.
I flew to Las Vegas from Long Beach Airport and arrived at the Bellagio Hotel. Upon my arrival, I called Sabrina and I explained to her I was at the Bellagio hotel. Before too long, Sabrina was waiting for me at the Caviar bar, which is my favorite spot at the Bellagio. The encounter was pleasant and it was evident that we liked each other. We had caviar and champagne and some cheeses and, of course, a lovely conversation. Sabrina told me that she had booked a helicopter tour of Vegas that same night; I was only semi pleased because I am not into these kinds of touristic things; however, I was very appreciative. At a particular moment, I asked Sabrina if she would accompany me to my room; she was somewhat surprised at my forwardness but showed evident pleasure I asked. She immediately said she had never met anyone as brave, direct and honest as I was and I made no comment. It was before I even get up of my chair, she did and she was anxious to get to the room more than I was. It was as though she were male baise, a French expression for a horny girl who has not been fucked for sometime. Soon I found out she was. We had sex for a long, long time. I was still semi-potent and I was still interested in sex, then. And she was great and she thought I was, too.
We went to dinner at the fabulous Sinatra restaurant, which was opened in honor of the Chairman Frank Sinatra but has unfortunately closed since. We ate, we drank and we talked. It was very pleasant indeed. Time had come for our helicopter ride, and we left. The ride was not that bad, but it was pretty silly.
After the flight, Sabrina came with me to the hotel room for another round of sexual marathon. Then, she left for her daughter with the plan that we would meet the next morning.
Considering that the divine comedy rules my life, I was not in any condition to get seriously involved with anyone; I was merely fooling around enjoying my time and grieving losing my friend Lina. But something happened for which the divine comedy had not prepared me. It was a disastrous tale to the point that I feel embarrassed to write; however, it happened and I have to be a truthful writer telling it as is and it is for the reader to make the judgment not I.
Before I get into that episode of my divine comedy life, I need to say that Sabrina had come with her daughter to visit me in California at 301 Bay Shore, the apartment by the bay which I will forever miss as it was the only place I had considered home in this forsaken country, and we had had a wonderful weekend together and with my regular friends.
As comedy has it, all things that begin must end. My relationship with Sabrina did not last long and ended abruptly after I had met Camelia. Ah!! I shall never forget the notorious mysterious Camelia for what she was and what she had done.
Camelia was an Iranian beauty despite her advanced age; she about my age and that was quite strange for me to accept. Until this very moment, I believe that the divine comedy has placed me under temporary insanity for I can never explain why I had entered into such a relationship. Her being Muslim and Iranian, she demanded marriage right away. Since I was not myself; I was fragile, vulnerable and scared, the divine comedy played this dirty trick on me and I agreed. I married Camelia days after we had met which, of course is absolutely insane, I know. She was very sexual and sensual and I was a sex maniac who had never had enough of sex; well, neither did Camelia. It was a sexual spell comparable only to the days of the Roman Empire.
She accompanied me to two of my doctors, one, I remember was my Cardiologist, Dr. Mike Vasilomanolakis, for my yearly stress echo test, the second I cannot recall. I got permissions from my doctors to travel to Europe and invited Camelia and he young daughter to Paris and London. Initially, the plan was to stay two weeks in each city, but she made my life so miserable that I cut our stay to one week in each city. It was in Europe that I began to regain my consciousness and intellect back; it was then I decided that that relationship had to end fast.
I decided to return from London, and she decided to stay longer with her daughter. Upon my arrival, her older daughter whose beauty, elegance and sensuality are striking and, I cannot fib, I lusted after her and I am sure she shared my desires – I am expert in this arena of lust. It was not that late in the evening, so she and I went to dinner at McKenna, which is now “The Boat House.” It was one of the most pleasant moments of my life. It was as though the divine comedy was enjoying torturing me and killing me softly. We finished dinner and I invited her to stay the night and she accepted. Now, what do I do? What should have I done? My normal self would say I would have had an amazing sexually charged night with many orgasms like never before; the girl was better than a magazine model. But, no, the divine comedy evoked my conscience telling me she was my stepdaughter and I could not touch her; since when such matters bothered my conscience; I slept with devils for heaven sakes.
It was summer and a warm night. After another bottle of divine Jordan Cab wine, we decided to sleep –oops – what do we do now. I innocently suggested we sleep together in my bed, but I normally sleep naked and have been since my childhood. I made an exception that night and wore a brief and she slept in her sexy pink bra and edible sexy pink underwear. She slept on the inside and I on the outside. She rested her beautiful head with her gorgeous hair on my right shoulder and placed he right arm on my naked chest. I know it sounds absolutely fictional to say nothing happened – this was one of the times when the fine elastic line between what is fiction and what is real was stretched to what was real. I felt I had died in her arm that night. It took me forever to sleep with my mind racing and tempted to kiss her luscious lips and eat her pink pussy, but nothing happened. She perhaps thought I was gay. I do not think that she thought I did not want to touch her because she was my stepdaughter.
Divine comedy wanted to have some fun with my stepdaughter and me; I woke up with a very strong erection that actually it hurt partly because I was wearing a tight brief. I looked at it and she did do and I apologized. She shyly smiled and said, “Do not worry about it; it is cute.” “CUTE!!” I screamed in my head cursing divine comedy and the day I recognized its existence. My beauty queen spent the day with me. She was studying on the floor below the large window and I was writing at my desk. Every few minutes we would chat and share thoughts. She had high regard for my profession as a professor and I had high regard for her for what she, clearly, possessed of intelligence, knowledge and beauty. That day shall be printed in my memory forever. I hope she reads this and she knows what was going on with me, and what about life’s divine comedy. She left; with her, she took a piece of me I have never regained.
I had already decided I was leaving her mom, Camelia. She was an unscrupulous woman and a con artist. She convinced me to have access to my account, and in addition to the $5000.00 ring I bought her and the $5000.00 I gave her in cash so that she would not file for bankruptcy, I discovered that she had withdrawn $50,000.00 from my savings account. We fought and fought and it was the worst of times. She had the courageous satanic spirit to even ask me for $2000.00 a month.
I had already made up my mind that Camelia shall be history soon. We had our last dinner at Spaghettini Italian restaurant. There we had one of our worst arguments and I do not recall about what. On the way back home, as she was driving her Mercedes, I opened the door I got out while the car was moving and have never seen Camelia again. The total time we spent together was a month. I filed for a divorce and she went mad wanting it to be an annulment so that she could con other victims. Although I refused, at court she told the judge I was impotent, and the female judge granted her annulment, to my surprise and dismay. I had just hoped that the idea was not put into her by her beautiful daughter whom I could have shared with the best sexual experience any human could. A chapter, an ugly one, is closed and I had to move to a new chapter of life.
I, Alexandre Akpors, do not wish my readers to lose the main point of my medical challenges and my relationship with the divine comedy. I hope that sexual escapades do not have that effect on you and you can focus with me on life’s divine comedy that rule the world in which we live.
That episode, above, with Camelia, had been forgotten and became insignificant and without any effect not so ever. Life’s divine comedy continued as it has always done and stuck with me even closer that divine comedy and I had become one at one point. I could not distinguish between fiction and non-fiction; the elastic line that separate both had become so unclear that I had been unaware whether I was living a fiction or a non-fiction life, but, dear reader, does it matter? It had been my life; it has been my life; it is my life. Fictional or real did not and does not mean anything – it is, again, the life I had and have been living.
I am alone again. I like to be alone; I read and I write. I feel rather content with myself but the divine comedy controls most of my days with aches and pains in different pars of my body. By this time, I had aged and my body had started to give out on me. My walking became a serious chore; my sleeping was erratic and I felt tired all the time.
I had experienced death many times when I would wake up in the middle of the night out of breath and grasping for air. Each time I rushed to the hospital and not knowing what was happening I would tell them ii appeared that I would forget breathing while sleeping. They would not understand what I meant and would send me home. This happened so many times that I had to take matters into my own hand.
On my own, I visited a pulmonary specialist who became one of my best friends and Italian brothers, Dr. Thomas Asciuto. He is a brilliant physician specializes in lung diseases and sleep disorder. Both were a great part of my problems as the divine comedy dictated. I went through at least four sleeping tests and many breathing tests and the results had not been encouraging. Here goes the divine comedy again; by that time, I had suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD). I had also been diagnosed with apnea and had to be on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) for the rest of my life. Dr. Asciuto is a brilliant doctor and knows what he is doing and is very effective in whatever it is he does.
Over the last fifteen years, I must have seen Dr. Asciuto more than forty-five times. He had done everything possible to save my life and he surely did. Apnea could have killed me and my lungs could have given me more hell than it had.
Now, Dr. Asciuto has forsaken me for he had moved from Long Beach. I had written him a letter wondering why; I had called his nurse Georgiana several times and she had been most kind. I gave up. This was just another divine comedy event that had no rhyme.
Divine comedy is life and life is a divine comedy; hence no ceasing. I continued to look at every day’s affair as a form of divine comedy and smile at all things whether they were positive or negative; I saw them merely as divine comedy of human existence. As the great Dante wrote, “There is no greater sorrow than to be mindful of the happy time in misery.” I am relentlessly mindful. I am continuously aware. Again as the great Charles Dickens wrote in his masterpiece “A Tale of Two Cities,” It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. All is just the same except our mindfulness of the happy time when desolation strikes. I, Alexandre Akpors, had and have been here and there; at times stretching the fine line between fiction and reality and at other times jump the line all together. I have done this so often that I normally have no idea which side I am living: fiction or non-fiction?
Dear reader, I hope you do not lose track of all what the divine comedy’s actions thus far. Remember, now I, Alexandre Akpors, have been suffering from MVP, carpal tunnel syndrome, COPD, apnea, sleep disorder, bladder cancer, and emphysema. Other challenges about which I had or had not written include prostate problems, erectile dysfunction, repeated urinary tract infections, gums infections, and Cataract.
One would suspect that all these ailments were sufficient, but no, life and its omen had more in store for me.
I had been working and writing. I had written several academic books and wrote my autobiography “A Dream is Just That.” In the meantime, I had been flirting with several girls on the Internet during my free boring times. This flirting ended up with meeting Lamise.
Lamise is a pretty young maiden who lived in Sydney, Australia. We communicated several months and took to each other’s liking. We had the noblest of time dialoguing on Skype face-to face and we learnt so much about each other.
It was one sunny day; I was at my computer writing a new novel and suddenly I had a curious thought; I thought travelling to Sydney would be a innovative idea. Lamise and I would meet and I would physically see her beautiful, then, eight-year-old son, whom I adored for some reason; he was the most intelligent, polite, communicative child I had ever known. I soon discussed the matter with Lamise and she welcomed the idea with great enthusiasm.
During the Christmas holiday of the year 2009, I took a flight to Sydney after I had arranged for an hotel close by where Lamise lived. I arrived and I was warmly welcomed. Lamise, Adnan, her son, Dr. Rabeeh and his wife Fay, Lamise’s best of friends, all received me at the King’s Smith Sydney airport. It was a jubilant and euphoric time for all of us; it was surely delightful to see Lamise and Adnan face to face.
We drove from the airport to my hotel. We sat in the lobby for a while and I gave each one his and her gift, and then took my suitcase upstairs. They were waiting for me to go have breakfast at Lamise’s apartment, which was in the vicinity of the hotel. It was all very pleasant and optimistic. For change life’s divine comedy was being nice to me. Perhaps it was intoxicated, as life at times appears befuddled and absurd.
At Lamise’s graceful apartment, we all sat around the dining table eating the delicious breakfast Lamise had prepared. The conversation was unique in many ways since we all are from different worlds. The one thing I remember the most was when Lamise went to the kitchen and I went after her; I hugged and kissed her a cinematic kiss on the lips; she melted into my arms, and as petite as she is, it was not difficult to hold her up and straight and kiss her again and again. I believe, or like to believe that she was more than gratified, and certainly as wet as I had anticipated – as I knew later.
It was time for Dr. Rabeeh and his wife, Fay, to return to their home, and they did. It was the three of us together then: Lamise, Adnan, and I. We talked and I presented Lamise with a promising ring and she was happy, Adnan was also very happy and all smiles. He shocked Lamise and me when he said, “Why would you go to the hotel and not stay with us here? We have space; don’t you think, Mom?” Lamise looked at me shyly and I looked back nervously and no word was said. I think we had both decided to leave it to the divine comedy of life to make such a difficult decision for us. Strangely enough, divine comedy was surprising once again and I ended up spending the night at Lamise.
When we all went to bed and Lamise went to the same bedroom, it was a sexual encounter of the third kind – something extraterrestrial, celestial, and somewhat alien. We were both in a state of ecstasy neither of us seemed to remember anything like it. The comedy of life made it even more memorable when both Lamise and I fell off the bed on top of each other and broke into laughter and joy and I thought heaven had opened a new door for me to enter without fear; I entered.
I spent a month and a half in Sydney and brought Lamise, Adnan and Faye with me to California. We had planned that we would get married and she would get residence in the United States and I would file for immigration to Australia and work at a university there. I had had it with America any way and it had been time for me for change.
We went through the process; Lamise and Adnan received their green cards, thanks to my friend and best attorney in America, Mrs. Ruth Shamir. And I had my immigration to Australia approved with no difficulties as though the divine comedian who ruled life had died; but no, there was a sinister and ominous plan for me.
Back to my health situation, all had been the same, but things began to change. Suddenly, I started to have seizures where my body would involuntary convulse and my legs and hand move violently any direction. This had happened a few times, so Lamise and I went to the doctor.
First, it was Dr. Kaplan, a specialist on epilepsy. She had determined that I have what she called Myoclonic seizures and referred me to a brilliant neurologist who would later become my favorite physician and friend ever; it is Dr. David Rosenberg whose talents and intelligence surpasses anything I had known. Dr. Rosenberg gave me many tests including nerve conduction tests and ordered several MRIs of my brain.
Poor Lamise, who thought she would be staying only a month in California had to stay with me a little longer and later became much longer. At that point, I was a little more then forty-nine-year-old-young man, vibrant and full of hopes and dreams.
Dr. Rosenberg had concurred with Dr. Kaplan’s diagnosis of Chronic Myoclonic Seizures and continued to treat me for that and other new ailment such as balance disorder, memory disorder an one of the strangest phenomenon and even Dr. Rosenberg cannot decipher: I persistently switch letters in the middle of words while writing. He and all other doctors I see cannot find an explanation. It is a mystery of the divine comedy.
Dear reader, my regular Internal Medicine doctor, Dr. David Shen, must be revealed here. He is the maestro of my symphony of physicians. He manages all affairs with doctors and keeps me posted of divine comedy work. Dr. David Shen is a brilliant young man whose talents and skills are admirable. Once, he operated on a large lump on my back that we had no idea what it was; we learnt after pathology report that it was not serious. It is his nurse, talented Elizabeth, who gives me my weekly testosterone shot. Ah! I have forgotten, evidently, to mention that life’s comedy desired to be a little more comedian, so it prevented my body from producing testosterone for many years, so I have to receive a shot weekly to keep the level normal.
Divine comedy of life had decided that Dr. Rosenberg would diagnose me with the following: Crohn’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, parsonage turner syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome, and gait balance disorder. Well!! Dear reader; it is dumbfounding what divine comedy is, “Through me, you pass into the passage of woe. Through me, you pass into eternal pain.” And all is comedy, divine comedy.
“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.” Dr. Rosenberg referred me to a great rheumatologist physician as he could suspect what the matter with me was. At that time, Lamise, Adnan and I were preparing to leave the United States and move to Sydney for good. I had given all my belongings away and shipped some to Sydney already; we were all excited despite all what the divine is executing.
Dr. Nancy Godfrey saw me and did some special tests and a couple of days later she told me, ”You are not going anywhere.” She explained that I have a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis and, guess what dear reader, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which actually is a chronic inflammatoryconnective tissue disorder that can involve joints, kidneys, skin, mucous membranes, and blood vessel walls.
Ah!! At that moment I realized divine comedy is at its worst. I could not leave for Australia according to Dr. Nancy Godfrey. She said she had to put me on a form of chemotherapy called IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) rightaway. Before going on IVIG, Dr. Nancy Godfrey ordered that I have to take anti tuberculosis medications for nine months. I started right away.
It had been at that point that I decided, upon my physicians’ advice’ to retire from teaching and go on permanent disability retirement at the young age of fifty-five. California State Retirement System was evidently overwhelmed with my medical condition that they granted me permanent disability retirement effective December 2010. I have never taught a class since, and I have been missing it so very much, and that is divine comedy at work. Just as the great Dante in his Divine Comedy wrote: “O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall?”
Life’s divine comedy is merciless, indeed. Lamise had had her green card to live and work in the United States, but she and Adnan hated living in the United States, and I had never blamed them. I had my immigration papers to Australia and was ready to leave except for my medical health – It was a serious dilemma indeed. Six month had passed and Lamise had planned to stay only one. Adnan hated America, school and its children; he could not adjust and wanted to go home. We decided that Lamise and Adnan would return and since I had to be under close observation by my doctors, once I finish with my anti tuberculosis medication, I would go to Sydney and ask for the IVIG treatment. And Lamise and Adnan left and I was alone again dueling with the divine comedy and unpredictable life. Yes, I was married to Lamise, but alone in my own sphere of life’s comedy. I continued to visit doctors, dentists and I even experienced a few month of physical therapy, something in which I have never believed in its effect. It was quite a funny time for me.
I remember that Dr. Rosenberg ordered to monitor my brain for a few days. I asked Tracey, my old friend, to take me to the hospital where they wired my brain and covered all the wiring so that I looked like a cone-head man. People looked at me with a smile and sometimes a loud laughter – I must admit, I had looked rather funny and, as I had and have always done, laughed at my self and the majestic divine comedy of life.
After I had finished my tuberculosis treatment, I obtained permission from Dr. Nancy Godfrey to travel to Australia to see if I can get the IVIG treatment in Sydney; she approved and I prepared myself for the trip. I had been smart enough not to give up my beautiful apartment, 301 Bay Shore, on the bay. I traveled to Sydney. Lamise and Adnan were thrilled and I was on cloud nine hoping that I would never return to the United States again. Divine comedy had other plans for me.
Lamise had been as gracious as she had always been. She took me to doctors among whom one specialist, a rheumatologist, who had concurred with Dr. Nancy Godfrey that I suffered from systemic lupus erythematosus, and that I needed IVIG. The doctor submitted a request to the State for approval, and it was approved. We were very pleased indeed; however, the divine comedy of life does not allow one to be pleased for long; it has to present one challenge or another. As for me, divine comedy of life presents several severe challenges.
Although Lamise and I had had a great relationship, respectful and warm, and Adnan added to the joy of the three of us being a model family, things had not been as they appeared. Lamise wanted me to convert to Islam to please her very Islamic family. In Islam, it is a sin for a Moslem woman to be married to a non-Moslem man. In some countries, these women could be stoned and executed. Although Lamise was not religious, her pleasing her family was more significant to her than our marriage. Another issue, for all fairness, I must add, Lamise did not like my affinity for red wine and my drinking a lot of it. I am not sure until now whether she thought that drinking wine was a sin or I was alcoholic.
Nevertheless, divine comedy had it that my relationship with Lamise had to end. She had invited Dr. Rabeeh, a scientist I for whom had and have utmost respect, and his wife, Faye, with whom I became a friend. Bothe had tried all persuasive techniques to make me change my mind and convert to Islam just as a pretense to please Lamise’s family. They did not know who I was, really. The divine comedy of life succeeded in ending that relationship and Lamise asked for a divorce. I had to return back to California. Thankfully, I still had my apartment. And I filed for a divorce per Lamise’s request. Very sad narratives that shall never be forgotten for Lamise and Adnan had and have been two important personas in my life.
Alone again I had been in my apartment reading, writing, visiting doctors. I started the IVIG treatment; Helen, my son’s mother, took me to the cancer center for the first session. The session was supposed to be seven hours, but long behold, I turned out to be allergic to the chemotherapy drug and after about four hours, the doctor ordered the nursing staff to abort.
Nature was at play again, what should we do? Dr. Godfrey changed the drug to another and I went again the following week. This time, I took a taxi. Helen, my son Christian’s mother, had said she would take me, but she called one hour before my appointment to tell me she would not; I could not, and cannot, explain that up unti. Anyway, I had my new chemotherapy drug and it was fine. This drug was infused in two hours only. I did not tell the staff that I was returning home in a taxi. I had and have been receiving therapy every four weeks until this very moment except when I had a surgery.
I had continued my life as I had always done, except now that I have seizures and asthma, I decided to refrain from driving in order not to put my physicians in danger; they were supposed to report me to the Department of Motor Vehicles, but they did not. I am sure they did not because they trusted my responsible nature. So, all my travel to and from doctors and hospitals was either by taxi or friend’s favor.
Just as the great Dante wrote:“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.” It so appeared that my straightforward pathway had disappeared before my eyes and I am lost. I am invalid with no partner and no help and living in a country that has no care or respect for human life or human dignity, America that is. What would I do?
I courageously entered the following chapter of my life. I asked Dr. Nancy Godfrey to give me the chemotherapy in pill form and I requested a year supply of my regular medications, so that I could go to, Paris, France, my favorite place on the planet, and see if I could live there for good and leave this malevolent country called America.
I would write a list of my regular medications the divine comedy of life pries me to take. And such a long list you certainly make the reader believe this is fiction; however, it is not; but, again, I shall leave it to you my reader to decide. Remember I said there was a fine line between what is fiction and what is real. I, myself, sometimes do not know what is fiction and what is non-fiction. That is the main reason this novel is being written as a work of fiction.
Is it fiction or non-fiction? How can what is above be described? I, Alexandre Akpors, cannot tell. To me, it is my reality though I know it does sound like fiction; and that is the fine line I have been telling my readers about. Though I have neither stretched the fine line in any way, nor have I crossed the line; I am in my reality and that is, my friends, divine comedy about which we have to laugh out loud and defy nature looking at its big grey one eye in defiance repeating, “I shall never be defeated.” And I tell you my dear reader: I shall not be defeated and I shall always sing, “I did it my way.”
The saga does continue. As always, I had been going to doctors and hospitals for various ailments and various reasons. I had and have also frequented imaging centers for MRIs and CT Scans that I think if I died now, St. Peter at the gate would be blinded by the radiation that my body radiates from all the radiology tests I had been through – more than 185 in the last twenty years; yes, you read this correctly my dear reader, more than 185 radioactive tests. St. Peter, in whom I do not believe since I am an atheist, would not know whether to send me to heaven or hell as he would be blinded by the radioactive light around me that would be brighter than that around Jesus’ head in the picture of the Last Supper. The great Dante would laugh his head off when St. Peter would scream quoting Divine Comedy, “And now, I pray you, tell me who you are: do not be harder than I've been with you that in the world your name may still endure.” And I was possessed by Dante’s inner-self and replied, “Through me, the way is to the suffering city; through me, the way is to eternal pain; through me, the way among the people lost.” And St. Peter would be so confused that he may resign his post.
Comedy, isn’t it? And divine in nature, isn’t it? And it is life as you and I know and experience it, isn’t it? And that, my dear reader, is divine comedy, which refuses to cease to exist.
I left for Paris about October 2011 with the intention never to return to this wasteland. I had an old good friend who is an Egyptian. Marlene spoke French fluently and had gotten married to a French barrister. After having two beautiful boys with him, things had not worked out and they filed for a divorce. In France and England, divorce takes a long time and requires a vey long process. Perhaps that is the reason why people in Europe do not marry these days.
I had known Marlene from Egypt and had always had admiration for her beauty, intelligence and sensuality; however, she was/is more than thirty years younger than I am; so the thought of coupling with her was quite obscene.
Before leaving for Paris, I had communicated with Marlene and informed her of my plans. She was pleased, excited and welcoming, most of all, she was very helpful. She had arranged for a beautiful fourteenth floor rental apartment in a high rise on the seine river. When I arrived, I was stunned at the view and the beauty of the area. I had been full of hopes and aspiration that Paris would once again become my home.
Marlene and I had a couple of sexual encounters and rekindled the long past. It was merely lust, nothing more. Nature pulls us one way, and human nature pulls us the opposite direction.
I was in my apartment; she was in hers. We met regularly for lunches, dinners and chats. The comedy of life followed me to Paris – so divine comedy is everywhere and is controlling everyone alive. Marlene confided in me that she was a homosexual and had a lover. The normal thing one would do in a situation like this is to panic; I did not. As I usually do in times of turmoil, I smiled. I asked Marlene, however, that we both had to test ourselves for HIV or any STD. We did and we were both safe.
I continued living in Paris trying to find a way to reside there permanently and with benefits, and that was impossible. Marlene became somewhat distant and unwilling to assist in any way, but that did not trouble me at all. I used my time wisely and I wrote the outline of my successful novel “God on Trial.” I immensely enjoyed that year in Paris and made many new friends of all sorts of life. Paris has that charm for writers and it can bestow wings to one’s thoughts so they can flutter and fly to create, to conceive, and to imagine without fear, trepidation, apprehension or restraint, not even by life’s divine comedy.
One can never know what the future holds, or what would happen next. I, Alexandre Akpors, feel a little muddled by Hawking’s idea about life possibilities. I wonder whether any event that takes place really does indeed take place? If all things are possible, so it is also possible that what we see as real is a mere fiction.
The most unusual, unexpected, uncanny event divine comedy had staged for me. One morning in July 2012, I received e-mail from a very unlikely person. It was from Marisela, an ex student with whom I had had a fling twenty-one years earlier when she was only just over twenty-years old. Though our fling was short, it was intense, at least on my part. I had loved her so much despite the difference in age, and she simply liked me as a person, a teacher, and a father figure – I shall never be sure until the last breath. Our fling ended shortly by the end of that summer after my return from a visit to Amsterdam. Marisela had disappeared and did not want to have anything to do with me with no explanation.
That I have this e-mail, I was excited and thrilled. I replied explaining my position and asking about her status. Evidently life’s nature had a plan for me I had never envisioned. She was free and available. We communicated regularly and I, then, decided to return to California and start an affair with my old, for lack of a better word, aficionada Marisela. I returned and a new chapter had begun.
I was back again to California. My apartment at 301 Bay Shore was still there waiting for me as I had kept it and continued to pay the rent. That had been a very intelligent decision to take. Caution is an important skill in life.
Upon arrival from Paris, I was fifty-three years old ready to meet beautiful Marisela. For me, life had always been but a dark comedy of sort. Suddenly, and with no warning at all, I uncovered remarkable changes in my behavior, physique, aptitude, and overall being. It all started one day, and continued progressing from then. That was in addition to all the ailments with which I was feeling on daily basis.
Clumsiness was the first thing noticeable. I would wake up in the middle of the night as a result of common insomnia, and would walk around the apartment not knowing what I was doing or what I wanted. Shortly after, I would find making a cup of coffee a novel idea; after a few whacks to my arms, elbows, legs and toes, I would start preparing the coffee. After several mishaps and a lot of cleaning of the mess I had just made, the coffee would finally be ready.
Then, it was my physical appearance, which would astound me; I would avow that my face changed on daily basis. Black circles around my palpably wrinkled areas under my eyes would attract my undivided attention. The wrinkles around my forehead and mouth started emerging and materializing. And if you remember, my dear reader, that I had lost my teeth, you would understand when I write that my toothless mouth and thin lips reminded me of my grandfather in his late eighties. In short, my attractiveness had vanished. So meeting Marisela after all these years and these changes was terrifying.
I had a date with Marisela on Tuesday afternoon in July. It was an unforgettable day. We were euphoric to see each other again after so many years. And the strangest thing ever is that we saw each other exactly as we had been twenty-one years ago, as we had discussed and affirmed later.
Marisela was as gorgeous as ever and I was as nervous as ever. We both walked from 301 Bay Shore to Michel’s of Naples, on Second Street in Belmont Shore, California, for dinner. We were received warmly as I was a frequent guest at that restaurant and knew Michel and his manager personally. They gave us the best seat in the house and we had the most wonderful dinner evening ever. There had been so much to discuss and relearn about each other. I explained my life in the briefest way possible and she expounded hers in the same manner. It had been a promising and optimistic encounter that after dinner, we returned home and made the most passionate love ever. Marisela spent the night with me and left in the morning with the promise that we would meet again soon whenever life’s divine comedy allows.
Life’s divine comedy allowed the following day and several days that followed. Marisela and I would meet, go to lunches and dinners, share passionate uninhibited love and enjoy conversations on many topics. Both Marisela and I were trained lawyers and we relate and understand the analysis of life and its tribulations.
Both Marisela and I met each other with packages upon our backs. But who in our ages would not? That was just part of life. Her package was much more tolerable than that of mine. She had three children: a twelve-year-old beauty named Alondra, a ten-year-old young man, named Richard and a nine-year-old young man named Sebastian. For me that was terribly scary; I do not know much about children and, in fact, I did not like children except for Adnan the Australian boy, Lamise, my ex-wife’ son. As for me, I had a profusion of problems and a plethora of ailments. It was then the time of discussions and reflections.
Everything between Marisela and me happened naturally and without any planning or much thinking. I believe we needed each other and we met at the right, no, the perfect moment. She needed a man to care for her; I needed a companion to accompany and care for me; we found each other.
Within the year, we declared our engagement. I took advantage that her parents had been visiting, so I planned an engagement party at Sevilla restaurant on Pine Avenue in Long Beach. All Marisela’s family had been there. Even my estranged son, Christian, had attended. I presented Marisela with the engagement/wedding ring and we had a great time. That had been before any planning of where we would live or how we would manage our lives.
Everything seemed just perfect. I was in my castle on Bay Shore, and Marisela and her three children lived in Downey. Details had to change, however, as we were getting married. As a married couple, we had to live together – that what society imposes, no?
At this point I, Alexandre Akpors, would be married to his maiden Marisela De La Cruz. They were both totally honest and open as much as life’s divine comedy allowed. Why comedy, a reader might inquire. It is because nothing is a 100% truthful; there is always something hidden; it is nature versus human nature.
Although when I met Marisela for the first time, when she was in her early twenty, I had been already ailing, I had never shared with her anything. I had never shared with her my heart condition or operation nor had I shared with her my visits to psychiatrists and psychologists to deal with the sudden death of my older brother. My barrister brother suddenly died of a heart attack with no reason at all; I had been most devastated and shattered. I wished not to burden such a young beautiful and innocent girl with adult’s turmoil and tribulations. I had not believed concealing such details would be a devious behavior. I still do not.
Nevertheless, by April 9th 2013, Marisela and I had become a husband and wife and then we have to live together. She and her three children moved to my castle 301 Bay Shore, which was a one-bedroom castle.
Marisela began to understand what a predicament I was in regard to my health. We had a doctor or a hospital appointment practically every single day. I think she was initially shocked, but got familiarized with the state of affairs. She met my doctors and nurses; she took me to surgeries and chemotherapy and she realized that I am an unusual man. I look very healthy and vibrant on the outside, but in the inside I am tormented with various ailments.
Those days had been fine because we could manage everything and, fortunately, the school where the children attended was just at the end of Vista Street, where we actually lived.
We managed well for a long, long while. The three children stayed in the bedroom and Marisela and I slept in the entrée. It was fine for the children and us, but was not for the apartment owners, Richard and Ronni Gates. They insisted that we move, so after two years of living happily and comfortably, we had to move out. I hired an agent and the search began.
Ah!! Divine comedy, Ah!! For the very first time in my forty-five years out of Egypt I experienced racial discrimination. Although my credit was immaculate and among the one percent of Americans, no one in Belmont Shore wanted to rent me a property. That had been and still is the shock of my life. I had never experienced racism in the countries in which I had lived, studied and worked: England, France, Italy, Austria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Mexico or The Netherland. Although I am not a Moslem and I detest Islam publically and I have many published articles and books about that, people still saw me as a fucking Arab, though really I am not. I am a Copt, idiot America. An original Egyptian, a descendent of the Pharos’ kings and queens. My origin would put Barbarian-Whites to shame; those whites who came to America because they had been exiled as criminals or simply just as delinquents looking for gold. Let us not discuss superiority here, for I am superior and shall be until my last breath.
Well! Finally, I met a decent couple lucky enough not to be Barbarian-Whites; they are from India, they are Dr. Sony and Dr. Sukmani Hamandeep. They had a wonderful apartment on the beach in Long Beach and they knew I was a Copt just by my name, so they had no problem giving me a chance and my credit was beyond superb. I took the apartment and it is an inspirational place in which I hope to live a long, long time with my wife, Marisela.
Are we now in fiction or non-fiction state? I lost it my dear reader; do forgive me. I wanted to bring about what my new beautiful bride will have to handle. She would have to handle a fifty-six-year-old man with many ailments and troubles. She was humane enough to take me to my monthly chemotherapy and wait and wait and wait until I am finished. She was charitable enough to take me to doctor’s appointments and radiology tests appointment. She is, simply, quite an understanding girl.
Life’s divine comedy had to spice our lives a little. I started developing other ailments: gastrointestinal problems, spine deterioration, and more neurological disorders. So, our doctors’ visits increased more than three folds. I still kept my smile and defiance.
Regular visits to Dr. David Rosenberg, my Neurologist, have increased and became more of a routine. Dr. Rosenberg has taken to my liking and considered my perplexing medical conditions challenging and he was/is determined to find solutions. He diagnosed me with several diseases whose names are quite difficult to pronounce; I believe I had mentioned Peripheral Neuropathy, Parsonage Turner Syndrome, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, and that is in addition to Seizures, Gait Balance Disorder, semi paralysis of the right arm, and Cervical Spine Nerve Pinching, for which I had to go through a surgery where Dr. Harry Karp injected my left neck with cortisone; that eased the pain for a while. The possible ultimate was that on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014 I had to undergo another serious back surgery carried out by the talented Dr. Farin Azadeh. She has fixed several disks in my lumber spine. Dr. Farin Azadeh did a brilliant job as I recovered long before nature would allow.
Dear reader, I hope you are not lost in this maze of divine comedy; please stay with me though I know how overwhelming this could be. There is a lot more to come about this game of chess I have with the divine comedy; each time I am cornered and almost checked, I find a way to protect my king.
The saddest part in all is that my dear wife and friends are the ones who suffer more than I do. I am the one in the predicament and I know how to deal with it; they, on the other hand, all they see is the suffering – or what they perceive as suffering – and feel the greatest sorrow. Additionally, they are unaware of the concept of fictional or real of which I am aware. You, too, dear reader, might fall into this trap as to whether this is fiction. This is my real life, however, as fictional as it may sound.
I must admit I am a very fortunate man despite all what is written above. I have some of the best doctors, if not the best, in the United States. Among those doctors, is my Gastroenterology physician, Dr. Trivedi Kashyap. Since I have had several snags in my plumping system, Dr. Trivedi had to operate on me several times. I had gone through several endoscopies, colonoscopies, and other tests that showed I had a rare problem called slow stomach digestion. Dr. Trivedi extracted many polyps and sent them to pathology; fortunately, they are pre-cancerous but not cancerous. So, in addition to my chronic Acid Reflux, I have several issues, which I have to confront. I now have to take three capsules Creon DR 36,000 units before any meal. I also have to take one teaspoon of Metamucil and one teaspoon of Miralax every night and one teaspoon of Metamucil and two teaspoons of Miralax every morning. I can say confidently that my plumping system is similar to that of sixteenth century France. However, I am in good hand; the best hand possible – Dr. Trivedi Kashyap for whom I have utmost respect, admiration, and fondness; so does my wife, Marisela.
It is quite amazing how each day comes with a new medical problem. Is it the Systemic Lupus? Most doctors say yes. What a disease this Systemic Lupus is. Now I have Red Blood Cell predicaments, and it is not clear exactly why. Another one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Oncologists in the United States, my dear Italian brother Dr. MarioCurti, is taking care of that issue. At times he finds that I have more red blood cells than humanly possible; he resorts to phlebotomizing me and provide me with blood with iron infusion. I had gone through this several times. Dr. Mario Curti is a great physician who cares for his patients and fortunately, because he is pure Italian, he and I struck a strong friendship.
Another burden upon my beautiful courageous wife she confronts. She takes me often to Dr. Mario Curti and waits for my treatments. What else can one expect from the divine comedy of life? Are there more defies on the way? Will the game of chess continue? It appears it shall.
Divine comedy does not stop at plaguing us with medical complications; no, it goes beyond that and tortures our inner souls in unimaginable ways. About two years prior, I lost one of my best friend, the honorable Barrister Abbas Alaei who, and his wife, Honorable Barrister Shahnaz Alaei, and two beautiful daughters, Bahareh and Galareh have been my family for forty years; he had decided to go back to beyond his birth without informing anyone. It was so sudden that everyone around me and I were left stunt and jumbled. It is until this very moment, I am unable to reason with Abbas’ departure. Was that part of life’s divine comedy? I am not sure; however, I am reminded by the great Mark Twain’s writing in Letters from the Earth:
“Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. Life was a fever-dream made up of joys embittered by sorrows, pleasure poisoned by pain; a dream that was a nightmare-confusion of spasmodic and fleeting delights, ecstasies, exultations, happiness, interspersed with long-drawn miseries, grief, perils, horrors, disappointments, defeats, humiliations, and despairs — the heaviest curse devisable by divine ingenuity; but death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them restand forgetfulness; death was man’s best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.”
So, I look into nature grey big eye once again and in tears and defiance and repeat, “I shall not be defeated.”
As we get closer to present day, the game of chess with the divine comedy is still going. There is no winner; there is no loser. I believe, however, that I am the winner so far. How can a human defy nature to the extent I have? I am still eternal, enduring and perpetual. Being a victim of Systemic Lupus, my body has the tendency to grow spur bones in the weirdest places. I had one on my left thumb and it was excruciating. After a visit to my dear friend and physician Dr. George Macer, and an x-ray, it was decided that a surgery is inevitable. The surgery was scheduled and my kind wife, Marisela, prepared me for all I needed and the surgery was done at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. All went well, then. However, life’s divine comedy would refuse to make matters easy on my doctors or on me. Dr. George Macer placed two titanium plates and screws in my thumb after cutting the spur bone and placed my hand in a cast. A month later, the main cast was taken off and a new cast was placed in its place. Every month poor Marisela would take me to Dr. Macer; he finds that the screws did not fuse. This continued for about eight month, each month I get a new cast. Then, we decided to operate again and put larger titanium plates and larger screws. Seven month later, the same situation remained. Finally, Dr. George Macer, my wife and I, after consultation with Dr. Nancy Godfrey, and Dr. David Shen, I underwent a third surgery; Dr. Macer cut bones from my arm and placed it around the Titanium plates in the hope that my natural bones will help the fusion. As of now, I am wearing my second cast.
Through all this, my chemotherapy had to be put on hold. This, of course, has had severe consequences on the way I felt; Lupus has been taking its toll on my body and I began to feel invalid and almost lost the battle with life’s divine comedy; I did not.
Evidently, because I did not give in to nature, it punished me with another loss. My best friend whom I had known for years, the Honorable George Simon, had called it a quit and left us devastated and unable to comprehend how such a young, vibrant, and healthy young man – much younger than I am-became a victim of Life’s comedy and dies of lung cancer within weeks. My tears were unstoppable; my grief was deep; and my astonishment was unprecedented. To George, I wrote:
George Mio Caruso
George, Mio Fratello, Mon frère
You and I had been here
Where the sun shined
Where the wind howled
On Second Street
On the old terrace
In front of the gulf of life
We shared a tear
We shared a smile
We shared a cry
We shared laughter
Then we cleared our voices
And continued our song
I love you so very much -Very, very much, you know
It is a chain by now
That heats the blood inside my veins, you know
We saw the lights out on the sea
And we thought of the nights we shared
They were only a white wake of stern
And we left the pain
But when you saw the moon
Emerging from the cloud
Death seemed sweeter to you
You looked at my daughter’s eyes
Her eyes were deep as the sea
Then suddenly a tear fell
And you knew you were drowning
I love you so much, you know
So very, very much, you know
It had been the power of lyrics
Where every life drama was a hoax
And to you all became small
Even the nights
You turned and saw your life
Like the wake of a stern
I love you so much George, you know
Very, very much, you know.
That heats the blood inside my veins, you know
It is up until now that I am, though brave and courageous, devastated and unable to reason with the losses I have had. My health situation takes second position to that. I often sit on my balcony watching the vast ocean and converse with my departed friends; we laugh and we cry; we share ideas and we argue; we agree and we disagree; and I write it all in my daily diary.
In my research for this work, I was taken by analysis of what comedy is. I quote from about the Divine Comedy,
“In classic terminology, a comedy is a work that begins in misery or deep confusion and ends in elation or happiness. In Shakespearean comedy, the play often begins in confusion — couples breaking up or separating, but ends with everyone finding the right partner. In other words, a comedy is not something one would laugh about, but an ascension from a low state of confusion to one where all people are combined for the greatest happiness.”
And that is exactly my idea and purpose; comedy here is not laughter of kind; it is more of a state of misperception, bewilderment and mystification. And that has been my relationship with life and with the world at large; I have a sense of uncertainty and disorder.
Nothing is or can be more devastating, destructive, or shattering for a man than losing his sexuality. In Chapter three, I wrote about Dr. Robert Pugach role in making me impotent; however, Dr. Robert Kawatchi of the City of Hope was able to miraculously resolve that issue by prescribing me very costly Compound Pharmacy Solution made at the University of San Diego called Tri-Mix-PGE 1/Phetolamine/Papaverine injections. My beautiful Marisela would have to inject me, that if I have the desire, which is rarely, for my penis to erect. Sadly, my body became resistant to the medication and we went from 5mg to 24mg and the result was not all that satisfactory.
This situation of divine comedy had and has been quite damaging and to my spirit, not only for me, but also for my beautiful seventeen-year-younger wife, Marisela. Life’s divine comedy does not stop here, no, not long ago I suffered serious problem with enlargement of my prostate that my Urologist, Dr. Hightower decided to operate and shave my prostate. Another surgery I had to undergo at Long Beach Hospital; the surgery left me in pain, bleeding, and with urinary symptoms I had never experienced before. And now, my dear reader, I am completely impotent and my penis shall never erect again. This would not be much of a problem except that I still have sexual desires and I have a young wife to whom I need to attend. What might be more of deep confusion and divine comedy? To nature, however, I am and will be the last man standing.
What perturb me about this affair are my friends and colleagues expressions of sympathy. They all know about my old sexual escapades and feel how troubling my impotence must be for me, so they express their thoughts of pity, and I abhor that. I now, however, live my sexual life, vicariously, which is defined as “in a way that is experienced in the imagination through the actions of another person.”
I am still experiencing the effect of that last prostate surgery in terms of urgency, frequency and continuous feeling of a urinary tract infection. It will take about eight weeks to heal. This is not all that nature presented me with indignantly, in fact, not. I also had an urgent surgery of a different kind.
Only weeks ago, Dr. Trivedi discovered through an MRI that my gall bladder was almost destroyed and full of stones; it was practically blocked. He sent me to surgery at once and it was my great doctor Stevens Grant, the best surgeon in America in his specialty. He operated on me and it was as though nothing had happened though my life had been in extreme danger. Another blow to life’s divine comedy; it seems that it works so against me, but I do not take it personal – it is for all of us - nature is about destruction, “Many call this process 'the destruction of nature.' But, it's not really destruction; it's change. Nature cannot be destroyed.” Author Noah Harari wrote. So, nature is about change, constant change, and we have to be flexible enough to bend. I try.
On a different note, here I am reminded by Joseph B. Wirthlin’ thought about taking life for granted; he once told us that the more often we see the things around us - even the beautiful and wonderful things - the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, and the clouds - even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less. The reason I remember this is my loss of inability to walk more than ten minutes before I either fall down or sit down. It was not long ago when I would stroll along the beach admiring the Pacific Ocean vastness, the birds of all species running and flying, the dogs passing and playing on the sand, children building sand castles and kites flying above as though asking us to join them. Those had been good days that cannot be repeated for now. It is a lesson, nevertheless, that makes me more aware of my existence and the existence of all that surrounds me.
Whether this is a divine comedy plan, I tend to live in the past; perhaps it is because the present is challenging, and the future is oblique. I do realize the longer I live in the past, the less I enjoy the present and the farther the future becomes. I cannot help it, however.
Another matter of concern is my sense of coordination; I can no longer button my shirts, tie my shoelaces, or pick up something from the floor. It appears as though each part of my body has a mind of its own and does its own thing regardless of any orders from my brain. So, my brain is no longer the commander in chief.
At the risk of repeating myself, I, Alexandre Akpors, accentuate how life’s divine comedy has dealt me several blows none of which broke me down. That is not to say I am a superman, not at all, I am as fragile and vulnerable as any human; I, perhaps, just have the skills of confronting life’s trials and misfortunes. There are many ordeals we humans have to manage on daily basis; I am not any different.
We do not know much about anything. We are imprisoned in a body that has its limitations and we cannot even be sure about anything we encounter; it is all a mere perception and we can never be certain whether our perception is real or false. That is why I brought up the idea of fiction and non-fiction. Is all what happens to me a mere perception? Who is to decide? Yes, we have the medical science with its advanced machinery and tests that gives us information, but still, we have to analyze such information.
My liver’ and my pancreas’ current conditions are very good example. Blood tests, MRIs, and Ultra Sound show hitches; what are they and how to handle them is a different matter all together. As I am writing this, I could be suffering from liver and pancreatic cancer, or at least cirrhosis of the liver, but neither my physicians nor I know for certain and the investigation continues. In essence, it would be safe to say we know nothing – and that is divine comedy, indeed.
This brings to memory a great novel by Christopher Isherwood. The novel is set in the 1960s.
“George is a gay middle-aged English professor, adjusting to solitude after the tragic death of his young partner. He is determined to persist in the routines of his former life. A Single Man follows him over the course of an ordinary twenty-four hours. Behind his British reserve, tides of grief, rage, and loneliness surge―but what is revealed is a man who loves being alive despite all the everyday injustices.
When Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man first appeared, it shocked many with its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in maturity.” (Amazon)
I, too, love being alive despite its persistent challenges and deprivation of what the above author focuses on “being free,” and confronting fear as the one main cause of destruction. So, perhaps life’s divine comedy constantly attempts to impose fear upon us, and once we give in, we are doomed.
As we are coming to the end of the past twenty-five years, and in trying to make sense of the senseless, I shall, momentarily, share what my brilliant physicians believe the main cause of all these atrocious ailments, which I am facing. Before I do that, I like to borrow a significantly touching and meaningful quote from “A Single Man.” The reason for using this quote is that I experience the same on daily basis.
“The creature we are watching will struggle on and on until it drops. Not because it is heroic. It can imagine no alternative.
Staring and staring into the mirror, it sees many faces within its face, the face of the child, the boy, the young man, the not-so-young man, all present still, preserved like fossils on superimposed layers, and, like fossils, dead. Their message to this live dying creature is: look at us- we have died- what is there to be afraid of?”
Indeed, what is there to be afraid of? We have already died and a second later, we are different people all together in the world of the unknown. Who knows what is in store for you or for me?
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) and the City of Hope have determined that the most likely culprit for my cancer was the DDT to which I was frequently exposed while a child growing up in Egypt in the late fifties and early sixties. My neurologist, Dr. David Rosenberg and other esteemed physicians have determined that my neurological misfortune and my Systemic Lupus could have been a result of my childhood two deadly diseases: Meningitis, a deadly disease, which is severe inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. A bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling. And Scarlet Fever, which is a bacterial illness that develops in some children, who have strep throat. Scarlet fever is most common in children five to fifteen years of age. Although scarlet fever was is not a serious disease now, in my time as a child in Egypt it was considered a serious childhood illness.
All my cousins, who had been about my age, and who suffered these two deadly illnesses, had died. Only I survived for some miraculous reason, but only to come later to haunt me at my old age.
So, life’s divine comedy has been there from the start; it is not a new phenomenon; it is life itself. Surely it is not only I who is challenging this comedy; I am certain all of us do in one form or another. It is just somewhat astounding, dumbfounding, and overwhelming in my case.
Divine comedy is neither divine, which means like god or a god, nor it is comedy for it is not meant to bring about laughter. It is divine because it is astounding, beyond belief, dumbfounding, and flabbergasting. In a way, it is hard to believe that it is not fiction, yet it is not. And it is comedy because it is tragic, heartrending, and wretched, but it does not end in the ultimate finale, which in Greek and Roman mythology is death.
Divine comedy is a mere mirror of life, as each of us perceives it. It is also how we react to our perception which we always tend to believe is true, while in fact a perception is only that – discernment.
I, Alexandre Akpors, placed my life before you and called it fiction, for I am not even sure whether it is real. How can one tell whether a life is real? How can we be sure we are really here? Am I writing this, or do I think I am? All these questions make me confront life’s divine comedy and refuse its relentless endeavor to bring me annihilation and ruin. Yes, it triumphs in affecting my inner self as invalidity can, at times, be deeply exasperating; I am unable to button my shirts, tie my shoelaces, coordinate my fingers to pick an object, and to walk for more than eight to ten minutes before I tumble. These can be troubling at times; other times I find them comical and I laugh out loud or smile. My most commonly used phrase “Well! I am sixty-years-old.” At that point ‘comedy’ becomes real ‘comedy’ – yes, I find all that comical. I find it comical that I walk around with a catheter hanging from my penis; I find it comical that at times I have to wear an adult diaper; I find it comical that I cannot stand on my feet for more than ten or fifteen minutes; and I find it comical that I have to take my false teeth to put in a glass at night; I find it comical that I bleed as though I were on my period; and I find it funny that I can hardly see. Yet, I shall be the last man standing.
I hope I have not been misconstrued; I am not a superman, but a simple ordinary person like all humans; it is, again, a matter of perception. You should have seen me when my beautiful angelic mother, Mary Bebawi, died, in October 2015; I took a fetus position weeping and grieving for hours and nothing could sooth my soul. I wish all people’s mothers were like mine; I wish many Republicans had a mother like mine, they would not be so cruel, indecent and evil; they would have been tamed humans had their mother been like mine.
We are all caged and confined in tenuous bodies that decay with time –I am not different. After forty-five serious surgeries and more than one hundred and eighty (180) medical procedures, any body would become frail and feeble; mine is not different. I am frail and feeble.
We are, also altered by all the external complications that surround us and impose themselves upon us. A great example of that is our politics. Here in these United States of ours, we have suddenly lost all our fundamental values and became the only modern Fascist State in the world, now that we are under a Republican gangster from Vegas, I repudiate to mention his name. Losing our freedom, our democracy, and our character is also a blow from life’s divine comedy; in this case the term ‘comedy’ reflects ‘tragedy.’ Yes, we now live a tragedy and will for a long time to come. With our current government policies, my demise and departure to the time before my birth is imminent and could be hustled before its natural time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The middle of five children, Sabri George Bebawi was born in 1956 in the town of Fayoum, Egypt, where he attended law school at Cairo University.
His refusal to carry arms and follow Arab orders to kill Jews forced him te escape from Egypt.
He then left for the United Kingdom. He was invited by Oxford University, where he spent a semester, and he never returned to Egypt. A few years later, after living and working in England, Italy, France, and Cyprus, he took refuge in the United States.
He became ran instructor of English as a Second Language; later, a professor of English, Journalism and Educational Technology. He studied for more graduate work at UCLA and obtained a PhD degree in Education and Distance Learning from Capella University.
Although English is his third language, he has published many works on eclectic topics. This is his third novel; his first has been surprisingly successful; God on Trial has won many awards including the British Literary Award in 2015. That English is a foreign language to him, the task of writing the perfect novel has always been preoccupying and challenging.
As a child, Sabri Bebawi struggled to make sense of the world. He grew up terrified of god and the world. As he grew older, and studied law, as well as all the holy books, he developed a more pragmatic and sensible stance; the word “god” became just that –a word. And the world became just a mirage. Bebawi waits for that certain to come day when all religions, conformity, capitalism, republicanism, and inhumanity are eradicated. He wishes America well, though it appears to him that is a little too late; America has been taken by evil sources and no one knows how.
Bebawi is currently a Fellow of the Salzburg Institute on Globalization, Austria. He lectures on the negative effects of Globalization on poor and abused nations.