I don't remember when the rain started or ended, but I was into my navy blue and white polka dot bathing suit and bribing the kids with a trip to the Mina Port, where they have a mall with a trampoline, if they would just come swimming with me in the rain. I don't remember where Matt was…maybe New York or Bangalore, but it was probably a Friday around 8am as I herded my groaning kids into the elevator that brought us down into the bowels of the parking garage. I don't remember the name of the street we took across town towards Al Bateen. I was having trouble remembering the street names - Khalifa Bin Shakhbout St., Al Falah St., Nadja - and anyway, the New Yorker in me preferred street numbers.
I don't remember which way was east or west, and the Corniche was still the West Side Highway to me. I don't remember when it changed. When I no longer compared the palm trees to LA, or Abu Dhabi to Casablanca, or the Ponderosa steak house down the block to Queens, or the light bulb district to Canal Street, or Jones the Grocer to Dean and Deluca.
I don't remember when I just opened up to the heat, the monochromatic landscape, the weekends in Carrefour with the women in their burqas, or the half finished bridge that was built by a Sheikh and abandoned mid-sentence. The half finished bridge that sits beside the rainy beach.
I don't remember the name of the Brit swimming in the ocean with me that morning. We were the only ones there, my kids calling me in from the shore. We got out of the water, the Brit and I, and I can't remember exactly what he said but it was something about how it was the perfect morning for a swim and we smiled at each other in recognition—bonded by rain in the desert and a search for home that we were each struggling to recall.