Ramadan Diaries, Day Twenty

Bowl, ca. 1550-1295 B.C. Upper Egypt, Temple of Hatshepsut. The Met.

9:19 a.m.
Headache! 
Specifically a caffeine-withdrawal leftover migraine from vacation, where I drank subpar hotel coffee for a week.

I don’t bounce back as quickly from this one as the day-one headache that never came. A humble reminder that everything changes, and things can always get worse. 

12:34 p.m.
N. sends me a Guardian article about veganism and Islam and it makes me happy to see this discussed in an open forum, especially during a food-conscious month.

2:27 p.m.
Thirst. Heat. A dry, tightened throat like I’ve never experienced. It feels like every cell in my body is quenched and gasping for a single drop of water. 

From Arabic ramaḍān, from ramaḍa ‘be hot’. The lunar reckoning of the Muslim calendar brings the fast eleven days earlier each year, eventually causing Ramadan to occur in any season; originally it was supposed to be in one of the hot months.

The sun near Prospect Park, where I take an impromptu stroll after a meeting, beats down hard. The pre-storm humidity today is stifling. There are street vendors selling water for $1 a bottle. My throat constricts more tautly each time I spot one. I keep walking.

7:29 p.m.
Hours later, I feel fine. The body recuperates mysteriously. 

The other day I read about ghrelin, the ‘hunger hormone,’ and how cravings or pangs for food subside after about an hour of waiting. It seems almost the same way with thirst, though the dehydration makes me fatigued in an entirely different way. Hunger can feel like an unnaturally prolonged period of waiting, while thirst feels like giving up.

9:49 p.m.
At a dinner party in a beautiful home in Bed-Stuy. The conversations are dynamic and easy, even with people I’ve never met, and I essentially forget to break my fast. I brought green tea and mint iced tea from home and help myself to ice cubes from the hosts’ fridge. The maqlouba isn’t ready yet and though my stomach is growling, I feed on dialogue instead.

I talk at length to a friend’s wife about the Muslim ban, and why it feels like everything is so normalized. There are not even pockets of open resistance we can point to, outside specifically legal struggles or juridical circles. “It’s different on the radio,” she says. “They’re still indignant on the radio.”