[Novel] The Road to Shamawes ⑦

On the way back home Khodeir drives slowly along Cairo’s busy streets with elevated bumps, repeating his familiar sentence:
“Cairo his become just a big bump with a million children who play with our cars.

As he drives fast along the Nile, Donia asks herself:
“What attracts me to Emad? I didn’t have time to compare him with others. I don’t call this love. I’m unable to tell my father about my encounters with him. He avoids looking at me when he comes to the villa. Should I beware of him as my father told me to beware of all men?!”

The screech of brakes of a car that all but hit hers aroused her, and Khodeir shouted:
“Good gracious!. Mad people. The street ahead is as clear as the sun. Young men who deserve to be burned alive.”

When the angry car approached theirs and in spite of its lightning speed, Donia recognized its driver: Hisham, son of General Wagih Essameddin, who lives in the villa next door. Donia screamed:
“Park here, Uncle Khodeir!”

Khodeir slowed down until the car stopped. Donia looked at the direction of tha car which disappeared in the darkness. Khodeir turned his head and looked at Donia sitting in the back seat saying:
“By God the Doctor was right. Mad, reckless young men. He narrowly hit me.”

Confused, Donia asked:
“Did you see the driver’s face, Uncle Khodeir?”

Khodeir murmured:
“I’m a liar if I say I saw him. I was concentrating on driving, particularly as we were caught between hitting the pavement and hitting that mad man.”
“Yes, really mad.”

Donia said in a low voice. She didn’t believe her eyes. She was almost sure he was Hisham. He intercepted her one morning, while he was holding one of his dogs in front of the villa. She remembered that he wanted he make friends with her. That’s what he said. She responded coolly. The tree of fear which her father planted in her heart woke up to protect her from strangers.

She went back to the villa until the driver emerged. She said one day he watched her in a car in front of the college. He was wearing sunglasses. But she saw him closely now. He was smiling crookedly.

Khodeir drove back as if he were on the way back to Cairo. He slowed sown and stopped at a juice shop and said to Donia:
“How about getting off to buy something to drink. It was quite a fright. You love cherry juice, don’t you? One minute it will be in your hands.

Khodeir entered the shop in order not to be seen by Donia. He took his mobile out of his pocket:
“Dr Karim, don’t worry, please! Donia is all right. Hisham Bey, son of your neighbour Gen. Essam wanted us to hit the pavement. But we are safe. Donia is in the car, and I’m ringing you asking you to wait for us in front of the villa. When that mad man’s car arrives give me a ring. No, no. Don’t worry!! I’ll drive dead slow.

Khodeir came back and sat in the driver’s seat after giving Donia a glass of cherry juice and began sipping his. As soon as he finished he drove towards the Orchard villa.

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