[Novel] The Road to Shamawes ⑨

Only the barks of a dog accompany him on his way in the darkness. Birds are asleep, donkeys silent and people went to bed. This is Emad crossing the dusty track along the small canal on his way home. He keeps thinking about Donia. The distance between the villa and his house, like the night, is mysterious. It’s the same distance between Donia and Emad.

Every day he decides to approach Dr Karim about his feelings towards his daughter. He knows how his professor is attached to his only daughter. But he also knows the long distance between them. Should he wait until they both complete their studies? He is two years her senior, and he works hard to be appointed demonstrator at the college. But all that is not enough. He has no money. He doesn’t expect to earn a handsome income. Art requires years’ patience before it begins to pay off.

“Does this mean that I wait until a stranger or a relative proposes and her father accepts?!”

He said that in a loud voice. He feared he would develop madness. He didn’t tell her he loved her, he only told her about his dreams which she listened to with a vague smile. They only exchanged nice words. They are comfortable with each other. That’s enough for him, but is it enough for her?

When Emad arrived at home his mother was waiting for him with her brother Mr Nabil Zainhum. Emad began to be worried, and he surprised his mother by asking her:
“Nargis isn’t back home yet, is she?”

Nabil answered:
“Well, She’ll spend the night is Alnuzha Hospital with her fellow Marwa, daughter of Gen. Wagih Esseddin of State Security Investigation is unwell once again. I took the phone number from the General and I rang the hospital and came to reassure your mother.”

Emad’s emotional worry cast a shadow over the entire story which he heard for the second time!
“Give me the number, uncle,” he said.

Nabil looked angrily at his nephew and said:
“You don’t believe me, do you?”

“Far from it, uncle. But this is the second time I’ve heard this story of spending the night in the hospital. It’s better that I have the number.”

“OK. Get a piece of paper and write the number!”

When Nabil started dictating the number he began to burn with rage. Except for two or three digits, it’s almost the same number as Dr Karim’s. He thought in uncomfortable silence:
“This isn’t Alnuzha Hospital’s number.”

He took the number and went out saying:
“Excuse me!”

His mother didn’t say a single word, nor did she answer her brother’s question:
“What’s wrong with him?”

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