[Novel] The Road to Shamawes ⑩

When Hisham left his car and entered the villa with his dogs which only left him at the hobby door, his father was getting ready to go out. He didn’t like the noise that accompanied Hisham :
“What’s the matter, Hisham? Are you off today? I can’t stay up late with you tonight. Viola is receiving VIP’s and I have to be with them!”

Hisham came near his father and said :
“Staying up late doesn’t suit you any more, Pasha!”

The son’s tone carried a hidden message :
“No, Hisham I’m not old yet. I tolerate staying up late, evening parties, travel and what’s even more. Keep these hidden messages in the criminals in police stations.”

Hisham sat down thinking about his father’s words :
“Criminals today need bombs, you know, not just messages. They are not as they used to be. You just looked straight into the criminal’s eyes and he confessed to the crime.”

Father muttered as he was tying his tie:
“Tell me. How do you like this colour?”

Hisham turned away his face from his father feeling he ignored his words:
“A very youthful colour. I can’t wear it, otherwise my colleagues will spread rumours about me. But as long as you’re in love…”

Interrupting him his father said :
“You’re right. As long as I’m in love, why should I deny? My eyes will betray me.”

Hisham felt he and his father were in different worlds. He took the car keys that he threw a short while earlier and left the villa in his car which growled, reflecting Hisham’s anger as he drove along the paved road to the outskirts of Cairo.

The General puts on an unusual amount of perfume, and looks many times at himself in the mirror and whispers :
“A grey hair is not a shame, nor is baldness or a potbelly.”

He regains youth sport and vigour. He is still young. He wants to enjoy his life to the full. His wife is dead, God bless her soul. His daughter is married and a mother and she is in Belgium now with her husband, who is a diplomat. His son is a police officer. He has accomplished his mission successfully. He is in good health and has a lot of money. What is missing, then?

The General opens his desk drawer and takes out a blue box which he opens to make sure a diamond ring is there. He doesn’t know how many times he opened and closed the box. He wants to open it for the last time in front of Nargis and puts it in her finger as a present.


After finishing her classes, Nargis rang Viola, then took a taxi to Maadi. Her heart was beating faster than the car. She arranged with Viola that the General rings her uncle Mr Nabil and tells him once more about his daughter’s admission to hospital. The General was very happy to have the chance of seeing Nargis closely, talking to her and approaching her again.

Nargis arrived at the villa and entered it as if she were the home mistress. The guards bowed to her, and Saadiya received her with a trill :
“Welcome, Mistress. Haven’t seen you for ages.”

Nargis hastened to say hallo to Viola :
“Thank you very much, Miss Viola.”
“Thanks are due to the General. By the way, he will come before the guests tonight. He wants to approach you about an important issue. Try to listen to him.”

Nargis was perplexed.
She hurried to the room which Saadiya showed her to change her clothes in, a small but cosy living room. She sat at the mirror. She was astonished. The same face that she carries everywhere looks more beautiful in the mirror. She can now see how her eyes are round and the real colour of her eyes. She can even touch her lips in the mirror to see them more beautiful.

She puts on light cosmetics and is astonished: even her nipples are taut here. They are dangled at home and in Shamawes alleys lest anybody should see them.

She talked to her face in the mirror:
“Not only do the nipples sleep, Nargis, but the heart and the spirit also break and the body cools. What sort of life are you wasting, Nargis? Here there is the smell of birds, but only the smell of droppings there.”

She talked as if in soliloquy:
“Wait for just one year, Nargis. You’ll graduate and be a teacher at a prestigious school and will have your own private life.”

The argument heightened:
“You’ll come from and to the village. They’ll make you marry a man like your uncle Nabil. Even the moments you steal won’t be yours any more. They’ll be something of the past. They may be a source of happiness today, but will be memories in the future and will fill you with sorrow.”

Search in Site