[Novel] The Road to Shamawes ⑫

[17]
The phone in the small bedroom where Nargis was a few minutes earlier rang and Saadiya hurried to answer. She shut the door to prevent noise. She lifted the receiver :
“Alnuzha Hospital?”
“Yes, sir.”
“I’m the brother of patient Marwa Wagih Essamuldin. May I talk to her?”

Saadiya was quick – witted as usual. Life with Viola makes her see many strange things :
“The patient is unconscious, sir.”
“Well. I want to feel reassured about her. Is there anyone with her?”

Saadiya felt the caller has suspicions about Nargis. Only Viola,the General and Nargis knew about Marwa’s case. They were all inside.

“One moment, please. What’s your name, sir?”

Saadiya put the receiver beside the telephone and told Viola that a man named Hussein was asking about his sister Marwa. Viola, worried, held the receiver :
“who are you? Marwa has no brother named Hussein…”
“I’m Emad Kamal, Nargis’s brother. She gave me this number as Alnuzha Hospital’s, and now I’m sure this is not the hospital. Can I talk to her?”

Viola didn’t know what to say. The young man’s words and freshness surprised her. She could continue that false scene, but she felt she had to stop for fear of further deterioration of the situation.

“Just seconds, Mr Emad.”

Viola hurried to where Wagih was sitting with Nargis. He was about to win her heart and she was almost ready to accept anything except having sex with a man her father’s age.

“Nargis. Your brother Emad is on the telephone. He has discovered that this is isn’t the hospital number. I suggest that you ask him to come and sit with us quietly. I want him to know you aren’t doing something bad.”

Viola looked at the General as she said the last sentence.

Nargis stood up as if stupefied. What should she say to him? Will he be convinced? Will he agree to come? How will the affair she involved herself in come to an end?

“Emad. Nargis speaking. Do you know Viola’s villa? It’s beyond the fields. The third on the left. I’ll wait for you. I’ll explain the whole matter to you. I must see you now. Don’t judge me impetuously, please!”

[18]
Nargis didn’t hear him answer at the other end. He put down the receiver sharply. He looked at his uncle Nabil whose looks were a mixture of disappointment and pain. He only now realized that he was the subject of a recurrent lie. Emad went away before him because he didn’t want to speak in pubic to prevent the spread of the story to the village.

When Hisham went out angrily he wanted someone to listen to him. He believed his father was in late adolescence. Instead of finding a bride for his son, he wants to get married again and at this age. He wonders what to say to his colleagues who will talk about that in his presence or absence. Who will be the woman to occupy the villa that he was planning to possess? Which family will accept his father at this age? Which girl will agree to marry him only for the sake of the villa?” He only attends Viola’s soirées, and his women guests don’t like to marry a retired man. Many questions.

He picked up the mobile on the chair on the front seat and rang his friends and colleagues one after the other. Most of them refused to answer. They must be on duty. He also does the same thing. At last the phone rang at the other end. Saeed apologized because he was celebrating his son’s birthday. The phone rang once again at the other end. No answer. Why didn’t Omar answer? Is he unwilling or unable?

He threw the mobile again, pressed the accelerator further until he slowed down when his mobile finally rang:
“Yes, Omar. I rang you and you didn’t answer. You were perhaps busy. I have severe headache. I’d like to talk to you. I’ll see you after half an hour at the entrance to Maadi. The same café.
“Take it easy, Hisham. My uncle got married when he was sixty. No problem. You’re independent now, and, as you said, your father is generous to you.

Those were Omar Abdellatif’s first words when Hisham finished his. Omar added :
“You know that you and I are different from the older generation. Your father and mine got married when they were our age. Even the nature of their work was very kind. There was no terrorism. Today’s criminals have many ways which prevent us from extracting any confessions from them by hook or by crook. We have to burn him, hit him with chains, threaten him with rope in front of his daughters, do anything painful, and he may die from it without confession.”
“What’s to do then? To let my father come with a wife and children?!”
“You don’t want to udnersand, Hisham. That’s his own life. Live yours.”

Hisham waited for a while before he told his friend the real reason why he was upset:
“To be honest, I like the girl. I tried to talk to her but she shunned and embarrassed me. Her father is our neighbour. He’s a university professor. She was raised abroad. She’s very naïve.

Omar laughed out loud and called Terter, the waiter to change the hookah coal :
“You’re strange, Hisham. This is a perfect girl. Try again and again. If she refuses you for good, we can intimidate her. Or, approach her father immediately.
“OK, but what if her father refuses as well?”
“In this case we intimidate him and his daughter.

Omar laughed insolently giving the hookah to Hisham whose looks were covered by the smoke.

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