In the forest where none may pass but me, lured by the eyes of a man who claims to be my swain for the season. My unfriendliest feeling of solitude unshaken by the presence of attention slowly quenching the torment caused along years of abandonment. Now I am seated on the back seat in the taxi. For the first time in so long I am not filling the driver’s seat…allowed to enjoy a temporary moment of dependence, only think of myself as riding the chariot like a pharaoh queen roaming the capital, proud to be next to her king who sadly isn’t at my side. I left him standing by the taxi, bidding me farewell before his plane carries him back to his distant lands. Flashes of our short story flood into my memory, astounded by splashes of delight tickling my cheeks. I remember the mosque, the church, the restaurant, the feluka, the Nile, the tower, and the hotel, to where we walked and talked.
I had planned to leave earlier than his recommendation to stay. I swear I could feel his wish to wrap me in ribbons and carry me wherever he may roam. Flattering and promising! Haven’t I always dreaded promises and expectations?! I am astounded by my easily taking the invitation. I assume he’s becoming irresistible or perhaps I am only intentionally demolishing the barriers, to what extent, might not have the slightest clue. I hear my conscience persuading me to live this moment to the fullest and see how it will play out! Led him to the “tea garden” as called; this is not the first time my feet had walked this ground. Looked for a table for two, landed a table for five, we sat close to each other, the nearness lifted my soul high and convinced me I have been in this for years. Felt the eyes of two older couple brushing their way back and forth between us, meticulously watching my navigation between my Arabic and his language.
We had decided to experience smoking “Shisha pipe”, I was his mentor, not because I am a smoker, only because I had experienced it before him. Out of his way, we ordered one shisha pipe. Do you know what it means?! My will to change his request is paralyzed, or have I forgotten that I’d demolished all the barriers?! The Shisha has arrived, the “Shisha boy” placed it between us, I picked up the hose and inhaled first, from this moment on the poor hose remained an aimless traveler between us. What my mind couldn’t overcome was how it feels when I catch my lips touched where his lips had kissed. Wait a minute! I no longer see smoke blown out of his mouth. I think I am ambushed. I could hear him say “In my forest where none may pass but you”, to be honest I meant it even more than him. Yet, what kills me the most is my protestation to smoke after him has retired. How many times have I protested to eat or drink after anyone, even if it was my own mother, and now my persnicketic appetite surrenders to him?! What a hypocrite, I must be! The needles of the clock must have worn wings, they flew faster than eagles. Innocently re-adjusting to my curfew, desperately retrieving my previous solitude condition, and slowly disappearing from the night like Cinderella.