Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница

Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница

Kamal found himself asking, "What did they say then?"

"Something I don't remember what diverted us from this topic."

The dormant disease threatened to flare up again. Anyone who has had tuberculosis must beware of catching a cold. The phrase "They asked about you" resembled a children's song, for its meaning was as simple as its impact on the soul was profound. Circumstances may arise for a soul to relive in all its fury a former emotional state that then dies away again. Thus, for a fleeting moment Kamal felt he was that lover from the past, resonating with Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница love's joyous and mournful melodies. But he was not in serious jeopardy, for he was like a sleeping man who is distressed by a dream and yet senses with relief that what he sees is not real. All the same, he wished at that moment for a heavenly dispensation allowing him to meet her, if only for a few minutes, so she could confess that she had reciprocated his affection for a day or even pait of one and that what had kept them apart had been the difference in their ages or something similar. If this miracle ever Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница came to pass, it would repay him for all his pains, past and present, and he would consider himself a happy person, aware that his life had not been in vain. But wishful thinking like this was as false an awakening as that of death. He should content himself with forgetfulness. That would be a victory, even if tinged with defeat. He should let his consolation be the fact that he was not the only person to suffer failure in life.

He asked, "When are they leaving for Iran?"

"They were to leave yesterday, or at least that Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница's what she said during her visit."

"How did she take her family's disaster?"

"I naturally avoided the subject, and she did not refer to it."

Pointing straight ahead, Riyad Qaldas exclaimed, "Look!" Glancing toward the left-hand side of the balcony, they observed a strange-looking woman in her seventh decade. Skinny and barefoot, she was attired in an ankle-length shirt like a man's and wore a skullcap from which no wisp of hair protruded. Her scalp was either bald or diseased, and her face was so coated with makeup that it appeared Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница ridiculous and disgusting. Her front teeth were missing, and her eyes radiated beaming messages of affectionate ingratiation in all directions.

Riyad asked with interest, "A beggar?"

Isma'il replied, "A crazy woman, more likely."

She stood looking at the empty chairs on the left. Then choosing one, she sat down. When she noticed that they were looking at her, she smiled broadly and said, "Good evening, men."

Riyad responded warmly to her greeting, "Good evening, my good woman."

She emitted a laugh that, as Isma'il said, reminded him of the Ezbekiya entertainment district in its days of glory. Then she Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница answered, "Good woman'! Yes, I am that, if you mean 'good' as in 'good times.'"

The three men laughed. Encouraged by this reaction, she said enticingly, "Treat me to tea and a pipe, and God will make it up to you."

Riyad clapped his hands together energetically to place her order. Leaning toward Kamal's ear, he whispered, "This is the way some stories begin."

The old woman laughed delightedly and said, "What old-fashioned generosity! Are you members of the wartime rich, my sons?"

Laughing, Kamal replied, "We're members of the wartime poor, in other Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница words civil servants, my good woman."

Riyad asked her, "What is your distinguished name?"

Raising her head with ludicrous pride, she responded, "The celebrated Sultana Zubayda, in person."

"The Sultana?"

"Yes," she continued jovially. "But my subjects have all died."

"May God have mercy on them."

"God have mercy on the living. It's enough for the dead that they're in the presence of God. Tell me who you are."

A smiling waiter brought her a water pipe and tea. Then, approaching the three friends, he asked, "Do you know her?"

"Who is she?"

"The entertainer Zubayda, the most Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница famous vocalist of her time, but age and cocaine have reduced her to the state you see today."



It see tried to Kamal that he had heard the name before. The interest of Riyad Qaldas intensified, and he urged his friends to introduce themselves as she had requested, in order to encourage her to talk.

Isma'il presented himself: "Isma'il Latif."

Gigghng and sipping her tea before it could grow cold, she remarked, "Long live names! Even when a charming one like this doesn't lit the person They laughed, and Isma'il cursed her in a low voice she Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница could not hear. But Riyad said, "Riyad Qaldas."

"An infidel? I had one of you for a lover. He was a merchant in the Muski, and his name was Yusuf Ghattas. He was a world-beater. I used to crucify him on the bed till dawn."

She laughed along with them, her pleasure obvious from her face. Then she turned her eyes to Kamal, who said, "Kamal Ahmad Abd al-Jawad."

She w as bringing the glass of tea to her lips. Her hand stopped in midair as she experienced a fleeting moment of lucidity. Staring Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница at his face, she asked, "What did you say?"

Riyacl Qaldas answered for him, "Kamal Ahmad Abd al-Jawad."

She took a drag on the water pipe and said as if to herself, "Ahmad Abd al-Jawad! But there are lots of people with the same name, as many as there once were piasters". Then she asked Kamal, "Is your father a merchant in al-Nahhasin?"

Kamal was astonished and replied, "Yes."

She stood up and walked toward them. Coming to a stop in front of him, she roared with a laughter that seemed to exceed by far the powers Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница of her emaciated skeleton. Then she exclaimed, "You're Abd al-Jawad's son! O son of my precious companion! But you don't resemble him! This really is his nose, but he was as handsome as the full moon shining by night. Just mention the Sultana Zubayda to him, and he'll tell you more than enough about me."

Riyad and Isma'il burst into laughter. Kamal smiled as he tried to conquer his disquiet. Only then did he remember that long ago Yasin had told him the story - in fact the many stories - about his father and Zubayda Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница the entertainer.

She asked Kamal, "How is al-Sayyid Ahmad? It's been ages since I moved out of your neighborhood, which spurned me. Now I'm one of the people of Imam al-Shafi'i. But I get homesick for al-Husayn and visit on rare occasions. I was ill for so long that the neighbors got disgusted with me. If they had not been afraid of censure, they would have thrown me into the grave alive. How is my master?"

Kamal replied rather despondently, "He passed away four months ago."

She frowned a little and said, "To Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница God's mercy… what a pity! He was a man unlike any other."

She returned to her seat and suddenly laughed loudly. Shortly thereafter the proprietor of the coffeehouse appeared at the entry to the balcony and warned her: "That's enough laughter! 'When we did not scold him the first time, he brought in his jenny.' The gentlemen are to be praised for their generosity to you, but if you're rowdy again, I'll show you the door."

She kept quiet until he left and then smiled at the men. "Are you like your father or not?" she Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница asked Kamal as she made a lewd gesture with her hand.

The friends laughed, and Isma'il said, "He's not even married yet!"

In a bantering tone of disbelief, she said, "It's clear that you're trying to make a sucker out of me."

They laughed. Riyad rose and went to sit beside her. He remarked, "We're honored by your company, Sultana. But I want to hear about the days of your reign."

TWENTY MINUTES before the lecture was to begin, Ewart Hall at the American University was almost full. According to Riyad Qaldas, Mr. Roger Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница was a noted professor and especially memorable when discussing Shakespeare. There had been a suggestion that the lecture would contain political allusions, but that was hardly worth considering when the speaker was Mr. Roger and the topic William Shakespeare. Even so, Riyad was glum and despondent. Had he not invited Kamal, he would have stayed away. His distress was entirely natural for a man as preoccupied by politics as he was. With obvious passion, he whispered to Kamal, "Makram Ubayd has been expelled from the Wafd! Why are all these outrageous things happening?"

Kamal, who also still felt stunned Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница by the news, shook hishead dejectedly without any comment.

"It's a national catastrophe, Kamal. Things should not have deteriorated this far."

"Yes, but who was responsible?"

"Al-Nahhas! Makram Ubayd may be high-strung, but the corruption that has infiltrated the government is a fact that should not be hushed up."

Smiling, Kamal replied, "Let's not talk about corruption in government. Makram's revolt was less about corruption than about his loss of influence."

With a trace of resignation, Riyad asked, "Would a committed nationalist like Makram abandon the struggle on account of a transitory emotion?"

Kamal Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница could not restrain his laughter as he replied, "You've abandoned your struggle for the sake of a transitory emotion."

Without smiling, Riyad insisted, "Answer me!"

"Makram has an emotional personality like a poet's or a singer's. If he can't be everything, he'd rather be nothing at all. He discovered that his authority was shrinking and rebelled by openly criticizir g instances of favoritism and by making an issue of it in the cabinet. So he precluded any chance for reconciliation and cooperation. It's regrettable."

"And what's the result?"

"No doubt the Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница palace blesses this new split in the Wafd Party and will embrace Makram at an appropriate time, just as it has embraced other rebels in the past. From now on, we will see Makram playing a new role with the minority parties and palace agents. Otherwise, he will be out of the picture. They may hate him as much as they do al-Nahhas, or worse, and there are some who hate the Wafd because of Makram. But they will embrace him in order to destroy the Wafd. What happens then is anybody's guess."

Frowning, Riyad Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница said, "A hideous picture! Both men were at fault, al-Nahhas and Makram. My heart senses that no good will come of this". Then in a lower voice he continued: "The Copts will have no one to turn to. Or they will seek protection from their archenemy, the king, and his defense of them will not last long. If the Wafd is now treating us as unfairly as the other parties have, what is to become of us?"

Pretending not to understand, Kamal inquired, "Why do you exaggerate the importance of this incident? Makram is not all the Coptic Christians Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница, and the Copts aren't Makram. He's a political figure who has lost power, but the nationalist principles of the Wafd Party will never be abandoned."

Riyad shook hishead sadly and answered sarcastically, "The papers may assert this, but what I'm saying is the truth. The Copts feel that they have all been expelled from the Wafd. They are searching for security, and I fear they will never find it. Politics has recently handed me a new puzzle similar to the one I've had with religion. I have spurned religion with my intellect and yet from ethnic loyalty Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница have felt sympathetic to it with my heart. In exactly the same way, I will spurn the Wafd with my heart and feel sympathetically inclined toward it with my intellect. If I say I'm a Wafdist, I betray my heart. If I say I'm opposed to the Wafd, I cheat my intellect. It's a catastrophe I never dreamed of. Apparently Copts are destined to live forever with split personalities. If all of us were a single individual, he would go mad."

Kamal felt vexed and hurt. It seemed to him that all the different ethnic Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница groups into which humanity was divided were acting out an ironic farce that would have a dreadful ending. In a voice betraying little conviction he said, "The problem ceases to exist if you thitik of Makram as a politician and not as the entire Coptic community."

"Do the Muslims themselves think of him merely as a politician?"

"I do."

Despite Riyad's despair, a smile flickered across his lips as he said, "I'm talking about Muslims. How does this relate to you?"

"Aren't our situations identical, yours and mine?"

"Yes, but with one difference: you don Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница't belong to a minority". Smiling, he continued: "If I had lived when Egypt was first conquered by the Muslims and had been able to foretell the future, I would have urged all Copts to convert to Islam". Then he protested, "You're not listening to me!"

Kamal was not. His eyes were fixed on the entrance to the auditorium. Looking in that direction, Riyad saw a girl in the bloom of youth wearing a simple gray dress, apparently a student. She took a seat at the front, in the section reserved for women.

"Do you know her?"

"I'm Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница not sure."

They had to stop talking, for the speaker had appeared on the stage and hearty applause resounded through the hall. Then the ensuing silence was so profound that a cough would have seemed an outrage. The president of the American University gave an appropriate introduction, and the professor began to speak. Kamal spent most of his time gazing at the girl'shead inquisitively. He had noticed her by accident when she entered, and the sight of her had surprised him, wrenching him away from the train of his thoughts. After propelling him twenty years into Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница the past, she had brought him back, breathless, to the present. At first he had imagined he was seeing Aida, but there was no way this girl could be Ai'da, for she was certainly not much over twenty. He had not had enough time to examine her features, but her overall appearance sufficed: the shape of her face, her figure, her spirit, the expressive look of her eyes…. Yes, he had never seen anyone with eyes like this, except for Aida. Could she be Aida's sister? That was the next person lie thought of: Budur. This time he recalled her Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница name. He immediately remembered how fond she had been of him long ago. But it was highly unlikely - if it truly was Budur - that she would know him. The important fact was that her image had awakened hisheart and restored to it, at least for the time being, the full rich life it had once enjoyed. He felt agitated and, though he listened to the speaker for a few minutes, spent the rest of the time stanng at the girl'shead. Inundated by a wave of memories, he patiently savored all the assorted feelings that collided and wrestled with Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница each other inside his psyche.

"I'll follow her to find out who she really is," he told himself. "There's no particular reason for doing it, but a bored man should be a good walker. I long for anything capable of wiping away the accumulation of rust from my spirit."

With this design in mind, he waited for his opportunity. Was the lecture long or short? He had no idea. When it ended, he confided his plan to Riyad, said goodbye, and set off after the girl, carefully pursuing her graceful step and slim figure. He could Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница not compare the gaits of the two women, for he no longer remembered A'ida's clearly. He thought the girl's build was the same. A'ida's hair had been cut in a boyish bob, but this girl's hair was long and braided. Still, the black color was no doubt identical. Because of the crowd of people from the lecture, he was not able to scrutinize her face at the streetcar stop. She boarded number 15 for al-Ataba and squeezed into the women's section. Climbing aboard after her, he wondered whether she was Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница on her way to al-Abbasiya or if his suppositions were merely confused dreams. A'ida had never ridden a streetcar in her entire life. She had two automobiles at her beck and call. But this poor girl… He felt as disconsolate as he had on first hearing the story of Shaddad Bey's bankruptcy and suicide.

The streetcar emptied out most of its load at al-Ataba. He picked a spot on the pavement near her and observed the long slender neck ofthat former era as she watched for the connecting streetcar. He noticed that her complexion was wheat-colored, verging Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница on white … not the bronze of the vanished image. For the first time since he had begun his pursuit, he felt regretful. It seemed he had followed her to see the other woman. The streetcar for al-Abbasiya pulled up, and she prepared to board it. Finding the women's compartment full, she got into the second-class car. He did not hesitate but followed right behind her. When she sat down, he took the seat beside her. The places on both sides filled up and then the area in the middle was occupied by standing Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница passengers. Although he derived immense satisfaction from his success in obtaining a seat next to hers, he was sorry to see her sit among the teeming masses of the second class, perhaps because of the contrast between the two images the former immortal one and this present one beside him. His shoulder brushed gently against hers whenever the streetcar moved suddenly, especially when it started or jerked to a stop. He gazed at her at every opportunity, examining her as best he could. The coal-black eyes, the eyebrows meeting in the center, the regular and charming nose, the beautiful face Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница___It was just as if he were looking at A'ida. Was that really true? No, there was the contrast between their complexions, and a smidgeon of difference here and there. He could not say whether it was more of this or less ofthat. Even though the discrepancies were slight, they seemed as significant to him as the one degree that separates the temperature of a healthy person from an invalid's. All the same he was in the presence of the closest possible likeness to A'ida. He imagined that he could remember his former sweetheart more clearly than Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница ever by the light of this lovely face. The girl's body was possibly just like A'ida's, about which he had wondered so often. Perhapshe was seeing it now. This one was svelte and slender. The girl's chest was only modestly developed, as was the rest of her body, which bore no relationship to Atiya's soft and full one to which he made love. Had his taste deteriorated over the years? Had his former love been merely a rebellion against his latent instincts? In any case he felt a happy, dreamy love that made Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница hisheart tipsy with inebriating memories. The occasional contact with her shoulder heightened his intoxication and his penetration into the private world of his thoughts. He had never touched A'ida, always considering her beyond his grasp. Yet this young woman walked through the markets and sat demurely among the crowds in the second-class section. He felt very sad. The contrast between the two women, although trifling, appeared critical. It exasperated him, disappointed his hopes, and decreed that his old love would remain a riddle forever.

Calling out, "Tickets and passes," the conductor appeared. The girl opened her handbag Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница and took out her season pass to have it ready for the conductor. Looking stealthily at the pass, Kamal discovered that the girl's name was Budur Abd al-Hamid Shaddad and that she was a student in the Arts Faculty of the University.

"There's no longer any doubt. My heart is beating faster than it should. If only I could filch her pass… to preserve the closest likeness to A'ida. Oh, if only this were possible…. '36-year-old schoolteacher robs Arts Faculty student'? What a temptingly sensational headline for the papers! A failed philosopher close to forty Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница! I wonder how old Budur is. She wasn't more than five in 1926, so she's in the twenty-first year of her happy life. Happy? No mansion, no automobile, no servants, no retinue…. She was at least fourteen when her family's disaster struck. That's old enough to understand the meaning of a catastrophe and to taste the pain. The poor child must have suffered horribly and felt terrified, experiencing the cruel feeling I'm so familiar with. Pain, although visiting us at different times, unites us now, much as our old but forgotten Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница friendship once did."

When the conductor reached her, Kamal heard Budur say, "Here it is," as she handed the man her pass. The voice struck his ears like a beloved but long-forgotten melody, spreading a great sweetness through him and evoking many memories. It brought back to life a heavenly period of his past, and his senses circled for a long time in the divine realm of ecstasy, where dreams of a bygone era were plainly visible.

"This warm, melodious tune so full of the magic of musical delight… let me hear your voice. It's not your voice Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница, my unlucky friend from the past. Fortunately, the mistress of that voice still enjoys a life as luxurious as her old one. The sorrows submerging her family have not reached her. But you have descended to us in the second class. Don't you remember your friend whose neck you would cling to while trading kisses with him? How do you live today, my little one? Will you end up like me, teaching in an elementary school?"

The streetcar passed the former site of the mansion, which had been replaced by an enormous new structure. Kamal had seen Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница it a few times before during visits to al-Abbasiya after his historic break with the area - especially of late when calling at the home of Fuad Jamil al-Hamzawi.

"Al-Abbasiya itself has changed as much as your house, my little one. The mansions and gardens from the time of my love have disappeared to make way for shops, cafes, cinemas, and huge apartment buildings crammed with occupants. Let Ahmad, who is fascinated by observing the class struggle, rejoice, but how can I gloat over the misfortunes of this mansion and its inhabitants when my heart is buried in its Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница rubble? And how can I despise that extraordinary creature, who has never tasted the adversities of life or the crowded living conditions of the people, when the thought of her is a beautiful idea before which my heart falls prostrate?"

The streetcar paused at the stop beyond the Wayliya police station, she got out, and he followed. Standing on the pavement there, he watched her cross the road to Ibn Zaydun Street, which was directly opposite. This narrow street was lined by old houses inhabited by the middle class, and its asphalt surface was covered with dirt, stones Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница, and scattered bits of paper. She entered the third house on the left through a small door adjacent to an ironing establishment. He stood there, gazing at the street and the house in gloomy silence. This was where Madam Saniya, the widow of Shaddad Bey, resided. An apartment like that would not rent for more than three pounds a month. If only Madam Saniya would c ome out on the balcony, he could catch a glimpse of her and measure the changes that had affected her. No doubt they were significant ones. He had not forgotten the precious Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница sight of her leaving the men's parlor of her former home, arm in arm with her husband, as they headed for the waiting car. She had sauntered forth grandly, wearing her fluffy coat and glancing about in a regal and self-assured fashion. "Man will never suffer from a more lethal enemy than time," he reflected. A'ida had stayed in this apartment during her visit to Cairo. Perhaps she had passed part of an evening on this stiabby balcony. She had quite possibly shared a bed with her mother and sister, for they certainly had only one Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница.

"I wish I had learned she washere in time. I wish I had seen her again after our long separation. Now that I am liberated from her tyranny, I need to see her so I can learn the truth about her and thus the truth about myself. But this priceless opportunity has been lost."

KAMAL SAT with students from the English Department, listening to a lecture by the British professor. It was not the first time he had attended the course, and he assumed it would not be the last. He had encountered little difficulty in obtaining permission to Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница audit the course, which met three nights a week. In fact, the professor had welcomed him on learning that Kamal taught English. It was, of course, a bit odd for him to think of auditing this class only at the end of the academic year, but he had explained he was engaged in research that made it imperative for him to attend these lectures, even though he had missed the previous ones. Through Riyad Qaldas, who was a friend of the Arts Faculty secretary, Kamal had learned that Budur was a student in this department. In his dapper suit Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница and gold-rimmed glasses, with a bushy mustache under his large nose and a few gray hairs at the temples of his huge head, Kamal looked different enough to attract attention, especially when he sat in the company of a few young men and women. Most of them seemed to be wondering about him. They gazed at him in a way that made him so uncomfortable he imagined he could hear what they were thinking about him. He knew better than anyone else the type of comments his appearance inspired. He himself was amazed at the unusual step he had Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница taken without any regard for the effort and discomfort it entailed. What really lay behind it and what was its goal? He did not know precisely, but the moment he had seen a ray of light in his gloomy life, he had raced off recklessly in pursuit of it, driven by the overwhelming forces of despair, passion, and hope. He paid no attention to the obstacles looming on this road, which was threatened on one side by prim tradition and on the other by the proclivity of students for sarcasm. After his long immersion in despair and ennui Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница, he now chased eagerly after this adventure, which he did not doubt would prove exceptionally entertaining and invigorating. It was sufficient excuse that he had developed an interest in time, that he had hope in view, and that he now- aspired to be happy. Indeed, his heart, wliich had previously been as good as dead, pounded with life. He felt the pressure of time, since the academic year was fast approaching its prescribed end.

His efforts had not been in vain, for Budur, like the other students, had noticed him. Perhaps she had participated in the whispered exchanges about him. Her Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница eyes had met his more than once. She had possibly read in them the interest and admiration flaming within him. Who could say? As if this was not enough, they rode home on the same streetcars Giza and then al-Abbasiya often sitting near each other. She certainly recognized him, and that was no mean accomplishment for a total stranger to her neighborhood, particularly since he was a schoolteacher who avidly sought to preserve appearances, acting with the propriety and dignity demanded by this profession. As for his goal in all this, he had not troubled himself Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница to identify it. Life pulsed through him after a period of stagnation, and that made him feel enthusiastic. With all the strength his tormented soul could muster, he yearned to become once more that man in whose psyche feelings squirmed, from whose intellect ideas soared, and to whose senses visions were manifest. He longed for this magic to supplant his peevishness, ill health, and perplexity at being confronted by unanswerable riddles. Love was like wine, but its enjoyment was pro founder and the hangover less objectionable.

During the previous week, an event had made a considerable impact on hisheart. Obliged to Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница supervise athletics at al-Silahdar School, he had been unable to reach the Arts Faculty on time. When he had entered the classroom late, tiptoeing in to avoid making 2 sound, their eyes had met for a magical, fleeting moment. She had immediately lowered her eyelids rather shyly. It had not been merely a look exchanged between neutral eyes. She probably did feel a bit embarrassed. Would she have looked down so quickly if his previous glances had been in vain? The young woman had become bashful about his attentions. Perhaps she had perceived that his looks were Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница not innocent ones directed her way by accident. That realization by Kamal awakened a mass of memories within him and conjured up many images. He found himself remembering Aida and dreaming about her, for no apparent reason. A'ida had never lowered her gaze in embarrassment when she was with him. Something else must have reminded him of her… a little gesture, a look, or that enchanting secret entity we call "spirit."

Another memorable incident had occurred two days before. "See how she's brought you back to life," he reflected. In the past, nothing had been of any Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница significance whatsoever, or importance had been ascribed only to sterile puzzles, like the will in Schopenhauer, the absolute in Hegel, or the elan vital in Bergson. Life as a whole was inanimate and unimportant. "See how a glance, a gesture, or a smile can make the earth tremble today?"

This significant encounter had taken place shortly before 5 p m as he was cutting through al-Urman Gardens on his way to the Arts Faculty. He had suddenly found himself being observed by Budur and three other girls, who were waiting on a bench until time for class. His eyes Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 18 страница had met Budur's as memorably as in the classroom. He had wanted to greet the girls when he drew closer to them, but the path had veered away, as if refusing to participate in this improvised romantic plot. When he had gone a short distance beyond them, he had looked back and seen that the other girls were smiling and whispering to Budur, whose head was resting in her hand, as if to hide her face.

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