Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница

The vexation of the bedridden man was visible in his eyes. The only time he ever smiled was when they were with him. He complained, "All day long my only occupation is listening to the radio. What would I do if it had not yet been introduced to Egypt? I enjoy everything that's broadcast, even lectures I can barely understand. All the same we're not so old that we should be suffering like this. Our grandfathers married new wives at this age."

Ahmad Abd al-Jawad's sense of humor got the better of him, and he observed, "That's Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница an idea! What do you think about us taking another wife? Perhaps that would bring back our youth and cure what ails us."

Ali Abd al-Rahim smiled but refrained from laughing for fear he would break into a fit of coughing that would strain hisheart. "I'm with you!" he said. "Select a bride for me. But tell her frankly that the bridegroom can't move and that it's all up to her."

As though suddenly remembering something, al-Far told him, "Ahmad Abd al-Jawad will see a great-grandchild before you do. May Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница our Lord prolong his life."

"Congratulations in advance, son of Abd al-Jawad."

Al-Sayyid Ahmad frowned as he replied, "Na'ima is pregnant, but I have some misgivings. I still remember what was said about her heart when she was born. I've tried without success to forget that for a long time."

"What an ungrateful soul you are! Since when do you put your faith in the prophecies of physicians?"

Laughing, al-Sayyid Ahmad answered, "Since I'm kept awake till dawn whenever I eat anything they've forbidden me."

Ali Abd al-Rahim asked, "What about our Lord Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница's compassion?"

"Praise to God, Lord of the universe". Then he added, "I'm not oblivious to God's mercy, but fear spawns fear. Ali, the fact is that I'm more worried about Aisha than Na'ima. All my anxieties in life converge on Aisha, that miserable darling. When I leave her, she'll be alone in the world."

Ibrahim al-Far commented, "Our Lord is always present. He is the ultimate guardian for everyone."

They were silent for a time. Finally Ali Abd al-Rahim's voice curtailed the silence: "It will be my Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница turn after yours to see a greatgrandchild."

Al-Sayyid Ahmad laughed and said, "May God forgive girls for making parents and grandparents old before their time."

Muhammad Iffat cried out, 'Old man, admit you're old and stop being so obstinate."

"You mustn't raise your voice for fear my heart will hear you and act up. It's like a spoiled child."

Shaking hishead sorrowfully, Ibrahim al-Far said, "What a year we've had…. It's been rough. It hasn't left any of us in good shape - as if ill health had booked an appointment with Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница us."

"In the words of Abd al-Wahhab's song, 'Let's live together and die together.'"

The} all laughed. Ali Abd al-Rahim changed his tone and asked seriously, "Is it right? I mean what al-Nuqrashi did?"

Ahmad Abd al-Jawad frowned as he answered, "I hoped so much that things would return to normal…. I ask the forgiveness of God Almighty."

"A fraternal bond developed through a lifetime of shared struggle went up in smoke."

"Nowadays all good deeds go up in smoke."

Ahmad Abd al-Jawad continued: "Nothing has made me so sad as al Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница-Nuqrashi's departure from the Wafd. He should not have carried the dispute that far."

"What fate do you suppose awaits him?"

"The inevitable one, for where are rebels like al-Basil and al-Shamsi today? This valiant leader has sealed his own fate and taken Ahmad Mahir down with him."

Then Muhammad Iffat said nervously, "Spare us this story. I'm about ready to renounce politics."

Al-Far had an idea and asked with a smile, "If we were forced -God forbid it to take to our beds, like Mr. Ali, how would we meet and converse with each other Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница?"

Muhammad Iffat murmured, "God's will be done - not yours!"

Ahmad Abd al-Jawad laughed and replied, "If the worst happens, then we'll talk to each other by radio, the way Papa Soot talks to the children when he does his show."

They laughed together. Muhammad Iffat took out his watch to consult it. Ali Abd al-Rahim became alarmed and said, "You'll stay with me until the doctor comes, so you can hear what he has to say - may he and his days be cursed."

THE SHOPS in al-Ghuriya were closing. There were few Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница people in the street, and the cold was intense. It was the middle of December, and winter had arrived early. Kamal had no difficulty tempting Riyad Qaldas to visit the district of al-Husayn. Although not a native of the area, the young man loved strolling through it and sitting in its coffeehouses. More than a year and a half had passed since their first meeting at al-Fikr magazine, and not a week had gone by without their seeing each other once or twice. During the school vacation they got together almost every evening at either the magazine, the house Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница on Palace Walk, Riyad's home in Manshiya al-Bakri, the cafes of Imad al-Din Street, or the grand coffeehouse of al-Husayn, to which Kama! had retreated after Ahmad Abduh's historic one had been destroyed and permanently erased from existence.

They were both happy with this friendship, and Kamal had once told himself, "I missed Husayn Shaddad for years. His place remained empty until Riyad Qaldas took it". When he was with Riyad, Kamal's spirit came to life and was filled with an explosion of energy sparked by their intellectual exchange. This Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница was true despite their marked - if complementary differences from each other. They were both conscious of a mutual affection but never referred to it openly. Neither said to the other, "You're my friend" or "I can't imagine life without you," but this was the truth of the matter. The cold weather did not diminish their desire to walk, and they had decided to proceed on foot to their favorite cafe on Imad al-Din Street.

Riyad Qaldas was upset that evening. He said passionately, "The constitutional crisis has concluded with the rout of the people. Al-Nahhas Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница's removal is a defeat for the nation in its historic struggle with the palace."

Kamal answered sorrowfully, "It's clear now that Faruq's as bad as his father."

"Faruq's not the only one responsible. The traditional enemies of the people have engineered this debacle. It's the work of Ali Mahir and Muhammad Mahmud. Lamentably Ahmad Mahir and al-Nuqrashi, these two populist leaders, joined ranks with the enemies of the people. If the nation were cleansed of traitors, the king would not find anyone to help him suppress the rights of the people". After a short silence Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница he continued: "The English aren't playing an active role now, but the people and the king are at loggerheads. Independence isn't everything. There is also the people's sacred prerogative to enjoy their rights and their sovereignty to live as free men, not slaves."

Unlike Riyad, Kamal was not deeply engaged in politics, but his doubts had not been able to destroy it for him, as they had so many other interests. It retained an emotional vitality for him. Hisheart believed firmly in the rights of the people, no matter how divided his intellect was on Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница the subject, espousing at times "the rights of man," and on other occasions proclaiming, "It's all a question of the survival of the fittest. The masses are the common herd". It might also wonder, "Isn't Communism an experiment worth exploriig?" Hisheart had not been purged of the populist sentiments with which he had grown up, and these were mixed with memories of Fahmy.

Politics was an essential element of Riyad's intellectual activity. He asked, "Is it possible for us to forget the humiliating reception Makrarti Ubayd got in the square in front of Abdin Palace or al-Nahlias Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница's criminal ouster, that insulting calumny, like spit in the face of the nation? Blind hatred makes some applaud it, alas."

"You're just angry because of what happened to Makram Ubayd," Kamal teased.

Without any hesitation Riyad replied, "All of us Copts are Wafdists. That's because the Wafd Party represents true nationalism. It's not a religious, Turkish-oriented bunch like the National Party. The Wafd is a populist party. It will make Egypt a nation that provides freedom for all Egyptians, without regard to ethnic origin or religious affiliation. The enemies of the people Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница know this. That's why the Copts were targeted for barefaced oppression throughout the Sidqy era. Now we'll be experiencing that again."

Kamal welcomed this candor, which demonstrated the depth of their friendship. All the saine he felt like teasing Riyad some more:"Here you are, talking about Coptic Christians, when you believe in nothing but science and art…."

Riyad fell silent. They had reached al-Azhar Street, where the cold wind gusted rather fiercely. As they walked along they came to a pastry shop, and Kamal invited Riyad to have some with him. They each got a modest Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница plateful and stepped to the side of the shop to eat. Then Riyad said, "I'm both a freethinker and a Copt. Indeed I'm both a Copt and a man without any religion. I frequently feel that Christianity is my community, not my faith. If I analyzed this feeling, I might entertain some reservations about it. But not so fast… isn't it cowardly to ignore my people? There's one thing that can help me overcome this quandary, and that is to devote myself to the kind of sincere Egyptian patriotism envisaged by Sa'd Zaghlul Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница. Al-Nahhas is a Muslim by way of religion, but he's also a nationalist in every sense of the word. He makes us think of ourselves as Egyptians, whether we are Muslims or Copts. I could lead a happy life with an untroubled mind by focusing on thoughts like these, but a real life is at the same time a responsible one."

Kamal's breast was agitated by emotion and his thoughts wandered as he smacked his lips over the pastry. Riyad's appearance, which was so purely Egyptian that it reminded him of a pharaonic portrait Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница, stirred various reflections: "Riyad's point can't be denied. I'm torn between the dictates of my intellect and of my heart, and so ishe. How can a minority live in the midst of a majority that oppresses it? Different sacred scriptures are commonly compared according to the level of happiness they provide to human beings, and that is most clearly represented by the amount of aid they give the oppressed."

Kamal said, "Forgive me. I've never had to deal with racism. From the very beginning my mother trained me to love everyone, and I grew up in Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница the revolutionary atmosphere that was free of ethnic prejudices. So I have had no experience with this problem."

As they resumed their walk, Riyad said, "One would hope there wouldn't be any problem at all. I'm sorry to have to tell you bluntly that we grew up in homes with plenty of gloomy memories. I'm not a Coptic chauvinist, but anyone who neglects human rights, whether at home or at the ends of the earth, has neglected the rights of all mankind."

"That's beautifully put. It's not surprising that truly humanitarian manifestos originate Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница frequently in minority circles or with people whose consciences are troubled by the problems of minorities. But there are always some fanatics."

"Always. Everywhere. Men have only recently evolved from animals. Your fanatics consider us cursed infidels. Our fanatics consider you infidel usurpers. They call themselves descendants of the kings of ancient Egypt and people who were able to preserve their religion by paying the poll tax levied on non-Muslims."

Kamal laughed out loud. Then he said, "That's precisely what the two sides say. Do you suppose the origin of this dispute is religion or a human proclivity Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница for dissension? Muslims don't all agree with each other and neither do Christians. You will find that there have long been disagreements between Shi'i Muslims and Sunni Muslims, Hijazi Muslims and Iraqi Muslims, Wafdists and Constitutionalists, students in the humanities and in the sciences, and supporters of the rival Ahli and Arsenal soccer teams. But in spite of this contentious streak in human nature, we are deeply upset when we read newspaper accounts of an earthquake in Japar. Listen, why don't you treat this subject in your stories?"

"The problem of Copts and Muslims…". Riyad Qaldas was quiet Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница for a time. Then he said, "I'm afraid it would be misunderstood". After another period of silence he added, "And don't forget that, in spite of everything, we're enjoying our golden age. At one time Shaykh Abd al-Aziz Jawish suggested that Muslims should make shoes from our hides."

"How can we eradicate this problem?"

"Fortunately it has been absorbed by the problems of the people as a whole. Today the Copts' problem is the people's problem. We are oppressed when everyone else is. When the people are free, we are."

"Happiness and peace," Kamal Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница thought. "That's the goal we dream of. Your heart lives by love alone. When will your mind find its proper way? When will I be able to say, 'Yes, yes!' with the certainty of my nephew Abd al-Muni'm? My friendship with Riyad has taught me to read his stories. But how can I believe in art at the very time that I find philosophy inadequate and inhospitable?"

Glancing stealthily in his direction, Riyad suddenly asked Kamal, "What are you thinking about now?… Tell me the truth."

Understanding the reason for his friend's question Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница, Kamal answered candidly, "I was thinking about your stories."

"Weren't you distressed by my bluntness?"

"Me! God forgive you."

Riyad laughed a bit apologetically and then inquired, "Have you read my latest story?"

"Yes. It's nice. But I can't help thinking that art isn't serious work. Of course, I need to point out that I don't know whether work or play is more significant in life. You have advanced training in the sciences and perhaps know as much about them as anyone who is not actually a scientist, but all your efforts are squandered on writing Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница stories. I wonder occasionally how science hashelped you."

Riyad Qaldas replied vigorously, "I have transferred from science to art a sincere devotion to the truth, a willingness to confront the facts no matter how bitter they are, an impartiality of judgment, and finally a comprehensive respect for all creatures."

These were grand words, but what relationship did they have to comic stories? Riyad Qaldas looked at him and, reading the doubt in his expression, laughed aloud. Then Riyad said, "You have a low opinion of art. My only consolation is that there's nothing on earth that escapes Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница your doubts. We understand with our minds but live with our hearts. Despite your skeptical stance, you love, work together with other people, and share in the political life of your nation. Whether we are conscious of it or not, behind each of these initiatives there is a principle that is no less powerful than faith. Art is the interpreter of the human world. Besides that, some writers have produced works forming part of the international contest of ideas. In their hands art has become one of the weapons of international progress. There is no way that Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница art can be considered a frivolous activity."

"Is this a defense of art or of the artist?" Kamal asked himself. "If the man who sells melon seeds had a talent for debating, he would prove that he plays a significant role in the life of mankind. It's quite possible that everything has an intrinsic merit. Similarly, it's not out of the question that everything, without exception, is worthless. Millions of people are breathing their last at this moment, and yet a child's voice is raised to bewail the loss of a toy and a lover's Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница moans resound throughout existence to broadcast the torments of hisheart. Should I laugh or weep?"

Kamal remarked, "With regard to what you said about the international competition of ideas, let me tell you that it's being played out on a small scale in our family. One of my nephews is a Muslim Brother and one a Communist."

"Sooner or later this struggle will be reflected in some form everywhere. We don't live in a vacuum. Haven't you thought about these issues?"

"I read about Communism when I studied materialist philosophy, and similarly I've read books about Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница Fascism and the Nazis."

"You read and understand. You're a historian with no history. I hope you observe the day you emerge from this condition as your true birthday."

Kamal was offended by this remark, not only because of its stinging, criticism but also because of the truth it contained. To avoid commenting on it, he said, "Neither the Communist nor the Muslim Brother in our family has a sound knowledge of what he believes."

"Belief is a matter of willing, not of knowing. The most casual Christian today knows far more about Christianity than the Christian maiatyrs did. It Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница's the same with you in Islam."

"Do you believe in any of these ideologies?"

After some reflection, Riyad replied, "It's clear that I despise Fascism, the Nazi movement, and all other dictatorial systems. Communism might be able to create a world free from the calamities of racial and religious friction and from class conflicts. All the same, my primary interest is my art."

In a teasing tone, Kamal asked, "But more than a thousand years ago Islam created this ideal world you've mentioned."

"But it's a religion. Communism is a science. Religion is nothing more Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница than a myth". Then, smiling, he added, "The problem is that we interact with Muslims, not with Islam."

They found Fuad I Street very crowded despite the cold weather. Riyad stopped suddenly and asked, "What would you think about having macaroni with an excellent wine for supper?"

"I don't drink in places where a lot of people will see me. If you want, vve could go to Ukasha's cafe."

Riyad Qaldas laughed and said, "How can you bear to be so sedate? Spectacles, mustache, and traditional mores! You've liberated your mind from every Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница fetter, but your body is bound with chains. You were createdat least your body was to be a teacher."

Riyad's reference to his body reminded Kamal of a painful incident. He had attended the birthday party of a colleague, and they had all become intoxicated. Then a guest had launched a verbal attack on him, pointing out hishead and nose, and everyone had laughed. Whenever he thought of hishead and nose he also remembered A'ida and the past - A'fda, who had first made him self-conscious about his features. It was amazing that when love receded, nothing Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница came to take its place. All that remained were bitter dregs.

Riyad pulled at his arm and said, "Let's go drink some wine and talk about literature. Then afterward we'll go to Madam Jalila's house in al-Gawhari Alley. If you call her 'Auntie,' I will too."

THERE WAS a flurry of activity at Sugar Street, or more precisely in the apartment of Abd al-Muni'm Shawkat. Gathered in the bedroom around Na'ima's bed were Amina, Khadija, Aisha, Zanuba, and a nurse-midwife. In the parlor, sitting with Abd al-Muni'm were Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница his father Ibrahim, his brother Ahmad, Yasin, and Kamal. Yasin was teasing Abd al-Muni'm: "Arrange things so that the next birth doesn't come when you're preparing for an exam."

It was the end of April. Abd al-Muni'm was tired, delighted, and anxious in equal measure. Screams provoked by labor pains carried through the closed door, and the entire spectrum of pain was present in these shrill cries.

Abd al-Muni'm remarked, "Pregnancy has exhausted her and has left her incredibly weak. Her face is so pale that all the blood seems to have Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница drained away."

Yasin belched contentedly and then said, "This is normal. It's always this way."

Smiling, Kamal observed, "I still remember when Na'ima was born. It was a difficult delivery, and Aisha suffered terribly. I was very upset and stood here with her late husband, Khalil."

Abd al-Muni'm asked, "Do you mean to tell me that difficult deliveries are hereditary?"

Gesturing heavenward with his finger, Yasin said, "He can make everything easy."

Abd al-Muni'm said, "We got a nurse-midwife who is known throughout the entire district. My mother would have preferred to Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница have the woman who delivered us, but I insisted on having a trained professional. There's no doubt that she is cleaner and more skillful".*

Yasin replied, "Naturally. Although, as a whole, childbirth is in God's bands. He controls it."

Lighting a cigarette, Ibrahim Shawkat said, "Her labor pains began early in the morning. Now it's almost five p m The poor dear is as insubstantial as a shadow. May our Lord come to her aid."

Then glancing with languid eyes at the other men, particularly at his sons, Abd al-Muni'm and Ahmad, he said, "Oh Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница, if only you would remember the pain a mother endures…."

Laughing, Ahmad said, "How can you expect a fetus to remember anything, Papa?"

The man scolded his son: "When it's a question of gratitude, there's no need to depend solely on memory."

The screams stopped. The bedroom was silent, and everyone looked in that direction. After a few moments, his patience exhausted, Abd al-Muni'm rose, went to the door, and knocked. The door was opened just enough to reveal Khadija's plump face. He gave her a questioning look and tried to Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница poke hishead inside. But she blocked him with the palms of her hands and said, "God hasn't granted a delivery yet."

"It's taking a long time. Could it be false labor?"

"The midwife knows better than we do. Calm down and pray for a safe delivery."

She closed the door. The young man resumed his seat next to his father, who justified Abd al-Muni'm's anxiety: "You'll have to excuse him. This is his first time."

Wishing to distract himself, Kamal took out al-Balagh, the newspaper that had been folded up in his pocket, and started Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница to leaf through it. Then Ahmad said, "The results of the last election were announced on the radio". Smiling scornfully, he added, "How ridiculous they were…."

His father asked casually, "How many Wafdists were elected?"

"Thirteen, if I remember correctly."

Addressing his uncle Yasin, Ahmad said, "I guess you're happy, Uncle, for Ridwan's sake?"

Yasin shrugged his shoulders and replied, "He's not a cabinet minister or a deputy. So how does that affect me?"

Laughing, Ibrahim Shawkat said, "The Wafdists thought the age of rigged elections was over, but the reformers are more corrupt than Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница the sycophants they replaced."

Ahmad said resentfully, "It's clear that in Egypt the exception is the rule."

"Even al-Nahhas and Makram were defeated. Isn't that a joke?"

At this point Ibrahim Shawkat said rather sharply, "But no one can deny they were rude to the king. Kings have a certain stature. That wasn't the right way to do things."

Ahmad responded, "To wake up from its long torpor, our country needs a strong dose of disrespect for kings."

Kamal remarked, "But these dogs are returning us to a form of absolute rule hidden Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница behind a counterfeit parliament. At the end of this experiment, we'll find that Faruq's as powerful and tyrannical as Fuad, or worse. And all this is the fault of some of our compatriots."

Yasiri laughed. As if to clarify and explain the point, he said, "Although when Kamal was a boy he loved the English as dearly as Shahin, Adli, Tharwat, and Haydar did, afterward he turned into a Wafdist."

Looking at Ahmad most of all, Kamal said earnestly, "The elections were rigged. Everyone in the country knows that. All the same they have been recognized officially, and the country Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница will be governed according to their results. What this means is that people will become convinced that their representatives are thieves who stole their seats in parliament, that the cabinet ministers also stole their posts, that the whole government is bogus and fraudulent, and that theft, fraud, and deception are legitimate and officially sanctioned. So isn't an ordinary man to be excused if he renounces lofty principles and morality and believes in deceit and opportunism?"

Ahmad replied enthusiastically, "Let them rule. There's a positive side to every wrong. It's better for the people Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница to be humiliated than fo r them to be intoxicated by a government they love and trust, if it does not fulfill their true wishes. I've often thought about this, and as a result I have more appreciation for the reign of despots like Muhammad Mahmud and Isma'il Sidqy."

Kamal noticed that Abd al-Muni'm was not taking his usual part in the conversation. Wishing to draw him out, Kamal said, "Why don't you tell us your opinion?"

Smiling vacuously, Abd al-Muni'm answered, "Let me listen today."

Yasin laughed and said, "Pull yourself together. If the Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница baby finds you looking so glum, it will think twice about staying". He shifted restlessly, and Kamal interpreted this as a prelude to an excuse for leaving. Yes, it was time for Yasin to take up his post at the coffeehouse. His evening adventures followed a schedule that nothing could alter.

Kamal thought he would depart with his brother, since there was no reason for him to stay either. Ready to make his move, Kamal watched Yasin carefully. Then a harsh and violent scream burst forth from Na'ima's room, conveying the deepest form of human Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница emotion. One fierce shriek followed another in rapid succession. All eyes were fixed on the door, and the men fell silent. Finally Ibrahim whispered hopefully, "Perhaps it's the end of the labor, God willing."

Was that it? But the screaming continued, and the men felt disheartened. Abd al-Muni'm looked quite pale. Na'ima's room was silent once more, although only for a time. When the screams resumed they sounded hollow, as though expelled by a hoarse throat and an exhausted chest in the throes of death.

Since Abd al-Muni'm clearly needed encouragement Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница, Yasin told him, "You're not hearing anything you wouldn't at any other difficult delivery."

"Difficult! Difficult! But why should it be difficult?"

The door was opened by Zanuba, who came out, closing it behind her. They stared at her. Walking over to Yasin, she stopped in front of him and said, "Everything's fine, but as a precaution the midwife wants you to ask Dr. Sayyid Muhammad to come."

Jumping to his feet, Abd al-Muni'm said, "Then no doubt her condition requires it. Tell me what's wrong."

In a calm, confident voice, Zanuba replied Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница, "Everything's fine. If you want to reassure us, hurry to get the doctor."

Wasting no time, Abd al-Muni'm went immediately to his room to finish dressing. Ahmad followed him, and they went off together to fetch the doctor. Then Yasin asked his wife, "What's going on in there?"

Her face betraying her anxiety for the first time, Zanuba said, "The poor dear's very tired, God help her."

"Hasn't the midwife said anything?"

In a resigned tone, Zanuba answered, "She says she wants the doctor."

Leaving a heavy cloud of anxiety behind her, Zanuba returned to Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница the bedroom. Yasin wondered aloud, "How far is this doctor?"

Ibrahim Shawkat replied, "In the building over your coffeehouse in al-Ataba."

A scream rang out and struck them dumb. Had the labor pains resumed? When would the doctor arrive? There was another resounding scream. The tension increased. And then Yasin cried out in alarm, "That's Aisha's voice!"

Listening intently, they recognized Aisha's shriek. Ibrahim went to the door and knocked. When Zanuba opened it, her face exceedingly pale, he asked apprehensively, "What's the matter? What's the matter with Mrs. Aisha? Wouldn't it be Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница best for her to leave the room?"

Swallowing, Zanuba replied, "Absolutely not. The situation is extremely serious, Mr. Ibrahim."

"What's happened?"

"All of a sudden… she … look…"

[n less than a second the three men were at the door of the room, looking in. Na'ima was covered to her chest. Her aunt, her grandmother, and the midwife were around the bed. Na'ima's mother stood in the center of the room, staring at her daughter from afar with eyes that did not seem to focus on anything, as if she was in a Book Three of the Cairo Trilogy 11 страница daze. Na'ima's eyes were closed, and her breast washeaving up and down as though it had slipped free of ins ties to her still body. Her face was white, with a deathly pallor.

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