I watched him walk into the cabin from the cockpit, this man I had met two days ago who had flipped my world onto its side and left my head spinning. “We’re here. We’re back,” he said looking down at me. I stood to leave and he said, “Can you sit and talk for a few minutes?’
“Of course,” I said as I looked back at Ali with some concern, and then sat down. Hassan leaned over to pat my hand and gave me an “I’ve got this handled” look.
He turned, walked to the back of the cabin and bent down to speak to Ali in a soft whisper. Ali looked at him as if he had been slapped. He slammed his whiskey glass, which he had refilled several times during the flight, down on the table and stormed out the door and down the stairs to the tarmac.
“Oh my. Whatever did you say to him to cause such a reaction?”
“I told him you and I needed to speak privately and he needed to leave while we did that. He was not pleased,” he said. The grin was back. Now I certainly knew who stood higher on the ladder of power in that relationship.
“And what do we need to speak privately about?” As I asked I felt like I did the first time I flew an airplane solo – breathless, and my stomach was hollow. I could feel the touch of the leather seat, cold from the air conditioning and inhaled the smell of him, which made me want to touch him.
He took my hands into his and looked at me as if I were made of jade. “I have never been so surprised as I am now, the events over the past two days and how I have come to feel toward you. It was a lark you know? Something I could say to my son, ‘See I did it. I still have a spirit of adventure.’ But then something happened. I saw you on that bench in the park, you looked like the Queen of Jerusalem, and when you smiled I felt something in me melt that has been cold and quiet for years. This can’t be an accident.”
I couldn’t talk. I didn’t speak. My mouth was dry. I raised my hand to touch his face, he took me into his arms, and I fell into his kiss that was soft, warm and inviting.
“Yes, I’m sorry what is it?” I realized the driver had been calling my name for the past few minutes.
“I said do you need to stop anywhere? Are you alright?” he asked turning around and looking at me in the back.
“No, nothing thank you. I’m fine really.” The city passed by the window like a dream. I watched the women and men in djellabas and an endless variety of combinations of western clothing as they made their way to home, or the café’, or to the mosque. I rolled down the window to hear the sounds of the city roll over me, and to watch the sea as we neared the Oudayas. As the wind brushed my hair back from my face, I felt pretty, desirable, and had an overwhelming desire to sing. I don’t know, something from Chicago? It’s amazing what infatuation will do for your outlook! I am not an unhappy person by any stretch, but this was that upper level of happiness, the intense kind you know? Colours looked deeper, sounds more musical, and smells more enticing. Walking to the door of my little house I could feel the rhythm of the sea and I inhaled the smells of the dinners being prepared on my little street by all of the mothers. My normal upright posture ensured by years of nagging by an English governess was if possible more erect, and I could not stop smiling.
I kept hearing his voice. “I’m sorry to be so forward but I know how fickle fate can be. You have hold of something wonderful and it can be gone before you have time to take it in.”
“Perhaps you should do it once again then, to be sure you got it.”
I couldn’t stop smiling.
Having arrived back home around 1930 hours, M.C. Solaar required thirty minutes of holding and stroking and another thirty minutes of attention after being alone all day – this cat is definitely male!
I had a brief text from Q telling me she is having quite a splendid time at the Music Festival in Fez. When I text-ed her back to say where I had been, her response? “What about the cat?”
I lay in bed listening to the sounds of the neighbourhood settling in for the night. A few souls still on their doorsteps softly talking, a child laughing somewhere, a baby crying, all made their way into my window with the cool night breeze and I relived the day in my mind as I drifted off to sleep.
He was so lovely about having to leave. “I would take you home myself but….Ali. I have to get him back to Riyadh. There is some big family affair and his father requires him there, and the King requires I get him there. Actually I would prefer not to take you home at all. I would prefer to keep you with me. Listen to me, I will be at least six months on this assignment but that doesn’t mean I can’t leave now and again. Would you see me again?”
I put my hand to his jaw again; I couldn’t seem to stop touching him. “Yes.”
“We could meet in Istanbul, Paris, or Barcelona if you like,” he said never losing eye contact. I felt we were in a bubble where only we existed.
“Not Paris, not Paris…anywhere else would be lovely,” I said feeling a small panic at the mention of Paris. I married John in Paris. We lived overlooking the Seine. Paris was full of him, of the memories of us. For me, he still walked the streets of Paris.
“What’s wrong?” He looked concerned and taken aback a bit at the change on my face.
“A longer story than we have time for now, but it’s nothing to be concerned about. When will we go? Q leaves in August and I want to spend as much time with her as I can, so after that?”
“Yes, I don’t like waiting two months I don’t mind telling you but it will take me that long to set up the flight school plans and to begin the second part of my assignment,” he said as he caressed my arms and stroked my hands.
And that’s where it stands readers. He flew off into the black velvet sky of North Africa headed east. I find myself giving out a deep sigh now and then for no apparent reason, and the desire to sing remains. Q said, “When will you see him again?” When I told her I gave him my mobile number she said in surprise, “That’s new!”
Yes, in answer to your question. He has already called. See me smiling?