Sunday, April 27, 2008

Love is Forever

She found Khalid on the steps of the Winter Palace Hotel talking with a young woman. When he saw Sandra approaching he leaned over and said something to the woman and she turned and went into the hotel. Khalid reached out to take Sandra’s hand as she climbed the steps to where he was standing, leaning nonchalantly against a pillar.

Sandra let him kiss her hand and looked into his face as he brought his head up. His green eyes caught the sun. He had a puzzled smile on his handsome face.

“I thought you were leaving,” he said.

“I had to find you. To say goodbye.” She was still holding his hand and searching his face. Looking for something besides the detachment in his gaze.

“I have something for you,” he said, reaching in the pocket of his galabea.

“Khalid…” Sandra hesitated. Her mind replayed last night’s caresses, his strong arms, the feel of his breath on her neck.

Khalid brought out a small, white box and handed it to her, making a small bow as he did.

Sandra continued searching Khalid’s eyes for a minute before she opened the box. It contained a gold cartouche and chain. She’d seen similar ones in the hotel gift shop. The cartouche was inscribed with hieroglyphics.

Sandra looked up at Khalid. “What does it say?” she asked.

“Love is forever,” he said.

Sandra studied the cartouche.

“I can give it to you for sixty pounds,” Khalid said. “Because it will make me happy for you to have it.”

Sandra looked out across the street and beyond to where graceful feluccas sailed the Nile. She turned back to Khalid.

“I’ll give you forty,” Sandra said.

“You are taking food from my table,” Khalid said, as he pocketed the notes.

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