The next week flew by with lots of laughs and smiles and exchanging of secrets glances from Hazel and her egyptian suitor Samir. They fit together like a hand and a glove. They both enjoyed the outdoors and sleeping outside under the stars. They had gone to see the temples around Al Simhara, as well as he introduced her to the native food and culture. She marveled at the snake charmer and he taught her songs while they ate lunch on the green banks of the river.
Hazel learned much about Samir, besides the traits he had, she also learned that he grew up in a very strict household. That he only had only living relative, his father. Hazel listened, watching his face as the happy lines around his eyes faded away. He really did not like his father. He had wanted to go to college and move away from Egypt but he was forced to take over the family market business.
“Why dont you just leave Samir? Its your life..it shouldnt be dictated by your father.” Hazel said gently.
Samir chuckled, realizing just how much he had revealed, and let her see;
“Hazel..its different here…the culture is different. Its like you dont have a say in what you do, your parents does. You cant just break away, because then you bring a stigmata upon yourself and your family.” He shook his head. “It may sound wierd, but its just the way it is here. People may think that the girls of Muslim families have it hard, but we do too. We have to bare the weight of taking the family name upon our shoulders and keeping it pristine. What you want to do does not matter compared to what you have to do..what is expected of you.” Samir said looking from Hazel to the calm river before them.
He cleared his throat and got up, “Come..lets go see the Sphinx today.” He said beaming at her. Hazel smiled and took his hand. She didn’t know what to say and anything she thought of could not be enough to smooth that look of sadness he had in his eyes when he talked about his duty, his responsibility. So she went with him on the topic change.
Then next day, Samir said he would be busy doing some fishing with some other men from the market and wouldn’t be able to escort her around. All day, Hazel couldn’t stop thinking of him. She imagined things that she didn’t normally imagine about a man. She was lost in thought most of the time and strayed away from the tour group she had signed up for. Instead she walked bare feet on the sandy ground, admired the tall trees and wandered around Al Simhara. It was night before she knew it and she didn’t want to just daydream about him anymore, she realized she wanted to see him.
She found him in his shop cleaning up and being more bold than she ever thought she could be, she kissed him..It was something she never did. In her book the guy was always suppose to make the first move. She realized how brazen she was being and pulled away, but not fast enough as Samir captured her lips once again. It was perfect and Hazel could not of wished for anything better at that moment….except something better did happen when he walked her to her tent.“Don’t say goodnight yet..” She whispered pulling him in. Neither realized that Samirs father had witnessed their passionate kiss and to say he was not happy would be an understatement. Behind closed doors he secretly took the future of his son into his own hands, urgently making phone calls.
The remainder of Hazels vacation was spent indoors, and the land of Egypt was no further explored. She didn’t think she could be so happy and when that last sorrowful day came, Samir wiped away the stray tear that disobeyed her eyes. “I’m in the process of getting my visa. No one knows but I am leaving this place Hazel…to hell with values and duty. I love you..that is my duty for this lifetime, I know it.”
Hazel having a good heart, “But, please try to speak with your father..I don’t want you to leave the only family you have on bad terms.” Samir sighed and laid back on the grassy knoll by the river they lovingly sat entwined together on. “Ill try..but I cant guarantee anything.” Hazel smiled, “That’s all I ask.” He pulled her close and they stayed that way, whispering sweet words of love and endearment.
The time came and the two lovers kissed once more before waving goodbye, the gates to the airplane shutting between them…neither knowing that it would be the last time they would see each other, both oblivious to how cruel faith will be to them both.