Fairuz had, as usual, come to borrow something and had knocked and knocked, or so she said, and nobody had answered. Fatima had already gone to the shop and I was still sleeping. So the girl tried the door handle, found the door was unlocked, and came in.
I remember how Fatima had screamed when she had found the girl sitting by my side, because she had made no effort to get up even when Fatima had come to stand right in front of her. And, to make matters worse, she had been dressed in the same type of clothing, the kind that barely concealed her full body. I had just woken up and was more surprised than anything to find the child sitting there. I could just gape flabbergasted as Fatima practically threw her out, and for a long time they never came to borrow anything. I had tried explaining to Fatima that I had no knowledge of the child's intentions, but Fatima was adamant that if I wasn't so accommodating in giving them food and money, and anything that they asked for, they wouldn't be so forward, especially the girl!
"Sweetheart...Sweetheart..." Fatima got through my reverie, and handed me a glass of cool drink. There was no accusation or anger on her face. She was just smiling broadly. "Who or what are you thinking so passionately about? Hmmm?"
I kissed her on the lips. "You, of course!"
She laughed. "Thank you, Sweetie. I believe you. With all my heart." And she went back to the house.
I winked at Jameel, and thought how lucky I was to have someone like Fatima by my side. Not only was she an understanding kind of person, but also someone who couldn't bear a grudge against anybody. Whether she had seen Fairuz there with us or not, she would not harp on it. And should they come looking for food or anything else, she would not turn her back on them. But I wondered, as I finished my drink, what she would have said if she had known about that one morning when Fairuz had gone to the shop for me and on returning had been alone with me in the house.