Cairo: and a tale of a man with {maybe} 2 or 3 wives: Part 4

(This is a continuation of the tale:  Cairo: and a tale of a man with {maybe} 2 or 3 wives.  If you haven't already, read Part 1 of the tale here, part 2 here and Part 3 here.}

As soon as I got in the car, Ahmed's phone rang. He silenced it and kept driving.  Then he looked at me and said, So things are not good here in Cairo.  People are in the street.  People are protesting over decisions Egypt's president is making.

I know - I heard.  This all must be exhausting for you, I said.  

The phone rang again and Ahmed stopped it again.  Then he said, People are going to the presidential palace to protest.  Many people are getting hurt and some even killed!

The phone rang one more time but Ahmed ignored it. 

I think someone's trying to reach you, I said.

Yes, he said.  It’s Fouzia.  You know, my dead brother’s Palestinian wife. 

Oh, I said.  Is she still bothering you, Ahmed?



he replied.  We’re getting along.  In fact, we’re getting along fine. 

Really?  I asked, my voice wondering. 

He explained, I was just visiting Fouzia in Ismailia where she lives.  She made the very best meal.  She knows how to make incredible fish!  And her eggplant...!  Fouzia had everything waiting for me for when I arrived….a whole table full of food.  I ate like I had never eaten before! 

He paused before continuing, However, my wife is not happy.  She doesn’t like that Fouzia and I are getting along.  My wife said next time I go to Ismailia to visit the family, she is coming with me. 

What do you think about that idea?  I asked.

Ahmed looked at me from the driver’s wheel and shouted,  I think it's a terrible idea, hitting the steering wheel with his hand to make his point.  I’m not bringing my wife, for sure.  My wife is sick, anyway, he said.

Nothing too serious, I hope, I responded.

Ahmed replied, My wife’s too fat is the problem.  She’s so fat that her knees are bothering her.  You should see her belly.  She doesn’t move around enough, he said, shaking his head.  The doctor gave her some medicine, he added.

I’m sorry to hear that, I replied. 

Well, it’s not good, Ahmed said.  Fouzia doesn’t have that problem --she’s a regular size.  And Fouzia is strong! She works and works, and it’s not a problem.   She’s also smart.  I can see why my brother picked her.  You know how those Palestinian women are.  They are good up here, he said, tapping his temple to show me. 

Picking up a conversation we had had earlier, I asked, So is Fouzia okay now with her daughter marrying your son?  

Yes, Ahmed said, and he smiled a big smile.  As long as things are good between Fouzia and me, there’s no problem for them to get married.  My son is so happy – he really loves that girl.   He said to me, “Papa, make things right between you and Fouzia.  I want to marry her daughter.”  So of course, I had to. They will now marry in the Spring, he said proudly. 


Are your feelings for Fouzia changing, too, Ahmed?  I asked.  Are you thinking about taking her as a second wife?

Ahmed looked at me from the wheel and then looked back at the road and said, Fouzia wants to marry me.  Every time I go to Ismailia she says, “You’re a good man, Ahmed.  You will marry me.  You know that’s the right thing to do.“ Yes, that’s what she says.


So, are you going to? I asked.

No, he replied.  Definitely not.  And then he added, At least not now.  My wife would be too angry.  No, not now, not now. 

You mean maybe later you’ll marry Fouzia, I asked? 

Oh I don’t think so, he replied.  I really don’t think so, he said again. And then he paused and said.  Maybe, maybe next year…. 

I was quiet then. 

Ahmed ran a hand over his face wearily before saying, You know, my son went to the Palace to protest,   to make his voice heard.  It's dangerous maybe.  But we need things to be right!

I hope he is careful, I replied.

And then it was time to get out of the car.  

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