Finalist of the “One Thousand Nights and Awakening” literary contest
Once upon a time, word had it that pleasure could be derived from three things in this world: water, greenery, and a pretty face. I declare that they all coincide in one place called the Nile Cornish.
I was hoping to meet her early that morning at that same place, which became a famous spot for lovers to get together and linger after the movies from the fifties provided a telescope for commoners to admire the world through in black and white.
Breaking my daily routine, I decided to walk to the encounter so as to keep the car window from impairing my ability to enjoy looking at her.
I saw her arrive the moment I got there, slowly approaching with her golden gown and her warmth, which stirs the feelings of nostalgic dreamers.
Eos, nobody matches your beauty when you fall over the banks of the Nile. You extend your rosy fingers to scatter pearls over the blue surface of the Nile and grant it its luster while caressing the leaves that fall to either side of the willow trees in a unique scenery testifying to God’s glory.
I meandered and wandered along the fence of the Cornish. At the other side, I could see the Cairo Tower, which haughtily greets the sun surrounded by a bunch of other chic buildings belonging to millionaires and the Al-Ahly Sporting Club, a stronghold of sportsmanship and home to plenty of achievements.
My throat was dry and I felt the urge to quench my thirst with a cup of tea.
I chose to buy a cup from one of the men selling them next to the fence, all the while relishing the moment and watching the horse-drawn carriages drive by, remnants of the times when arts and crafts flourished.
At rush hour, I looked back and found the road abuzz with the sound of traffic being generated by fleets of cars and gigantic vans. I then immediately turned back toward the calmness and magnificence of the Nile.
While taken with the astonishing environment surrounding me, I sighted the boats of the Nile, the so called “fluvial buses,” and I recalled the time my father (may God rest his soul) came with us to savor the views the world had to offer and to cherish the smiles the embrace of life’s arteries brings to people’s faces.
The sun started sinking; I saw it bid farewell to the city’s sky and hide behind the Tower. Thereupon, the moon rose and the boats turned on their lights to hold a celebration in her honor.
My eyes glimmered with the bright colors that embellished every single ship—from small boats to huge catamarans. The lights sparkled, dancing to the sound of festive chants on board these ships carrying the inscription “God bless.”
I reached the Qasr al-Nil bridge and was struck by the arrogance of the two lions located at its front, as well as by the patience of the fishermen who lined up along the barrier of the bridge waiting for the fish to bite.
In the evening I wasn’t feeling quite as spirited. I thus descended the stairs of the Cornish to be invited by one of the street vendors to drink a hummus al-sham. Afterward, I enjoyed gazing at the Nile, which continued flowing before my feet.
I looked to my right and saw a newlywed couple head toward one of those buses of the Nile. Their families were taking them on the customary trip to the wife’s family house while cheering, letting out howls of amusement and tossing words of congratulations and flowers. At that moment I understood how much the handsome-looking groom in a sharp suit as well as his beautiful bride in her moon-white dress had probably yearned to have the Nile witness the beginning of their life together.
Suddenly, it struck me that the whole day had just flown by without me even noticing.
I felt somewhat tired . . . I really needed a car to take me back home.
What? It was already one past midnight . . .
The street was empty . . .
I would have to return on foot.
I so wished I lived by the Nile.
Mahmoud Khaled Abd al-Jawad graduated with honors from the Faculty of Mass Communication of Cairo University. The most valuable things in this world for him are his religion, his family, and his love for the Arabic language. He strives for success and excels at thinking outside the box.