Written by Alaa (aka Lols)
London’s streets were as busy as ever. The sky was blue-ish grey with wisps of clouds swirling around . The Eye of London stood round and gigantic awaiting its visitors. Big Ben’s pendulum stroke midday and as people ate their lunch and went off on their breaks, Sarah Al Tomoom made her way back to her hotel after another stale meeting with the managers of the company she wants to expand with. She was frustrated at her lack of – for better choice of words – success rather than luck. Sarah was never fond of the idea of leaving anything in her life for luck. “Chance is a deceiving mistress and luck is her pet. Never leave your life in their hands”, a saying Sarah’s grandmother used to tell her ever since she could remember. It’s a saying that helped her make her way through life, jump over obstacles that stood in her way, fight off the disappointments and dampening companies. However today, she wasn’t feeling like a fighter.
It’s been almost a month since Sarah came to the United Kingdom. Her reasons were mostly personal given the disastrous “reunion” of the Gang a month ago. She couldn’t take any more of their bullshit because frankly speaking, she had had enough of it to last her a lifetime. Aside her personal conflicts and disappointment in her friends, Sarah saw an opportunity she had to seize: A business expansion, one that could triple her profits in a year’s time. Her shoe company was doing just as great in Cairo as it was in Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia but she needed to spice it up a bit. “Stilettos”, a well-known English company, was her ticket to do so. A new market was presenting itself to the young businesswoman, new tastes and new ideas were part of the territory. It would give her something productive to think about other than who married whom and why. But her vision was having a hard time finding a way into the sun. So far she’s had two, maybe three meetings with the managers of the company and for some reason unbeknownst to her, the managers weren’t enthusiastic enough to hear from a 26-27 year old middle-eastern entrepreneur about expanding with her.
“We admire your enthusiasm, Mrs. Al Tomoom…” said one of the managers, an old lady with a face so tight you might have already guessed Botox was the reason behind it.
“…but we will need time to consider all the scenarios and possibilities related to such an expansion. Surely you understand?” continued another manager, a man in his late 50’s.
“With all due respect, sirs and ladies, I just projected to you all the possibilities associated with such an expansion. I also prepared a business proposition and portfolio for your leisure. What more can I do to prove that this expansion can work?” answered Sarah, trying as hard as she could to hide her frustration.
“Which is all very impressive, I might add” said a middle aged woman, nodding. Murmurs and nods echoed around the long conference table.
“And since you’re all agreeing that this is very impressive, may I ask what could be the reason behind such hesitancy in taking a decision?”
Silence fell all around the conference table only to be broken by the midday chime of Big Ben’s clock. The memory of that latest meeting was burned in Sarah’s cerebrum and couldn’t shake off the feeling of failure and utter disappointment.
“We will discuss this among ourselves Ms. Al Tomoum and whatever the consequence, we want you to know that your efforts and presentations were of great quality” said one of the managers as the room slowly cleared out for the usual lunch/tea time.
Great quality my ass!
Back at her hotel, Sarah checked her messages with the receptionist to find that none came to her. Grunting a quick “thank you”, she made her way to the elevator and up she went to the 14th floor where her room laid clean and tidy. It was a cozy room, with a queen bed, a bathroom, a comfy living area and a small kitchen. The room overlooked the Thames River and the Eye of London stood looming over the English waters. The weather was a bit sunny and the skies were blue despite the occasional swirls of clouds, an unusual condition for the City of Fog. However, it wasn’t enough to take Sarah out of her broodiness. She threw her bag on a chair, settled down her laptop next to the small dining table, kicked off her heels and threw herself on the bouncy mattress of her bed digging her face into the pillow.
Breathe, Sarah! Breathe!
As she tried to clear her mind and focus on a new way to convince the managers, her phone pinged. Sarah slowly raised her head from within the soft white pillows. Who would contact her? She hadn’t told anyone except family that she was in London. Maybe it was them? But they usually call on Skype or on the usual cell line. Did they miraculously learn how to use the technology at hand; her mom and dad? She went over to the TV counter and picked up her phone. The email icon was blinking and curiously, she swiped her phone open and read the message she just received.
I hope things are going well with you. I don’t want to blabber on and talk nonsense. I know that you’re not in Egypt because I went to your office and they mentioned that you’re “away on personal matters” (I figured that was your way of accentuating your previous decision of not wanting to have anything to do with us).
Anyway, Nevine and Ibrahim’s wedding is coming soon; in a couple of months or three and I know it would mean the world for her if you would come so…just consider it. I mean, this is the closest we’ll get to finally having something to celebrate. I’ve attached all the info you need if you are to come…I hope you do…
Sarah kept staring at her mobile screen for what felt like eternity. It’s been a month and with her whole thoughts and efforts totally submerged into expanding her business, she totally had her mind off of the problems she had left behind. However, Sarah didn’t know what to feel about these words: Relief that her best friend is still loyal despite her harsh words (the fact that Samir still called her S meant that he wasn’t holding any grudges), anger at an apparent absence of an apology, happiness that Nevine is finally getting married to Ibrahim after a long struggle and chaos… or nothingness?
The ring of the telephone room snapped her back to reality. Sarah walked over to her commode, cellphone in her hand, and answered.
“Ms. Al Tomoom, Mr. Adam Wagdy is in the hall. He would like to see you”