Written by Alaa (aka Lols)
Previously on Decisions in a Halo http://cairocontra.com/from-another-realm-decisions-in-a-halo-season-ii-chapter-vi/
Samir was looking straight into the beetle dark eyes of his best friend, Fady Ibrosen. The latter was wearing a navy blue hoodie with the hood covering his head. He looked weaker than his usual healthy self.
“What are you doing here? How…” asked Samir, his pipe dangling from his mouth.
“I followed you and Sarah from Garden City to Zamalek, after you left from Salma’s work. Then I headed over here and waited… figured you’d come here for the jazz after a long day. Guess I must have dozed off and missed you when you arrived here” answered Fady, firmly reciting Samir’s old habits, as he took off his hood. His cheeks were hollow. Judging from the dark circles under his tired eyes, he was sleep deprived. A dark bush of beard covered his face and his dark hair was all messed up. He didn’t look anything like himself.
“You look terrible” mumbled Samir, still in shock of seeing Fady after more than five years so suddenly.
“I’ve been better” Fady smiled weakly as he rubbed his hands together. It was quite an unusual chilly night. His teeth shattered a bit.
“Let’s get you inside, from this cold” said Samir snapping out of his shock and leading Fady to Harry’s Pub at the Marriott where Samir was fighting off his drink a while ago.
They grabbed a table and Samir ordered two cups of black coffee. The two friends sat in silence for a while listening to a jazz band play silently. More than five years can render the talk stale and rusty.
“So, what are you doing with your life?” said Fady uncomfortably.
“I’m a professor at Cairo University. I teach Economics,” answered Samir puffing on whatever was remained of his pipe tobacco.
Fady laughed nervously, “Good for you! You look great”
Samir smiled and both men reveled in the blues tunes of the sax man. Samir was more into that kind of music, mesmerized by the melody produced and connected with its unspoken lyrics.
“So, do you want to give me the clip note version of what happened all those years ago or should I wait for your memoirs to come out?” Samir blurted out just as the waiter came back with their coffee.
Fady took a deep breath, a sip from his coffee and started his story from when Samir left for Canada. He told him what happened between Salma and him, about how he broke up with her based on Karim’s advice and manipulation, how regretful he felt after taking the decision to end it with Salma which drove him out of control. He numbed his pain and agony with drinking, partying, smoking; he basically turned back to his old habits. His parents, seeing his out of control behavior, decided to cut him off completely until he got his act together.
All the while listening to what happened in those last five years, Samir suddenly realized that he couldn’t care less about what happened before, that he even lost interest in knowing why Fady abandoned him the way he did. All that Samir knew for a fact was that Sarah was right all along. It was time to move on. Fady kept on talking and talking, feeling lighter by the minute and that he was finally pouring his heart out to one of the people he trusted the most, and hurt the most. He felt safe for the first time in five years.
“…and here I am” finished Fady as he took a long sip from his coffee. The vibration of Samir’s phone brought him back to reality. It was Nevine calling. Samir cancelled on her. Now wasn’t the time to talk to her. She called again shortly after. What does she want now?
“Yeah, here you are…” Samir raised his cup of coffee in salute to his friend. An uncomfortable silence stretched yet again between the friends. A more upbeat tune was playing in the pub to which people were singing and dancing quite wildly.
“I need your help, Samir” said Fady, breaking the silence, “I know it’s too much to ask of you especially after all this time but I have to get Salma back. I have to straighten back my life and she is it. She always was.” A note of plea could be heard in Fady’s voice.
“I know I did wrong by you, my friend. I was an ass and you didn’t deserve that from me. You didn’t deserve this at all but I need your help. I need to fix this. Please.”
And at those words, Sarah’s words of anger overshadowed Fady’s sorrow and plea.
“…you need to annihilate that part of your brain that makes you think everybody’s worth saving, that it’s okay for you to pause your life and help the others play theirs…”
“No” said Samir, his eyes resting on his cup of coffee.
“No?” Fady was taken aback, “You won’t help me?”
“I won’t” said Samir as he stood up, picked up his coat and meant to leave.
“Wait, please! Samir, I need your help. I’m begging you here” Fady pleaded again, grabbing hold of Samir’s arm. The latter broke free of his friend’s hold and shot Fady a dark look.
“Fady, five years we stopped being friends and just like that, you expect me to put everything on hold in my life just to help you get what you want? It doesn’t work like that anymore!”
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I know I’ve been a jerk to you but come on Samir! That was five years ago-“
“Exactly! Five years ago! Salma has moved on with Karim. They’re married now.” And just like that, Samir dropped the bomb shell on Fady. Salma married Karim? The person who destroyed their life has become the one who she rebuilt it with?
“I suggest you do the same thing, Fady. Move on. Start your life fresh. But I can’t help you anymore.” said Samir with a coldness that slapped Fady awake. The latter realized for the first time what an impact his actions had on his best friend.
“I don’t want to hear it. I couldn’t give a single shit.” Samir took out his wallet and threw a couple of pounds on the table in front of a bewildered Fady.
“Welcome back from the dead.” And on that note, Samir left.
Your comments are most welcomed
We’re closing in on the end of the second season of Decisions in a Halo. Do you think Samir was right when he refused to help his old friend Fady? Let us know what you think in the comment section below or send us your thoughts at [email protected]
Until Next Time!