One of Bawazir Short Stories: “The Way to Sin” [Archives:2001/36/Culture]

September 3 2001

Translated by
Mohammed Bawazir
The car drove off with its precious prey. Inside it a strong female perfume was sedating Ahmad’s senses while he sat shyly, next to ‘Adel, with all his senses monitoring attentively every slight movement coming from the back seat. Ahmad’s heart was sinking under a heavy feeling of guilt and fear -fear from a grave crime he was about to commit; a crime he had never committed before.
This was the first time he had embarked on such an adventure although he had often heard many of his friends boasting shamelessly about theirs. They even scoffed at him for not sharing those nights with them. Such nights did not fit in his straight and balanced life, and he used to warn them about their unpleasant consequences.
Tonight, however, he did not know why he accepted Adel’s invitation nor did he know how, when and where Adel picked up these two girls sitting behind them in the back seat.
The car travelled through numerous streets and stopped at many places, but Ahmad was preoccupied with the conflict raging in his head between good and evil. Within him a voice was blaming him for what he was about to do and another was encouraging him and making his action look attractive. He was in two minds and unable to take a decision. When good triumphed he thought about apologizing to Adel and running away, but when evil won he remembered his long sexual deprivation and tried to imagine the pleasurable moments he would spend in the arms of a warm body that would satisfy all his wild desires. His rich imagination also painted for him numerous images that made his mouth water.
This conflict rendered him unable to feel the great speed at which the car was cruising with its precious load. He calmed down only momentarily when he started thinking again: how much he wished to live these moments ages ago; how long he waited impatiently for them, but not in this way. He hated to sin. He thought much about getting married. He, thank God, had secured his future: a respectable job and a humble house, lacking only a wife in order to live in happiness. But where was this wife? Where was this partner who honored and believed in marriage as a sacred bond? Where was such a woman? He looked for her very hard, but did not find her. All marriages he knew about were imperfect reflections of his concept of marriage. He did not, nevertheless, deny that the ideal wife did exist in the society; in fact he did find her or rather he thought he had.
He still remembers that night when he asked for Ibtisam’s hand and thought that he had found his long-awaited partner. Ibtisam, the educated girl, whom he believed would make a perfect wife, rejected him. Actually, she did not reject him , but demanded freedom to come and go as she liked. He readily refused as his pride would not allow it. Ibtisam was then an arrogant and ignorant girl and not educated as he first thought, and did not reflect the image he drew for the wife of the future. No! No way, he did not want to marry; he would abstain from marriage and would walk on any other way, even if it was the way to sin. In this manner Ahmad tried to justify his action while the car was travelling along the seaside on its way to ‘Sahil Abian’ beach.
The ecstatic cocktail of the cool, gentle breeze of the sea in the air and the fragrance of the female perfume had intoxicated the hearts of the four and set their souls free to float in the realm of love and passion.
The moon shone above them with its light reflecting on the trembling and sparkling surface of the sea whose white waves were dancing in unison with their joyful hearts. The car then turned to the long beach at “Sahil Abian” where the sea waves were breaking playfully just before they caressed the tyres of the car which seemed to be captivated by the beautiful and romantic atmosphere, and appeared rejoicing in the moonlit night.
At one point in the beach, Adel pulled up and got out rubbing his hands cheerfully with a faint smile on his face. He quickly opened the back door and helped out one of the two girls and trotted away with her leaving behind a loud giggle that made Ahmad tremble. Suddenly an unexplainable fit of embarrassment overtook him while fear left him tight-lipped. He tried in vain to raise his head and look at the woman sitting alone with him in the car. Every time he tried to look up, he turned his face down leaving her perplexed not knowing what to do.
A few moments of silence passed and no one dared to set an eye on the other. When finally Ahmad looked up at her, he could not believe his eyes -the girl before him was no one but Ibtisam. Ibtisam the educated girl who rejected him as a husband, but is accepting him now as a sinner –a sinner in the way of sin.