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The Circle of the Retired Intellectuals

Najati Al-Bukhari

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Amr never thought in the past that once upon a time he would be present in a place where only women are permitted to come and are expected to offer their condolences and their sympathies in a bereaved family house.

He could not imagine that he can do anything in life except being present in a place where women are only expected to be there. Or in other words, how could a man, a male, participate in a gathering, in a crowd and in a gathering where all participants are women, females? Amr asks himself this ambiguous question.

In the community where Amr is living, there are many occasions and situations in which men and women are totally and strictly separated. The three days designated for offering condolences is one of these occasions. Men go to the bereaved family house in the evening and women go to the same house in sorrow and grief in the morning. Therefore, it is impossible for Amr to ever think that he could go to the house of a bereaved family in the morning with women.

Determined Boy
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Therefore it is impossible for any man to go in the morning to offer condolences with the women. It is something totally unthinkable and unimaginable. So on this bases, in each quarter of the city, several bereaved family houses are open in the morning to receive the women only who come to offer their condolences to the bereaved family.

Woman with Hat 4
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Women come to the family is sorrow in the three consecutive days in the morning from nine till twelve o'clock at noon. Sometimes visitors and consolers could stay for more time but not till late in the afternoon.

After more than one hour of reading intensively the daily newspaper, Amr becomes completely obsessed by the idea of knowing what really goes on in the morning when women come to offer their condolences to the female members of the bereaved family.

Smile under the Hat 1
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Or, actually and in reality, the master of the house, Amr, is intending to discover be himself what goes on in the house of the house of the family in sorrow during the morning session when only women come. In this case, it would be absolutely acceptable to ask a cousin of his, an old woman, to tell him in details about what goes on in the morning of the bereaved family house.

Amr wants to witness and see by himself what goes on in the morning of sorrow. Besides, the main objective of Amr is to be engaged in an activity which is undertaken in the morning.

Anyhow, Amr thinks of this possibility, of his participation in the morning session for the offering of condolences with women. Every day, the daily newspaper is carried to the master of the house and he opens the pages where the condolences for women are mentioned. He studies the situation and he realized that the same opportunities of offering condolences are equally offered for men and women. But unfortunately, they, the men and the women, cannot be assembled at the same time in the same place.

Every day, the desire of Amr to visit a house in sorrow and grief in the morning increases and becomes irresistible. Every day, the visit of a bereaved house in the morning with women becomes more and more for Amr a reality. He is determined above all to know what goes on in the morning when all the visitors and the consolers are only women.

He poses to himself such questions and he discovers himself constantly very anxious to see some answers to such important but extremely delicate questions. For him, the house of sorrow and grief with all its salons, rooms, corridors reception rooms full of women who are engulfed in sadness and sorrow, is a matter of a riddle of which he knows practically nothing.

The house in sorrow and grief in the morning session with only women who are offering their condolences is for him a mysterious riddle. He himself should discover the secret of this puzzle and its reality.

Still, days after days pass by the old consul. Every day, he goes in the evening to the bereaved family houses to offer his condolences with the other men. But still Amr realizes that his free time in the morning is wasted. Day after day, he becomes determined to discover by himself what goes on in the morning in the house of bereavement when only women are assembled in the house.

Day after day, Amr is convinced that he himself should make a visit to a house in sorrow and bereavement when women are only received by the female members of the family in sorrow. Every day he arrives at the same conclusion. He should himself go to the family house in sorrow in the convenient time in the morning.

Amr regularly asks himself the following question. Is it possible for him to open this door of the female house of sorrow and grief? Could he be inside the salon in sorrow where all the consolers and the visitors are only women? For several days Amr totally forgets his dreams of being a visitor in a salon in sorrow and bereavement where all the consolers are women.

Every day in the afternoon and at five o'clock exactly Amr drives his car towards a house of a bereaved family. He stays there till ten o'clock and then he comes back to his house.

It seems that he constantly comes back to his house tired and exhausted. On a sunny day, and in his way for visiting a house in sorrow and bereavement, he discovers all of a sudden, in front of him and on the same pavement in which he is walking, a phantom, dressed, on all her body, by a black dress, entering a house not far from his house.

On that day, Amr, in the evening, is remembering without any interruption this mysterious phantom that walks like any other human being. For him, this phantom is a perplexing mystery, a challenge, and a defiance.

Couple by Sea
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

It has been reported that sometimes very few such veiled creatures could be seen walking in the paths and in the narrow alleys of the Quarter of the Rich. In other words those phantom-like creatures are nothing but women who dress themselves with an over-all black veil that covers and hides all their body with the exception of their twinkling, enticing, seducing, inviting, provoking, alluring and courting eyes.

Of course, such a black veil hides behind it either a beautiful face or an ugly one. It is said, furthermore, that in most cases, faces hidden by the veil are most probably ugly and very few of them are beautiful.

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Amr also has been noticing that the head scarf which some women started to put on their heads to hide from men's eyes their hair are unconsciously transforming all the community into a huge monastery where only nuns and religious sisters are given the right to exist and to live. Walking in some quarters where a considerable number of women and ill-fated little girls use the head scarf one would have the feeling of living in the medieval western world.

Amr gets more interested in the complete veil where only the alluring twinkling eyes appear and not in the head scarf where the hair is hidden. For the purposes and the aim of a plan, of a project, which he has in mind, he finds the complete black veil and not the head scarf as useful and practical.

Of course, in real life, he is against the complete veil and on the other hand he tolerates and even accepts the use of the head scarves when the woman using it does not look at all to be a nun or a religious sister.

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Amr, and by chance, whenever he goes out of the house to go to a nearby destination, sees before him this phantom, this black phantom, covered by the black veil that covers behind it a thin, slim, svelte and slender body.

Amr gets interested in this slim veiled woman because of the veil and because of her slimness. This phantom is a rare creature in the Square of the Rich. She is slim and slender while all other women have become fat, obese, corpulent, large, heavy and big like pigs. Because of their eating habit these women have become a symbol of ugliness.

Amr, between now and then, sees this black veil covered human being. Whenever he sees her he closes his eyes to avoid seeing this creature that is passing in front of him. Perpetually, he thinks that he does not have the right even to see her veiled and covered.

But why such a phantom goes out of her home and moves here and there in the quarter. Certainly, this is a woman, as it is shown by the way she walks and by the way she moves the various parts of her body while walking.

The same phantom is seen every day. The same ghost, the same specter, the same apparition walks every day in the narrow paths next to the villa of Amr and in few minutes time this apparition disappears at the end of the alley.

The daily passing of this phantom has become something of a daily ritual for all the people who see her in the alleys and the paths of the Quarter of the Rich. Nobody raises any question concerning her. Seeing her has become for the inhabitants of the quarter like seeing a walking tree or a moving full moon in the sky of the night or the passing of a lonely bird that is looking for its own branch in a lost tree. But now, this phantom, seen practically every day walking in the alleys of the streets of the Quarter of the Rich, attracts the attention of Amr. No doubt. the over-all and complete veil does not hinder or block the efforts of the ghost to walk in the right way. That is, she never stumbles and never falls down.

Most probably, this slim woman behind this veil, through her two eyes, has the right and the freedom to see all, that is all kinds of men, old and young, ugly and handsome, fat and slim, muscular and skinny, blond and dark, smiling or frowning, bearded or without beards, mustached or without, with a headgear or without, with a western costume or with a gown, etc, etc.

Of course, like all women, she has her theoretical and hypothetical preferences. But anyhow, nobody could know what her choice is, who is her ideal, who is her hero and preference. Of course, she is married with children, three, and her husband is really her ideal man and her only and final choice. She is walking veiled. She enjoys seeing everything and everybody without being seen. What a heavenly and a holy privilege.

Amr, every time he sees this phantom he thinks of something else. He does not like to make her, the phantom, the centre of his attention, and in fact, of his life. For him, she is really a riddle and a mystery. However, at the same time, she is untouchable in the sense that socially and religiously speaking he is not allowed to stop her and then to speak to her. It is not only the veil that prevents him to know this riddle, but, in addition, it is the absolute high wall that separates man form women in general. So she is a world of her own and all the atmosphere around her is full of millions of the monitoring eyes that are guarding her against any physical or sentimental aggression, molestation, harassment or teasing.

Of course, Amr is not worried. It is well known about him that he has not been living the life of a hermit, of a saint. So he can imagine what is hidden behind the black veil. However, Amr has never been critical of anything especially regarding the personal choice in the field of dress, costumes, attire, outfit and clothing. In most cases, he does not care what others dress provided all respect the tradition of morality, decency, modesty and respectability.

In his case, he likes without exception to be very well dressed with purely classical man's costumes which will always be dark, constantly dark, with well chosen neck-ties and well cut shirts and leather made shoes. All the various components of his dress are imported from abroad, England, France and Italy.

Day after day, Amr develops a sort of appreciation of this supposedly female phantom. In the quarter in which he lives, that of the Rich, this is the only woman who dresses herself in all black veil that covers her from the top of the head till her feet. He never saw another phantom like her in the quarter.

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He thinks that she is free to dress herself like this, completely veiled with the exception of her eyes. Nevertheless, Amr does not see at all any heavenly justification for hiding one's face behind a black veil. Amr believes in the sanctity of human freedom and human choice. Consequently, this phantom has to be respected because she has chosen to be totally veiled.

Indeed, she, the veiled woman, passes by many people daily without causing, in the normal human being, who happens to be there, any feeling of curiosity or even of enmity. Nobody at all would ever think to snatch the veil from this walking ghost. Probably, so many passers-by think that this phantom is nothing but a man, a young man and nothing else. However, Amr does not think at all that this walking ghost could be a man, a young man. When she passes by him, because she usually walks faster than him, he could smell all the enchanting fragrance that could come from a woman of fully and completely feminine.

Certainly, this possibility, of the veiled phantom not being a woman, is very weak. The passing phantom is a young woman of more than twenty five years old. Amr starts to see the phantom and by chance twice a week. Little by little, he could guess and know the approximate time of her daily adventure, of the walk, so he pretends to be walking until he sees her from a distance. Amr never thought of stopping this ghost so as to have a chat with her, with him, or probably with it.

Behind the veil there could be she or he, a young woman or a young man and behind the veil there might be it, a robot, or an unidentifiable creature coming from the outer space.

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So many times, Amr thinks that this veiled creature could be a robot. Why not? Nowadays Amr believes many members of the community behave and conduct themselves like the robots. They do not live in accordance with their own instincts and their own reasoning but according to standards of behavior imposed by an irrational, unreasonable, absurd and ludicrous outside world. Amr thinks that God, the Almighty, is the one who knows the identity of the phantom. After all, who can prove that this phantom hides behind its veil a young man and not a woman of whatever age?

One day, Amr notices that the phantom who just by passed him to the opposite direction, is really weeping, crying. He heard her sobbing which has given him the proof that this phantom could only be a female, a young woman, or less probably, a girl who has just passed to the stage of being an adolescent. Who could cry and lament in the community except the female?

Anyhow Amr forgets the sobbing of the phantom. He does not want to have any indication that the female hiding behind the veil could be a suffering young girl, a suffering young woman. At that moment, when Amr hears the sobbing of the phantom, he remembers the story of the young wife who has been asked by her husband to put on her body this over-all black veil. He prevents her from uttering a single word so as not to give the chance for any passerby near his house to hear the voice of his wife. Could the suffering and sobbing passing phantom wrapped by the black veil be that young woman who is asked by her husband not to utter a single word?

Amr notices recently that the phantom has stopped having the daily walk in the morning. For five consecutive days the phantom has not shown at all. The retired old consul got much worried.

One day, and at midnight, Abdu wakes up his master to tell him that a funeral procession has passed in front of the villa. Abdu tells his master that the young woman who used to go out veiled like a phantom has been discovered dead or more precisely killed, murdered and slaughtered and nobody knows by whom.

Abdu tells his master that the family of the dead phantom decided to bury her at mid-night as it is the tradition with some of the families who respect the traditions of the community.

Since his return from abroad, from foreign countries in which he served his country as a consul and as a member of the diplomatic corps, he has seen so far only one creature dressed in an over-all black veil costume that covers all the body with the exception of the eyes.

The phantom of the quarter has on her hands black gloves. Even though the weather is almost summer time, the ghost has been seen incessantly putting on her hands the black gloves. Nobody could explain why the hands should be covered like the face by parts of the black veil.

One or two phantoms have been seen by Amr in his visits in the down town streets of the city. Otherwise, this women black veil costume is not as common as the other black veil costume, the head scarf that has become practically common to most girls and women in the middle and lower social classes. The head scarf has also spread in a sophisticated manner, amongst the few of the upper class grown up females.

The other veil, referred to now, is nothing but the white head scarf put on the head. It hides only the hair of the female. To Amr, he does not have any objection to putting the scarf on the head. Amr believes that the scarf is used by a number of women in the countries in which he served as a consul. In the countries of the west, the use of a scarf by a lady, a woman, or by a girl, is not objectionable at all. But when this simple head scarf is used by women of non-occidental cultures, then it is considered as a symbol of backwardness.

Amr realizes this fact and he does not try to show his basic attitude towards the use of the scarves. Some inhabitants of the Quarter of the Rich do not look positively to the use of the scarf by the female young generations.

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The women of the quarter adopt the position of the Occident vis-à-vis the use of scarves. Very few girls and women of the Quarter of the Rich where Amr lives use the head scarves to cover their heads and the hair. But in spite of all of this liberalism one could see between now and then a ghost and a phantom in this quarter of the rich in spite of the fact that the phantom that used to be seen by Abdu and Amr died and has been already buried in the cemetery.

One day and after much contemplation and thinking, Amr decides to undertake an adventure which nobody could have ever thought of. It is an unbelievable and unusual adventure. Amr has taken this decision without seeking the advice of anybody whosoever. He does not even seek the advice of his cousin Sari or his friend the ex-ambassador, Monkar.

He decides to make a visit to a house in sorrow and bereavement so as to offer his condolences and his deep sympathies to the family of the defunct. But this time he determines to go in the morning starting from nine thirty and in the time when only women are invited and are welcomed.

This house in sorrow and sadness could be either here in the Quarter of the Rich, or in any other quarter of the city. The daily newspaper could be consulted so as to choose the house in sorrow which could be visited by retired consul.

This visit is considered by him as an adventure because he would be visiting this chosen and selected house of a bereaved family as a woman and not as a man. This visit is considered as an adventure because he will disguise himself in a complete black veil dress exactly like that which has been used by the phantom of his quarter.

All his body, from the head till the feet, would be covered by the black veil with the exception of his eyes. The hands would have on them the black colored gloves. Nothing, nothing will be visible from his masculine figure with the exception of his eyes, but not all his eyes, because his eyes are those of a man. The veil on the face would skillfully hide his eyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows.

The only thing that would be visible from his total body would be the eyeball of his right eye. That is all. Amr comes to the logical conclusion that he can make a morning visit, like all the other women visitors, to any house in sorrow and bereavement for offering his condolences to the members of the family of the defunct.

Of course, Amr has to have, to procure, the black veil dress. He has to have the black gloves. He has to have the female pair of moderate high heel shoes. At that point of the adventure Amr does not have anything, any part of this dress, the black veil the black glove and the pair of shoes.

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Amr knows that there might be a store down town in the main avenue for the sale of the various components of the total veil dress. Indeed, up till this stage of the adventure Amr does not tell even his loyal and faithful servant about it.

The project is still a secret that is kept known only to him. Nobody else knows anything about it. Without this black veil dress he would not be able to execute his project. It would remain only as a dream and nothing else.

Unfortunately, nobody could help him in the execution and in the implementation of this project. He knows very well that he has to depend upon himself only. The only one who can make his dream a reality is he himself. As a matter of fact, Amr has totally forgotten where he could track down the store where the black veil dress is available for sale. The store specialized in selling this type of woman's black veil dress could be located somewhere in the main avenue. Yet this might be only a guess. The avenue does not have such a store.

Finally, one day, Amr goes down town, to the main avenue. There in the avenue, he roams and roams and he walks here and there looking for the store that sells the black veil dress. He stops somewhere near a store where women clothes are sold. He asks about the store that sells the black veil dress.

At last he stops in a shop where the owner tells him that such a shop could not be tracked down at all in this famous avenue. The owner of the shop repeats himself when he tells Amr that this black veil dress could not be available anywhere in the whole city.

Amr gets extremely worried. How could he realize his dream without the black veil dress? He gets disturbed and he asks himself how he could have a solution for the problem. He enters a big store for selling the various kinds of dress for men, women and children. Somebody there advises him to import this black veil dress from a neighboring country where all the grown up females put on the over-all black veil dress.

A merchant proposes to him that he could ask somebody to procure for him the dress from a neighboring country in his frequent trips to these black veil countries. Actually, by special arrangement, Amr is able to get this over-all black veil dress from this proposed neighboring country. Of course, the size of the required veil dress is specified to fit exactly the size of Amr.

Until now, the story of the over-all black veil dress is kept secret only to himself and perhaps to his own servant, Abdu.

One day, he goes down to the main avenue and gets the dress from the merchant who travels frequently to the neighboring black veil dress country. Amr tells the merchant that he wants to get this dress for his sister who has the same size as his.

Once, and after few days from his acquisition of the dress, Amr asks his servant Abdu to come to him in the veranda. It is still the morning, and Amr by now is finishing taking his cup of coffee and reading the daily newspaper. He is seated in his sofa in a relaxing mood. The daily newspaper is placed on the low table in the middle of the veranda. Abdu, as usual, comes hastily and he is there standing now before his master waiting for any order to be given to him by his master. Amr is now in a meditation mood and is looking at the scene of the neighboring villa and small palaces.

"Abdu, listen to me, if you please attentively. Lend me please your ears because I am going to tell you an important news which you should keep as a secret to you and not to anybody else. Look at that small marvelous bag lying nearby that chair at the corner. This marvelous bag contains a surprise. There in the bag is found a secret which would be revealed to you just now. This would be a secret between you and me and this secret would continue to be known to you and to me in the future and to anybody else." said Amr to his servant.

"Master, do not worry at all. I would keep the secret in my heart. No one would have the chance to know this secret which you are going to tell me." answered the servant politely and solemnly.

"Look at that bag, at that black bag over there. From that bag I am going now to bring out the secret, the riddle and mystery which I have been talking about." said Amr while he is taking out of the bag the woman's black veil dress.

Amr shows this black veil dress with pride and some vanity to his servant Abdu who gets petrified. Abdu shivers for a while when he sees the black veil dress. Still he is not aware of the exact magnitude of the surprise and the mystery.

"Now, lend me your ears and listen to me attentively. You should know now that this black costume which you see in front of you is mine. The black dress belongs to your master, to me. The black dress is mine. It does not belong to the neighbors. You know, I went down to the main avenue of the city and there I asked a merchant who has business relationship with a neighboring country to bring me this black veil dress from the country in which most of the women use this black veil dress. This is how he earns his living; he imports and exports commodities. So he imported for me this black veil costume. I told him that I need it for my sister."

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"You know I am going to disguise myself by putting on me this black veil dress so that I would be able, permitted to enter into a bereaved family house during the morning when all the visitors would only be women consolers and not men. I think this would be a marvelous and an un-regrettable adventure and a unique experience in the fairy-land or perhaps in the land of witches and sorceresses. This should be for me a real adventure because I do not know exactly what I would see and experience there in the gathering, in the congregation of women in sorrow and bereavement."

"I never asked in the past, from my family, males and females, about these condolences of women gathering. The most important thing for me is that I would be occupied, time-wise, both in the morning as well as in the afternoon and in the evening every day of the week. In the morning I would be in company with women and in the afternoon and in the evening with men. On this basis, every three days, I would have the chance of visiting the same family of the defunct in the morning and in the evening."

"An important aspect of this program of visits is that in the morning nobody would know me because I would be completely veiled from the top of the head till my feet. Furthermore, I would not utter a single word because if I ever had uttered a single word all women in the assembly would have discovered me to be a man. As you can see, Abdu, this is not a complicated operation. For me it looks to be very simple and easy provided that I put on my body this black veil dress. This operation is very simple to understand. By the application of this operation and reasoning I would be totally busy starting from nine o'clock in the morning until ten in the evening. It is well understood that at the time of lunch I would come to my house to have my midday meal and I would be telling you stories about my strange visit to the bereaved family house in the morning with women." explained Amr in details his coming adventure to Abdu who was listening to his master, with astonishment and admiration.

"Yes, yes master!!! It is not complicated this idea of visiting of the bereaved family in the morning with women. You would be disguised and nobody would be able to know that are a man because you would be perfectly disguised by the black veil dress. But I want to warn you master. It is impossible to be in complete disguise without putting on woman's shoes. All people would discover that you are a man if you used your men shoes imported from Paris and Rome. I think it is better for you to use women's shoes. Isn't it so? It is easy to have a pair of women shoes that fit your feet. Many shops have these women shoes and of your size." said the servant to his master.

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"I think that you are right. It is very logical that I should have on my feet woman's shoes. Otherwise, my disguise would be considered incomplete. You are right Abdu." answered the master.

Amr is convinced by what his servant has already said. He should have this black woman's shoes. It is preferable that they should be black and simple in style. Amr asks his servant to go down town, to the main avenue, so as to buy for his master a pair of woman's shoes.

Abdu becomes extremely enthusiastic in being involved in the preparation and the implementation of the project of his master to disguise himself like an old woman. He knows the size of the feet of his master very well. There, in the main avenue, Abdu would buy the pair of shoes and come back in a very short time to his master's house.

Later on, Abdu, the faithful servant, enters the house with a small box in his hand inside of which is the pair of shoes. Abdu tells his master and in details all his adventure to buy a pair of woman's shoes but with the size of Amr's feet. By chance, the feet of Amr are of an abnormal size as if they are the feet of a giant.

The servant messenger goes from one shoe-shop to another in looking for the shoes to be bought for his master. Practically all the shop-keepers tell Abdu that they never heard in their life that there are women's feet of this size. The shop-keepers said that this pair of shoes should be made, manufactured. They advise Abdu to go to a shoe-maker so that the shoes of the required large size could be made.

Abdu, however, continues to look for the required pair of shoes. At last, and in an isolated corner of a narrow path, Abdu comes across a shop in which old shoes of women are sold, that is already used and old shoes. There in the shop, Abdu discovers the required pair of shoes. He pays the price, and he runs back to his master's house.

As soon as Abdu arrives at his master's house he becomes completely astonished and even puzzled to see before him a completely disguised human being, all dressed in a black veil costume and nothing is visible from the body except the eye-balls.

Everything looks for Abdu as a mystery, as a riddle, as a puzzle, as an enigma. Of course, the servant knows perfectly well who is hiding in this black sack. He knows that his master is disguising himself. The servant is witnessing this funny scene in front of him and is about to laugh. Yet he controls his emotions and his feelings. He knows that if he laughed his master would be very angry. So Abdu keeps silent in looking at his master disguised as a woman.

Amr rushes to the box of shoes, takes the shoes out of it and looks at them. He continues looking at the shoes in fascination and admiration. He never had touched in his life a woman's shoes. Besides, this is an old type of shoes. He thinks that the one who owned these shoes in the past should be dead by now, or she might have bought many other new pairs of shoes.

Amr looks at the heels of the shoes with astonishment. Maybe, he is wondering how he could walk with these long heels at the back of his feet. Perhaps he finds the heels a little bit long for him.

"In spite of the fact that the heels of the shoes are not extraordinarily high, long, yet it would be difficult for me to use them, to walk in them. They look to me very high. For sure, it would be difficult for me to walk in them. It would be an impossible task to walk in a normal way without attracting suspicion and doubt." said Amr, the master of the house with a mood of being disappointed.

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"Don't worry my master. There is no scope or a possibility of retreat, for a withdrawal. You have to accept these black shoes. I suggest that you try to use them here in the house. Try to use them. Try to walk with them, that is, while they are on your feet. I advise you to try them several times. Then you have to exercise yourself while you are wearing them. I am sure, master, that it would be easy for you to walk with these woman's shoes. It is only a matter of exercise and training. Anyhow you should be the first man in history to use woman's shoes. Have you ever heard that a certain man has put on the shoes of women for going to a visit? This is impossible." said Abdu to his master.

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Suffering with Hope
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

"No doubt, I will meet some difficulties. I would try my best to learn how to walk with these female shoes. I have to train myself just now and in front of you. I want to walk from where I am now up to the door-steps and for several times. You would watch me so as to give me your comments. Nothing is impossible for man with a will. As they say, when there is a will there is a way. Let me try to use these black woman's shoes." said the master of the house to his servant Abdu.

Amr sits in a chair and takes off his pair of shoes imported recently from Paris and instantly he puts his feet in the female second hand old shoes with somewhat high heels. First, while sitting he tries to move his toes inside the shoes but he realizes that it is difficult to put on these woman's shoes.

Anyhow, he feels that the shoes are of a size that suits his feet. No doubt, the fact that they have been already used for some time makes its present use by another person as a somewhat easy task. Still he is seated and asks his servant to go and see whether anybody is knocking at the door. The servant answers that nobody is there.

Amr now stands up and tries to walk. But he really feels that there are some difficulties even in making few steps. He imagines himself to be about to fall.

At last he discovers a solution. He asks his servant Abdu to come near to him. Amr puts his right hand on the shoulder of Abdu and starts to walk. Amr walks for few steps, three or four steps, then he imagines himself walking on a high rope between the summits of two high mountains. At the end of his walk he smiles for a while because he discovers that he would be able to walk after one or two trials, attempts. Amr feels extremely excited. He has at last, succeeded in walking with woman's shoes on his feet. There is no difficulty at all. Now, Amr leaves the shoulder of his servant and asks him to go far from him, but not too far, or to outside.

Now Amr has to depend upon himself in walking with the woman's shoes of his two feet. Unfortunately, once he makes two steps, he stumbles several times. He is at least confused. When he tries to stand up he feels he is about to fall on the floor. What an embarrassing situation.

For the moment, he thinks that he has failed and that all his dreams are unrealizable. Abdu runs for the help of his master who feels relieved in seeing Abdu coming hastily for his help. Of course, Amr, the master, is satisfied for the help rendered to him by his servant.

"It is really difficult, very difficult for me to walk without your help. However, I should try to walk for several times and here in front of you. One should not surrender, give up and succumb to difficulties. There is always a hope to succeed. Yet, one should continue trying. Now, I should take some rest. I feel more or less tired. It is the time for taking lunch. After that I would take some rest. Then in the evening I would resume the exercise. No doubt, there is hope for my success in walking with the woman's shoes. Listen to me, Abdu, my main aim is to succeed in walking with the female shoes on my feet." declared Amr to his servant Abdu who was listening to his master attentively.

In his bedroom, and by himself and without the company of the servant, Amr takes off the black veil dress hastily and puts on his normal costume of men.

By five o'clock in the afternoon, he must go to the house of the family of Daukhan for presenting his condolences to the bereaved family for the death of the father who had been in retirement since five years.

So many stories are circulating concerning the real reason for the death of this old man. Anyhow, the most probable cause is the cancer of the stomach. It is said that since ten days the defunct was really enjoying a good health and was active during the afternoons in going for short walks around his house.

Ten days ago, the father began to suffer from the pain in his stomach. It was not difficult for the doctors of the hospital to diagnose the pain to be caused by an advanced stage of cancer in the stomach. The father died on the tenth day of his suffering from the pain in the stomach. Indeed, nobody mentions the possibility of the death of the father in some strange circumstances.

The father, the defunct, has several sons and daughters and all of them were waiting the day of his death so that each of the legal descendants would get his share of the family's wealth and fortune. All his children are worried and all of them have children and family responsibilities of their own. These descendants are all present in the house of sorrow to receive the condolences of the consolers.

At ten o'clock exactly, Amr stands up and prepares himself to leave the house of sorrow and mourning. In a very short time, the famous retired consul arrives at his house where he finds his servant waiting for him at the doorsteps of his magnificent villa.

The door of the villa is closed by the servant. As soon as he finds himself inside his house, the master of the house rushes immediately to his bedroom. There he takes off his normal daily masculine dress and starts to put on the over-all black veil dress of women. He also puts on his high heel women black shoes and the black colored gloves. Amr walks few steps in the salon of his house, slowly and prudently and without the presence of his servant. Then he repeats this exercise for several times until he becomes more or less confident that he could walk with high heels woman's shoes without stumbling or falling down on the floor.

While Amr is carrying out this exercise, he decides to take his dinner while he is putting on his over-all black veil dress. Even, he decides to take his dinner while putting on his black gloves on his hands.

Of course, Amr has to leave the salon at once because it is really the time for dinner and he thinks that Abdu is waiting for him. It is really somewhat late and he should hurry up to go to the dining room. As soon as the master of the house arrives he finds his servant waiting for him.

The Circle of the Retired Intellectuals - 12 of 20 - Top Menu / Bottom Menu

Abdu, the servant, is absolutely astonished to see his master coming into the dining room like a phantom. In spite of the surprise of the servant, Amr does not give any explanation for coming to the dinner in this black veil dress.

Baby Plant on Table 7
Above artwork is by the author's son Nawaf Al-Bukhari... See more!
© 1980-2017 by Nawaf Al Bukhari, Amman-JORDAN and Dubai-UAE

Abdu is really wondering how his master could eat through his mouth while his face including his mouth is covered by the black veil, of course, with the exception of the eye-balls. However, the master of the house realizes that it would be impossible to eat while all of his face is covered by the black veil. In a much unexpected way, Amr leaves the dining room and comes back in a short time dressing up in an ordinary man's costume.

The servant is very satisfied to see his master dressed up in a normal masculine way. The master of the house sits in his usual seat at the head of the long table with a smile on his face. Abdu discovers that his master is actually now somewhere else, not in his dining room. His spirit is really busy with the over-all black veil dress and how he would be using it tomorrow so as to visit with the women visitors a bereaved family house.

For tomorrow, Amr should choose another family in sorrow and grief. This family to be chosen for tomorrow is an important one. For the first time, the family to be chosen would be visited in the morning by Amr to offer his condolences to the women of the family in sorrow. Amr would visit in the evening the same family as it has been normal so far to do when men come to offer their condolences.

In order to choose this family in sorrow and grief so as to be visited by Amr in the morning with women and in the evening with men, the master of the house goes through the daily newspaper and at last comes to a page in which he chooses a family in sorrow and bereavement. Of course, it is not difficult to come across such a family because hundreds of names of families in sorrow are mentioned in the newspaper.

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The Circle of the Retired Intellectuals

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