Judith Barry | Cairo stories | Fatthiya

…Cairo stories – Fatthiya

Fathiya | Woman of the Lane

I tell you about me.
Iʼm not always old.
I was young, like this street!
But now… not that old.
There are cars when I was born.
What I tell you?
About me…
What you want to know?

You know, God loves me. And I love God. God be praised. I pray five times a day. God… wants me to Haj, go to Haj, yeah. But, I am old, but God still loves me, God is like that. He is very big. Give me two hundred pounds so I can go to Haj. God bless your child.

I have something for you… you come work here when I am not here at this kiosk. You not stealing, I know. They donʼt know you here. So you are perfect for this job. And, eh, I can go…

Feel this, feel how cold, the coldest one in Cairo. How much you pay me for this soda… hmm, hmm. I have to teach you everything, hmm, everything… Itʼs ok.
You come to the right place.

See that man, he nice, he give me money, but now he give me evil eye. He think I donʼt see him, but I see him. He give me money for my operation last year, but I donʼt do the operation, and I donʼt give him his money. But you know, important now for me to go to Haj.

Because I see it all… I see the last days of the King… Abdul Nassar die. God be praised. No, I donʼt like him, no, no, no… Everything lost… Everything gone… My family lost. My husband… no job. We hurt a lot. No, no, no, no…and my… my children, they go, too. My husband, my husband… He… He hurt a lot.
God be praised.

When Sadat came, eh, we bought this kosh. Yes. God only protect us. And, eh, maybe, you know, we have something, but…But then, my husband die.
God be praise…

…Look how I take care of this place… Feel, feel how cold. NO, this one, not the one in your hand. This one. Buy, please buy, and this one, too. This piece of chocolate, see, yes for later when you are hungry… Look this is all I have and I give to you. Where are you go? Come back… You give me now twenty pounds. Pay now… This is not a gift from Aunt Fathiya.


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