I didn’t want to let her down. She was a fellow teacher in the language institute and a very dear friend. When my husband went on trips, which was often, she’d look out for me, so when she made the suggestion to go to the student banquet, I didn’t have the heart to say no.
We were the first ones there. We chose seats right next to the big floor to ceiling glass windows. Out below us, the sparkling lights of Beirut mesmerized. A young couple sat on the veranda, outside the glass partitions, enjoying a meal in the cool night air. They were warmed by the love that hung around them in the smoke from their hubbly bubblies (hookas). The whole atmosphere was romantic and beautiful. My heart constricted. Slowly the students started to filter in, and invariably, they would come over to give us kisses and greetings. It was a lovely evening, but my heart was heavy. I looked at the beautiful girls: hair…stylishly coiffed, make-up…flawless, dresses and skirts short…tight…revealing….sexy. I tried not to cry as I flashed them all smiles.
Picture taking time: the girls posing like models, showing off long sleek legs, the young men acting cool…models one and all. I sat at my table, feeling old at 46…Old. One of the students would always come over to me and flirt…such a sweet young man. He made me feel young. As I smiled at one of my pretty students further down, I thought to myself as I looked at her…”That, that was ME.” I remembered what it felt like to be young and beautiful, what it felt like to have young men swarm…what it felt like…
I tried to push away the thoughts. I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I looked up into sky blue eyes peering out at me from a handsome bearded face. There was Ryan, one of the young Americans who had joined our communication staff, camera in hand. He flashed a killer smile as he leaned in and said, above the pounding sound of the live band, “So, when are you going to show us your moves?”
“What?” I looked at him incredulously.
He smiled showing nice even teeth. “The little birdy told me that you are quite the dancer.”
I smiled, feeling like a million dollars. “Maybe not tonight,” was all I could manage.
Eileen M Ghali
TO BE CONTINUED......