Page 21 - Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT
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Fiction SANJE 23“Apama. But it’s even more dangerous to talk about her than Miriam. Miriam is kind and likes us. But Apama is mean and hates us. She knows Sayyiduna well too. But be careful you don’t let on to anyone that you know anything.”“I won’t, Sara.”Sara washed Halima’s hair faster.“You’re so sweet,” she whispered. Halima was embarrassed butpretended not to have heard anything. There was so much more she needed to find out about.“Who is Adi?” she asked. “He’s a eunuch.”“What’s that, a eunuch?”“A man who isn’t really a man.” “What does that mean?”Sara began explaining it to her in more detail, but Halima rebuffed her irritably, “I don’t want to hear about that.”“You’re going to have to hear about a lot of other things like it.” Sara was visibly hurt.The washing finished, Sara began to massage Halima’s scalp withfragrant oils. Then she brushed her hair out. She would also have liked to hug and kiss her, but Halima cast such a menacing look up at her that she was afraid to. She led her from the washroom out into the sun so that her hair could dry faster. A group of the girls weeding flower beds nearby noticed them and approached.“Where have you two been all this time?” they asked.Halima lowered her eyes, but Sara responded volubly.“If only you’d seen how dirty the poor thing’s hair was! It was asif she’d never had it washed in her lifetime. I barely managed to get it under control, but she’s going to need at least one more thorough wash- ing before we get it to where it needs to be.”Thank goodness Miriam isn’t here, Halima thought. She would have picked up on her bad conscience immediately, and if she’d started asking, Halima wouldn’t have been able to hold back. She would have seen that she hadn’t been able to keep her promise not to ask questions even for a single day.When the other girls left, Sara scolded her.

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