Page 13 - Vladimir Bartol catalogue, 2019
P. 13

13whole body trembled. I was already falling in love with Mohammed. Of course, I thought, how would he have dared to write me the letter otherwise, if he weren’t young and handsome? And then I suddenly became afraid that he might be disappointed when he saw me. I reread that letter over a hundred times. By day I kept it next to my breast, and at night I carefully locked it away in a chest.  en came a second one, even more passionate and beautiful than the  rst. I was a ame with my secret love. And  nally Mohammed arranged a nighttime meeting on the terrace outside my window.  at’s how familiar he already was with my surroundings. Oh, Halima, how can I explain to you how I felt then?  at day I changed my mind a dozen times. I’ll go, I won’t go—back and forth endlessly, it seemed. Finally I decided not to go, and I held to that all the way up until the appointed time, when I went out onto the terrace, as if obeying a secret command. It was a marvelous night. Dark and moonless, although the sky was littered with tiny shining stars. I felt feverish and chilled by turns. I waited on the terrace like that for some time. I was just starting to think, what if all this is just a ruse? what if someone wanted to play a trick on me and taunt old Moses? when I heard a voice whispering, ‘Don’t be afraid. It’s me, sheik Mohammed.’ A man in a gray cloak vaulted over the railing as light as a feather, and, before I knew it, he had me in his arms. I felt as though worlds were being born and I was seeing in nity. He didn’t ask if I wanted to go with him. He took me by the waist and carried me as he climbed down a ladder into the garden. On the other side of the fenceI could see several horsemen.  ey took hold of me so he could scale the wall.  en he pulled me up into the saddle with him. O  we galloped, out of the city and into the dark of night.”“And all that happened to you?” Halima gasped. “Lucky, lucky Miriam!”“Oh, don’t say that, Halima. It breaks my heart when I think of what happened afterthat. We rode all night.  e moon rose from behind the hills and shone on us. I felt horrible and wonderful all at the same time, like when you listen to a fairy tale. For a long time I didn’t dare look in the face of the horseman who had me in his embrace. I only gradually relaxed and turned my eyes toward him. His gaze, like an eagle’s, was  xed on the road ahead of us. But when he turned to look at me, it became soft and warm likea deer’s. I fell in love with him so hard that I would have died for him on the spot. He was a magni cent man, my sheik Mohammed. He had a black mustache and a short, thick beard. And red lips. Oh, Halima! While we were on the road I became his wife ...  ey chased us for three days. My stepbrothers, my husband’s son and a whole pack of armed townsmen. Later I found out that, as soon as they discovered I’d escaped, they

   11   12   13   14   15