(This story contains mild sexual content)
‘She loves me, yes? Oh, she is so very beautiful. I love her. Brother, how do I know whether she loves me?’ The bearded stranger put his hand on my shoulder and asked me to calm down. ‘But you know! You will know whether she loves me,’ I continued. I was confident he knew about these things. The stranger had checked into my hotel the day before. A foreign girl, American I think, had waited while he checked in, and then they’d gone out together. Mahmud, the hotel’s security guard, had then seen them in the evening with three other girls, all European, and some men, including an Egyptian, at the shishe bar at the end of the road. This man clearly knew about girls. I was confident he could help. ‘This German girl, brother. She is staying here. She is alone. Oh, oh, oh, she is beautiful. She looks at me and… and... I think I know what she wants but… I don’t know what she wants. You are European, you know what she wants! Yes?’
The stranger didn’t know what she wanted. I suppose he was right; how could he? Anyway, he did me a favour with condoms, kapot as we call them in Egypt. Christians sell them in their pharmacies. I’m Muslim so I wouldn’t go into a shop and ask for them. He bought some kapot for me - and then he went away to Alexandria for a few days.
When the stranger returned to Cairo he came back to the hotel. As he saw me at the reception desk he raised his eyebrows and asked about the German girl. ‘She kissed me! That very night, after we spoke, she came back late. I was on reception. We talk a bit and she strokes my cheek and she kisses me! I was in a dream all night while I was on duty, brother; all night. The next night I don’t see her at all. I knock on her door, to see her. She is in her room. Mahmud is in her room too.’