On his way to Sadeq’s house Munthir tried to dial Amal’s number again. He needed some sign, any sign, that she was interested, but Amal never picked up. Her absence enraged him. He thought to himself “Here I am trying to contact this girl and I’m feeling guilty about seeing a bride, and here she is not even picking up.”. A few minutes later he sent her an SMS asking her if everything was ok, but there was no reply to that SMS either. “Probably she is out with other men. No one is too busy to pick up.” he thought to himself. In his state of anger, he made the feelings of guilt he had previously harbored vanish into nothingness, He decided that he might as well give the bride he seeing a chance.


15 minutes later and with a mindset of anything goes, he arrived to Sadeq’s house. Sadeq’s wife welcomed him at the door, saying everything that her mother taught her to say since childhood in the company of guests “We are so happy to have you”, she enthusiastically shouted. “our house now glows because you are in it welcome Munthir, we are privileged to see you here”.
“It is great to see you too Haneen.” Munthir replied. “I was thrilled when Sadeq told me you were coming to dinner.” she said, and Munthir replied “You shouldn’t have bothered yourself.”, “Oh it is no bother at all, how many times does our good friend Munthir come to visit us. Please do come in”.
Little did Munthir know that Haneen had fought with Sadeq the night before over this invitation being so short notice. In fact, she was hardly speaking to Sadeq due to their little argument.
Sadeq then came through doorway and welcomed his friend with a similar set of pleasantries as he ushered him into the main living room. Haneen followed the men and she asked Munthir, just as he was sitting down “What can I get you to drink.”, “Get him Red bull with lots of ice, and a slice of lemon, ” Sadeq said “I know your favorite drink Munthir”, and with this command Haneen obeyed.
As Haneen walked into the kitchen, Munthir couldn’t help but notice that she was well dressed. Although she was well into her pregnancy, she still managed to look attractive. She had flaunted her dark eyes with elaborate eye make-up, and the house looked cozy.
The air around them gave off an aroma of good home cooked chicken, combined with a scent of jasmine air freshener. The living room, was dimly lit with a golden hue . The glow came out of the light purple soft floating candles dancing in matching bowls on the side coffee tables.
Munthir thought to himself. “If I get married would my house look like that, and would my wife make me this happy. Haneen cooks, cleans, has a baby boy coming on the way, and Sadeq is a happy man. He is proud to be seen with her.” Then, his mind went back to Amal, he glanced at his phone and still there was no reply from her. “If I were to marry a girl like Amal would she give me all that? I’m sure she would be too busy. She might even make me do the dishes.”
Interrupting his thoughts, Haneen walked back into the room carrying his drink in a silver tray, and behind her stood a young curved girl dressed in a sleeveless dress that was the same color as the candles in the room. The girl’s hair was a golden to chocolate shade of brown, with an even

number of waves bouncing off both her almost bear shoulders. Her green eyes were made even greener with jade eyeliner, and her lips shined with the same shade of purple bouncing off of her dress and the candles. Her skin looked as if it was lightly kissed by the sun, and her toe and fingernails were purple too. On her feet, she wore silver sandals. “Compared to Amal, she was definitely prettier.” thought Munthir.

“I want to introduce you to Jana,” said Haneen and the girl shyly extended her hand.”Sadeq dear, can you help me in the kitchen.” she said, and Sadeq followed his wife out of the room, as he said to the two strangers, “Make yourselves comfortable.”
Now that the two were alone in the room, Jana smiled and said” So, what would you like to know about me.” Munthir replied “That’s direct, what do you want to tell me.” “I will tell you everything you want to know,” said Jana as she leaned closer to him,” I am going to be honest, I want to get married. I don’t want to date, and I work now as a teacher, but when I have kids, I may not work. So, I want a man who is responsible , financially able, and who will love me. So, we both know why we are here no need to pretend. Tell me about yourself. ” Munthir proceeded to tell Jana about himself, and she agreed to all his likes and dislikes, calling them her own. She even told him, she liked the same football team he cheered for. Little did he know that she had asked of this information from Haneen.
At dinner she even sat next to Munthir. She put food on his plate, and when he said he was full, she begged him to eat some more. For dessert, Haneen served a chocolate cake that she told Munthir Jana had baked herself. Jana then smiled at Munthir and said, “I’m a great cook in the kitchen and in any kitchen if you know what I mean.” causing him to choke in astonishment at her words. “Maybe she didn’t mean what I thought she meant,” he thought to himself, as he tried to wipe the look of shock off his face.


Within the next hour the four engaged in light conversation. During that conversation Jana managed to tell Munthir more about herself. She told him that she didn’t feel women should work long hours because their prime duty is to take care of the home, and that a woman must not get anything more than a bachelors’ degree in university as the man is the boss of the house. She poured him mint tea and told him it was fascinating that he was so knowledgeable. “I would never know half of what he knew,” but then again, you are the man. You should know more.”
She then excused herself at around 10:00 pm , making sure to say that she comes from a conservative family and that her dad would be very upset if she stayed out late. She covered her sleeveless dress with a sheer almost see-through cloak, as she said “I am really scared of walking to my car alone at night.”
Sadeq smiled at Munthir and said “Take Jana to her car.” as Jana wanted by the door.
Walking in the street at night Jana leaned closer to Munthir and said, “I’m a direct girl, and I just want to tell you I had a great time tonight. It was great meeting you. Here is my number,” and she handed him a piece of paper from her purse. Munthir couldn’t help but wonder why she had the number already written. However, she interrupted his thoughts and asked, “aren’t you going to give me yours?”
“Yes sure, sure I will,” he said “do you have a pen? ” “You are so funny”, she replied “just dial my number on your phone and give me a missed call”. Munthir had no choice but to obey.
Back in Sadeq’s house , Sadeq said, “So don’t I know how to pick them?” Munthir replied, “She seemed a bit too direct, don’t you think ?” Haneen rushed out of the kitchen saying “No Munthir, you don’t understand. she acts this way because she is innocent. I know exactly what you are referring to. She didn’t mean the comment you heard, or you didn’t understand what she meant. I know her mom they are good people. And, she is beautiful, a cook, a good girl what more do you want.” “I will tell you what,” Sadeq said, “first meetings don’t mean a lot. See her a second time, try to call her on the phone. Let me give you her number.” “She gave me her number,” Munthir said. “I know,” Haneen interrupted, “We will go out for coffee all four of us next week. It couldn’t hurt. If you hate her by then, we will let it go.”
On his way home, Munthir finally got a call from Amal. As soon as he picked up she said “I’m so sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier. My cousin had a car accident and I was in the hospital with her.” Relieved at these words, Munthir said, “I hope she feels better soon,” and from that point they spoke laughed and commented about their days. When he told her about his day, he conveniently deleted the whole bride episode, as she made him laugh at episodes that happened to her during her day.


In his desperation to make some decision about Jana v’s Amal he blurted out “I need to talk to you, I need to see you tomorrow.” Delighted by his persistence Amal agreed, and so they both made plans to meet at Turtle Green.
In the meantime, Jana was having a phone conversation with Haneen, in which she told her that Munthir was perfect. He had the financial security she had always dreamt of, but he was too serious for her taste. Haneen asked, “So, would you like to meet him again ?” “Sure” replied Jana, “Since when does personality have anything to do with marriage. I know how to make him do what I want, the way I want, and exactly how I want it. It’s time I get the wedding and life I have always dreamed off. If it has to be with a serious guy like Munthir then so be it “. Both ladies giggled and Haneen said, “Ok then, do your thing.”
Meanwhile Munthir thought to himself, does a guy need to be with a woman who is a good wife or a woman who can make him laugh. He was determined to find out in his next meeting with Amal.



Part 6 coming up next Wednesday stay tuned.


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