Lucas braced for an outburst from Angela but when that didn’t happen he turned to face Professor Khoury.
“There was an incident in the Library that upset her Sir, I thought of taking her home so she could rest under supervision of Mrs Khoury.
The Professor relaxed, “Good for you son, is there anything I need to look into at the Library?”
“No Sir, I sorted it out, but I’ll probably miss the workshop class coming up shortly.”
The Professor patted his daughter fondly and turned to go. “You listen to what Lucas tells you to do.”
“Oh, I certainly will Daddy, I certainly will.” Angela increased her pressure on Lucas as he moved her to the car and got her settled then started the car.
“Don’t take me home yet Lucas I want to talk with you about what you said in the Library. I’ve dreamed about you being my partner for life and to hear you say that’s what you wanted I want to hear it repeatedly. I’ll never get tired of that.”
“Angie do you realize your Father may prevent me from ever seeing you again if he thinks I’ve betrayed his trust. That would be a bitter experience for me as I’d feel that plus destroying a beautiful friendship with our families would ruin both our lives. Think clearly! I don’t fully understand your culture, but I’ll respect it. I’m taking you home and this is what I want you to do. I want to be upfront with your family. Tell your Mother exactly what happened in the Library and what I said to those students which you misinterpreted. Tell her that I said having you as partner in my life would be my fondest dream, but it would have to be acceptable to them. Ask your Mom how I’d be accepted if I talked with your Dad about that possibility. If your Mom after talking with your Father says its possible text me and I’ll come over and ask him to accept me. Both of us should finish our education before talking about it again. I want your Father to see I’m capable of providing for and looking after you.”
Baraa was horrified when Angela told her about the afternoon event that caused her to be bought home by Lucas. She thought of how her community would react if an agreement to marry Angela outside the community should be proposed. She knew her parents and Bashir’s parents were already looking at match possibilities and couldn’t understand why they’d agreed to letting Angela do further studies leading to an education degree. It would be a major point of conflict they were already upset Bashir had moved away to take this new position even though they agreed it was a major advancement opportunity. Bashir would be distraught, and it had a potential for spoiling the relationship between them and the Sheffield’s. She loved Tess like her own sister and was aghast at the thought this could end the relationship she treasured most about the move here. Mother and daughter shed tears together.
Bashir was angry when Baraa outlined the story as it had been related to her. He shouted for Angela to come from her room. Kaci was so scared at her Father’s angry tone she began to shake and when the loud shouting continued and Angela wailed through it all shouting through tears she’d have no other future proposal she’d accept but Lucas Kaci stopped her ears and hid under the covers of her bed.
Finally, when Bashir and Angela were worn out from it all he sent her to her room. Then he dialled the Sheffield home and asked for Lucas to visit them immediately. Baraa reacted in fright.
“Don’t hurt the young man. I believe he’s an honest boy and would never betray trust. He’s never taken advantage of our daughter and would never have expressed an interest in her if it hadn’t come out due to misunderstanding of something said to drive away students pestering her in the Library. If we can find someone like Lucas to marry our daughter someday I’d be very relieved.”
“He let me down after giving me his word.” Bashir said this firmly though he knew from his contacts with Lucas he was honest and trustworthy, but it was a matter of face now.
When Lucas appeared at the door Baraa made sure she kept between he and her husband. She’d never seen her husband this angry before and feared at what he might do.
But Bashir calmed down and asked Lucas to take seat. He asked for total details of the afternoon events and paused and questioned each statement. Finally, he spoke.
“Lucas I can see Angela has misunderstood your intentions and harbours unrealistic thoughts of you both having a life together. She thinks you love her and it’s causing her a lot of pain. I’m going to call her here and you can tell her she has totally misunderstood you and that will restore our family’s good friendship. He shouted for Angela to come in from her room.
Lucas sat up straight. “Sir I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’ve never betrayed your trust and any relationship I have with Angie must be with your approval. But I do sincerely love her and would like to have her in my life permanently after our education is complete but only with your blessing.”
Angela heard him say that as she crept into the room. “Daddy can’t you say yes, I Iove him!”
Bashir clenched his fists and Baraa moved to intervene if things got out of hand.
“Lucas go back home quickly and don’t ever enter this house again Angela go to your room and forget about your studies at the University. You are not to leave this house for any reason. Baraa you will see she does not leave the house unless she goes with me for reasons that can’t be avoided. Take her cell phone away from her. I want no further contact between the two of them.
That evening Bashir tossed in his bed and got up several times to pace the floor. His mind was in conflict. Part of him said his course of action was correct. From ancient times parents had been responsible to choose as a partner for their children those who after careful vetting could provide a financially stable and loving home environment for the next generation. Look at what was happening in the society around them here generally. Children were becoming too familiar with each other in an inappropriate way and allowed to make their own decisions at an early age. What had been the result? There was a very high divorce rate with all the unhappiness this entailed and trauma for their children.
On the other hand, he had to admit that within his own community where traditions were strong there were cases of dysfunctional marriages too. When that happened, the whole community would be up in arms about it. All he wanted was his children should find strong and stable partners who loved them and were prepared to make a lifelong commitment to each other’s welfare. His actions would most likely destroy the good relationship they’d established with the Sheffield family and probably have a flow on effect with all their friends. Maybe they’d have to move? Would it have implications at the University when the news of this event was widely discussed. Angela’s being pulled from studies would get negative press in that liberal society and he wondered if his inter-relationship with the other professors would be affected.
In the morning Baraa found him asleep in his office chair. As the air was chilly she carefully covered him with a blanket. He awoke at her touch and reached out to grasp her. He needed her strength to help him through this calamity.
“I’m sorry Baraa, all I want is for my children to have a stable loving home. I can’t see that happening here. She’ll thank me for this intervention someday. It’s true what they say, you can take a person out of a culture, but you can’t take that culture out of a person!”
Baraa patted his arm affectionately. He was a good husband and father. She understood his struggle very well. She was second generation in this country, and he was born here so he had a greater struggle to get over which she didn’t. She’d be delighted to have Lucas as a son-in-law but knew some in their community would not be happy. Already there’d been tentative feelers to match Angela with some of the sons back East. Bashir however wanted Angela to have the education she desired before considering a match. Would Angela really forgive her father for the position he’d taken the previous evening. She headed for the kitchen to prepare breakfast dreading the day ahead with her distressed daughter.
To be continued.
© Copyright 2019 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved