The Man and Aflah are sitting on the balcony of a small cafe in Crail, facing the sea. Aflah does not speak. He is listening to the Man who is speaking impatiently.
The Man: I wish I could… I mean I could wash away all my worries in the sea. But that is impossible. How can I do that when the sea may have taken her from me? Yes! I do think about all these horrible possibilities. She is creative and crazy. She may have done something unpredictable just to shock me, even drowning herself in the sea.
The Man: No, no, not that. I am sure she hasn’t done anything as mad as that… Are you with me?!…Why don’t you speak?! My friend! It is not your fault that she is gone. Don’t look at me like that. You did not do anything wrong; you are my friend. and as a friend you were supposed to call me when you saw her with my scarf. Otherwise, I would have had no clue where she had gone and that would drive me mad. In any case, I was going to call you. I was calling everyone I knew, all my friends as I knew she was bound to go to a university wherever she was…Listen! I understand your perspective. I know she had come to you to help her, but you didn’t do anything wrong…You thought it would be better if I knew… It is normal. It is what friends do for each other. Listen! If I were you, I would do the same …OK! If anything or anyone, the culprit is my scarf…or the rain which made you and I seek shelter in that second-hand shop where you saw me buy that violet scarf. Or… maybe the price, £2, which made me borrow one pound from you as I only had one pound in cash.
It is stupid that we don’t speak Arabic, I know! But I don’t want to attract the attention of the other customers. You know what I mean! I feel uncomfortable when I speak Arabic in public places, especially now that I am nervous …My Friend! Where are you going? Please don’t go…
لا تذهب صديقي
Aflah leaves. The Man is alone. He is sitting on the balcony of the small cafe looking at the sea.