بخش 46

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 46

بخش 46

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Ella

NORTHAMPTON, JUNE 12, 2008

By now Ella had finished reading Sweet Blasphemy and was putting the final touches on her editorial report. Although she was dying to discuss the details of his novel with Aziz, her sense of professionalism stopped her. It wouldn’t be right. Not before she was done with the assignment. She hadn’t even told Aziz that after reading his novel she had bought a copy of Rumi’s poems and was now reading at least a few poems every night before going to sleep. She had so neatly separated her work on the novel from her exchange with the author. But on the twelfth of June, something happened that blurred the line between the two forever.

Up until that day, Ella had never seen a picture of Aziz. There being no photos of him on his Web site, she had no idea what he looked like. In the beginning she had enjoyed the mystery of writing to a man with no face. But over time her curiosity began to get the best of her, and the need to put a face to his messages tugged at her. He had never asked for a picture of her, which she found odd, really odd.

So, out of the blue, she sent him a picture of herself. There she was, out on the porch with dear Spirit, wearing a skimpy cerulean dress that slightly revealed her curves. She was smiling in the picture—a half-pleased, half-troubled smile. Her fingers firmly grasped the dog’s collar, as if trying to derive some strength from him. Above them the sky was a patchwork of grays and purples. It wasn’t one of her best pictures, but there was something spiritual, almost otherworldly, in this one. Or so she hoped. Ella sent it as an e-mail attachment and then simply waited. It was her way of asking Aziz to send her his photo.

He did.

When Ella saw the picture Aziz sent her, she thought it must have been taken somewhere in the Far East, not that she had ever been there. In the picture, Aziz was surrounded by more than a dozen dark-haired native children of every age. Dressed in a black shirt and black trousers, he had a lean build, a sharp nose, high cheekbones, and long, dark, wavy hair falling to his shoulders. His eyes were two emeralds brimming with energy and something else that Ella recognized as compassion. He wore a single earring and a necklace with an intricate shape that Ella couldn’t make out. In the background was a silvery lake surrounded by tall grass, and in one corner loomed the shadow of something or someone that was outside the frame.

As she inspected the man in the picture, taking in every detail, Ella had a feeling she recognized him from somewhere. As bizarre as it felt, she could swear she had seen him before.

And suddenly she knew.

Shams of Tabriz bore more than a passing resemblance to Aziz Z. Zahara. He looked exactly the way Shams was described in the manuscript before he headed to Konya to meet Rumi. Ella wondered if Aziz had deliberately based his character’s looks on himself. As a writer, he might have wanted to create his central character in his own image, just as God had created human beings in His image.

As she considered this, another possibility arose. Could it be that the real Shams of Tabriz had looked just as he was described in the book, in which case it could only mean that there was a surprising resemblance between two men almost eight hundred years apart? Could it be that the resemblance was beyond the control and perhaps even the knowledge of the author? The more thought Ella put into this dilemma, the more strongly she suspected that Shams of Tabriz and Aziz Z. Zahara could be connected in a way that went beyond a simple literary gimmick.

The discovery had two unexpected impacts on Ella. First, she felt the need to go back to Sweet Blasphemy and read the novel again, with a different eye, not for the sake of the story this time but to find the author hidden in its central character, to find the Aziz in Shams of Tabriz.

Second, she became more intrigued by Aziz’s personality. Who was he? What was his story? In an earlier e-mail, he had told her he was Scottish, but then why did he have an Eastern name—Aziz? Was it his real name? Or was it his Sufi name? And by the way, what did it mean to be a Sufi?

There was something else that occupied her mind: the very first, almost imperceptible signs of desire. It had been such a long time since she’d last felt it that it took her a few extra seconds to recognize the feeling. But it was there. Strong, prodding, and disobedient. She realized that she desired the man in the picture and wondered what it would be like to kiss him.

The feeling was so unexpected and embarrassing that she quickly turned off her laptop, as though the man in the picture could otherwise suck her in.

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