I saw her, the witch who spread those ugly rumours about me when I was young. I could almost see her with a black tall, pointed hat on her as she poked among the tinned peas looking for, I don’t know what!
We had gone to school together back in Egypt. She always was putting her long nose into other people’s business even back then. Unfortunately for me, she and her husband had moved to Canada shortly after we did and settled into downtown Hamilton, just like us.
How could I avoid speaking to her in this small grocery store which sold halal meat and Middle Eastern products?
What could I do to avoid her? Sometimes I wish I had adopted the habit of wearing niqab, at least she would not be sure who I was as long as I kept my distance and my mouth closed.. She was now arguing with the shop owner, telling him his prices were too high and she could get better prices elsewhere.
I could hear him reply quietly, as her voice rose higher and higher.
“Sister, please keep your voice down. If you have a problem with the quality of my products or the meat, please share them privately with me.”
I could see a look of patience come onto his face. Obviously this was not the first time he had had to deal with her. Too bad that his store was the only halal store on James North. It was his bad luck that she had moved to this area.
Her husband came up to her, putting his hand on her shoulder as he tried to calm her down.
“Ayesha, please…… Don’t make a fuss.”
“Ahmad, let me deal with this! I know what I am doing.”
Both men looked at each other with sympathy as the witch kept on about the prices.
“Sister, I invite you to go elsewhere if you find my prices too high. There are halal shops on the Mountain.”
“Why should I have to go all the way up there. You are only about a block from where we live.
Turning abruptly, she bumped against a display of couscous and bulgur which tumbled down and sent her sprawling onto the ground.
Sputtering she tore into the shopkeeper telling him that she would sue him. I felt sorry for him as he tried to help her up. Being a hefty person, it took both her husband and the shop keeper to get her onto her feet.
I was in the back of the store near the meat counter when I saw all this, saw the mess she had created and the bag of couscous which had sprung up drifting like snow onto her fallen form.
I tried not to laugh, but I felt vindicated that her own actions had caused this.She deserved the humiliation and in a small way, it helped me to feel better about the horrible rumour which had almost cost me my reputation back home.
Justice will prevail although it may take time.