She wanted to change out of these horrible boots. Amber remembered when she had seen her before. On occasion, when Amber had walked by a group of ladies and gentlemen on the club grounds, she had felt their gaze on her, then heard a burst of laughter just after she had passed. It had made her uncomfortable, exposed.
More than once she had turned back and seen Lady Agatha at the centre of the group, watching her. Though now she seemed friendly enough. Though it is too bad of Penrod to dash off and leave you like that for the sake of a pocket watch. It was too tempting. Amber could never tire of talking about Penrod, and even Saffron, who was an indulgent sister most of the time, had started rolling her eyes when Amber talked about him and their wedding plans. She was beautiful, but she was quite old, Amber decided.
Comforted, she gave Lady Agatha her hand and allowed herself to be led away. The boy had a good start on him, but Penrod felt that he was not really putting his full effort into his escape. Penrod was almost insulted. As soon as they were off the bridge, Penrod expected the boy to turn into the maze of twisting narrow lanes that formed the Arab quarter, but instead he continued down the main open boulevard, past the handsome frontage of the Opera House and the Esbekeeyah Gardens.
The boy danced through the crowds of Abyssinians and Turks, European tourists balanced awkwardly on patient donkeys, Albanians with their multicoloured sashes, and the proud, aloof-looking Bedouins. Penrod drew the hot, spiced air of the city deeper into his lungs and felt the prick of sweat under his collar.
The boy looked back over his shoulder. His small face showed shock and concern as he realised Penrod was gaining on him. He dropped his head and lifted his knees, quickening his pace, then swung suddenly right into the silk bazaar. Penrod swore and forced himself to go faster, knowing the twisting labyrinth of alleyways would make a perfect hiding place for the thief.
He must not let him out of his sight even for a moment; the watch had special value to him. He dropped into a crouch and skidded below the swinging cage on the heels of his leather sandals. Bemused, the two men set down their load to stare after him. Penrod shouted a warning as he leaped over the cage, touching his hand to the dusty pavement as he landed, then springing up and after the boy again. They raced down the long line of shallow shopfronts hung with woven silks in golds and purples, the shopkeepers quickly sweeping their goods out of the way of the charging pair.
Penrod was gaining on the boy as he turned sharply right into a narrow courtyard and a sudden shaft of light struck Penrod like a blow after the deep shade of the main bazaar.
The boy grabbed hold of the central fountain and used his momentum to swing around and hard left. The boy was nervous now, looking back to check the progress of his pursuer too often. Penrod hung to the right wall, climbing a precarious pile of thin tea chests to avoid the scattered metalwork, then hurled himself towards the boy like an eagle swooping on a rabbit.
This was a dead end, a gap between houses filled with rubbish and burst barrels. The boy darted left through a wooden gateway left half ajar under a sandstone arch. Penrod followed just in time to see the boy race up the stone stairs from the courtyard to a studded cedar door that led to the interior of the house.
A woman stepped out onto a landing and screamed, covering her face as Penrod dashed by. The stairs became more rough and unfinished as they climbed, small children and curious cats watched them from narrow doorways, then suddenly Penrod was out into the light and heat of the afternoon sun once more, on a flat rooftop dotted with storage bins and washing lines.
He caught sight of the boy through the shifting cotton sheets and ran once more over the twisted and irregular jigsaw of the roof. The boy came to a sudden stop in front of him, his arms windmilling. He was at the edge of the roof, staring over the low parapet at the fatal drop back into one of the twisting alleyways. He had nowhere left to run.
Between the boy and the next rooftop was a chasm some eight feet across. Penrod felt a moment of satisfaction, then he saw the boy take a step back and crouch down. But no, the boy had almost made it across the gap. He was hanging by one hand from a slight overhang of the opposite roof. But there was no balcony or awning beneath him to break his fall, no place for his thrashing feet to find a grip. A man shouted from below and suddenly the pit of the alley was full of faces looking upwards. None of them were laughing now; they were mesmerised by the imminence of death.
For a moment Penrod was tempted to leave the boy, let him fall and collect his watch from the corpse. The child obviously did not have the strength to pull himself up again; it would be only a matter of seconds until he lost his grip and fell. Penrod thought of Amber.
He could lie, of course, but he was keeping enough secrets as it was. He sighed, turned and retreated a dozen strides from the edge of the roof, then lowered his shoulders and sprinted back. He heard a scream, a gabbled prayer below him, then he landed hard but cleanly on the opposite roof.
The boy would have tried to run even then, but Penrod kept a firm hold of him, lifting him up by his thin shoulders. The boy recovered quickly.
He could talk as well as he could run. But he wasted no words thanking Penrod for his rescue; instead he called on Allah to witness the cruelty of the ferengi, and then he begged every djinn now resident in Cairo to pity him and come to his aid, and defend him against the monstrous accusation of thievery that was such an insult to his honour, the honour of his forefathers and the honour of the city itself.
Penrod grinned as he listened, setting the boy down halfway through this tirade and, while keeping him from escaping with a firm grip, brushing the dust from his trousers and smoothing his hair with his spare hand. The boy was suddenly silent. He dug his hand into his robe, retrieved the watch and presented it to Penrod on his open palm.
This brought another wail of protest, but Penrod lifted the boy on to his toes so his robe pressed against his throat and began dragging him back towards the edge of the roof. Then he began to weep. The tears of women or children did not have much effect on Penrod, but he was surprised. He would have expected a thief like this one to have a collection of small items: purses, jewellery, not a handful of freshly minted English shillings such as these.
He frowned at them as they glinted in the dust among the flickering shadows of the drying cottons hanging on the wash lines above them. The boy saw his tears were having no effect. He sniffed then began to talk again. Penrod shook him until he was quiet again.
He thought of the way the boy showed him the watch just after he had stolen it, how at first he had run more slowly and down the wide boulevards where Penrod could follow him easily, the expression on his face early in the race as he looked back to check if Penrod was still following him. McManus was at the very top of her on paper life when everything imploded. Depressed, suicidal and seemingly without purpose, Sarah opened the door of a stranger's office and sat for the better part of five years.
There she began to piece together the childhood she had long since denied and heal a present day that seemed completely outside of her control. In the end, Ms. McManus invites us to join her on a joyous romp of discovery and laugh out loud comedy, as Sarah prepares herself to become an artist's nude model.
A seasoned writer and storyteller and certainly no model , Sarah questions and searches and prods and reflects in a way that only someone who has faced life changing adversity can. Literary pundits describe the work as "Eat, Pray, Love" with an edge: filled with permeating, no stone unturned candor and simple grace.
The laughter is free an easy, and the book as comforting as an old pair of denims. A favorite of book clubs, Dropping the Robe gives readers pause to consider their own emotional and spiritual journeys, and the power of their secrets. It encourages readers to consider the lives they've had, the ones they're living and the their hopes for the future. Whatever your station in life, it is a book that will move you to tears -- of joy, sadness and laughter. You certainly won't leave its pages untouched.
Leia mais Leia menos. McManus is a successful author and creative marketing executive. Compartilhe seus pensamentos com outros clientes.