The day I met Madame Zeroni, was 5 years ago, but even today, her story changed my life. I now, have a wife, 3 children and her story still in my head. Now, enough about me, let’s get started...
It was a long time ago, the day this story starts, I worked as an archaeologist. I was In Egypt, El Cairo, to be precise. I had been sent by my boss, to go and get some cold water, with some ice cubes and some Feeter Meshaltit for everyone working on the site, with instructions to go to the cafe Mr Nourris. I arrived to the café and I ordered the food I had been instructed to collect. I was about to leave, when I saw a lady, sitting alone at a table, in a wheelchair. I approached her, as she had luggage with her and was looking confusedly over a map of El Cairo. When I got to her table, she did not even see me, I said,
“ Excuse me ma’am, I see you are confused about where to go, I offer you my help.” She looked up and in a sweet voice she
“Dank you, I am looking for De Dain Dation.” As she said this,
she pointed towards the sign nearby saying ‘El Cairo Train Station This Way’. I replied politely,
“Here is the train station” as I pointed it out on the map” “may I ask madame where you are going?” She kindly quoted,
“I am looking to leave Egypt as quick as I can. If you are wondering why, I have time to tell you my story”. As I sat down nearby her, and I left the drinks and food on the table, she told me her story:
“I was in my home, in Alexandria, sitting down at my desk, staring at the parcel that I had just received. It was my Great- great-great grandmother’s golden bracelet and watch, that had survived the Titanic shipwreck, as she had been aboard. They were made of shimmering gold and as I observed the parcel that they were wrapped in, I saw a signature, at the bottom. I recognized the
signature as the one that my family used when they desired to be anonymous. Then, as I threw the parcel away, to the bin, a piece of paper fell out. I picked it up, and I read it. It said “This costs millions, Zeroni. Be careful with it and get out of Egypt, before a group of bandits attack you and hurt someone!” I ignored it as I liked my home and job in Egypt, as a maid for the local mayor, and I thought it too fantastical and unrealistic to be true. I tore the paper in 2 and I hid the bracelet and watch, in the safest place in my home.
Although I had already decided to ignore the message, I was thinking anxiously about the message I had received, talking about the mystery group of bandits that would attack me and hurt someone. All of a sudden, I heard a sudden crash, as the glass on the window was shattered and smashed on the floor, upstairs in my room.
I ran up the stairs in fear, with a knife in my hand ( for protection, of course), and what I saw, caused me to scream and weep, in grief. He was dead. My husband was dead. The blood, was still gushing out of him, and his heart, was set as his side. All the blood and gore surrounding him, caused me to shake and sway. As I looked nearby his head, I saw a boot resting on his head and what is saw, caused me to gasp and quake, in despair and fear. A man, with a badge on his chest that had a vulture on it and a C behind it. He was the Chief of the local most dangerous group of bandits, The Vultures. He had a dagger in his hand and was smiling in a smug way. He shouted,
“Give us the bracelet and the watch, or... ” As the chief of The Vultures lunged towards me, I ran, but I was way too slow, his
knife, sliced at my ankle and my left foot slipped off clean. I slithered towards the door to my home, shrieking for help, as they approached me in a steady manner.
Before they had a chance to say Kill, a nearby bookshelf, that one of them had kicked, fell on the chief and his gang companions
heads and killed them with a blow. As quick as they had arrived, they were dead, and in tears, I dragged them out of my home.
I wrapped my socks around my bleeding ankle, and I approached my room in despair, as I threw myself over my husband’s body in tears and shouting,
“Come back to me Charles!”. I fell asleep, on the body, and as I awoke, a burning and intensified agony, struck my heart as I kissed my husband, for the last time.
That morning, I decided that I must start packing. I had to get out of there. Away from my husband’s oozing body, and away from the men. First of all though, I placed my husband’s body in the attic, under the desk that he had loved so much, given by his mother, from Versailles, as he was French. I wept my last tears, said a last prayer and left my husband’s body and the attic. I packed all my belongings, including the watch and bracelet, and I left my home. As I looked back at the house in the distance, I wept in grief over my husband and having to leave Egypt for ever.
In the streets, I observed a police officer, and I approached him, requiring the nearest train ticket station. He answered,
“Take a left, then a right and 3rd door at the left, you will find your destination madame.” I thanked him rapidly and I asked for a ticket, with which I was provided. I was then told that the train would arrive in a matter of 5 hours. I then decided that I should find a café nearby to eat and drink something, before departing, and here I have been, searching for the Train Station, until you gentleman, helped me! I must thank you for this, greatly!”
I stared at her as she finished her story, it sounded dangerous and I felt hurt for her. I felt obliged to say,
“Ma’am, I am so sorry for your loss, if there is any way in which I may help you, I am obliged to do so.”
She smiled at me dearly and said that she needed a home, in the USA and I gentlemanly helped her by saying,
“I have a home, in the US, and I recommend the Francesco Inn, in Massachusetts, which you may use as a temporary home.” She thanked me and I rose, picked up my bag of food and the
drinks, for my chief, and my colleagues and I said, “Ma’am, I must return to my colleagues and my work, and I wish you good luck in the US.”
As I left the lady I had just met, I saw a label on her suitcase, which said ‘Madame Zeroni’. I walked towards my architecture site and I handed out the drinks and food. My boss, asked me if I was alright, apparently, I looked as if I were daydreaming. I was. I was thinking about how dangerous the old lady's life had been, how she had lost both her husband, her home, her foot, and most of her happiness. I the compared her loss, to my disasters, my girlfriend had cancer, and was suffering. Before I had met Madame Zeroni, I had been at risk of giving up on my girlfriend.
Now, I understood that I had to continue fighting, I had to be there for her. I ran to my boss, gave him my tools and ran towards the nearest bus. I asked to go to the airport and once there, I took the quickest flight, to Massachusetts. To my girlfriend.
Margot Lantrade 7I