On a busy street in Cairo, the passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the beautiful young woman with a small stick made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the bus conductor and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she’s settled in, placed her bag on her lap and rested her stick against her leg. It had been a year since Layla became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. ‘How could this have happened to me?’ she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth, her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Layla’s once optimistic spirit. All she had to cling to was her husband Hesham.
Hesham was a Military Officer and he loved Layla with all his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength she needed to become independent again. Finally, Layla felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Hesham volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city.
At first, this comforted Layla and fulfilled Hesham’s need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. Soon, however Hesham realized that this arrangement wasn’t working – it was hectic, and costly. Layla is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react?
Just as Hesham predicted, Layla was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. “I’m blind!” she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I’m going? I feel like you’re abandoning me.” Hesham’s heart broke but he knew what had to be done. He promised Layla that each day he would ride the bus with her until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened. For two solid weeks, Hesham, military uniform and all, accompanied Layla to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat.
Each morning they made the journey together, and Hesham would take a cab back to his office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Hesham knew it was only a matter of time before Layla would be able to ride the bus onher own. Finally, Layla decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Hesham, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…. Each day on her own went perfectly, and Layla had never felt better.
On Friday morning, Layla took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said,”Boy, I sure envy you.” Layla wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? “Why do you envy me?” The driver responded, “It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are.” Layla had no idea what the driver was talking about, “What do you mean?” The driver said,”You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady.” Tears of happiness poured down Layla’s cheeks. For although she couldn’t see him, she had always felt Hesham’s presence. She was blessed, so blessed, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn’t need to see to believe – the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.
Dear Readers, please suggest a fitting Moral for the story.