Ala Hlehel has published 4 books: The circus (Ramallah,2000); Stories in the time of need (Beirut, 2004); The father, the son and the lost ghost (Cairo, 2008); My secret affair with Carla Bruni (Qadita books, 2012). He was awarded first prize by the Qattan foundation 3 times and Beirut39 in 2009 for the best writers of Arab origin.
My husband is a bus driver
By Alaa Hlehel
A SHORT STORY TRANSLATED BY TONY CALDERBANK
My husband is a bus driver. He has been for more than thirty years. I met him 24 years ago. He had just qualified from the driving school in the city. On his ID they had written next to occupation: bus driver. That was sufficient, together with his beaming photograph, to tempt me into the love nest he had built for me in our beautiful remote village.
During the engagement I had dreamt day and night of the wonderful long trips and journeys we would make together, and I haven’t understood to this very day what my elder sister meant one summer night as we sat up chatting on the roof when she said to me in a low voice with a cheeky bashful grin on her face: “ The back seat of the bus is long. You’ll never forget its taste.”