3. The Man Who Lives Here - Part One

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When I woke, my vision was blurred. I had no idea where I was. I quickly rubbed eyes.

I knew I was in a room, but it looked nothing like my room at home. Then, I remembered. The man from last night...I can't believe I actually stayed in his house. If my mom found out, she'd give me hell.

I looked around the room.

The room was a lot brighter now. It looked nicer. I could see the sun shining through the drapes. I looked down. My knapsack was at the foot of the bed, though I remembered I had left it by the stairs. I got up and stretched. I picked up my bag and slung it over one shoulder. I picked up my sandals and slipped them on.

I walked into the room beside mine, but it was empty. I assumed he was downstairs. I wanted to thank him before I left.

I decided to go to the bathroom and wash my face. When I walked in, I noticed an unopened toothbrush and toothpaste. I smiled. I was sure I would need it. It would make it less awkward to speak to him with morning breath.

I turned on the tap and splashed water on my face. I wiped the crust from my eyes and began brushing my teeth.

When I got downstairs I realized that the windows, that were previously boarded up with wood, worked as some sort of contraption. Last night they seemed to be shut, but now they were open and they filled the room with a rich sunlight.

The kitchen was also empty, so I continued out the door. He wasn't there either. So I decided to leave. I didn't want to over stay my welcome. I also wanted to avoid the awkward "thanking the strange man for letting me sleep over" part.

I got all the way down the steps when I noticed an old Moroccan man walking up the path. I stopped. He had a brown bag full of groceries with him.

He finally reached. "As-salām 'alaykum."

He smiled, then asked if I spoke Arabic.

"No...I'm sorry. Not very much," I replied.

He nodded.

"I work for the man who lives here...Bane I go to the markets for him." He had a thick arabic accent when he spoke.

Bane, I thought. So that was his name.

"My name is Aasir." He extended his hand to me.

"Natalie", I replied as I shook his hand.

"I've rarely seen anyone visit. Are you a friend?" He asked me.

"No. I just returned something to him, yesterday."

"OK. OK." He looked around. "Is he awake...can you tell him that yesterday, I couldn't go to the market...my wife was sick, but I went for him this morning."

"So that's why he was out..." I mumbled to myself. The man Bane, obviously didn't go out by himself. He couldn't without drawing attention to himself. He had hired this man to go shopping for him.

"Can you give this bag to him?" He asked.

"Oh, sure. Of course." I smiled and held out my arms.

I took the bag from him and placed it on the front steps, before walking back down to the man. He was turning around to leave, but I wanted to ask him something.

"What do you know about him...," I asked. "The man who lives here?"

He stopped. "He keeps to himself mostly. You are the first new visitor he has had."

"What do you mean, new? Wait, someone else comes to visit him?"

"He only has one friend...a companion who stays here sometimes."

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