As was his custom on Mondays, he walked to his Chemistry study group. He held his open book in hand and read closely the material for the day…
An old woman groaned.
"(Sigh) Someone help me, someone take my hand."
Tarek quickly set down his books and rushed towards the old lady.
"Give me your hand o’mother (using a common polite Egyptian address to older women)."
The old woman turned towards him, stared in disapproval, and yelled.
"Your mother?? Who’re you calling your mother?? May God curse you and this mother of yours. Your mother?? Do I even know you?? Let go of my hand. Let go."
He stared back, confused, and said calmly:
"I’m sorry o’ mother"
"You say it again?? Why do you think you can call me your mother? And why do you apologize?? Did you insult me to say you’re sorry?? Can you even dare and insult me?? I hope your likes vanish from the Earth. Such an annoying kid."
Tarek gently released her hand and resumed walking to his study group in shock. Everyone on the street witnessed the strange encounter. Amazed, they all walked away from the old woman wishing not to suffer his same fate.
Standing in the middle of the street, the old woman groaned again.
"Why isn’t anyone helping me?? That’s what we gained from this revolution. All the young men just lost their manners!"
Ali Hishaam is a 14-year-old author who began writing in 2008. His work has been published in Al Dostour and Al-Badeel, and can be found on http://www.kobbaya25.blogspot.com