Dalia stepped inside and stood for a moment to look around. She spotted Shadi not far away from her. Oh no, not tonight she thought. She wanted to turn back but it was too late. He was already walking towards her.

“Salwa said you would be here, how come you told me no?”

Ignoring his question and trying hard to control her feelings she asked.
“Have you seen the rest of the gang?”

“I just came in, they will be here any minute now.” His phone rang and as he stepped aside to answer she pushed her way through the crowd only to stop and whisper.

“Oh my God!”

“You like it?”

Dalia shook her head and mumbled.

“I don’t know. I don’t know if I am supposed to like it or hate it, it’s just so…”

“It’s so what?”

“Oh Shadi can’t you see? Look at these men. All twelve of them; wearing same clothes, grey trousers, and ivory tops, having same faces, eyes expressionless, bodies motionless. The faces turned in one direction, eyes looking at something but carrying such hollowness in them that after watching for some time a chill runs in your body.” She stopped to breathe and not wanting to look at Shadi she continued. “Their legs, toes, fingers entwined, giving you the impression that if they make the slightest movement, they might tumble and fall and never be able to stand up again. A wrong turn, a bend in the road and they are doomed. Even the background, the tiniest red circles resembling drops of blood dried on white tiled floors. It’s as if these people have no choice but to be where they are, in despair.” Dalia stopped again, took a deep breath for the second time and said still avoiding to look at him. “Except perhaps there is the slightest hope for half their faces is colored green. Not so dark, not so light green. It’s like they are in some kind of war, all equal, all alike in their helplessness. It’s such an ugly feeling, you know. Yet in the end there is hope. You see the color green but not so green implies the uncertainty of that hope, the where to?” Dalia faltered and stopped to breathe and continue.

“I don’t know. I wouldn’t call it ‘Confusion’ though. I would rather use ‘Dilemma’ for its title. In a dilemma there is confusion, but it’s unending.” She swallowed hard, sighed deeply once more and for the first time turned towards her friend, only to find a stranger standing beside her. He was looking at her in such a way that she felt something stir inside her. Embarrassed she turned towards the painting only to look back again. Where was Shadi? Where were her friends? Why hadn’t the rest come?

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, you know. I’m sorry. It’s just that, I just…” She mumbled feeling the blood rush to her cheeks.


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