by Paolo Copparoni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 5 – The Discovery
It’s 3 months since Marco moved to Libya.
Apart from, at first, feeling homesick for his family and friends, he is very happy with his new life!
He likes his work and his new colleagues, especially Amir.
However, the young Libyan has started acting strangely. Amir spends a lot of time in his room with the door closed, and sometimes disappears for the weekend, without telling Marco where he is going.
One day, coming home from work and climbing the stairs to the first floor, Marco can hear Amir shouting things in Arabic.
Alarmed, he opens the apartment door to find Amir on the phone. His friend seems upset, as if something serious has happened…
“What’s up, Amir?” asks Marco.
“It’s okay – nothing important – you wouldn’t understand, anyway.” replies Amir.
As he speaks, he picks up a large bag.
“I have to go now. I’ll be away for a few days.”
Without saying anything else, Amir leaves the apartment in a hurry.
Marco is again surprised by his friend’s behaviour. He goes into Amir’s room, to check if anything is obviously wrong. Perhaps he has a problem with drugs, or is in love?
The room is tidy. Nothing seems different from usual.
Marco knows it’s wrong to search his friend’s room, but he’s worried.
The only furniture in the room, apart from the bed, is a wardrobe, just like the one in Marco’s room.
Marco goes over to it, and opens the wardrobe door.
The first thing he sees is a Libyan flag, like the ones he saw demonstrators waving on the day he first arrived in the country.
Opening the top drawer, Marco sees clean underwear. But the drawer seems heavier than Marco had expected.
He carefully lifts out the underwear, and finds a pistol!
Marco is shocked. He replaces the pistol, and the underwear, and continues his search.
In the next drawer down, which contains mostly socks, there’s also a box of bullets.
The remaining drawers contain no surprises, but obviously Amir has been hiding something!
Marco realises that his friend must be involved with the Libyan rebel army. There can be no other explanation…
“But why has he taken a job at this company?” Marco wonders.
“What does he want here?”
Marco is confused and unhappy, but also feels some loyalty to his friend, and so decides to say nothing.
The next day, when the boss asks him where Amir is, Marco says he has no idea.
Marco hopes that there is an innocent explanation to the mystery. Perhaps Amir has just gone to see his family?
Hopefully, he’ll soon be back…