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The ultimate moment had finally arrived. Two days after our arrival Massoud had sent word that he was going to meet us at the same spot were we had landed at the Panjshir River. It was at 5 oclock in the afternoon when RASHID M. and I had positioned us at one of the wide open areas of the river near Massouds house. Then the commanders helicopter came into sight and landed some 200 metres away from us. He and his entourage emerged one by one from the copter. Just seeing him only a short distance away made my stomach revolt, I felt it close with excitement at that moment I could not have swallowed one bite of food. I turned to RASHID M.:
This is him, isnt it? I cant believe that I am actually going to meet him. Thank you so much for bringing me here.!
You are welcome! RASHID M. smiled, amused at my excitement.
RASHID M. was in his element: he had fixed a long range lens to his camera and started firing away. The fast winder must have captured every second of the scene nearby.
When I later watched the close-up footage our cameraman was taking I saw Massouds beautiful smile as he descended from the helicopter.
It took him and his entourage some five minutes to walk across to us. Then he was the first to reach us, followed by his close friend Dr. Abdullah, the later Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. Massouds eyes immediately found RASHID M. and the two old friends embraced, greeting each other with Salaam Aleikum followed by the rather long-winded string of pleasantries which is custom to exchange if friends have not met for a long time.
This moment was so charged with emotions that I could not help but swallow down tears. I did not want them to leave my eyes, as I had been careful to put on the nicest kajal stroke I could master. Tears would have made the it run There was no point in denying that I had attractions on all levels for this man, so I wanted to look my best from the start.
I had put on a dark-pink colour chador, a simple yet fairly body hugging, knee-length white kurta with a nice simple collar, jeans, boots with some heel and an Afghan Patoo thrown over my shoulders.
And then it was my turn RASHID M. let Massoud to where I was standing and introduced me to him in Persian.
This is Ariana.
Salaam aleikum he greeted me.
Waleikum a salaam, Sahib I replied, at the same time taking down my sunglasses and bringing my right hand to my chest. This is the customary way in this part of the world to greet each other and normally no physical contact between an unrelated man and a woman was allowed. So no shaking of hands. This, as odd as it may sound to the western ear, I had come to appreciate. I had come to resent shaking hands with men I had no relationship to. This oriental way was so much more respectful of a womans privacy and had ultimately nothing to do with discrimination.

He wore an immaculately white Piran Tomban, the top button of the shirt undone. To me he looked very handsome in it. He was reasonably tall with my heels he was just a little taller than me, so I estimated him to be at around one seventy five. He was smaller in size than one would have imagined. But yet he commanded a strong presence due to his appearance. He was very slim, his hair all neatly tucked away under his trademark pakul, which he mostly wore slightly slanted to the back of his head.
Not knowing at first in which language to address me he inquired with RASHID M. Once he found out that he could speak in Urdu and French he turned to me and said in Urdu:
Ariana, I am happy to meet you. RASHID has told me a few things about you. Later you must tell me all about yourself. He looked at me with his intense eyes. Eyes so unparalleled, that they are hard to describe. They fixated you with their calm depth and quick intelligence. To me they have stayed the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.
Yes, sir, I replied with a smile, trying to control my trembling hands by folding them in front of my body. I will be happy to do that. Thank yo

Romans et littérature
17 janvier
Xlibris International