Auda had said that I was a fool. “That may be,” I replied, “but I am not a deserter.”
Maybe that is why it was so hard to watch Lawrence leave. I have no love for the Arabs, but I do have respect for many of those men whom I have met during this campaign.
I greatly respect Lawrence, but I have no love for Lawrence.
It is true... I think. And yet, maybe I am not a fool.
Only a fool would try for such a man as he. Only a fool would try to break the bond between two so devoted as Lawrence and Ali were to the cause and to each other.
Only a fool would leave his companion when all is said and done.
Only a fool would let somebody or something go so easily.
No, I am a fool, and I am not a deserter.
I run after him as soon as I can respectfully get away, past a spiteful Feisal and my fellow lying countrymen, past whispering and laughing soldiers, past a stunned man standing with his arm outstretched, into the bright sunlit entrance. It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust before I can see clearly.
Lawrence’s car is a mere speck on the desert horizon.
Later I see Auda Abu Tayi preparing his men for their trip back to the desert.
He looks at me. “Aurens is gone?” he asked.
“He was made a colonel and sent back to England,” I replied.
Auda sighs. “He should have stayed here.” He stands in silent for a moment before nodding to himself. “He will return.”
Then he looks at me closely. “Do not worry about him. He will return.”
“I am not worried about him.”
Auda’s eyes narrow. He huffs before swinging angrily onto his horse. Reining it around, he turns one last time to me and says, “Remember Brighton, you have a fool’s face.”