Our little secret C 1-4
| OUR LITTLE SECRET
IN THE NEIGHBOURHOODS OF CAIRO
Warning: this book is intended for adults and contains sexual situations, violence, and sexism.
Another day surrounded by my friends but it feels so lonely because Malik has not shown up yet. My to-hang-out with friends. All the people I hate. The cars' noises and their unreasonable honking. The black smoke out of their exhaust pipes and the dirty air my lungs are taking in. All the details in this place, and all the actions happening in this street. It all disappears when he is in the distance like my eyes see him through it all. All of me feel him in there, somewhere behind these folks. He shows up after few minutes, or at least that’s what the time says. It feels like it has been hours, but my phone says it's seven p.m. Humans mess up but my phone’s timing doesn’t.
He spends few seconds walking up to me while my mind spends them daydreaming of our future. It happens with or without my will, but I like it. Those daydreams are one of the few things that keep me alive, but nothing is perfect. They hurt at some point. The way a scene of us has been built and imagined in moments, and the way the alarm of reality has woken me up, reminding me of my chances to have a future with him.
Smiling in his direction, “Hi Malik, how are You doing today?”
He draws a blank for few seconds and looks up to the sky. He looks back at me, “Pretty shit, Sara. But I am with you now so I am pretty fine.”
No matter how many times he says sweet things like this my cheeks blush every time. I have never been like that with anyone else. And this damn smile. It’s like a daily dose of cocaine I can’t live without. No, even cocaine. I could stop this if I was doing it, but I can’t live to the day when I can’t see Malik smiling and sweet talking to me. The saddest part about my life is that Malik is not more than my friend, and I am afraid to come out to him. Afraid of getting rejected, but I am more afraid that my family is Muslim and his family is Christian. Which throws a million obstacles in the way, what a sad place.
“So cute when you blush and look the other way. Let’s go,” Malik winked.
Layla looked at Sara to see her reaction, her red face. She looked at Malik and replied, “We already ordered two Uber cars. They are going to be here soon.”
Amir stepped closer to Malik. A little behind him, and whispered, “Woah Malik, what are you up to. I thought we talked about it.”
“Nothing. I am just flirting,” he whispered back.
A black car was driving towards them, slowing down. Layla and Amir were staring at the front license.
“Alright, guys, here is my Uber car. I’ll get in with Sara. We will get a table for four if we arrive first,” Layla took Sara by the hand and walked up to the car.
“Okay. We will be there as soon as possible. See you soon.”
After we get in the car I start feeling bored like the only reason I am hanging out is to be with Malik. To kill my boredom I daydream of a place like an island, where only me and Malik are there. And all we do all day is running around half-clothed, kissing on its beach while the breeze adds more romance to this lovely dream of mine. If I could forever be with him. If this dream could come true I would never sleep to the feeling of never waking up again, and I would never wake up to the feeling of staying in bed until bedtime.
“Yo Sara, do you have a crush?”
I have not thought too much of the answer. “Me, no.”
I hate a lot of things, uncountable, but one of the most things I hate is when my daydreams are interrupted. Also, I wish I could talk about it with her, but I’ll only get a headache after she hopelessly tries to convince me that I can’t like a Christian boy, and says it would never work out but in movies.
“What about you. Do you have a crush on someone?” I hope to hear a yes so I can change my mind and talk with her about Malik.
“No, love is a lie I don’t buy. My dad will make sure to find me a rich man for a happier life.”
I look at her opening my eyes wide. “So you actually don’t mind spending your life and sleeping in the same bed with someone you don’t want?”
“Don’t want? If he is rich then I want him.”
“But, what if things don’t work out between you and your rich husband. What if you end up getting divorced cause you don’t love each other?”
She keeps quiet for few seconds as she stares at her phone. She turns it off and looks at me like she is about to give me a life advice. “Sara, life doesn’t work like this. Time makes relationships work, and the love you think about only exists in movies. Don’t get fooled.”
Ya, I knew it. As I look through the car’s window I mumble, “Yea, you are right.”
I kind of envy her though. I believe that people like her, who didn’t just accept, but also believed what they were always told. They would never know what depression feels like. Their chances to feel happy are much bigger than people like me. People who spend their days thinking of the messed-up world, and their wasted rights. For me, my happiness is only about family. The family I choose not the stupid one I was given, and at this very moment of my life, I want only Malik to be my family. If I would never get to spend my life with Malik I would wish if I was another brainwashed. I am only afraid if love doesn’t seem to be the same as I’ve always imagined. What if he wants me as well, but after few years we start to feel bored and feel the need to have some space alone. Would this make it all not worth the struggle? Would Layla be right, and it’s only in movies, or cause in movies the happy ending I see is not the very end.
Sometimes I wonder if all those people around me are right, and I am the only one brainwashed here. But does it make them right just because they are the majority? And if they are wrong, why does that have to mean that the minority is right? Why must everything be right or wrong? Can’t something be like, not wrong nor right?
After all, there is one thing I am pretty sure about, and it is my love for Malik is not a passing-by feeling. We’ve been friends for more than a year and since the very beginning, I’ve been feeling this way. I have been so worried about society and my parents that I forgot to worry about the way Malik feels towards me.
“Here you go, ladies. That is the location you entered,” said the driver.
“Okay, thanks. Let’s go, Sara.”
Layla opened the car door and went out. Sara followed her. Their eyes were all over the restaurant.
“The place looks so cool,” said Sara, just by looking at the entrance.
They walked up to the entrance and pushed the door. As they walked in, the smell of the food went through their noses. Lights were low and purple. The people, the faces, and their clothes weren't any of they were used to see daily. They were trying to act cool cause they weren’t used to fancy places.
“I can already smell how good the food will be,” said Layla.
“Let’s not get used to these kinds of places.”
“Yea. We’re too broke for that.”
Sara laughed. So did Layla, but Layla was carrying pain beyond this laughter. As much as the place looked so cool, Layla felt hurt that she couldn’t be in places like this whenever she’d want.
“Let’s sit here.”
Two black chairs facing two more right next to the wooden wall, one yellow table between, four menus on it, one in front of each chair. Tissues in a triangle shape, and a lot of different sauces in the middle of the table. Layla and Sara sat down next to each other. Sara opened the menu but was not reading it. She was thinking of Malik.
“Aren’t Malik and Amir late?” Sara looked around.
“No. we have just sat down. They should be here in few minutes.” Layla looked at Sara thinking, “Malik and Amir, or Malik you mean. We could talk about it.”
Few minutes but hours for Sara’s sense of time when Malik is not around. She would always mess up the timing because of that.
“Let’s order. They are going to be here any moment.”
“Why hurry though?” Sara asked.
“I must be home by ten. I don’t want my father to get mad. Not that I respect him, but you know, mad dad means broke girl. I texted them and they told me what to order for them.”
“You really care a lot about money, Layla.”
“Nah, I care about a lot of things, and they all cost money,” Layla blinked an eye. She called the waiter to come and take the order.
Sara was still looking around waiting for Malik. She heard Layla adding wings for her order. “No, no wings,” she looked at her, shaking her head.
“You sure?” She looked at her. Sara nodded her head. “Okay, so, remove the wings for her order,” Layla looked back at the waiter.
“Oh, there they are.”
Malik and Amir walked up to the table. Amir put his phone down on it, “Hi girls. How bad did you miss us?”
“Oh god. So bad that I almost killed myself, baby,” Layla replied.
“It’s okay. We are here now. No more worries,” Amir sat down, so did Malik.
Despite every cringe joke. Everyone around that makes me sick. Everything I hate in this place. Everything I hate in the whole world. It all doesn’t matter when Malik sits right in front of me. Like all these bad things are worth the suffering when I think about him. If he wasn’t always on my mind I wouldn’t always have a reason to breathe. Like I only exist to see him. Not only that I love him so much, but I never woke up feeling like I wanted to live until I saw him. As everyone is talking, joking, and having fun. I am just staring at Malik and trying my best to not make it obvious to others. People would tell he is average-looking, but in my eyes, he is the cutest ever.
“Yo, Sara. Look this up,” Layla passed her phone. Sara held it and started reading. Her facial expressions went from normal to shocked.
“So they get divorced cause her husband is an asshole who treats her like shit, but in the comments, people are mad at her cause her kids are still toddlers, and she is somehow the reason they will not grow up with two parents…” Sara looked at everyone drawing a question mark on her face.
“That is so sad,” Malik said.
“Ya, but like, he is so rich. I mean she can do what she wants. but if I were her I would get that face slapped every day for what’s in his bank account.”
“So if I was rich would you marry me with no questions?”
“I will marry a hundred years old man if he is rich,” Layla smirked.
Malik stared at Amir thinking, “Amir doesn’t ask questions like this, and this expression on his face. Oh god. Does he have a crush on Layla?”
Amir kept flirting as they were talking. Layla went along with him. Malik was still trying to figure out if that’s just random flirting.
“No, he is not just flirting. That is kind of worrying. Layla only cares about money. Amir better not fall for her,” Malik kept thinking.
“I am still upset about those comments,” Sara sighed.
“Ignore them. Who cares when the girl got divorced anyway. She got what she wanted. Other people mustn’t matter.”
“Nah, Amir. It is actually sad cause those comments are the same people we live with,” said Malik.
“Think about life in a more simple way. Care less about what is not important, and there you go. Mega happy.”
“Yea, dude. But it just doesn’t work this easily,” Malik looked away.
“I wish it was that easy to care less. Low-key wish if I was like you,” said Sara.
“What do you mean by low-key? Everyone wishes to be me.”
“What an ego my dude. What a confidence? I envy you,” Layla drew a smile. Amir smiled back at her. Malik was more worried, and Sara was a little confused as she was looking at Malik.
The waiter came with their food Interrupting this situation, putting everything down on the table. “Enjoy your meal,” said the waiter with a bright smile he never wanted to do draw on his face. It is just that his work nature forced it.
As soon as everyone starts eating I am just worried About when or how should I come out to Malik. and the way he will react. The pain I feel when I imagine him rejecting me can’t be described. Nothing hurts more than a bad thought.
Malik looks at my meal as he bites a wing. “Yo, Sara. Why you don’t have wings there? This tastes so damn good.”
“I don’t know. Never tried them before. They look kinda weird.”
“No way. You have to try them before judging. Here eat this,” he passes me a wing. “And tell me chicken wings aren’t the best thing ever.”
I take it from him with shaking hands. “I mean, if you say so.” Staring at the wing feeling disgusted. I don't want to try it but I don't want to say no to him. Closing my eyes as I take a bite of it. Realizing that I like the taste of it so much. “Yooo, this is actually so good,” I keep chewing the wing. Happy tone is not my preferred, but this is good, and more importantly, new.
Layla shouts as she chews, “Of course it is. You really missed out for a lot of time.”
“Here, take half my win—”
“No.” What in the hell is wrong with me. That was so cute.
“Come on Sara… alright then, I am not eating any of them.”
“Fine, fine. As you like.” He passes me a couple of wings and smiles at me.
How can such small details make me feel this way? Sad but lovely how Malik is nice to me more than anyone else. Including my family and all my past friends. Even my past best friends. God, if you exist, please send me all my future luck to the present.
“Aww so romantic,” Layla whispered to Sara.
Sara swallowed the food and whispered back, pretending to be confused, “W-What are you talking about.”
“Haha, nothing girl.”
“I am gonna have a hard time eating at home next few days.”
“I know right. This is so good.”
“I am gonna fast from food for days until the taste of this gets out of my head,” said Layla.
Everyone kept talking and laughing, and the time passed. Amir and Layla kept flirting. Sara kept losing attention as she was staring at Malik. Malik started to notice it. He wanted to come out to Sara as much as Sara wanted, but he wasn’t scared to come out. He knew that he would ruin her life by getting into it. But still, he kept flirting though, cause he did not seem to be able to shut his feelings. But it’s okay for him cause sweet words don’t always mean shit in twenty twenty-one.
“Alright, guys. I have to say goodbye,” Layla stood up.
“I have to go as well guys, got a long day tomorrow,” said Amir as he stood up, put money on the table and so did Layla.
They all traded farewells. Amir and Layla walked out together.
“Are you sure you have a long day tomorrow?” Malik thought as he looked at them leaving.
I am not going to say that I did not enjoy this fun time, but now I am with only Malik. My heart starts to beat faster, and my words go out harder. Never felt this way before. Doesn’t seem to be good but I am feeling so good, mixed with a little fear. I am trying to get the words out, but I don’t have any idea what to say. Maybe cause I didn’t have a crush before, or maybe cause my society raises us with no emotions that we grow up emotionless, and not used to wake up in the morning saying -I love you- to the people we love, and only get these words out when the people we love die.
I guess I’ll just tell him the way I feel, just straightforward, but what if I sound dumb or silly. What if he doesn’t even want me. I am trying to talk but the closer this moment is the more scared I am. I wish if I was fucking dead alrea—
“Hey, Sara. I don’t know how to say this, and I know I will sound awkward. But I’ll just say it though. I been having a- a crush on you for a long time. If this bothers you, I’ll never bring it up again.”
Malik finishes mumbling. Interrupting my train of thoughts. Looked so awkward coming out making me feel better about myself. I can’t believe he made it ten times easier for me. I feel a tear slipping over my cheek. I never knew I could actually cry without feeling sad.
“I am so sorry if I made you—”
“You little dumb isn’t it obvious already. I have one too.” I barely hear my voice. Feeling another tear slipping over my cheek. I stare at him for few seconds, “I can’t talk here. Can we be somewhere else alone?”
“S-Sure. Let's go.”
We get up and leave some more money on the table. Malik orders an Uber as we walk out and put his arm on my back, and his hand on my shoulder. I go with it and lay my head on his shoulder. I never felt this warm before. I only imagined how it is, and it feels much better than my imagination. This feeling of warmness. I’ve always had high expectations of it, but it has passed all of them. Like, after twenty years, I feel alive for the first time ever. In other words, I feel like I was dead for the past twenty years.
We stand outside laying our backs on the restaurant’s wall, waiting for our drive. It's got less crowded, the street noise has almost disappeared, and the parked cars are more than the moving ones. Here it comes, a red car. How much I hate this color. We walk up to it and get in the backseat, sitting so close to each other. I lay my head on his shoulder as I feel his chin on the top of my head. I hold one of his hands with both my hands. All it took to get to this point was one year. That feels great.
At this point, I don’t care what would the driver think or even say. I don’t care how he’ll look at me in the front mirror of the car. All I am thinking of right now is that all my fears have just vanished minutes ago. My feelings and thoughts of living this life are changing so fast. Like Malik is the best cure for my depression, and most importantly, the only one I love.
“We arrived, Sara,” he Whispers.
As we leave the car and walk up the stairs to his apartment, I feel amazed we arrived so fast. I pull out my phone and realize it’s been half an hour in the Uber. It’s almost ten p.m and I want to spend a lot of time with him, but I have to be home by midnight as a maximum. It’s really sad that I have to keep my love for someone a secret. It says a lot about the folks I live around. It explains a lot to me about my depression.
“Why the fuck did I go this far. I mean, I feel happier than ever. But I must not be so selfish like this. I’ll just ruin her life while I’ll be fine because this society sucks males' cocks,” Malik thought. Despite how happy he felt, guilt was eating him alive.
“Don’t get shocked. Okay?” Malik put his key in and pushed the door as he unlocked it.
Sara walked in looking everywhere, “Oh my god. That’s so messed up. Actually, I fucking love it.” She looked at Malik. “But I can make it up for you, I am used to cleaning my house all the time. ”
The image that came to Malik’s mind was the typical picture of how other men treat their daughters and wives. The picture looked as disgusting as a piece of shit for him. He looked at her, “Sara, you are not a cleaning machine. Your parents made you feel so, but you are much more than that.” He looked away, “You’re as much as anyone else regardless of what they have underneath their pants. And for me, you’re even much more than anyone.”
Sara turned her head down, “I was feeling so worried since I met you. I was always afraid that you may not like me. Cause I am not worth your time or that I am ugly.” She looked away, “Now all my anxiety has vanished.”
“What do you mean by, not worth my time? You are worth anyone’s time baby. Sara, love does not condition anything but a persona, and I am in love with yours. And ugly? I am sorry but is this a joke?”
Malik took Sara by the hand to his room and moved her to be in front of the mirror.
“Do you actually think this cute girl is ugly?” He laid his head on her shoulder, staring at her picture in the mirror.
“I don’t know, I mean yea. that’s how I see myself, also I want to let you see my hair, but I am feeling like this hijab is hiding a little bit of my ugly face.”
“Sara please,” Malik shouted. “Please, don’t talk like this about yourself. You are the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life.” He turned her to be facing him. Held her face with both hands, “Tell your depressed thoughts that they don’t have a place in your mind. If you ever need help I've been and will always be here. Believe in yourself. I do as well.”
Sara nodded her head as she tore down. Malik pulled her face to his chest and hugged her. “You will be alright,” he mumbled.
Sara turned around looking in the mirror again. Slowly took her hijab off while looking at her picture. Trying to see herself as beautiful as Malik was saying. Felt a little different, but still not as much as Malik made it seem. It did not matter for her as long as the only one she loved said he sees her beautiful. Took off the bun as well, showing her black long hair.
“Holy skies Sara, you’re so beautiful.”
Malik got stunned by her beauty. Sara smiled again after Malik comforted her. She blushed to his sweet words that were coming out of his heart, his true feelings.
As they sat down on the bed Malik played some chilling music on his phone. Holding hands and staring at each other’s eyes. Getting lost in them. Feeling so warm inside. They weren’t speaking but they were still communicating with their eyes. Realizing for their first time that words are not the only way to connect with someone else. Sara’s face was still red due to blushing which made her look more beautiful in Malik’s eyes. Also, added a lot of innocence to this lovely moment.
“Do you believe in god, Sara?”
“No, Not really. but like, I don’t know if he exists or no. You know what I mean?”
“Yea, I get it.”
“What about you, do you believe in god?”
“No, I don’t believe in god,” said Malik. Moved his head to get closer to her ear whispering. “But I believe in a goddess, and she’s right here in this room.”
Sara blushed so hard that she wanted to hide her face. Usually, she would look the other way, but this time she had a better option. She buried her face in Malik’s chest. Malik hugged her and so Sara moved her hands to hug him. The hug lasted a little long and Again, they got lost in another way of connection. Feeling so safe and warm.
As they were feeling so happy in a specific way for the first time, Layla and Amir were having it differently. Layla only believed that more money is more serotonin. As Amir was walking Layla home. He had an argument with himself. Wondered how and why was he falling for her. Couldn’t understand why he felt this way towards someone that would never feel the same way back.
“Were you being serious about marrying me if I was rich?” He asked. “Is that what it’s all about for you?”
“Look, Amir. You are cool and all but that’s not enough. I can’t live the rest of my life broke. Like, be realistic, we are in twenty twenty-one. Money is almost everything.”
“Money isn’t almost everything, or half this world would have killed themselves.”
“Then half this world is pathetic to convince themselves they’re okay or happy with what they have got. Didn’t you ever imagine what is it like to be rich and how would it feel? That’s when you are supposed to realize how pathetic we are,” Layla shouted. Looked at Amir with a regretful eye. “I am sorry for yelling at you. I didn’t mean it, I am just a little worried about my life, you know.”
“No worries, it’s fine,” he smiled. “I can relate anyway, so I am not mad at all,” he continued. “And if this what you want, I’ll try my best to make it happen, just so I can have you to myself.” Amir thought.
“You are a nice guy. A lot of girls would want you, but I just got my own requirements and it’s not your fault,” Layla explained.
“I get it, I’ll just get over it.”
“Let’s stop walking here. I am almost home, you know how it is.”
“I know how it is, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow with the others.”
“Sure, I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye,” she walked away.
Amir stayed still. Pulled his cigarette pack and the lighter. As he started smoking he got lost in his thoughts. Torn between what's possible for him to do, and why would he go this far with his thoughts in the first place.
Meanwhile, Sara and Malik were in another kind of mood. Sara’s father interrupted it with a phone call Sara never wanted to receive.
“I have to answer that,” Sara picked up the phone.
“Yes, dad … I am half an hour away … I’ll leave in an hour I guess … but dad I want to stay a little more with my friends … but dad … okay fine I am coming right now,” she threw the phone next to her. “He sucks,” she blew out.
“It’s okay. I’ll see you again soon.”
“Alright, I… I am leaving now. Goodbye, Malik.” Sara stood up and took her phone.
“Goodbye,” he was smiling.
As she was walking out and putting her hijab on, she turned her face back at him. Drew a smile on her face. Malik nodded his head, smiling back at her.
The steps were getting too heavy for Sara. wished she could stay as long as she wanted, or at least if Malik could take her home. But people in her street mustn’t see her with a boy, or her dad would know. In a society that is not productive all they’ve got to do is spending their day talking about others.
As Sara arrived at her house and laid down on her bed. Her heart got filled with warmness and happiness. Her eyes were wide open, but she would not see the ceiling cause Her mind got filled with daydreams of her and Malik. But between every scene’s end and another scene’s start. Between every dream and another. A hurtful moment filled with pain. A moment that felt like a blade in her chest. A moment when she would feel like the walls were closing in. A moment of not knowing what to do. A moment called reality. Her daydreaming got mixed with anxiety attacks. Cause whenever she woke up to reality, she realized that this could not go for too long. Never felt like fighting for her freedom as a girl in a sexist society. Never felt like fighting for anything she believed in. Always been so hopeless and depressed about everything. But for the very first time, she wanted to fight, only for Malik. In other words, for her happiness.
Same timing Malik was having it but in a different way. He was daydreaming like Sara, but he would cut it off himself. He felt guilty for whatever bad things could've happened to Sara out of this relationship. He moved his hand to pick his phone and got off the bed, walked out of his room to the kitchen. I need a tea and a cigarette to calm the fuck down, he thought.
Lit up a cigarette and inhaled as much smoke as his chest could take. Kept them inside long enough that nothing came out. His tea was ready. He took it and walked to his balcony. Played music on his phone. Stared at the sky thinking, am I a bad guy? This society is not my fault in the first place. If we love each other then where's my mistake? but if I really love her, shouldn't I do what's best for her. He inhaled more smoke as he thought of calling Amir. He hit him up, exhaled, and waited for him to answer...
“Hello Amir, I…”
“Fucked up, right? Kind of same.”
“I couldn’t, man. I am feeling so happy but so guilty, I don’t know anymore.”
“Happy and guilty. I am just feeling like a fool right now.”
“I mean it’s kind of okay for you. You won’t be able to go any far with Layla anyway.”
“That is the worst part man, it’s not okay,” Amir screamed.
“I am sorry dude. I don’t mean to trigger you.”
“Forget about Layla, I don’t know what can happen soon. What will you do about Sara?”
“I don’t have any idea. I am lost right now. Dude, leaving her now makes me more of guilty and asshole.”
“But you know that this will be the end either way. Remember this, the higher you get the longer your fall will last, the same will be for Sara.”
“I get that… I just need a sleep now.”
“Alright man, goodbye.”
“Goodbye,” Malik ended the call, inhaled more smoke, and threw the cigarette away.
As If I can sleep now, he thought.
Meanwhile, Amir was feeling like a fool. Not understanding why he was falling so bad for someone that wouldn’t love him back. Layla was pretty much, feeling nothing.
Meanwhile, Malik was feeling like he was an asshole. Thinking he should have had shut his feelings down for Sara’s sake. Sara was feeling like she finally got the reason to live in this awful world. The reason to go through every bad moment.
It’s dawn already and I can’t sleep, and all my warmness has turned into anxiety, I just want to be with Malik, why is that too much to ask for, I guess I will skip college today and ask him to do so…
“Sara. Sara. Wake up. It is eight in the morning already. Get up eat something before you go,” my mom opens the curtains. “I’ll make you a sandwich while you get ready.” She walks out of the room.
As I get up and walk to the bathroom, it feels strange that I didn’t spend eternity in bed this morning.
Standing on the bathroom’s floor in front of the mirror brushing my teeth. I don’t want to look in the mirror cause I hate my ugliness. I hate my face, but I am trying. I want to believe so. I want to look at myself with non-judgment eyes, and if it’s not for me at least for Malik. I really want to do the best I can. I have always wanted to, but I never had a reason, but now I do. But the more I stare at myself the more I hate myself. So I turn my head down. Goddess, he said. As I remember this I look at the mirror again and tell my picture how fucking Beautiful you are. Even though I am lying, I’ll keep saying so until I believe it. Maybe in the first place, I lied to myself a lot until I believed that I’m ugly and worthless.
“Sara, you still need a lot?” My dad knocks on the bathroom door.
“No, I am done.” I open the door as I ask him, “aren’t you late for work.”
He enters the bathroom. “Yea, I am. I needed to talk with you yesterday but I fell asleep,” he says as he closes the door. What kind of talk? I hope it is not another groom.
I walk to my room, remembering yesterday as I see my phone on the bed. Pick it up and go to the balcony as I hit Malik up. Enough ringing. Let me hear your voice. As the ringing stops and he says hi I start babbling.
“Malik Malik, Listen up. I got an idea yesterday while I was trying to sleep. Since we don’t have anything important in college today we can skip this day every week. We can spend a lot of time together.”
“Sara, there is something we need to talk abo—”
“We’ll talk about all we want at your home. Please, don’t say no.”
“Okay. I am waiting for you,” he ends the call. Why everyone needs a talk with me suddenly.
Walking to my room passing by the food table. Nothing is on it. So I Look to the kitchen by my right. My mom walks out with a dish a hand. Each got three sandwiches.
She looks at me, “Sara, can you stop going to the balcony without your hijab.”
I keep walking to the room to put one on. “Sorry, mom.” Push the door and step up to my closet opening it. There are a lot of clothes that I can’t wear most of them outside. Tons of books that I never really study. A sharp piece of glass with old blood sticking on it, my blood. There is one white hijab, one red, and a lot of black ones. Didn’t wear the red one in a while. How much I hate this color. I like the white one but never felt like wearing it though. It’s time for a change I guess. I pick the white one and walk out right to the food table as I put it on. Sit down and pick a sandwich.
My mom looks at me asking, “Who were you talking to on the phone?”
“My friend, Layla.”
I take a bite. Chewing as my father walks up to the food table, putting his gun between his pants and the edge of his thigh. Dressed in white clothes and ready to save the world. He sits down in front of me.
“What I wanted to talk with you about is. One of my best friends would like to introduce his son to—”
“Sara, let your dad finish talking. He did not say anything about marriage yet. Just engagement to let you both get to know about each oth—”
I stop eating and get up. walking to the door as my father shouts at me, “Sara I am talking to you.”
I ignore him and keep walking. How many times did he mention this, God? My shoes are by the door. I pick them up as I shout back at him that I don’t want a groom. Open the door and get out.
Her mom looked at her dad and shook her head. “What’s wrong with her?” He yelled.
“Sooner or later she’ll marry anyway. Don’t worry.”
“I have to worry. I have to secure her life before I die,” he stood up. “She doesn’t even have a brother to take care of her.” He walked towards the door to go to his work.
He looked back replying, “It’s all on God.”
Every second a second passes, and every minute a minute passes. Sounds stupid and obvious, but never obvious when it comes to bigger deals. Every minute sixty seconds pass, and every hour thirty-six hundred seconds pass. Starts to get less obvious, maybe not. But at some point, it will not be obvious. Every marriage that the girl didn’t want is a rape. Every time the husband will feel horny there will be another rape. was it still obvious? Sad, cause it is not obvious everywhere. Where Sara lives, it is not. Sara wouldn’t let that happen to her, but the thought of this and a lot more thoughts would give her a bad time living.
Eight and a half in the morning, but Malik was still awake. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror and throwing swear words at himself. End it before it gets real. If you love her then do that for her you selfish fuck, he slapped both sides of his face. Turned around and opened the door. As he walked out he heard his phone ringing. Went to his room and picked up the phone. “Hello, Amir.”
“Malik, why you took all that time to answer?”
“Sorry dude. I was in the bathroom.”
“The bathroom? You’re too late, man.”
“No, pal, I am skipping today.”
“Skipping? Alright, man. Just don’t fuck up. Okay?”
“Ya, I know. Don’t worry.”
“Goodbye,” Malik hung up. Threw the phone on the bed and sat down on it. Turned His head down and put both hands on the back of it. He was thinking of what to say. He didn’t want to sound like an asshole. Everything he thought of wasn’t good at all. Realizing it wasn’t about the words, but how he acted. He heard some knocks on his door. Stood up and walked to the door as he shouted, “Coming.”
He opened the door. Sara was there. She ran in immediately as she smiled. Malik closed the door and looked at her. She held his hands. He lost his attention for a while. She brought his attention back with a hug. Held his hands again, looking at him, “You don’t understand how much I missed you.”
He turned his head down and let go of her hands. She lifted his chin up. looked at his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Sara, I am sorry. But—”
“But what… what happened.”
He took a few steps backwards. “I want this. I really do, but it won’t end up good for you, for both of us.”
“Are you serious?” She mumbled. He couldn’t keep looking at her as he felt guilty about her feelings.
He turned his head down again. “this town, people, and society are fucked up. That’s not my fault. Starting this was the mistake I did—”
“I don’t give a fuck about this town, people, and society,” Sara shouted.
He looked at her, “Sara, you don’t get it. At some point, we’ll be forced to separate. Although we both will feel hurt, you will be more hurt. People will eat you alive. I want this, Sara. But I love you, so I don’t want you to feel hurt.”
“Hurt?” She rolled her left sleeve up. “That day, you noticed blood drips. you asked me to roll my sleeve up. You saw those scars and asked me why.” Sara took a deep breath. She walked up to the couch and sat down bending her back with her head down.
Malik followed and sat down next to her. He looked at her saying, “You said it was a battle of a bigger war. The enemies were your thoughts. Their leader was society, and the sharp things were your only weapon.”
Sara’s voice was getting lower. Her tears started to fall on the floor. “Your eyes, your voice, they were full of sadness. Unlike my parents who thought that I was retarded. I wasn’t even depressed to that point. But the feeling that no one understands me was killing me slowly.”
Malik held her left hand. He looked at her wrist and stared at the scars. “You kept your promise,” he mumbled.
Sara turned her head in his direction with her eyes down. She nodded her head, “I did.”
She looked at his eyes. “Since then I have been trying to work on my issues. You were and still are the only one. The only one that didn’t make me feel alone when I am with.” Her eyes were half-closed as she was running out of tears. She asked, “You think I’d be more hurt with you than without you?”
He took a deep breath, “I am sorry, Sara.” He exhaled it. “I’ve been so confused. I am worried about you.” Lifted her hands up to his head and laid his head on ‘em. “Forgive me, please. I promise we’ll work it out. And all your wars are our wars.”
She was still feeling bad but smiled again as he looked at her. She saw the shame in his eyes, but she understood his intentions. She patted his hand and kept drawing the smile on her face. Hoping it could help with the shame he felt out of this. Even though they both knew good, that the end of their relationship wasn’t far away. That wouldn’t separate them. She stood up and gave him a hand. He held it as she pulled him towards herself to give him a big tight hug. Her mouth was almost touching his ear. She whispered, “I love you.”
Two doors opened wide. A lot of students walked in to seek knowledge, or maybe because it is the way they were raised.
“Yo, Amir.” Layla walked up to him, greeted him. “Wait a second. Where are the others?”
“Malik is skipping today. Don’t know about Sara.”
“They both skips same day.” She smiled at him. “Do you think what I am thinking?”
“Possible. But none of our business.”
“I mean, that seems cute, and interesting.”
“Cute? Are you the same Layla I know?” He looked at her opening his eyes wide.
“It’s not like I force what I believe on others.”
“If it’s true how do you think it will go for them?”
“If they are serious, Heartbreaking for Malik.”
“But what about Sara?”
“She’ll be more busy dealing with society, parents, or even both,” she looked away with her eyes down. “Could even die if her dad is like mine.”
“Yea, like he lives in twenty twenty-one, but his brain is in nineteen eighty. It’s stuck there.”
He looked at her smiling, “All our parents’ brains are stuck there.”
“Alright, let’s get in. The boring Lesson of the week is starting.” They both walked in.
“I don’t even know why we attend this subject.”
“Neither do I.”
Slowly dancing in his room next to his bed. Moving in circles. His hands are on my hips. Mine are on his. Music is calming and we are singing along. Our eyes are having conversations. We’re moving like one person. Although I am in a small room, it feels like the biggest event of my life. Although money buys happiness for some people, I did not pay a cent for mine.
He lets go of me. “Wait for a second, Sara.” He says, Walking up to his closet. opens it and stands still as he holds something. Takes a paper out, turns around, and walks up to me. Holds it with both hands as he shows me it.
“I drew this of us a few months ago. you can keep it with you.”
It’s in black and white. I love it so much. The fact He has drawn it before we came out to each other makes me so emotional. I hold a tear so hard of falling down.
“It is so beautiful.” I take the drawing with both hands down as I keep staring at it. It is drawn perfectly, like it’s real.
“So you like it, Sara?”
Oh my god, Malik, you look even cuter in real life. My tear falls on the drawing. Keep the drawing in my right hand as my hands separate. Turn my head up and look at him.
“Of course I like it. That’s so cute.”
The silence lasts for many seconds while our eyes are speaking. asking for permission to get closer. Before we realize it, we have our first kiss. My hands let go of the drawing to fall on the floor. Heartbeats go so fast that I almost hear them. I feel so powerful and unstoppable. It almost feels like I am floating right now. I feel the blushing. I can tell my face is as red as a red rose. I don’t want to hide the blushing, but for Malik to stare and take over me. I am not scared at all of my first time. Cause he always makes me feel safe. I know I am with the right one.
I approach him. get a little closer to his ear to whisper, “Till we figure out what we’re going to do, this will be our little secret.”
Put both my hands on his chest. Push him on the bed and throw my body on his. Please, can the time stop now?