Sunday, January 30, 2011


Nighttime trickled in throughout the indigo skies of Cairo, chasing away the blazing orange sunset. The cool winter breeze swept in through the pane-less window, making the flimsy curtains of Nafeesa's humble abode sigh in exasperation. Or was it relief? One would never know. The frayed edges of Tamer's old car bedsheets flapped in the wind, and almost immediately Nafeesa had wished she'd never gifted her new cotton curtains to her newly-wed sister-in-law.
Nafeesa had saved for months, dropping pound after pound into an empty orange juice container, until she had acquired enough money for the beautiful curtains.

She vividly remembers the day she had first seen them in the shop's window, the cream colored cotton intricately woven and embroidered with golden roses. Nafeesa eagerly eyed Haleem, her husband, when the shopkeeper mumbled the price while rummaging through his store catalog. '280 pounds?' she asked herself incredulously, 'That kind of money could feed us for weeks! The curtains will have to wait.'
Haleem squeezed his wife's hand as they shuffled through the Khan Khaleeli marketplace, aware of her disappointment. A wave of guilt crashed over him, making it hard to catch his breath. He loved Nafeesa with every bone in his body; every fiber in his very being. Marrying her was the best decision he has ever made, and he wanted to do anything in his power to make her happy. After all, she cooked delicious meals for him, listened to his mindless chatter, doted on him, and bore his first child, Tamer.
But the curtains were a luxury that they could not afford at that moment in time. Nafeesa had slept that night with a heavy heart; for once, she wanted to have something beautiful displayed in her home. The ratty second-hand furniture passed down from her grandmother and mother has seen better days, and the plastic flowers in the glass vase were graying and weathered. Still, Nafeesa was humble and thankful for all she had, even though it wasn't much. "Alhamdulillah," she sighed into the darkness of their bedroom, and Haleem slipped his arm around her slender waist as they slept, lulled to sleep by Tamer's gurgling.

Now, Tamer had outgrown his car bedsheets, wishing for something a little more tailored to his ever-changing infatuations. First, it was safari animals. Then, it was football. Nafeesa and Haleem had to wallow in their self-disappointment everytime they refused Tamer's pleading cries for new bedsheets, but for the time being, him sleeping on a bare futon would have to suffice. The car bedsheets soon became make-shift curtains. "We will move out of here soon," Haleem assured Nafeesa. "I promise."

The joy painted on Nafeesa's face as she stepped back into the shop months later was indescribable. The curtains were still hanging in the window, and the shopkeeper had recognized her immediately. "Came back for the curtains, hmm?" he'd asked her from the jet black tuft of his mustache. Nafeesa nodded excitedly as Haleem tightened his grip on the old orange juice container. Two hundred and eighty pounds exactly - Nafeesa had counted them at least 5 times before leaving the house. The weight of the container lessened as the shopkeeper cupped handfuls of coins onto the glass counter and slid them to the side, one by one until all 280 coins were counted off.
He gave Nafeesa the gleaming plastic package, it's contents boasting themselves. Two neatly folded drapes, and at least ten plastic hooks to hang them with. Nafeesa gingerly slid her fingers across the top of the package and shot a radiant beam at Haleem. Haleem smiled back and kissed the crown of his wife's head and led her home.

It was only a couple of days later that Nafeesa's sister-in-law sent the wedding invitations. Though Nafeesa was ecstatic for Shareefa, she couldn't help but think of her brand new curtains' fate. They were the nicest thing she owned, still brand new, and they had no money to spare for a gift. Nafeesa's heart crumbled when she gave them to Shareefa, but she would rather die than be known as the stingy sister-in-law who didn't come to the wedding with a gift.
The curtains went, but the yearning for them remained. She was sure that Shareefa would love them and enjoy them as much as she would've, and she could still see them everytime she went to Shareefa's home to visit. The tiny assurances filled her heart with rest, and it was only a matter of days until life went on as it normally had in their household.


The faint chants of the January 25th protests were carried in with the breeze, reminding Nafeesa that the struggle of their poverty, God willing, would soon be over. Oh, what she would give to stand in the face of danger in Tahrir Square! She wanted so desperately to be a soldier fighting for her country's rights along with the thousands of other civilians, but Haleem was having nothing of the sort. "I will not allow my darling to be subjected to danger! Don't you hear the gunshots?! I won't risk losing you and neither will Tamer."
So Nafeesa stood tall and proud in her cramped tiled kitchen, rolling savory dough for their "emshaltat" dinner and chanting with the distant cries. The ivory dough stretched itself thin over the counter top, and Nafeesa wistfully prodded rose designs into the edges, smiling at what could have been her beautiful curtains.

One day, Egypt will be free of it's social and economic shackles, and the luxuries Nafeesa had once dreamed of will be a laughable memory.

** This post is a dedication to our Egyptian brothers and sisters fighting for their rights. To whoever is reading this, please send them your strength and prayers. They are taking a huge step towards a reformation, and they need our support more than ever. God bless. Ta7ya Ma9r! **

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hey guys!

I know it's been a while (a really really long while) since I've last posted.

My December finally came around and I had the most exhilarating, relaxing, and self-defining moment of my life. I went overseas alone for one month. No friends, no family, nothing but some money and a dream.

It was seriously the most liberating thing I had EVER done in my life. You know how some African-American women resort to shaving their heads as a symbol of their freedom and independence from hair chemicals and relaxers?
My symbol was a plane ticket.

I met the greatest people, ate the most delicious food, enjoyed my OWN company, didn't miss anyone, and was exposed to the best music there ever was. I was so inspired, day in and day out. My camera died on me time and time again because I couldn't stop taking pictures of every little detail.

Wherever you decide to let the charter fly you, do it, and do it without any inhibitions. I could go on and on forever about every little experience I went through, but some things are just too personal.

I have forgotten everything that held me back, and though I was extremely sad to be home again and back to my routine life, I feel so blessed to have gone through everything I did. I came back happier, more responsible, and more assertive than I've ever been.

And most importantly, I don't feel the slightest wince of pain when I think about Mubarak. As a matter of fact, we've driven side by side on the way to work at least twice now, and never once did my heart race. Never once did I feel like I needed to stare at him or call him or text him.

I am free.

And I'm back. And inspired. So I hope you guys are ready to read :) I've missed you guys!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


"Sometimes I want you here, then I wish you'd vanish."

The phrase repeats itself in my head so many times, it's starting to become the only thing I know. I live on a twisted emotional rollercoaster that suspends me upside-down in mid-air every single time you cross my mind or when I'm with you. Stomach churning, heavy breathing, feeling the chunks and lumps rise in my throat. Waiting for the harness to give way to my heaving chest, come loose, and send me tumbling down to a dark pit where I will surely die or break some bones. But at this point, no pain is more unbearable than the fact that I've lost you. Somehow.

That is why I need December. I need to be a million miles away from you - disconnected, out of the coverage area. Don't try to call me or e-mail me or text me or poke me or tweet me or utter my name on your lips, those very lips I've kissed a thousand times in my dreams when I ache for you.

You don't feel it and you wouldn't understand it. You wouldn't understand why a specific song playing at a specific moment in the day elevates my senses. You wouldn't understand seeing me standing on the roof of an old building in nothing but heels, a bandage skirt, a crop top and wild hair in the freezing cold, dancing to old-school Hip-Hop like I was the only one in the universe.

Or would you understand?


What I do know is that you need to stop doing whatever it is you're doing. I don't think your wishy-washy bipolar behavior is funny or attractive or remotely mysterious. It just turns you into an indecisive (and not funny) fly that keeps buzzing around my nose, lips, eyes, and ears when I'm trying to have a delicious home-cooked meal after being starved for so long.

I need December, and I need you to not be a part of it.
I'm leaving it all behind.
So if you're thinking you have the upper hand right now and that the ball's in your court, think again. You weren't playing to begin with.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


In that glimpse of a smile that she'd witnessed, chapters upon volumes were being written. An amalgamation of fiction, because it was in fact too good to be true, and a whirlwind of feelings.
The emotions she felt reminded her of a vintage washing machine sitting on a grassy lawn, twisting and turning and churning, beating away dull colors and bitter stains that tribulations have left on the t-shirt that was her life. A slap to her pink cheeks, shaking her senses. Or a light punch in the stomach that would awaken the butterflies that had been asleep for far too long.

She couldn't speak about it, not because she didn't want to, but because words would fail to describe the experience.

A smile: your smile. Confined to a several-hundred pixel dimensioned square, but screaming out at me and telling me everything I need to know about you.
It was polite and demure yet devilish, lifting your boyish face up ever so slightly and effortlessly giving you that heavenly glow that most people dream of achieving. I could've stared at it for hours, and at one point, I did. The gleam in your eyes, the contours of your skin, and the million things that could've been running through your head at that moment - I'd analyzed and thought about it all. Simply because I've never seen anything quite like it.

So how did you expect me to react with you standing there in the sweltering heat, with your ghetra billowing around your angelic face? You were right there, in front of me, like an Aurora Boreale radiating a symphony of colors on a calm horizon. Surreal. Did you really expect me to pull myself together?
I covered my eyes time and time again and tried my hardest to give off the impression that I didn't want you to go away. I didn't want you to go. In fact, I wanted to capture every detail of you in a jar and take it with me wherever I went.

There was just no way to describe it all. No words in the dictionary did your eyes justice; wide and wild like an innocent child's, pulling all of the sun's rays into a big beautiful twist and making it beam off of the surface of your pupils. Chocolate. Then hazel. Then honey, and then chocolate all over again. Your curled eyelashes fanned out perfectly, like synchronized swimmers or a line of military soldiers standing tall and ready to protect you.

If I could have taken a thousand pictures, I would've. But even then, the finest resolutions and sharpest lens wouldn't be able to replicate the divinity that is you.

Monday, July 12, 2010


The clammy darkness of his hands encased her eyes, like a giant second eyelid that was more difficult to open, more persistant in hiding her vision from what was to come. She could smell the unusual scent of Dior's Fahrenheit and pretzels on his fingers. It was her last night, after a long and beautiful two months, so he'd treated her to a large doughy pretzel from a street vendor, amongst other things.

It wasn't much; other guys would've taken her to a fancy restaurant or bought her exquisite gifts to take home and commemorate the wonderful time she'd had in the city.
He was different, though. He knew she could get any of the finer things she wanted back home - giving her the last taste was the best gift he could give. They'd already spent the slushy cold morning ploughing through the streets, eating cheese pizza slices for breakfast from Mama Sbarro's like she'd requested. Then, they had drifted in and out of art galleries, relishing every drop of paint that their eyes feasted on together. She'd posed in the most ridiculous and hilarious poses beside sculptures and statues, and his arm stretched out in front of them with the camera pointing at them, ready to snap the most candid pictures of them and make the memories everlasting.

He preferred Polaroids. There was something about the instantaneous response from the camera that thrilled him. Back at his apartment, he'd watched her slowly get dressed for the day, slipping her tights on, and then pulling her undershirt over her lacy black bra. They'd become best friends over time, and she'd learned to appreciate his voyeuristic side. He'd spent the earlier hours of the freezing morning sprawled on the couch, snapping away at her with his Polaroid camera, documenting her every move like she was a wild animal in the jungle.

He would miss her, and that was a definite.

The pretzel he'd bought for the both of them was exactly what they needed. The already gloomy sky was becoming more overcast, as if darkened by the sadness of her leaving and going back home. "Don't cry, Concrete Jungle," she smiled, looking up at the sky. "I'll be back soon."
The magnificent skyscrapers dabbled with lit windows looked down on her with such sorrow, as if to say "You'd better be back soon. Please, don't go."
She blew a kiss to the sky as he finished up paying the street vendor for the pretzels, handing her the hot twist of dough in tissue paper. She wolfed the pretzel down like a homeless man would, only then realizing how hungry all that walking had made them. "How about some roti?" she asked.
"Not now," he smiled with satisfaction. She had never tried Trinidadian cuisine before she met him, and when he popped the first piece of roti in her mouth, he sent her up to Heaven and back. Now she wondered how she'd ever go back home to live without it.

She tore off bits of her pretzel and dunked them into the creamy yellow mustard that he held out in the tiny plastic cup. The salty warmth of the dough and the depth of the mustard's flavor settled itself on her lips against the faint sweetness of the slushy rain.
"The city tastes so good," she closed her eyes in bliss.
"It only tastes better when you're here," he enveloped her small hand in his, and they continued their walk.

A block away from their destination, he'd stood behind her and covered her eyes, guiding her through the city bustle as if she were blind, or as if he were teaching a baby how to walk. At first she protested, annoyed with the fact that his hands were stealing her last looks of the people walking by. She wanted to capture every image in her mind, and all he was doing was filtering the images with his dark palms and fingers.
"Shhhh," he hushed into her ear, and for the first time since she got there, his voice had sent warm tingles up and down her spine. "Trust me."
"I do," she closed her eyes underneath the nest of his fingers, as if to affirm her trust for him by blinding herself just a little bit more.

"Good evening, sir," she heard a woman say, and the freezing cold of the February night was replaced with a warmth that only a fireplace in a hotel lobby could bring.
She was right: the elevator dinged and they shuffled into it together like two bodies frozen to one another, his palms still covering her eyes.

"Where are we?" she asked, the frustration and anticipation building up inside of her.
"You'll see," he replied, the smile audible in his voice.

The elevator dinged again, the doors opening and making way for the surprise. The bitter cold slapped them in the face again, and though it was unpleasant on her skin, her insides where bubbling over with excitement.

His fingers made way for her vision.

And what a vision it was.

They were on the rooftop of the AKA Hotel. It wasn't the highest building in the city, but it was high enough. The rooftop was aglow with city lights radiating from the skyscrapers surrounding them. Tall fathers and mothers protecting their beautiful child. She gasped at the wonderous sight.

Gaslamp heaters stood in every corner, watching and waiting to see what will happen next. He led her to a white table with a short vase of white roses (her favorite) in the center.
"What is all this?" she asked in wonder and amazement. The sight took her breath away. He didn't answer, but she was used to his random bouts of silence. His silence spoke words to her and inspired her to ponder and answer her own questions. He challenged her every chance he got, and she loved it. He built her up higher than any tall building, so rigid and strong-willed and determined, with a foundation of the strongest heart.

This moment was for them to cherish. He tucked her hair, which was being whipped around her face by the unruly wind, behind her ear and seated her to a feast of fresh roti, Doubles, curry, and all of her favorite Trini foods which he'd accustomed her to. They ate as if it were their last meal on earth, mopping up the traces of curry on their plates with bits of roti and their fingers, and kissing their fingers clean.

Again, he took her by the hand and helped her up, her body weighed down by the delicious meal. As if on cue, Stevie Wonder's "Love Light In Flight" came on on the surround-sound speakers, serenading them as they danced the night away.
The city lights twinkled over them lovingly, lighting their way as he held her close to his chest and swayed to the smooth disco rhythm.
In her mind, she was at the highest point in life, right below Heaven, gliding through the galaxies in a glass spaceship. No one made her feel that way, and no one will make her feel that way.

All that was left were Polaroids strewn on the apartment floor.

Theophilus London - Light Years
Theophilus London - Hey Wonderful
Stevie Wonder - Love Light In Flight
D-Train - You're The One For Me
Jean Carne - Was That All It Was?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Love Harpoon

Oohs and aaahs.


The Love Harpoon is in full effect.

I don't know what it is, how it is, why it's here and where it came from, but it's eating me alive and I can't shake it away.

It could be day or night, rain or shine; I could be happy or sad.
All of a sudden - out of nowhere - like a fireball or a blazing comet, a fiery pleasureful pain shoots itself into the center of my back and shocks my body. And for that moment, time is suspended and I feel this out-of-body experience where I'm rocketed into outer space in a beautiful dress with no shoes on, my arms and legs and hair flailing about like I'm drowning in a sea of Love. I'm surrounded by stars so big and bright and beautiful, they sparkle more radiantly than a cluster of the finest diamonds.

All of this happens for about three seconds. You know when people say before you die your life flashes before your eyes? It's the same thing, but the difference is the feeling of the BEGINNING of life and not the end. The three seconds are filled with overwhelming love, speckled with hope and the tingle you get in your toes when you jump off a high place.

Sometimes it brings tears in my eyes, but not too often.

I wish you could feel it. For those three seconds, I get to forget my worries and troubles, and feel so insanely good that I just want to put my hands in the air and inhale all the love there is in the world.

Tonight, stand outside; in a parking lot, on a rooftop, anywhere open and airy. Stretch your arms towards the sky and take a deep breath with a smile. Look at the stars.

Multiply that sensation by a million to the power of eternity.

You'll feel it, too.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Only some would claim that 1992 was of no significance to them. To me, it was everything. I was only 5 years old then, but I felt the independence of an 18 year old who'd just gotten their license, and the overwhelming joy of a 27 year old who'd finally found the love of her life.

Everyday was love. Everything was perfect.

The simplicity and comfort of having very few friends, or just one best friend, was enough for me. Who cared about boys? Or having a social circle so big you'd get lost in it? Not me. The few friendships I'd formed when I was in the first and second grade were the only bonds I needed to get me through the days.

Sharing wasn't caring. Sharing was something, and caring was another. We were so selfless and young and happy, my friends and I. I remember sitting on the floor during my lunch break everyday at school with four other girls. We'd dump all of our lunches in the center of our little barricade of bodies and eat whatever was in the middle without a single complaint or feeling of resentment towards whoever ate the last piece of chips. Our gossip revolved around which Disney princess was our favorite and why, and which books we wanted to read over the weekend.

So innocent and happy.

Closets consisted of a couple of pairs of jeans, all acid-washed with an elastic waistband (we were too young for buttons), printed t-shirts, and a dress for Eid. There never came a day where I'd look into my closet and think about what to wear - I'd just pull out a bright shirt and a pair of jeans, pull on my favorite sneakers and go. Do you remember the sneakers that lit up whenever you took a step? Or the sneakers that "made you run faster"? I felt on top of the world everytime I put my shoes on, dancing around to Michael Jackson tunes and pretending I was in the Billie Jean video.

Music was another thing. Music was on a whole different level, and I'm sure many of you would agree.
By the year 1992, so many of the greatest artists and songs had set their names in stone and came out with, undeniably, the best music anyone has ever heard. Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey hold an extremely special place in my heart. Sometimes we were too young to fully understand the depth of their lyrics, but they sounded good and we could sing along, or at the very least, dance to it.
Even now when I listen to Mariah Carey's "Emotions", a wave crashes over me and sucks me into this deep trance and takes me back to 1992. Sunny mornings, wild hair, big smiles, going swimming at Le Meridien with my family and cousins; it was and still is perfection to me.
Even old-school Hip-Hop was everything it should be today. The lyrics were so simple, the beats were so ridiculously fresh, and the song didn't have to be peppered with bad words and negativity for it to work.
The music videos on MTV were relevant to the song, and VERY rarely did you see scantily-clad women exploiting themselves.
Music was everything to me during those years. Everything. You couldn't even compare an iPod filled with songs from the late 80's and early 90's to an iPod filled with today's music. You seriously can't.

There are some days I remember so vividly - laughing so hard in the back of the car with my cousins because we were so outrageously happy. Laughing so hard, in fact, that we warned our aunts that if they didn't slow down on the speed bumps, we might pee ourselves.
When was the last time you laughed so hard for no reason?
I can't remember either.

If I had one wish, it would be to bring 1992 back, forever. Every year should be 1992. There's so much more that I wish I could put into words, but sometimes words don't do the feeling justice.

Tell me some of your thoughts and memories :) I'd love to read what you all have to say!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I've been tagged by the lovely Glitter!

So this tag is called Il-Taj Il-Sultani.. I would upload the picture thingy that's supposed to go with it, but I'm clueless when it comes to stuff like this.
Anyways, so the tag says that I have to tell my beautiful followers 6 secrets of mine. Whoever knows who I am or doesn't, I don't care. I really have nothing to hide so whatevs! Here goes!

1. More often than not, I think about running away. Not just leaving my house, but leaving Kuwait. Running off to a big beautiful city that's so enriched with culture and life and REAL people. The thought of it gives me goosebumps, and there are days when I'd give up my family for a taste of another life.

2. I wish I never dated. Not because of the whole reputation thing (I could care less), but because of all the days, months, and years spent worrying about the significant other and crying and all the other sad bits that come with a relationship. A word of advice, spend every moment you can with a smile on your face.

3. The thought of marriage, which was once so beautiful and sacred to me, repulses me now. I secretly feel sorry for all my friends who are married, because 90% of them are miserable. I just pretend to be interested in committment when I'm around them.

4. As much as I regret ever knowing Mubarak and hating him for what he did to me, a little piece of me misses him so much. It always will.

5. I can never forgive my dad for leaving. I don't care how happy he is in his new life; I think what he did was extremely selfish.

6. I stole a piece of gum from the baqala when I was a kid once, and when my mom asked me if I had paid for it, I nodded. I still think about it till this day, and I still feel like crap.

There. I said it. LOL.

I tag whoever wants to do this thing. Link me back to your blog in the comments section if you did this tag! I'd love to pick your brains :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Love Yourself

LeQuan heaved her baby pink backpack over her broad shoulders, sighing at the added weight on her back. Her muscles ached. Her bones were tired. Her feet were sore. But no matter how far she walked everyday or how little she ate, the massive rolls of fat seemed to make deeper folds in her skin, pushing against her heart and making it ache. Even breathing was hard - she had to pace her steps precisely so that she wouldn't breath too loud or too hard; "The Bulldog" as her neighbor's kid called her.

She tried to shuffle out of the door as quietly as possible, but her mother's voice resonated through the puff of smoke from her joint. "You better walk to school. Don't be takin' no buses. You better walk all that fucking weight off."

LeQuan nodded slowly, running her hand against her hair. "Bye," she mumbled, and continued making her way out onto the landing of the run-down apartment building in which she lived. She shifted her schoolbag time and time again, its heavy weight pushing the hooks of her bra deeper into her skin.
LeQuan was the only one in the 5th grade that wore a "real" bra. All the other girls wore light undershirts, or cotton training bras for the budding teenagers. She, on the other hand, had to steal an old bra from her mother to support the heavy load on her chest.

Just thinking about walking down the long winding road to her school made small beads of sweat form on her upper lip. She wiped them away with the back of her hand, and wiped the back of her hand on her weathered jeans. The walk of shame began.
People walking on the sidewalks would always throw nasty comments at LeQuan, especially the younger boys. Always making stupid quips about her weight. "I'll show them. Someday," LeQuan would think to herself.

The sun beat down mercilessly against her forehead, causing more sweat to dribble down the sides of her face. The heat made her clothes cling to her body. Added weight. Sweat stains in the most unforgivable places. LeQuan felt the perspiration form between the folds of fat on her belly and her back.
"Fatass," a boy in his early teens yelled, lowering the volume on his boom box to make his voice heard.

LeQuan thought of glaring at him with her tiny slits for eyes, but she knew that his retaliation would be much stronger; more painful.
Just like the other day when she'd told a boy to shut up after he'd called her a whale. He'd thrown his tin lunchbox at her heavy-set legs, hurting her. The contents of his lunchbox spilled out onto the concrete pavement, and a hungry LeQuan had examined them quickly before hurrying on her way to school - an apple, some carrot sticks, and a juice box. "Are you gonna eat that?" the boy had roared, cocking his head to the side like he was ready to fight. "Fucking whale. Go on!"
She put her thumbs underneath the straps of her heavy backpack and continued walking, a multitude of colorful threats chasing her.

School was no different. LeQuan sat in the back of her class and had no friends, except for this one scrawny Mexican girl, Amelia, that hung around her because she was the only girl in class that couldn't speak English as well as the rest of the students. Amelia got called names too; Wetback. Illegal immigrant. Taco breath. The list went on.
LeQuan and Amelia would sit on the steps leading to the playground, and Amelia would give LeQuan half of her sandwich everyday. "Quieres mitad de mi bocadillo?" she'd ask in her squeaky voice, and LeQuan would nod slowly as she watched Amelia part her sandwich in half. They ate the same cream cheese sandwich everyday, but LeQuan didn't complain. She never got to eat cream cheese at home, or anywhere else, for that matter.

By the time LeQuan came home everyday, she was soaked from head to toe in her own sweat. Funny enough, the scale gave her the same number everyday. Sometimes it would go up a little, but never down. She would sit under the shower head and scrub herself silly, as if the weight would come off the harder she scrubbed.
Lunch was deep fried. Everyday. It was the easiest way for her mother to cook - frying anything and everything in hot oil or lard so that her child would be full and so that she could go back to smoking joints and watching old TV shows.

LeQuan would be too hungry to refuse a meal, and though she understood how too much grease could clog her arteries and kill her, she didn't care. Sitting on her ratty bed and staring at the pictures of modelesque black girls on her wall made her want to die anyways. When she'd close her eyes to sleep, she'd imagine herself to be as skinny and flawless as Halle Berry. Halle was her favorite.

She remembered as a child when her father would pick her up and hoist her over his shoulders. His laughing angelic face was one she'd never forget, and everytime he'd parade through the hallways with LeQuan on his shoulders, she'd feel invincible and free. "My little bluebird," he'd sing to her. "There's a bluebird on my shoulder!"
He'd always sing songs from "Song of the South" to her, and her heart would swell with love for him and his beautiful voice.
One day, when she was 6, she'd woken up and searched the house for him. But he was long gone by then. Trying to decipher the few words she understood from her mother's scream-fests with her grandmother, LeQuan knew that her father found out about her mother's love affair with drugs.
LeQuan wondered where he was now, or how different things would be if he was still here. She would be happier. Maybe even smarter. She'd be thinner, for sure.

But she wasn't. And that is the reality of an obese child growing up in a world that is depleted of love and care, and abundant with hate.

Friday, November 6, 2009


"Yalla, I'm waiting," her friend had said bluntly.
"Give me a minute, I'm leaving now" she replied, before hanging up and throwing her phone on her messy bed.
She opened the doors to her closet in search of a jacket. The wind howled outside and she could see the tiny droplets of rain flick themselves against her windows. Something warm.. Something to keep her dry.. The choices were infinite. Puffy ski jackets, smart blazers, crocheted capes and bright ponchos filled the racks, and she ran her hands along her collection of clothing until her hands stopped, feeling down the one jacket she proudly owned but never wore in public.
Gingerly pulling it off of the hanger, she inspected her sheepskin jacket. It was so elegant yet so worn out; the years had weathered the soft leather lining and matted the wool of the vintage piece, but it only gave it more character.

She slid her lean arms into the sleeves, putting the jacket on. The putrid smell of sheepskin always made her gag - one reason why she never wore it - but she craned her neck, elevating her head above the stench. Looking herself over once again in the mirror, she smiled at how ridiculously small she looked in the jacket. Like a pea in the pod, the jacket enveloped her, almost diminishing her upper body from existance. But that's exactly how she liked it. As small as she looked, she felt powerful. The shaggy wool had curled from the previous nights of rain, broadening her shoulders with rich hues of champagne, tan, and a deep chocolate brown.
Underneath the heavy jacket, she wore thick black leggings and a matching bodycon top, outlining her perfect figure that was hidden by the big beautiful jacket.
In her boots, she felt taller. With the jacket, she practically lurched when she walked, looking like a broad and strong woman with direction. In actuality, she felt as lost as the sheep that adorned her back, as cold as a child without his mother, and as frail as a praying mantis in the blowing desert wind.
Still, she walked, checking her reflection in the picture frames, in every mirror, in any surface that relayed her image back to her until she was finally out the door and into her car.

She sat in silence for the longest time after revving up the engine, and she ran her hands up and down the curly fur of her sleeves. Closing her eyes, she imagined running her hands through his hair the way she used to when they'd kiss passionately, and the way her fingers would carress the sparse hairs on his chest when he'd cradle her in his arms.
Yes, this jacket was all about him: the way it warmed her and protected her, the way the curling wool felt under the soft touch of her fingertips, the way the brown patches of color reminded her of the deep pools of cocoa in his eyes. Her love for him suffocated her the way the smell of the jacket invaded her nostrils. It was always about him. Every decision, every thought, every purchase was made with him in the back of her mind. She slowly backed out into the street and drove onto the endless highway.

'Wainik?' she thought to herself. 'Where in these streets are you? Who's house are you in? What are you eating? What are you saying?' Her fingers, which were starting to numb, grasped at the tendrils of sheep wool on her sleeve, desperately trying to absorb whatever feeling pertaining to him that the coat could bring her.
At the traffic light, she rested her head against the fogging icy window, gazing through the cloudy condesation. Her neck ached from twisting and turning in search of his car, and her eyes grew tired of straining themselves to find him. A lock of hair, a scruffy beard, a doe-like eye, a pearly smile - anything that could be him or a part of him made her ache.

A car inched closer to her, and the driver looked up at her. His large brown eyes and curling lashes gaped at her in awe - she was the most beautiful thing he'd laid eyes on, and she hadn't changed a bit. He gazed at her and she stared back at him while her stomach did somersaults, her heart fluttered, and her knees buckled. He flashed his million-dollar smile at her, and she let herself melt into the now hot sheepskin overcoat. Driving off as soon as the light turned green, she watched him speed ahead and turn into a residential area - probably going to the diwaniya.

Her coat felt brand new for the first time in the 30 years since its creation. Like the reincarnation of a lost soul that has been found, the coat seeped its liveliness into her skin as tears of joy danced on her lower eyelashes.

This is what you do to me.