A Spark Of Hope

I present myself in front of the family, expressing my dreams of being a world-renown author and activist; a passion I have been confining behind bars for years.

“Hassan, has your daughter forgotten she’s a girl?! The proper place for you is the kitchen my darling girl” my uncle chuckles in disbelief. I feel my face tense up into an uncontrollable frown. My father’s eyes search the room, unwanted glares directed at him signalling to break the silence.

“Farah, my beautiful daughter, I believe you can attain any goal you put your mind to but our country doesn’t present such opportunities for a-…” he pauses and strokes his beard as he searches for the right words. I step closer to him and place my palm on his cheek, gently leading his face to meet mine.

“Baba, you can say it for what it is. I can’t accomplish my dreams in this country…” I confess in a respectful yet blunt manner. “I must leave this country to even consider pursuing such dreams”, I exclaim searching for my father’s reaction. He tightens his eyebrows and tilts his head, pausing to gaze into my eyes as if taking an x-ray scan of all my scattered thoughts.

“You’re telling me you want to flee to a western country habibti?” he questions in an unjudgmental and curious way. The answer to this question was established the second he examined my eyes; he witnessed as his young girl was no longer a young girl. How long can one stay a young girl when they have faced so many harsh realities of discrimination and corruption at such a young age? I look back into the eyes of my father, no verbal or physical expression required, this was the only confirmation he needed.

After school, I head towards the crowd congregated in the bazaar. I raise my poster with vibrant red letters entitled, “women must decide their own fate” as we commence our chanting. As time passes, the other protesters and I simultaneously realize we’re being closed in by government authority. Suddenly, I see dark bulbous figures being tossed from above my head. They blow out harsh gushes of smoke that sting the eyes. I vigorously rub my eyes and attempt to suppress my squeals of pain. I notice an opening as they attempt to detain protesters in the opposite direction. Unlocking all willpower, I sprint with my arms protecting my head. I see an obscure but familiar humanoid figure running toward me. It’s my sister Nasra.

“NOO!!! RUN AWAY!!” I call out breathlessly.

We halt once we arrive home; fountains of tears escape our clasp. I have to stay strong for both of us; I grip Nasra’s hand and looking into her eyes signal for her to slow down her breathing. After explaining to my parents, they share a momentary gaze as if telepathically transmitting information.

“You can’t stay here. We're going to get you to Australia”, my father discloses. What’s this?... A spark of hope.


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