It’s Not Where You Are, It’s Where You Come From

Dubai

She is American, Myriam thinks, or perhaps British. Cool, blonde, and with that perpetually unhappy expression they all seem to have here.

Myriam remembers her early days in Dubai. Saudi Arabia was 466 kilometers away, but it felt more like a million. She remembers the first time they walked the streets of Dubai, her face free and only her hair covered in the stylish shayla. She remembers their first apartment, and how she’d danced with delight when Omar said Yes, of course you can get a job. She remembers learning to drive and walking out of Transport Authority with her own driver’s license. She remembers how it felt to drive to Fatima’s alone. So many joys here, so many freedoms. She hands the American her change with a smile and a secret blessing.

 

Heather pockets her change and wonders for the thousandth time—how can these women stand it here?

150 words

I had great hopes for what I wanted to do with this piece but it turned out to be much harder to pull off in 150 words than I expected. So I’m going to call it good and feel satisfied that I did much thought-provoking research. Just before I finished it, I did a final google and happened to come across a picture that seemed a perfect match for my character. At the risk of getting sued, I love the look in her eyes:

20 Comments

  1. This is really great. Thought provoking indeed.

    1. My research sure made me think. Thanks for reading.

  2. Your story is better than good Karen. This is such a complicated subject that 150,000 words wouldn’t have been enough even to approach covering all the angles. Well done.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, it means a lot!

  3. Your story is spot on as it beautifully conveys the small little joys of life that come unchained and are unshackled by narrow, bigoted societal binaries of right and wrong. I loved your interpretation of this theme, K.

    1. Thanks so much Neel!

  4. Indeed, what we think of as repression, is considered normalcy in some countries. How terrifying it must be to experience “freedom” for the first time. We don’t think about that much because it’s all we’ve ever known. But, to one who has never known the freedom to decide for themselves what to wear, what to do, where to go…it can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. And, oh, what they must think of us who do have the freedoms… that we have no structure, no security, no normalcy… the list could go on. Great write this week, and very thought provoking. Thanks! 🙂 ❤

    1. Thanks so much, Jellico. Love how you put it. It does make one think.

      1. It’s something we don’t often consider..the same goes for peace. Generations who’ve grown up with nothing but war are terrified of it because it’s not something they can easily understand. And yet, we expect them to.

  5. Dear Karen,

    We, as Americans, take so much for granted, don’t we? I love the contrast between Heather and Myriam. And which one of them is more content with her life? Take heart. You pulled if off in 150 words.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    1. Thanks Rochelle. !As one of the few women in my particular IT department, I’m often frustrated by the obstacles and stereotypes that still exist. But in researching for this story I learned many different POVs, often different than what I expected. I guess it’s always good to be grateful for the good things we have 🙂

  6. I thought you did a fabulous job of communicating your character’s emotions. Well done.

    I just wrote a small piece called “A Woman’s Wings” which mentioned Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world in 1964. Mentioning her was initially just a casual remark by my character, but then I read Mock’s obituary and discovered what a truly remarkable person she was (she died three years ago at the age of 88).

    She had only been a licensed pilot for seven years when she decided to fly around the world in a single-engine Cessna. She didn’t do it to get into the record books but just to “have fun”. She was the married mother of three children when she took off from Port Columbus on March 19, 1964. She has become my latest inspiration.

    1. Very cool history you uncovered about Jerrie Mock. Is the story on your blog? Thanks for reading 🙂

  7. Recently there was an interview on NPR about a woman who, against all rules in ~ can’t remember which country ~ got her driver’s license. Oh! she sounded proud and strong. You really captured that. And the picture. I don’t blame you for attaching it. Her eyes sing with joy.

    1. Love it, I’ll have to look for that NPR story. Thanks for reading!

  8. You’ve written it well and captured a thought provoking subject in 150 words!

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