Under the Burqa

I have seen you before, hovering at the edge of the crowd, watching as if I was a rare specimen in a zoo. Does my burqa frighten you? Do you know under this black cloth that I am fifteen? I like to dance and listen to music with my friend Marim.

Marim’s father is rich and will send her to England in two years to study engineering at University. I ask Mama if I will go to University too, but she only sighs. I have heard her talking to Khalid Faizul. He is old and fat, and he stares at me. Marim says I should come with her to University, but I know I will never be allowed to make that choice. Khalid Faizul is rich, and he wants a young bride to bear him sons.

Take my picture and know that underneath this burqa I am not so different from you. But my life will never be my own.

 

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