By Dana Husam Abdallah
September 22, 2015
Nadia Mamdouh flicked through a magazine, irritated by her husband’s soft snores. She sighed, and checked her watch. I hate long flights!
An Indian woman with a noisy toddler sat on her left, next to the aisle. She bristled. Why hadn’t the company booked her in Business Class this time? She would have to talk to her manager about that.
The toddler gripped the page she had settled on, and ripped it off before she could stop him. She turned accusingly to his mother.
“I am very sorry,” the mother said, smiling, her dangling gold earrings chiming as she nodded her head. She was in a blue, gold-embroidered kameez. “My son has his own way of greeting people; he’s too young to understand that it can annoy them.”
“It’s alright,” Nadia responded, and caressed his thick black fringes. “Where is his seat?”
“Next to his father’s, but as soon as the seat belt lights turned off, my husband came to drop him on my lap,” she replied, hugging him.
Nadia nodded and went back to the magazine.
“Do you and your husband have children?” inquired the woman.
“Yes, three. They’re all at home,” she said, trying not to show annoyance in her tone.
“You have three? You look so young; I thought you were a young bride.”
Nadia slammed the magazine shut. The woman was not going to stop chatting or asking intrusive questions.
“Thanks,” she tersely replied. After a few deep breaths, she thought she might as well indulge in some therapeutic ranting. “I miss my eldest a lot. I have to leave so often on trips like this, but it’s for my career. And for them, of course, I want them to grow up with everything I never had.”
The woman raised an eyebrow.
“You leave them very often?”
Nadia was annoyed at the implication. “Yes,” she answered, “not everyone can be tied down to their kids every minute of every day. It would drive me insane. I need my own life. This is the twenty-first century, so I’m entitled to one. My parents, though they struggled financially, ensured I had the best education at private schools. They raised me to make contributions to the world beyond making babies.”
“Okay, I understand some women have different priorities. Your kids though, who do they stay with while you’re away?” The woman was insufferable.
Nadia did not know exactly why she was answering this stranger, instead of telling her to mind her own business and stop being judgmental. She nonetheless felt compelled to justify herself. “I have a trustworthy staff at home. My own parents check in on them, and my younger sister, who is single, sometimes sleeps over. They’re well looked-after and maybe even spoiled. I don’t leave them unless I know they’re going to be fine.”
“So you have domestic help and their grandmother and aunt check on them. But their father leaves them too, to travel with you?”
“It’s a choice that my husband makes. And everyone respects his decisions. Please, I don’t like all these personal questions.”
The woman turned and rested her head on top of her son’s.
A hint of sadness infused her tone. “I did not mean to offend you. I just don’t understand.”
“You don’t have to. It’s my life,” Nadia flipped the magazine back open and focused on it as if she were going to be tested on the material.
Without knowing why, a single teardrop slid down her cheek.
Hastily brushing it away, she silently prayed that Miss Nosy did not see it.
“Because of Sara” is a short story that will be published in parts. To find out what happens next read part 2 coming soon.
Click here for part 2 Because of Sara
To contact Dana Husam Abdallah: firstname.lastname@example.org