By Dana Husam Abdallah
September 24, 2015
Sawsan Ali Tameem sat on a bench in the garden shared by the houses in the Downtown Kiyam Compound Buildings, part of a gated community that was a few kilometers from Sawsan’s studio apartment. The sun attacked her, so she tried to wipe away sweat from her face with the back of her hand. It was a bit of a challenge with the burkha on, which is what some Middle Eastern women use to cover part of their faces as part of their cultural or religious tradition.
Remember, Sawsan, the burkha is your friend. Nobody can identify you because they can’t see your face. She still fought the urge to rip off the uncomfortable thing.
A door opened. She tightened her grip on the newspaper.
It was only someone from villa C6- the neighbors to the left of Nadia’s home. Sawsan loosened her hold on the Arabian Gulf Daily, and peeked at the blond woman who came out to peg laundry.
Sawsan’s mind drifted. She had sat on the same bench from eight thirty in the morning to five o’clock in the evening yesterday, waiting fruitlessly for Nadia’s nanny to come out with the youngest two children. The nanny, Olissa, Uliza or whatever her name was, routinely took them to the garden’s playground. She even did that when the weather was intolerably hot. They played with the neighbor’s kids. Sara particularly loved the sandpit.
Sara. She was the reason Sawsan was here, with her 6-month-old Rottweiler, Punchy, at her side. He lay asleep on the grass in front of her. She hoped that she wouldn’t have to worry about his wanting to run around the grass, causing noise and unwanted attention. Until Oliza showed up with the angel, Sawsan must remain discreet.
As discreet as possible with the burkha on, that is. Yesterday at around four o’clock, a couple of teenagers from C4 had gaped at her longer than was socially acceptable.
Sawsan’s eyes drifted across a headline: Plumber Shoots Customer.
Maybe the plumber did it for a good reason. Maybe the world was better off without that customer. Her thoughts drifted to Nadia, whose job as a Marketing Executive required her to constantly travel abroad. Her equally selfish husband, a lazy business owner, often travelled with her. They were both in Canada at the moment. Poor Younis, Adham and Sara; they were left alone so much with the nanny and two maids.
Perhaps she should rescue the two boys as well. Sawsan, we’ve been through this, they are old enough to know that you are not their mother. They will talk and you will go to jail. Just be happy with saving the darling toddler. A noisy vacuum cleaner inside one of the villas behind her jolted her. She turned around to stare at the tinted windows, partially covered with swings.
Sawsan forgave the residents for having startled her. They just want to keep their house clean. Their kids are probably growing up in a clean, comfortable environment. Sawsan thought of Nadia’s wooden floors, custom-designed wallpaper, mosaic wall tiles and Swarovski crystal toilets. You think that just because the interior of your house looks like the inside of a 6-star hotel, Nadia, that you can leave your kids there all the time? You think that the maids who polish the silver ornaments in your guest room are good substitutes for a mother?
She then imagined herself scrubbing Sara’s face at bath time. Sawsan would make sure that no soap would irritate her large almond-shaped blue-green eyes. Sawsan had a doll once that she loved to dress up and take around with her wherever she went. She showed her off to her friends. When she grew old enough to realize that the doll was an empty shell that could neither reciprocate the care Sawsan showed her, nor display any kind of emotion for that matter, she grew tired of it until it had become mere décor on her shelf.
But Sara will respond to her. She will smile at Sawsan when she gets her gifts. She will give Sawsan hugs and kisses when Sawsan reads her Enid Blyton stories during bedtime. She will grow and take care of Sawsan lovingly in her senior years, in return. I don’t need a husband to have a kid, Father.
Sawsan, despite being sticky, smiled in anticipation while fanning herself with the sports section…
To be continued…
“Because of Sara” is a short story that will be published in parts. To find out what happens next read part 3 coming soon.
Click here for Because of Sara part 1 http://en.arabwomanmag.com/because-of-sara-part-1/
click here for Because of Sara part 3 http://en.arabwomanmag.com/because-of-sara-part-3
To contact Dana Husam Abdallah: email@example.com