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The Bedouin

A tall thin figure stands alone on the side of an almost deserted road. The closer I get to the figure, the more it resembles a silhouette of a person. The moon light hits the person allowing me to see that it is a lonely Bedouin covering his face from the sand filled air. My heart says stop while my foot pushes even harder on the gas pedal. My gut tells me not to stop for the person, but I force my foot off of the gas pedal and onto the breaks.

As the car rolls to a stop, I lower the passenger’s seat window.

“Asalam Alaykum. Do you need to get somewhere? I can help.”

The Bedouin does not move. Instead he just points further ahead in the road. I assume he does not know any English. I reach the passenger door and open it while motioning to him to get in. He shuffles into the car and sits down with heavy breaths. He brings in a strong stench of rot. I ignore it hoping he will only stay in the car for no more than twenty minutes.

He does not remove the scarf wrapped around his head. I can barely see his eyes. There is a small dirty rucksack sitting on his torn clothes. His dirt encrusted, callous hands rest on the rucksack protectively. There is dirt under his long chipped nails.

I revert my eyes back to the long endless road. On both sides of the road are magnificent golden-red hills of the desert. The bright blue sky has clouds stretched and pulled all over it as if they were dragged by many large metal forks. The shy sun hides behind nature’s curtains and sinks down pulling the blue down and letting the orange and pink hues take over the sky. I look at the Bedouin who I assume is looking at me and point to the sky. The Bedouin only responds with a few wheezes and returns to the rhythm of his heavy breathing. I take a closer look at his head and see a patch of fresh blood seeping through his cloth where his mouth is. My hands start to shake uncontrollably as I tell the Bedouin in my broken Arabic that he has blood seeping through his scarf. He starts wheezing for two seconds before silence envelopes me like an unwanted hug. I pull over to the side of the road and notice his hands are relaxed and no longer protectively holding the rucksack that is now moving on its own.




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