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Today, like every other Tuesday, I would get ready for my dance class.
I woke up round five, and bathe myself. I wore my long white dress which has Silver Star shaped sequins around the border. I wore my anklets and my white flip-flops which had the transparent strap. I then wore my long white scarf which I wrapped round me and covered my hair, fastened with two safety pins.
When I arrived near the Gangal Lake, my eyes where searching for something. I didn’t even know my self, until my conscious whispered in my ears.
However John was nowhere to be seen. The feelings of happiness were replaced by the emptiness in my heart. Too good to be true I muttered. Still, my soul and my heart had hope, hope that John will come back. But then my mind said something else. He won’t come back for me. Why would he? One of the girls, named Lakhi came up to me.
“Erm, yesterday, round eight I saw a young man, a tourist man looking at your window.”
“Looking at my window? In what way?”
“Well I don’t know, but the way he was looking was as if he was waiting for you to appear. But you didn’t come. After twenty minutes he went.” Before I could say anything else, I started to hear a lot of commotion.
At the opposite end of the Gangal Lake, where a large group of men who all had different types of weapon, which all were dangerous.
“What is going on?” I asked my teacher.
“Apparently, five girls, young girls have got missing or abducted at the night, round 8:00pm. Some suspect that they have been taken into human trafficking.” Human trafficking had been rare in my village, until quite recently, about four years ago, five girls were abducted; their age between 9-16. Of course, no one cared much; a group of men would go out to search for the women but then will leave it. .
“ They must have sold themselves to them”, one man muttered.
“Maybe they have run away with their lovers…”
I saw the mother’s of the daughters were crying so bad that my heart started to soften, and I could feel tears appearing in my eyes.
It took me a minute to realize that Zufia was speaking to me.
“Go home…I’m sorry to say but the dance competition has been cancelled because of what has happened."
“But Miss, it is not likely for us to get taken…I mean you will be there with us.” Zara had said this. Zara’s voice had a slight cry to it. I understand why she was so devastated. She loved dancing, more than I did and always wanted to be in the dancing competition; and now when her dreams were coming true, everything had to go wrong.
“I know who would be involved with the abduction of these girls. Bloody tourists! That’s all they come for. They take the girls back to human trafficking and sell them as if they are objects.”
For some reason, what Zara had said had traumatized me. What if that is true? The tourists came here only to take us girls back to human trafficking. What if John is here for the same thing? Question’s filled my mind with the thought of John doing this? But John can’t be like that…can he? Although I have met him for a couple of hours, what if he turns out to be involved in this? I have to be alert. I can’t let him enter my heart.
As I was walking home on an ancient road, as if by magic, John was beside me, walking with me.
I didn’t reply.
“Erm, are you upset with me?”
“Did I do something wrong?”
John came in front of me, blocking my way.
“What are you doing?” I whispered, while trying to move John out of my way.
“What’s wrong with you? I just wanted to speak to you…”
“But I don’t want to speak to you…”
“May I know why?”
“No you can’t know why. Please just leave me alone.”
“But answer this question of mine. Do you want me to leave you alone?”
“Ye…” I didn’t know why I couldn’t say yes. I felt like my mind wanted me to say it, but my heart stopped me from saying it. Soon I felt like a war was occurring inside me, that I started to feel rather sick.
“So, I guess you want me with you?”
I didn’t say anything.
“Ok. I understand what is going on.”
“Well of course! It is because I am wearing this shirt right?” I looked at his shirt. I didn’t even look at his shirt the first time, but as I observed I saw that he was wearing one of the shirts from my village.
“Why are you…?”
“The shirts stood out. I liked them. I thought that you maybe felt that I was taking the piss…”
“No it is not because of that.”
“Then what is the matter?”
“It is because of what is occurring in my village. Apparently, some tourist have been abducting some young girls from our village and…”
“And you felt that I was part of it. And I also guess that you felt that maybe I was going to abduct you as well.”
I nodded hesitantly.
John put his hands on my shoulder and told me to sit on the side of the ancient road. He sat beside me.
“Before I say anything, can you tell me when these girls got abducted?”
“Yesterday night, round 8:00pm.”
“Ah! Now, at that time I was doing something. Firstly, I had one of the neighbours give me a tour around the fields, and later I was passing your home when I saw a glimpse of you through the window, near the blossom old tree. I stared, rather stupidly but still I was dying to get another glimpse of you. But you never came back. After twenty minutes I gave up and went to the market. It was round eight then. I recalled what Lakhi had said, exactly the same thing as John had said.
“For doubting you.”
“Don’t worry. I would never do that to you.”
I stared deeply into his eyes, those wonderful eyes which hold the key to my dreams but also conveyed the hidden secrets.
I gave my valediction to John and I went back to my house.
When I arrived home, I went into the kitchen to make tea for Baba and brothers. While giving the tea to Baba, I was lost in my thoughts. I had never met a man like John. They way he spoke to me was charming as well as polite, that from then on I knew I started to like him. I couldn’t erase his image from my mind. Again and again he appeared in my mind, and again and again I smiled. Baba seen me smile and asked that why I was so cheerful.
“Oh, nothing Baba today was a really nice day.”
“Oh really? Well, some of my neighbours told me that apparently you were speaking to one of those tourists….a man the tourist was. So, what were you speaking to this “man?”
“Oh nothing much Baba, he just wanted to know about our village.”
“Bloody tourists! They come to our beautiful village just so they can take our land for them to use for their businesses; and not only that, but to steal girls from our village.”
“Oh yes! I heard that. It’s quite sad that this is happening.” Mama glanced at me. “Alisha, I don’t want you to go out much now, as I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Oh just let her go out will you?” Baba, supporting me?
“Atleast the whole house would be peaceful for once.” Oh, no wonder why he supported me.
“You can only go out, when I am, or your brothers are with you.” I glanced up and saw the hands of the repulsive, grotesque clock illustrating 8:30pm.
“I’m going to go and pray.” I left the room.
* * *
It was 9:00pm now. After I finished my prayer, I was still in my bedroom, cleaning my dilapidated dusty cupboard. As I stood on a stool to see the top of the cupboard, I saw a brown, hirsute spider, with its eyes staring back at me. It must have been atleast the same size of my hand. It spread its long legs, revealing its babies. I knew, the mother was about to strike at me to defend her babies, so I let them be. I sat down in my single bed. I could hear my brothers arriving from fishing and my Baba joking with them. Baba never joked with me. Whenever I spoke to Baba, it always ended with an argument. At least Mama was there, otherwise I wouldn’t be alive.
I looked out of my rectangle shaped window to see some of the villagers going to the market. The villagers were mostly men. While men went to the market to have a men’s night out, women stayed home to look after the house and the children. In my village, it seemed that women weren’t treated equally as men. Just then, one of my neighbours daughters, Lilufa, was being dragged out of her house by her father, Her father slapped her hard in her right cheek and accused her of having an affair with his nephew. That’s another thing I realized. Women weren’t allowed to fall in love, and if they do, they are disowned by their family. Lilufa begged her father for forgiveness, but instead her father kicked her in the face and spat at her. I saw inside the house, the mother and the sister’s of Lilufa, peeking out of the window but incapable of helping her. They stood their motionless, while their father beat up the girl. I wanted to go out there and help the poor girl but I knew I couldn’t. Like me, the villagers who saw as well knew they couldn’t help as well.
After the fight, I looked up to see the full moon hovering above me. It illuminated the sky with its intense, bright light.
“Oh moon, how you bright up the sky at night, provide us with the light we need to see at night. In that way, if only you could brighten up my dark life…” Immediately, like as if my wish was answered, I saw John looking up at me.
“Assalaamualaiykum.” He said.
“Wallaiykumsallam...You’ve been practising huh?”
“Yeah, I needed to know that in order to show my respect to the elders in this village.”
“How was your tour then?” I asked.
“Well, to tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be very boring. But until, I saw you dancing near the Gangal Lake, it surely brightened up my day.”
I was flattered.
“Erm, is there any way you could come down here?”
“Oh no, I can’t come down at this time of night. The villagers would see and immediately tell my Baba.”
“Oh I see. Well, if you can’t come down here, then I guess I got to come up to your room.”
“Oh don’t. If someone sees, we both would be in immense trouble.”
“For you my lady, I can do anything.” Just like that, he climbed up the old blossoms tree which stood next to my house, and gave out his hand for me to hold.
“Grab hold of my hand.” He whispered. I grabbed his hand, however, as he was climbing through the window, I lost my grip on his hand and he jumped on top of me. As I carefully opened my eyes, I saw myself on the floor with John above me. Again I admired his eyes and stared into his eyes. Suddenly his warm lips were kissing mine, in the most seducing way I had never experienced. My first kiss was so immense that I allowed this moment to continue for further. I could feel his arm wrapping me around him, his warmth spreading around my chest. As he was about to give me a kiss again, Mama called from downstairs.
“Alisha, Alisha! What was that loud thud?”
“Oh nothing Mama, the chair fell.”
“Be careful next time.” I could feel him kissing me again, this time, it was very deep and intense.
“We should stop now.” I muttered. I didn’t want to stop, but I knew I had to.
“But I don’t want to stop.” He argued back.
“Well you got to.” I moved John away from me and gestured for him to go.
“I will see you again.” He whispered, blowing me a kiss back.
“Meet me tomorrow next to the blossom trees at six in the morning.”
“Ok.” Soon John disappeared into the darkness of the night. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. How did I let John, who I only met a couple of hours ago, to come so close to him and allow him to kiss me not once, twice, but thrice times? But these questions were gone from my mind, and were replaced by the desire and lust I wanted from John. I wanted him to kiss me again. He made me feel that I was wanted by someone and was loved by someone.
I am now relaxing. I couldn’t go to sleep for some reason; I just simply couldn’t go to sleep. I had too much to think about.
(Twenty minutes later)
I thought about my trouble life, how Baba had abhorred me. But I guess the only way he will be happy is by me getting married to fat gorilla.
Omar is horrible.
In comparison, John is sweet and innocent.
Omar is dirty…
…John is untainted and pure…
Omar is horrendous…
…and John is just simply gorgeous.