Revolution by Amira Sheikh

For the first time in the twenty-nine years of my existence, I could taste freedom in the air that I was breathing. In fact, I could exhale without any hesitation.

As I set the rear-view mirror, I saw the reflection of a presumptuous face. At least for that moment I wasn’t the single burden to my family, the loner who can never spend her life with the non-muslim she fell in love with as her religion doesn’t allow that. I let all these thoughts slip away as I tightened my fingers to the steering wheel and accelerated the speed-o-meter along with my heart-beat. I could even feel the blood in my veins rushing and chanting, I could hear my hair weep under the darkness so I fearlessly untied my hijab with my other hand and let my hair breathe for the first time under the open sky. Yes I profaned almost all my norms that dawn, but I could feel it’s proximity to heaven.

I ignored my cell phone flashing against the dashboard every five seconds as I knew it was either my ferocious dad or my brothers, probably with daggers in their pockets waiting for me to be back home so they can bury me alive. But I knew where I was going to end up that day. Yes, I was the profaned muslim woman, without her hijab, driving her brother’s Mustang on the mirage-filled roads of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I was one of those very few partisans in my country who want to renounce the fact that us Saudi women can never know what it feels like to give life to a car engine, drive alone to malls, drift in the desert sands, follow and learn the traffic rules and do all that we watch our brothers doing with longing eyes and gasping with amazement under our hijabs. We dreamt day and night about this revolution.

I smiled carelessly as I pulled over on the highway and handed my I.D card to the police-officer. I could hear my family yell, I could hear them abuse but I was busy savouring the taste of the last few seconds of that very temporary freedom. Hand-cuffed but I was proud as I somehow managed to fulfill my precluded dream.

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