Choice by Hawra’a Khalfan

She was faced with a choice;

To shout
Off the top of her lungs
Off the edge of a cliff
Off for the whole world to hear
That this isn’t it
That this is not what she wants
This is not how she sees her life going
This isn’t right
A choice to yell 
At her family
At her friends
At her society
At her life
At herself
That this isn’t it
This is not what she wants
This is not how she sees her life going
This isn’t right
A choice to scream
Out every bit of air within her lungs
Out every honest thought shes ever had of him
Out a description of exactly how disgusted she is from all of this
Out that this isn’t it
This is not what she wants
This is not how she sees her life going
This isn’t right
It can’t be right
He isn’t right
He can’t be.

How can he be right when his touch sends shudders of indifference down her spine.
How can he be right when his choice of perfume is a freshly smoked cigarette.
How can he be right when he embodies everything she is against.
How can he be right when all she feels when their eyes meet is nervousness, frustration, anger.
How can he be right when her eyes do not look at him with love
Or curiosity
But fear.
How can he be right when the very thought of him feeling her skin repulses her.

Or, to choose
To remain quiet for the sake of all the burdens they’ve placed on her beaten shoulders;
Burdens of honor
Of righteousness
Of propriety
Of diligence
Burdens of norms
Of purity
Of family name
Burdens that drag her body down with the weight of an anchor meant only to position her into their cold fingertips, without exception
Burdens that she cannot argue with or voice
Burdens that she has to live with,
Lovingly accepting.

The angst that she needs to unleash is vibrating every fiber of her being
The power of her thoughts is going to war with
The power of her heart
Of the love she has no idea why she feels for them
And the supposed love she’ll grow for him, for them.
The powerlessness she feels
And the acceptance she’s telling herself she will have.
She finally convinced herself that
Their will matters more than her own.
So, she decided to get away from them,
That this is a new door that’s opening for all the freedoms she’s been telling herself she doesn’t need for years.
She’s decided this is her only escape.

She clutched the dead flowers in her hand and walked as appropriately slow as she could.
As her mind was fighting the trembling ankles that wanted with all their might to carry her towards the door.
She walked with her head slouched low, as she couldn’t look at the faces that were celebrating the end of her life.
She wanted to shout again, to yell that they look like grimacing prison guards
She looked down to keep her mind quiet and try to embrace the decision they made for her.
That didn’t stop the tears streaming down her face when it came down to her trembling lips
Whispering the one word that destroyed her life,
“نعم”.

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