My Fate Was Determined

They made my sister stay at home when she reached high school.
“You’ll eventually get married and stay at home,
And even if you continue your education,
You won’t work anyway,” they said.

We were living in Fayoum.
It’s a rural area.
There were no jobs for women there.
The easiest thing to do was to get a diploma from any institution,
And just wait for a suitor to come along.

The only thing that mattered was being able to read and write,
So that they could help their children when they go to school.

I didn’t want to go to high school.
I wanted to learn a craft.
Then maybe, I thought, I’d find my way to the Faculty of Engineering from there.
But my fate was already determined for me.
“You’re going to high school like your cousin.”

I didn’t resist.
At least I had friends there, I thought.
It would be okay.
I did as they wanted and didn’t study engineering.
I studied commerce.

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