Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror

Look at your hair, Salwa!
Oh how I wish you could show it in public!
And everyone would see how beautiful you are!
But how?
What would people say?
It’d be inappropriate.
And what does a girl like me have but her reputation?
I mean if I went out like that, without the veil on, with my hair showing,
Of course I’d be pretty, but people wouldn’t respect me like they do now.
Hahaha if only they knew!
They’re just like you, mirror.
They only look at the surface.
In any case, thank God for your stupidity and theirs.
Because I am so happy when I look at you,
And see myself looking so beautiful on the outside… on the surface.
Thank God, you don’t see my reality and how I feel.

Just like I am happy to see respect and appreciation in people’s eyes,
Because they don’t see anything.
They are sadly mentally unstable.
They believe that women who cover their hair must be respectable and well-brought up.
I seriously have never seen such stupidity.
So, a good girl is one whose beauty they cannot see?
Or one they cannot see at all?
And if a girl cares a little bit about how she looks, people think that she’s loose, lost, and has questionable morals?

I’m starting to believe that men see women merely as something that serves their pleasure.
Very few of them treat women as human beings,
Who have their own dreams, and desires,
And could be useful in things other than pleasure.
And you should ask me about men,
Because she who raises a monkey knows their games!
They’re all like my father;
They don’t understand,
And they’re all unfeeling!

If you see how my father treats me and how he treats my brothers,
You’d think he’s a completely different person!
He’s never said anything kind to me.
He was never loving toward me.
He tells me that a boy would grow up to support him,
While I’d only ever be a burden.
I swear he told me “you’re a burden” before.
He wants me to get married so he can get rid of me.
My mother is like him too,
Because she, too, is exactly like me;
She wants his love and kindness,
And that’s why she never wants to upset him.
Until he brainwashed her.
Now she thinks and acts exactly like him.

I don’t know who to talk to anymore.
I want someone to whom I can tell the terrible things I did and the things that happened to me.
Maybe if I had someone who’d listen to me,
I wouldn’t have done these terrible things.
I think the first story happened when I was 15.
He was five years older than me.
This was around 7 years ago.
I used to see him every day at my English lessons,
And oh God, he was so handsome and well-built.
And he was a real man!
I was certain that I loved him,
Even though I’d never spoken to him before.
Anyway, I tried a couple of tricks I saw in the movies,
So that he’d notice me,
But nothing worked.
So I wrote my number on a tissue and gave it to him on my way out of the lesson.
He was the one who ushered us outside at the end of lessons,
Because his father, Mr. Abdo, was an old man who could barely walk.
May you rest in peace, Mr. Abdo!

Anyways, he called me and I was ecstatic.
Finally, someone who would be kind to me and start loving me!
After a while, I started doubting his love for me, but I was still hopeful.

Until one day, he called me and said that Mr. Abdo was back from his trip early, and that there was a lesson that day.
He opened the door and let me in,
And when I realized there was no lesson,
I figured out what was going on,
But I was scared that he’d be upset if I left.
But I’ll never forget the way he looked at me!
I remembered that look when, later on, I saw a hungry Somalian kid being given food on TV!
Anyways, I went in, and we talked for a little bit until he convinced me to go to the bedroom.
He promised me that he was going to protect my virginity and keep it intact as if nothing between us had happened.

I can only remember what followed as a series of snapshots.
I remember the way he looked at me:
So full of hunger and fear.
I was looking for love in his eyes, but found nothing.
I also remember how I said “No, don’t!” and he didn’t respond.
I remember my dignity hurting before my body did.
I remember saying “enough” over and over till my voice was hoarse.
The thing I remember the most is the way I looked at myself in the mirror,
As I was fixing my mascara that my tears ruined.
At that moment, I saw a different person, and I knew that my life would never be the same.

What’s funny, is that this was the day I started wearing the headscarf.
The day before, my father picked up a huge fight with me about the headscarf.
He kept telling me people criticized him because I didn’t wear it.
The next day I put it on before leaving the house.
I didn’t really care.
Back then I didn’t really care about anything.
I was just existing at that point.
I was numb and my head hurt from thinking about what had happened.
And whether there was a possibility that he really loved me.

Anyway, the relationship only lasted a month.
I went to his place a couple of times hoping that he’d love me,
And when he finished he told me:
“This is the last time we are going to see each other”.
I don’t know why I didn’t say anything.
Maybe it was the shock.
Maybe it was because I felt that it had been inevitable.
Maybe my sadness made me give up,
The same sadness that later made me try and forget him by any means.
I tried to be happy and live my life,
And most importantly find someone who loved me.
Find someone who cared about me and was protective of me.

I didn’t say no to anyone who wanted me,
Maybe that would make them love me.
But I was never happy.
Whenever I looked into their eyes I saw hunger.
I never saw love, even though I needed it the most.

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