Oud Fragrance

House interior in Kuwait

The family, consisting of the father, the mother and the two girls, Nur and Zeinab, joined the grandmother, Mariam, around the dinner table. The exquisite fragrance of the spinach pies on the table made Nur’s mouth water. She knew her grandmother had baked them with her in mind. As soon as everyone was seated, she lunged over the table to claim a slice of the pie. She didn’t, however, gauge her impetus and hit the plate, which landed on the ground and broke into pieces. Her father got his dander up because he knew how precious that specific plate with a design of golden flowers was to his mother, for it had been handed down to her by her own mother. It was the plate on which she always served the spinach pies. He raised his arm to strike the one he deemed responsible for his rage, and she dove for cover to the feet of her grandmother. Nur sank her head in her grandmother’s lap and started crying. Her grandmother then got mad at her own ...Read more

The Alien

Views over Kuwait City at night

At eight o’clock in the evening I climbed briskly up the ladder to the plane at Istanbul’s airport that was going to take me back to Kuwait. A stewardess smiled at me and I smiled back while checking the boarding pass to see what seat I had been assigned. The number—E 11—remains etched in my memory. I reached my row and saw a young girl sitting next to the window. She was curled up in a ball and had her coat pulled up over her head. To be fair, the temperature inside the plane was rather low. By the way she was dressed, one would be justified in saying that she could not afford to have a sense of style. She had African traits.

The girl briefly turned her face toward me, allowing me to catch a glimpse of her eyes. They looked red. It had to be either stress or exhaustion. I sat down in the seat next to hers. My heart was pounding quickly. With bated breath I asked myself, “What’s going on ...Read more