In the Clouds

Jabal Yafuz, Yemen

I stuck my head out the window and looked up to the mountains. Their height and intense green color had us all filled with awe.

At some point, the road we had been following all the way from the city of al-Hudayda ended. My father parked the car and instructed us to leave the vehicle. We were going on a hike to the top of the mountain called Jebel Yafuz, which belongs to the range of the Raymah Mountains and is the one my parent’s village, which can only be reached by foot, is perched on. Before setting out on our excursion, we rented a donkey to help us carry our baggage and a few bikes for our parents to haul us children up the slopes with.

On our way up, I couldn’t help but notice the agricultural machinery the locals seemed to have built with their own two hands to work the fields. It spoke volumes to their resolve in making a living under harsh conditions.

A gentle breeze swept through the trees, whose top branches spread up to where ...Read more

The Suit Jacket

Aden, Yemen

Back when I went to high school, I liked to envision myself as a dandy who would go to work every day decked out in a stylish business jacket, wearing dark designer sunglasses, carrying a leather briefcase and perhaps also sporting an edgy haircut. If someone would have asked me where exactly it was that I pictured myself heading to dressed like that, I wouldn’t have known what to reply, for all I had cared to imagine was the image I wanted to project one day.

After high school, I still hadn’t found my vocation and decided to take the same major most of my classmates went for. I wasn’t passionate about what I was studying, so I focused on saving the money needed to purchase the suit jacket that I had always fantasized about. As soon as I graduated from university, I rushed to the chicest boutique in town and bought the jacket of my dreams. It felt like entering a new phase of life, the ...Read more

Impossible Love

Girl's Profile in Aden, Yemen

Suad distractedly looked out the window of her room. She had loud music playing in the background, but she wasn’t paying attention to the songs’ lyrics. She absent-mindedly wound a lock of her black hair around her finger and ran the other hand over her face. Suddenly, a memory made her bronze cheeks redden.

Today was her little sister’s wedding day. Her soon-to-be husband had been sending her so many gifts from the Emirates over the past few months that both Suad’s and her sister’s room had wound up piled with them. The warm winds that swept through the city at that time of year had just started blowing. Suad wondered whether she was destined to find happiness in life.

She lived at home with her parents. Her father worked at Aden’s water purification plant and her mother had retired recently after spending 25 years teaching at a high school in Crater. She was proud of her forward-thinking parents, who had instilled confidence in her and allowed her and her sister to have a ...Read more

Stairway to Heaven

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I walk down crowded alleys trying to dodge the fireballs the sun flings at us humans as soon as it has made itself comfortable in the canopy of heaven. The pungent aroma of incense that wafts toward me smacks of the past. I take my time climbing up the seemingly never-ending stairs. The stone steps have been worn smooth by all the people who have traced this route before me. I stop to look around. The views during the ascent never cease to amaze me. The buildings’ facades are adorned with stucco arabesques that crown the wooden windows. Their bright whiteness resembles that of the jilbabs kids wear. They stand in stark contrast to the rest of the colors of the facades, and to me, they look like the halos of stars. They definitely invite observers to sneak a peek at building interiors.

There is a stunning girl leaning out of one of the windows of a building opposite me. She has big almond eyes and scarlet cheeks. She is wearing a dreamy expression ...Read more