It was late on the streets of that picturesque town by the Mediterranean. It was humid, and the heat of the night was nothing compared to the heat and the anger she was carrying within herself. Having experienced freedom for the first time subdued the rage though, that she had for her captors – that’s what she preferred to refer them as. The grueling times of suppression were now over, or were they? Was it a new beginning or was it going to be the recapitulation of the past? She didn’t know, she didn’t want to know, not at that moment.
The shimmering waters of the Mediterranean made even more tantalizing to her, the horizon, the kind she had never seen before. Not just that, the gleaming glass and concrete structures also drew her awe. The town was alien to her; everything there was new, the language, the people, their mannerisms; though not much disparate than what she had expected but unprecedented still.
Gazing at the dark, watery horizon she heard something, giggles. She looked around and saw three distinct figures on the far end of the corniche. Three young women, probably of her age were heading home from a night out. Dressed sans a Chador or an Abaya, and in clothes that would be considered way too immodest in her town, she didn’t remember ever having seen a woman like this outdoors, because if some woman did, she would be chastened by the cleric, if not by the people. The famous revolution in her country did more worse than good, socially at least, but she wouldn’t know, she wasn’t even born back then.
When she breathed her independence in the air of the town this evening, the first thing she did was to dispose off her Chador and swore never to put it on again; she’s been wearing since she escaped her town, her country, in that steel box along with three other people in the back of a cargo truck. In retrospect, she’s been wearing it forced to wear it since she was on the cusp of her adolescence.
The women were talking in Arabic amidst the giggles, she didn’t know that language, she knew no language other than Persian. Tipsy, they passed by without giving a second glance to her. She presumed they were returning from a soiree, something that town was famous for in the entire Middle East. Once unstable and witness to more than a decade of Civil War and subsequent intrusions by The State of Israel, Lebanon was now a stable country, and Beirut was its bustling heartbeat. That’s where she wanted to go since the first time she heard of it during the 2006 war. Lebanon, the place where she had imagined herself to be free of all oppression and abuse she was subject to in Iran, was now in front of her; but now, this was not her final destination. Seemingly stable, Lebanon could anytime burst out in violence as it has in the past, and situation in Beirut could be worse than Darreh Shahr, where she came from. She had decided to keep moving. How long would she be in Beirut? A week, a month, an year? She didn’t know, all she knew was that this was the new beginning, post tearing apart the shackles of suppression and orthodoxy.
Amidst the political brouhaha, she was a young woman, in an alien land, with her mettle stronger than the stones with which her mother was subjected to death back home. All she wanted was freedom, now that she obtained it, what was next? She had never thought about it, she hadn’t thought she would come this far, she hoped she would figure something out…