She hooks her bulky statement necklace at the back of her alabaster neck skillfully in few seconds, then runs her hands smoothly and quickly through her light brown medium long hair, shaking away the residues of her failed-sleeping encounters last night and all other nights.
Automatically, her bland hands with no rings or even ring prints on them travel to her make-up kit to draw the subtle picture she creates every morning to hide the growing lines around her mouth, the edges of her eyes and on the top of her forehead. Someone threw a seed when she turned 29 last August, and then like weed through a petite garden, they proliferated slowly but surely all over her face with fine features.
The black kohl mixed with few strokes of light-colored eye-shadow run over her eyelids to give the impression that she has had a good sleep, and has not spent the night fighting a gnawing loneliness and a gawking emptiness which seems to find no comfort in anyone else’s bed but hers.
They have accompanied her for the last 6 years or so, yet she never surrendered to them. Every night she would fight back for her right for few hours of sleep, and every night she loses, and every night they return harsher and stronger. But something inside her has grown accustomed to the nightly raids, even yearns for it, and looks forward to it. She has begun to enjoy the torture. It has become part of her existence ritual; fight the ghastly creatures who manipulate the thinning fabric of her mind at night, and roam around in the morning making sure no one sees the insomniac creature she has boiled down to.
Only her mother can feel her through the heavy layers of the darkness and silence. Being a too ambitious girl for a Middle Eastern society that looks down on females who outsmart their male counterparts, her mother believes she needs to focus more on getting married than her career. But she doesn’t have a career, she has a purpose. It has all started when she tasted the field of Academia.
She knew she had a message to convey, but the problem was she had no idea what that message is. The search has taken her from one level of success to the other, but never with a true sense of fulfillment. She doesn’t know if she should keep chasing, putting everything else on hold or if she should just give up and go down the well-trodden path that all her girl-friends and peers have taken? She is certain they have countless nights of deep sleep. If they wake up in the middle of the night, it is to feed a baby or slip in within a warm engulfing wrapping hug. They never fight shadows out of their mind and bed, because night creatures are afraid of husbands and children.
She knows she shouldn’t give up. Because if she does, this hollow circle in the middle of her still-firm-bosom will continue to expand and swallow her. But also if she doesn’t, it won’t be long before her skin wilts and peels, and loneliness would finally get a chance to finish his horrid maps of lost treasures on her small face. Before she knows it, she will turn into the cast-away bitter friend whom everybody avoids on happy occasions because they are scared she will be envious or they will hurt her feelings with their happiness and togetherness.
She walks through the sleepy house at six in the morning, picks up her car keys, her purse, her computer, her papers, her cup of coffee, her smokes, her music, and heads down to look for her purpose of existence within the suffocating traffic and inhalations of board chalk.