It was just the three of them, and although she understood that two’s allowed, but three’s a crowd, she needed the quick getaway fix. She didn’t plan to be an alternative, just an accessory.
The trip was painless; she sat alone in a single seat a few rows behind them, diligently plugging in her earphones to drown their laughter. If only TLC could drown out more, but she knew there was only so much music could do for a person’s life.
She may have sfallen asleep. It was 10.30am when they boarded the train, and she was jolted awake at 11.45. An earphone had managed to unplug itself from her ear, and she heard a caller beckoning the forever sinful to beseech their Creator for salvation. She ran a hand over her face, grasping the words of the declaration of faith, as though rubbing them on her sheeny skin would cleanse her. They didn’t.
They hadn’t gotten up yet, and just as T-Boz sang the last note of Unpretty in one ear, and the caller declared nothing worthy of worship but God alone in the other, her ears picked up on, “Oh, Mostafa, you’re so funny!” The left corner of her thick lips curled slightly. He was.
The scent of the scaly creatures that lurked beneath the waves was not timid about making its presence known, and she heard the hushed welcome that beckoned her towards the sea. As an accessory she did well at fitting in while markedly standing apart, and just as with any accessory, she enhanced the atmosphere when needed.
She tried her best to ignore the hush that lured her – she laughed to add a new ring in her ears; told jokes to keep the taunts away and responded to the melodious call to prayer as the muadhin demonstrated the strength of his lungs.
But as the sun bid farewell to those who had been blessed with its radiance, she answered, obeyed and walked, becoming completely immersed until she could no longer be found. Just a floating accessory.
© The Londoner, June 2011 (Alexandria)
I know this might seem a little stilted, uncomfortable and doesn’t flow very well – in some ways I like it like that. It was originally hand-written in one sitting in front of the sea, and I don’t feel the need to add or subtract from it. It just… is. T.L.