• I strolled through the garden with my mother in the sweltering heat. The sun was especially scorching today, causing me to squint.
    “Don’t squint, Rida.” My mother chided in a sharp tone of voice. My mother grew up respecting manners and politeness. I think the only reason that my father married her was because she wasn’t hardheaded, or got in the way.
    Ever since I was little, I knew that my mother was secretly scared of my father. I would see how her bottom lip would tremble ever so slightly when he towered over her, his face red with fury. Her eyes would fill with glistening tears, but would never spill over. Later, with just me in the room, she would stare off into a distance out of the window, her eyes bloodshot, perhaps wondering why she married him. I noted these things with a sick curiosity. I asked her why she did marry him one time, and she gazed at me for a short moment, and then turned away again. I was confused, and my little brow furrowed, and my eyes crinkling. I climbed onto her lap and just hugged her. She didn’t wrap her arms around me like I thought she would. She gently placed me back on the floor, and then ushered me out of the room. I never talked to her about anything related to that subject ever again.
    “Yes, mother.” I sighed, answering her command, irritated, both by my mother and the clothes I was wearing. It was a simple blue long sleeves dress, but it was terribly stuffy, and I felt as if I was boiling.
    “So, nice day isn’t it?” My mother commented on the weather as a drop of sweat rolled down her cheek.
    “Yes, beautiful day.” I replied, silently disagreeing inside my head. As far as I could tell, my mother was going to give me some significant news, but was trying to find the correct time to say it. I absolutely abhorred it when she did this.
    “So, is there anything you would like to tell me?” I asked, feeling awkward.
    “Well,” My mother became flustered. “Yes, I would like to tell you that…an…old friend of your father’s is coming to visit.”
    I had completely no idea why this news was vital to me. “Okay, is there something I should do to welcome him?”
    “Well, he is here to meet your father…” My mother refused to make eye contact with me. Her hand brushed the flowers as we passed by them. “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on your best behavior. Act like a lady, be gracious, polite, don’t tease our guests…”
    My mother continued to babble on as I rolled my eyes, and gazed at the endless sea of green mountains stretching out until the horizon. Fog settled around the zeniths, giving it a cabalistic look. In the morning the sun would rise between the mountains, obscuring the sunlight, thankfully. If that fog hadn’t been there, the sun would’ve streamed straight through my window and into my sleepy eyes. Our home was in the middle of nowhere, right next to the mountains. When I was around ten, the charm of this amazing sight had worn off and I began eager to see the city, wanting to see people, shops, and other sights. I went there once in my life, with my mother. I paid attention to the sellers, people, and especially beggars. I loathed seeing them sitting on the filthy street, begging without any dignity. I especially felt animosity to people who treated others like they were beneath them, either because they were poorer or – in a mans’ case – a woman. My father is one of those people. He strongly believes that women are beneath men, and if a man does not have a house at least as big as ours, he is not worth talking to.
    “Rida?” My mom asked, annoyed. “Are you listening?”
    “Yes, mother.” I replied, shaken out of my stupor.
    “Well, since your father’s friend is coming with a big deal…” My mother was back to her hesitant old self. I sighed.
    How is any of this pertaining to me?
    “Okay…” We sat down in the shade of a tree on a wooden table with benches. We sat uncomfortably for a few minutes before my mother delivered the big news. I studied a crack in the wood, utterly bored.
    “And he wants to marry you!” My mother suddenly blurted out.
    It took me a couple of minutes for my brain to register this. A whirring sound played in my head, like a broken cassette. Everything went blank, pure white, for a second, and then everything exploded into my head, gushing into my brain like a waterfall.
    Me, get married? Now? Do I have an opinion in this matter? He will be just like my father! Against women, and poor people! He’ll be rich, and won’t let me do anything! I’ll end up like my mother, alone and scared! I want to refuse to this offer! Am I allowed to say no? Something in my heart told me I’d have no choice.