A young Muslim woman from Oman is set to marry someone she does not know in an arranged marriage. Her parents approve of this. She doesn’t, and follows her dream of becoming a super model. much to the consternation of her parents. Little do they know that the man who falls for her is of royal birth, who keeps his origins secret for his own reasons.
I RODE MY bicycle through the neighborhood, coasting around the corner onto my street. Clouds floated across the light blue sky, and the cool breeze whipped against my face, causing the hair that had come free from my scarf to fly around me, tickling my ears and neck. My tears dried on my cheeks. The ones I tried to ignore and pretend did not exist. Rashid and I decided to breakup, because he wanted me to be a typical wife material and stay home all day with kids. He had a traditional thinking, but I don’t. I didn’t want to be held down by traditional and the image of a perfect wife.
Closing my eyes for a moment, and inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with the aroma of the palm trees placed in straight lines on the pavement in front of the newly built square houses in my neighborhood in Alkhuwair. The brown and red colors of the houses blurred as I rode down the street. The bicycle spokes tinged.
This was my favorite time of the day, when the sun began to sink below the horizon, and the cool breeze rustled the palms high above the empty street. Good, respectable families were inside their homes. Women were preparing the evening meal, their men settling in after returning from work. This was my whole world as it was spread out just for me. This experience could seem lonely for some, but I enjoyed the emptiness of the streets. I was physically alone, yet I was fully encompassed within my thoughts, my mind whirring and thinking.
My headscarf was wrapped around my neck, keeping it in place against the wind and my riding., The full moon in the clear sky over Oman, peeked over the horizon even as the sun set.
It was the summer holiday, and my sister and I were taking time for ourselves in that summer after I graduated high school. Others were looking forward to continuing their education at university. I wasn’t sure university was the best path for me. I had different dreams, ones that would take me far from here. But my dreams were tempered by my parents’ expectations.
The sun had set; it was going dark. I knew that I was almost unforgivably late. My family would be sitting down for the evening meal any moment now.
My wheels squeaked as I cycled swiftly towards my house, lit by yellow lights that made the tiles on the walls glimmer. All the houses seemed to shine with moonlight against the tiles, making the whole street a shimmering mirage had sprung out of the desert.
I was grateful everyone was inside, preparing to sit down to the evening meal. I loved having time to myself to be alone with my thoughts. It was much easier to think when I was riding my bicycle in the evening breeze. When I was in motion so were my thoughts.
When I reached my house, sweating a little from exertion, I stopped by the front gate and peered through the crack. My parents’ cars sat on the drive, and I could see the television in the living room through the windows. Carefully, I unlatched the big and heavy gate, cringing against the sound of the wood scraping the cement, I opened it slowly and prayed the noise didn’t alert my parents. I did not want them to know that I had been out so late.
I didn’t want another lecture on decorum or family honor.