Today’s creative writing class offering focuses on the internal narrative.
After receiving a joyfully positive review on the previous submission, I am wracked by nerves this week.
Developing the tale further, today’s passage picks up where we left off, albeit switching from the external observation to Bashir/Rana’s internal monologue:
I stepped into the tepid night and paused. Taxis cruised, vendors sliced and children dodged and nudged through the crowds. The seconds drew out, the first few as long as minutes then shorter, quicker until time gathered its senses and urged me to do likewise. I took my first steps as Rana tentatively – in no part due to the vertiginous heels, for those had been mastered in the confines of my home long before. Despite the arak my nerves rang. From my trembling fingers that quivered a Gauloise to my lips, to my ankles that pledged to keel my being into the doorway (and had they been conscious, doubtless up the stairs and into the flat, before throwing away the key). I stepped into the golden light that fell from the kiosk window. Raed continued smoking and leafing through the paper. He glanced up, appraised the woman before him, coughed, spat to the side and returned to the sports news. I had passed and any likeness had been attributed to a visit by a family member. Emboldened, I quickened my pace. With distance, so too did my confidence grow until I reached the junction; by now my quivering form had emerged from its chrysalis languid. The calls I received were not of the variety that stalked my nightmares. Rather, they bestowed affirmation. I was no longer ‘helou’ but ‘helwe’, while furtive glances from beneath eyelashes crusted with tar-like mascara elicited not mortified howls, but breathy ‘Mashallah’s. The light of The Green Mango flickered and buzzed in the distance, a beacon to heaven (or even hell). The first steps had been terrifying, yet merely a prelude. I leaned on the door to be enveloped by a smog of cigarettes and shisha. The laughing voices held no joyful welcome, for the challenge had commenced in earnest.