Her hair was an illustrious cascade of dark waves, flowing over her shoulders like a cloak. Her head tilted to the side as she let her mind drift to the melancholic piano tune flowing out of her earphones and caressing her mind.
Her small fingers clutching for safety to the metal bar on the Egyptian subway. She didn’t need to look around for her to see the hungry looks in the men’s eyes as they rode through the city. She felt their minds push back her hair to drag her face forward. She felt their dust encrusted fingers dig their nails and tear through her loose grey sweatshirt rummaging their way to her golden skin. The thought alone was enough to make her retreat even further into her corner, she clenched her bag as if to create a barrier to protect her.
Her dark hair cascaded around her loosely covering her face like a mosquito net. Sweeping the strands away from her eyes, she thought about what she would paint today. She loved the Cairo skyline. Painting from an elevated position always made her problems seem so small, so far away.
The subways stopped, more people came on. Some people left. Her music kept playing on.
More eyes growled at her, starving for a mere touch. She could see their lips curl as they would mutter perverse things. But it didn’t matter, because in a few short moments, she would be away from it all with her colour and her canvas. She twirled loose strands of her hair as she mentally debated the best location for her masterpiece creation. The painting she was working on was for the boy she loved. He was her first love, although truth be told, he had no idea how she felt about him. This painting was going to give her the courage she needed to show him how she felt. A small smile crept on her lips. Glancing around her eyes rested on two women enveloped in two matching navy blue burkas seated adjacent from her corner. Their eyes light with laughter as they giggled and exchanged stories like two little girls. Their gloved fingers animated, telling the stories their lips couldn’t.
Suddenly they stopped, as if feeling her look the turned to glare at her with an expression absent of any light as their gloved fingers laid clenched on their laps.
Finally, the subway screeched to a halt. More people came on, she got off.
She strode purposefully to the exit, but as she walked away she could feel someone staring at her. She tried to dismiss it, but she could feel someone’s steps following hers.
She accelerated, and so did they.
She could see the broad day light seep into the dark tunnel. She was almost there.
The light gleamed on the metal giving the plan away, but it was too little too late. Two small hands, just like her own, grabbed at her long, dark hair as another two started angrily ripping through the strands with scissors. She watched horrified as the long locks fell to the ground. She tried to scream, she tried to stop them, but she couldn’t.
The somber notes of the piano started to fade as the earphones fell to the floor, the absence of music creating a sobering effect. “Was she going to die?”
She tried to look into the souls of the two people who were doing this to her, and to her shock and dismay, all she could see was two pairs of eyes. She couldn’t see the lips that once experienced joy, she couldn’t see their clothes, their sense of style. She couldn’t even see the fingers that once held the hands of someone they loved. How could these same women that were human just five minutes ago turn into monsters from the abyss?
All she could see was their eyes. Their sad eyes, filled with anger and rage. When the two women were satisfied with their work, they muttered insults as they disappeared into the crowd.
The crowd that didn’t care that this girl was attacked. The crowd, so apathetic to anyones’ pain, that they didn’t stop to see if she needed help.
She kneeled to the ground as tears poured from her eyes and fell onto the pile of dull, dark hair. Too afraid to run her hands through the choppy mess smeared on her head, she stood up, placed her earphones into each ear, and walked to the light.