She kissed her mother’s head passionately until the smell of her hair filled her to her toes. In what had become an evening routine, she walked back down the narrow tiled hall, counting the steps it took her to arrive to her own room where she gracefully wrapped her black cloak around her slender frame. With a quick glance to the mirror, she tucked the few stray raven hairs beneath the satin fabric of her scarf and said a quick prayer before getting into bed. She took the folded paper from the table at her side and put it in her pocket, as she did night after night. It was a letter to her best friend, just in case.
Tonight was the night, my dear Salma, it began. They took my life, but not my dignity.
When morning came, the dust had just settled. As the area was cleared, there she was: the girl in the black cloak lying among the rocks and wreckage of her former home; her eyes wide open, but far, far away.
She is the light in every room. She is the shard of glass that dances across the floor after the bulb has shattered into a million pieces, all like her but none like her because she dances and they only fall. She is the open window and the curtain blowing; she is the breeze that causes bumps to rise up on your skin while you sleep in the middle of a naked night. She is the bead of sweat that forms just below your nose after the chill is gone and the twilight is torrid and tempered. She is the morning sun that enters your eyes when you first wake, and the first word that pushes its delicate head through the space between your sleepy lips. She is the inhale that follows. I am the exhale, the emission, absorbed into the trees.