A Glimpse, by Alexandra Kinias

A Glimpse

by Alexandra Kinias

The thermal blanket that covered the skies of Cairo had trapped the smog in the atmosphere and caused the temperature to soar. The woman who stood by the bus door was covered from head to toe in a black burque and black gloves, with only a slit for her eyes to see through. She was suffocated by the body heat of the sweaty passengers who crammed inside the bus like a can of sardines.  Her sticky sweat rolled under her armpits and between her thighs and intensified her feeling of heat. The bus maneuvered through the congested traffic and hobbled to the stop. She fought her way out and almost tripped when a passenger stepped on the tail of her long burque. Instantly, the street was flooded with the passengers who raced out from the belly of the bus. In another instant, and challenging the existing laws of physics, the bus was filled with double the number of passengers who showed high acrobatic skills in climbing it, scrambling inside, squeezing their way through and trampling over the passengers who were already on board.

The bus moved away from the station, emitting an enormous black cloud of burnt oil from its muffler. The woman coughed as she hurried away from inside the cloud. The traffic light turned red, but none of the cars stopped.  She looked right and left and then collected her courage and attempted to cross the street, in spite of the moving cars. A speedy car appeared in front of her and almost hit her. The car broke, its tires screeched and the driver yelled at her from inside the car. She jumped back on the sidewalk defeated by the congestion. She took a deep breath to relax her heart that raced in her chest. A police officer with a whistle in his mouth appeared from nowhere and was able to stop the cars, but the light had already turned green and the cars started to move again. The woman dodged the cars and weaved her way to the other side maneuvering between cabs, mini-buses, pedestrians, scooters, bikes and a donkey cart overloaded with baskets of fresh produce.

To celebrate her success in crossing the road, she dashed towards the sugar-cane juice store at the intersection and rested her body against the cold ceramic tiles, that covered the inside and outside of the store, to catch her breath. Inside the store, a guy behind the counter fed the rollers of the squeezer with the long stems of sugar cane. He turned the switch on and the rollers squeezed the juice into a container and the pulp fell off the rollers. A young boy picked the crushed pulp off the ground and dumped it next to where the woman stood. Flies buzzed over it.  The icy cold tall glasses of the golden sweet juice covered with white foam looked so inviting. She was already late, but she stepped inside the crowded store and stood in line waiting for her turn.  When she got in front of the counter, the guy behind it handed her a tall glass. She picked it up with her gloves and walked to the corner of the store. The curious eyes of the guy behind the counter followed her as she removed her face cover and gulped the cold juice. Their eyes locked for a moment and then she smiled and winked at him. Before he recovered from the surprise, the woman had already covered her face again, put the glass down on the counter in front of him and walked out of the store.

Alexandra Kinias’s short story, “A Glimpse,” was published earlier in Silenced Voices, Wasted Lives, and reprinted here with permission by the author.

Black Tulip, by Alexandra KiniasAbout Alexandra Kinias

Writing for Peace Adviser

Born and raised in Egypt, Alexandra Kinias graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 1987. She pursued a career overseas with a multinational corporation that built power distribution plants on the Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda.  She moved to America in 1995 and worked for a company that did business in the Middle East and Europe. In American, Alexandra began her career as a writer. She studied screenplay and creative writing. A screenplay writer, novelist and a photographer. Her passion for movies, books, art and extensive world traveling is translated in her writing and photography. She co-wrote the story of the movie Cairo Exit, censored in Egypt, yet received international recognition and won best non-European film in the European Independent Film festival.

She is an advocate for women’s rights. Her blog Silenced Voices, Wasted lives is dedicated to women’s issues in general and women in the Middle East in particular. Her published fiction novel Black Tulips takes place between Egypt and the USA. Black Tulips reveals the hardships that women living in male dominant societies are exposed to. Her articles are published in Kalimat magazine, a North American publication about the Arab region. Alexandra lives with her husband in Scottsdale, AZ and she is working on her non-fiction book Silenced Voices, a collage of her articles about women’s issues.

Writing for Peace News:

This spring, Writing for Peace will look at gun violence and women’s equality, two important issues that are often intertwined. We’ll take a step back from the inflammatory gun control debate by exploring the subject through poetry, essays and fiction.

Equity for Women Writers

Writing for Peace encourages all young people to write and to believe their writing can make a difference, but is that equally true for boys and girls? Sadly, the latest VIDA Count indicates that we have a long way to go to achieve gender equality in the literary world. Please help us reverse this trend by reading works written be women and promoting your favorite women authors. Ask your children who they are reading in school, supplement their reading list with books by women authors, and talk to their teachers, librarians, and principals about adding women authors to their curriculum. Take note of the authors reviewed in your local papers and advocate for women authors. Head to your library or book store with a list of the twelve amazing women on our Advisory Panel. And please make a statement in support of women writers here. Thank you!

Young Writers Contest

Our 2013 Young Writers Contest closed on March 1st with 106 entries from close to a dozen different countries! Announcements will be made on May 1st, 2013. Congratulations to every young writer who participated!  The 2014 Young Writers Contest Guidelines will be posted on June 1st, 2013.

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts

The  “Occupied” 2013 issue of DoveTales has gone to press! The release date is slated for March 30th, but you will begin seeing some exciting changes on the website before then. Stay tuned, and thank you for your support!

Maija Rhee Devine, Writing for Peace AdviserIntroducing Maija Rhee Devine

Writing for Peace Adviser

Writing for Peace welcomes Maija Rhee Devine to our Advisory Panel! Maija’s powerful anti-war poem, My Brother’s Computer, appeared in both its original Korean and its English translation in PAW Post No. 24. Learn more about Maija’s work here, and watch for future blog posts from this exceptional writer.

 

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