When I tell them sunset’s basically a guy in a purple toupee and a cheap orange sarong faking a sky, they tell me all the books I’ve read must’ve messed up my brain.

When I tell them I want a divorce they tell me a good woman says no such thing.

When I tell my Oby/Gen that my pills didn’t work, he tells me to deal with it.

When I tell my confessional sheikh in the mosque that I don’t want the child inside me, he tells me hell grows fat and indulgent with the likes of me.

Deal with it. Deal with it. Deal with it. I deal with it.

I’ve often wonder what’s it like to dream in pixels or in 01010101 or in bar codes. Is it like pills dotting my digestive tract before activating useless hormones? Or just stars in space? In my recurring dream, I’m lost, calling out for mama and baba. The maze is a tiny square inside a bigger square. Eyeless, I detect an 8-bit greyscale with a global threshold of 80, nope, 120.  A high intensity pixel value black, is the thicket green of the maze. An ash-like white is distributed evenly over a range. A contrast, a squeakiness that is sparrow-ing noise. A harrumph. Nervous flies buzzing in my gut, especially when I want to pee.

When I don’t find my folks, I try to see eye to eye with Him about this child, but first I want to ask about the purple toupee and the orange sarong.

Riham Adly is a mother, ex-dentist and a full-time writer. Her short stories appeared in Connotation Press, Spelk, Carpe Arte, Soft Cartel, Vestal Review and The Cabinet of Heed, among others. Her story “The Darker Side of the Moon” won the MAKAN Award in 2013. She was recently short-listed in the Arab-Lit Translation Prize.

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