It’s the quality you know me by—not just you, but my neighbors and the people on my street.
Come closer. Don’t move away, and don’t cover your ears, because talking comes instinctively to me, and I get no relief from my exasperation or sadness unless I talk to you. Come closer—don’t sit so far away. The day I told you I was going to leave you, you laughed, and I saw in your eyes a confidence I can never erase from my memory: you were confident I’d never do it, because I’m weak before you. But I’ll conquer that weakness and attempt to forget the memories I have with you.
Before I moved to the United Arab Emirates, I sold the one car I’d ever owned—a four-door Honda, emerald green, white scratches webbed along the doors from the previous owners. I would be gone for just ten months, but the car had an old engine and a dashboard of permanently lit warnings lights, and, every month or so it seemed, a different part broke and needed repairs.
In a country so hot, and with such sugar hunger, you’d think the frozen dairy dessert field in Abu Dhabi would be crowded. But the United Arab Emirates is a relatively new country, with few home-grown stores, so imported chocolates and native dates dominate the sweet shops. When it comes to ice cream, a dozen kinds of Baskin Robbins is all there is. In grocery stores, there’s Häagen–Dazs too, but it’s the jagged, sickly pink BR that dominates each and every city superblock, including one on the ground floor of our Abu Dhabi apartment building—right next to the ATM.