Illustrated by Cait Maloney
From Kassidy’s roof we can see right over the golden domes and green and blue minarets, pink apartment blocks and new shopping malls, all the way down to the sea, which lies as flat and polished as a sheet of turquoise glass.
“Try this bread,” says Kassidy. “It’s that new bakery. The manager was a student of mine … used to be in the Secret Police…yes, truly! … Anyway… Hafiz. Well, he seemed so… so uncomplicated… but… oh oh he calls me ‘his girl’! Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to let him move in with me. He’s started to read my e-mails over my shoulder.”
I picture Hafiz, spectacular in his new black dishdasha and black turban at Kass’s fiftieth birthday party, besotted with Kass in her green silk dress, her red hair tumbling like a mane around her shoulders.
She walks down the steps with us to the parking lot, blowing kisses as each car leaves. I wind down the passenger window and see Hafiz lighting candles on the steps. Until Hafiz moved in Kassidy had a system set up that switched on her CD player as she opened her front door, turned on her lamps and activated the voice of her computer so she heard: “Good evening Kassidy, I hope you’ve had a nice day”.
Kassidy sees me watching Hafiz. She flicks back her hair. “I know. He’s only twenty five. I’m not flattered. This is the Gulf. I could install a revolving door in my bedroom.”
I smile. “See you tomorrow.”
As we move off I smell jasmine in her garden and frangipani from the smoky swirls of incense on her roof. I see her framed in the wing mirror. She gives a final wave then turns and runs lightly up her illuminated steps.