I did not tell anyone where I was going

I was calm and praying that no one would see me. I couldn’t be late. There was one chance and I had secretly saved enough money to do this only once. I told my brothers I was going to school, instead I hailed a cab to Downtown Beirut then walked the rest of the way to the exam center.

After the four hour exam, I walked to the internet café. It was so old and dirty. Most of the time it would be the owner, a bunch of guys playing video games or watching ‘movies’ they couldn’t watch at home, some mice running around like they owned the place, and me. It was uncommon for a girl to be at an internet café. The owner would bring tea and give me a quiet spot and a fast computer. He did not charge me, “This time is on me” he’d say. I never told him why I was there. I did not tell anyone for a whole year. I was too scared.

I was also hopeful, silent and waiting.

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