Fouzia was tired. The car's tires were kicking up dust into her face, but she chose to ignore it. She wanted to have her cigarette and the dust was something she'd come to accept.

The wind was blowing gently through her hair and she smiled, leaning her face outwards to catch more wind and less dust. Her green burqa balanced cautiously on her head, flapping furiously as though warning her to cover herself.

But fouzia didn't care. She had stopped caring a long time ago.

She was 16 years old when they had come. They had banned her and the other girls from going to school, from dancing, from singing from anything that would give them joy or strength. Fouzia had been furious.

They didn't know Fouzia though. They didn't know that after a point, she wouldn't care. They wanted her to wear a burqa? She'd wear a bright green one. Women couldn't smoke? Well they wouldn't catch her if she was in a car. She had access to her computer and took daily lessons from international friends behind her four walls. She was growing, she was learning, she was becoming stronger every day. She spent every hour she could spare, studying and learning the material she could access.

They didn't know that behind her quiet burqa, behind her mud walls, within the dark shadows that they had imprisoned her in, a quiet revolution was forming.

Fouzia grinned, thinking of the time she had almost been beaten for whistling in the street.

If only they knew what she could do. If only they knew how strong she had become. How much she knew, how much she had learned.
They'd probably hang her if they knew.
But they didn't.

And so fouzia finished her cigarette in peace, wind and dust taking turns blowing into her face and through her hair as she closed her eyes and smiled at the thought of all the rules she had been breaking and would keep on breaking.

This was her resistance.


Story and illustration by @rasmorawaj ©

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