I was walking in the narrow alley ending at my old house in Kabul
this afternoon.
The house is the only place I feel safe,
where there are no men.
I was happy, very happy —
I felt like I was flying in the blue sky,
like I was running across a large plain to break my silence, and say the unspoken truths.

Unlike every other day, I was walking with no fear.
I didn’t experience that pain today,
the pain that a girl suffers when she is out late.
Here, in my world
when it gets dark it’s like a vampire movie became real.
Every day when I leave my office,
people look at me with rebuke and hate,
I walk home, afraid of the vampires
who want to drink my blood
and frighten me into staying inside.

They would drink my blood so that they can defeat me —
but they will never let me be a vampire —
they don’t want a woman among them.
They see me as a mistake.
Every day I walk all the way to my house afraid of those
who think of me as a criminal —
and my crime is being out alone after dark
in these short days.

They want to punish me
because I am working to be independent
and to feed myself.
They think I am weaker than they, but I am proving the opposite.
This moment today was one of the best moments of my life.
Sometimes among all the hardships a small but wonderful moment comes,
and that’s what makes life a life.

By Masooma

Photo by Dima Gavrysh