Aisha’s Story – Nadim Karam

Aisha’s story /

The belly dancer was dancing. She was in the middle of her performance when two policemen came to arrest her. Her hair and skirts  were still swirling around her when they took her roughly by the shoulders. Her necklace shattered. Pearls scattered all over the stage, many of them lost through the gaps in the wooden boards. By official decree, she was not to wear layers of clothes that touched her body if she wished to dance again. So she conceived a structure like a giant bird cage that she could dance inside, with only her neck and feet visible. But it was so heavy she could barely move. She had it lengthened so that it touched the ground and took some of the weight off her feet, but she was still unable to move. She had it lengthened even more, confident that the structure would carry her and she would float within. The time for her new performance came. The music began and she was pushed onstage in her cage, covered with the most exquisite embroidered silks. She began swaying, but every movement tightened the pressure on her neck, and as the melody rose to a crescendo, she succumbed with a last breath.