SOJANA  Complete Document Written By Chamsiya Rabo Laouli


They strolled along the road, chatting as they went, eventually pausing at the side as they waited for the passing vehicles to ease up. Suddenly, a convoy of military cars roared past, stirring up a cloud of dust in their wake. Tsuki Munat expressed her frustration to her friend Maryam, “I detest these soldiers; look at how they inconvenience people just to speed by. It’s ridiculous!” Her gaze was fixed on the vehicles, her admiration for soldiers evident. In her life, nothing captivated her quite like the sight of a uniformed officer.

The cars gradually decelerated until the last one, trundling slowly, caught up with them. Maryam waved to the soldiers inside the car with the open rear, and they reciprocated. Munat, seething with anger, hurried away, leaving Maryam standing there, still gazing at the passing vehicle. She sprinted a short distance before catching up with Munat, who appeared on the verge of exploding.

“Sorry, my dear, I was so caught up, I didn’t notice you lagging behind. I apologize,” Maryam said, holding Munat’s hand. Munat shrugged her off and snapped, “Well, next time pay attention to me instead of gawking at those soldiers.” Maryam laughed and retorted, “So, you’re berating me for looking at the sons of my mother’s people?” Munat huffed as she stormed into their house, first Munat’s, then Maryam’s.

As she entered the living room, her mind preoccupied, she was stopped in her tracks. Her gaze fell upon a man clad in military regalia, complete with long sleeves, his eyes obscured by black-framed glasses resting on his elongated face, framed by a mass of jet-black hair. His crimson beret sat atop his mane, giving him the air of a fierce leader. As he caught her eye, she almost burst into laughter, but she restrained herself, maintaining a stern expression, as if laughter were an unfamiliar concept to her. Despite the glasses, she could discern the intensity of his gaze fixed upon her, propelling her forward.

“Is he eyeing me up as if I were a damsel in distress? Will I just stand here or will I act coy like the naive girls in the romance novels?” Munat laughed inwardly, finding solace in the banter that had begun between them, reminiscent of playful cousins.

Infuriated, she realized she loathed nothing more in the world than being scorned for her dark complexion. She, in turn, allowed her gaze to drift over his fair skin, so fair it almost appeared translucent. She suspected he was of Arab descent. He straightened up and began to move in her direction.

She closed her eyes, anticipating his approach. He held her waist, his grip strangely delicate, as he intoned, “Munat, this lady doesn’t know when to quit. She stares at me with those tiny eyes, ordering me to leave them open, waiting to see what I unveil tomorrow when I remove the mask from my mouth. Let’s see who makes the first move.” Munat’s bladder threatened to betray her, and a sense of dread overcame her. After all, it was said that soldiers possessed no mercy, and this was no small matter. “When I become like Laila in LE DESTIN, Oh God, let me emerge unscathed,” she murmured as she prepared to make a run for it, only to collide with him.

He seized her hand and declared, “If you dare make a move, I’ll reciprocate.” Munat called out for her father, Abba. In the background, she heard Mami admonishing, “No, Mohammed, don’t force her, my son. I’m letting you off easy now, but I won’t be so lenient if you persist.” His laughter, exposing his two protruding front teeth, felt like a jibe at her former self. “Let me refresh her memory of our past. Mami seems to have forgotten,” he remarked.

Releasing her, he shook his head and muttered, “You’re a crying fat cow.” Ignoring him, she scurried off to her bathroom, barely managing to hold her composure before bursting into tears. As she prepared to bathe, her eyes shut tightly.

Emerging from the bath, she slipped into a long dress, spritzed herself with perfume, and returned to the living room, finding him absent. She served herself some food and began to eat, only to hear him greet her. Her heart skipped a beat, yet she suppressed the fear of being torn apart. She lifted her gaze to meet his, noticing that he had removed his hat, allowing his black hair, almost reaching his shoulders, to cascade around his face. “Astagfirullah,” she blurted out loudly, refusing to break eye contact. He turned away, settling into the seat opposite hers, briefly tending to his hair. She watched him from the corner of her eye, wielding her spoon. She avoided Mohammed’s gaze, resisting his allure, and fearing God.


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