“I can’t believe he’s leaving,” cried Safa.
“He has to find work somewhere,” said Aziza.
“But, but… all the way to Dubai?”
“That is where the jobs are…”
“But what if he fails?”
“There is so much building there, he can not fail.”
“But he’s so young, so innocent. They’ll take advantage of him… My baby…”
“Yes, it is true. Amongst all that luxury, the workers live in horrible slums…”
“I can’t believe he’s deserting me like this!” shrieked Muna.
“He’s just going on vacation,” said Bibi.
“But, but… for a whole month?”
“Really now Muna, it’s his honeymoon.”
“But he’s the best in Dubai.”
“His new hire, Qadir, started last week.”
“I know. It’s just… Farid has been doing my Yasmin’s hair for years. I don’t trust anyone else… You know, I heard she even has a cowlick. Do you believe it? How can he marry a girl with a cowlick?”
“I don’t know… But Farid will be back the week after next. We just have a problem next weekend...’
“Maybe he could work for the rich,” said Safa.
“Yes,” said Aziza, “That would be much better than the manual labor…”
“But he would need nice clothes to be anywhere near the wealthy.”
“Ah, that is a problem… He needs money to live, and to send back home. How can he buy clothing?”
“He is handsome and presents himself well.”
“And he is smart, more than most…”
“Construction is so dangerous... All those towers, they are so, so high, the highest in the world...”
“But he will need to find something right away… How else would he eat? And don’t forget, with a new baby on the way, there will soon be another mouth for him to feed.”
“Well, I certainly can’t skip a week. The Ali banquet is Saturday night. Yasmin needs to look fabulous. Ooh, how dare he do this to me!” said Muna.
Bibi chuckled. “I don’t think he thinks of it quite that way.”
“Who ever heard of a month long honeymoon anyway?”
“Muna dear, didn’t you and Dekel tour the world for what, three years?”
“That’s different. I pay Farid 450 dhs every two weeks, not counting tip. He certainly could schedule his wedding around my Yasmin. After all, I’m the one who put his shop on the map.”
“He’s very talented Muna. His salon is immaculate. He has other wealthy clients… As you said, he’s the best in all of Dubai… New clients have to wait weeks for an appointment.”
“She always get the time she wants. She even made him late for Yasmin’s regular 10:15 wash and trim last week. The nerve…”
“Muna, I think you’re jealous.”
Safa sighed. “Yes, he must start somewhere…”
“We are losing the old ways Safa. For the young, anywhere is better than here.”
“There is nothing here for them… I just wish he didn’t have to go so far...”
“There is no one else to go, no place else to go. He just wants to help you, the family, the village…”
“I will pray for him, every day, many times a day.”
Aziza patted her daughter’s hand. “We all will, even if he were still here.”
“I’m afraid I’ll never see him again, my baby…”
“He’s not a baby anymore my Safa. Soon, you will be a grandmother…”
“I am not jealous,” said Muna. “It’s true Farid’s salon is well established. Can you believe it’s been two years?”
Bibi laughed. “That’s ancient for here…”
“I just don’t want anyone else touching Yasmin’s hair. Hers is a custom color you know.”
“I know. So is Jada‘s… and the highlights… Farid is the best. He’s taking a chance hiring Qadir.”
“Qadir can’t be half as good as Farid.”
“Well, he needs the help. Qadir can get his own following… And Farid gets more time off.” Bibi whispered, “You know, I heard she’s pregnant. That’s why they threw the wedding together so quickly…”
“I heard Qadir came over from London. They say he knows all the latest styles…”
Safa prayed aloud. “Dear God, please watch over my only son…”
“Please keep his family here safe as well…” prayed Aziza.
“Especially the new baby…”
“And all of our people, both near and far…”
“I think I’m going to give Qadir a try,” said Bibi. “It beats skipping Jada’s bi-weekly touch-up.”
“Well, maybe just this once…”
“What’s the worst that can happen?”
“What do you think Yasmin?” asked Muna.
Yasmin said, “Meow…”
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