From the Editors
We don’t recall how our day started, but we do remember being out of the house with none of our usual spots in sight. Everything was different that day: the number of people in the street, the look in their eyes, and the closed-up stores. Amman isn’t the place to take big risks. The consequences, especially for those of us without wasta, would have been severe should we have been caught. Even without wasta, there was sure to be family drama as well. They always suspected, but never knew for sure. That day, we were in withdrawal and badly in need of a fix. There was nothing to do but get in the car and go get one.
She was driving and the place was close. We knew it well: just past the 7th Circle in the direction of the airport. Pulling up to the entrance, we saw a man quickly walking out. His head low, bag in hand, he had already gotten what we came for. Anxious, we walked in and there was our guy. Stout, mustache untrimmed, and with stank breath pouring out from beneath it. The look in his eyes was vacant, but no matter. We were in and out, virtually silent. As we get back into the car, we noticed a few onlookers from the adjacent buildings. Those that could glean what we were doing were shocked. Those that were unaware passed by us with curious stares.
But where to go from there? The onlookers would have surely noticed. But we also had been holed up in her house for days, and wanted to be anywhere but there. So we set out on a new mission . . . to find someplace nearby but out of sight.
At first, she parked the car near the Safeway. We walked around looking for a spot. Ten minutes later, and we still couldn’t find some place we felt good about. We got back in the car and decided to keep cool while continuing to look. The problem with anonymity in Amman is that it’s really hard to be outside and out of sight. We all know that someone is always watching. Eventually though, she remembered a spot she had driven by a few days ago.
Once there, we sat tight to make sure the place was safe. The idea of getting caught was as stressful as our need for a fix. There was no tolerance for this kind of behavior . . . not from the state nor the people walking nearby. It was Jordan after all. I prepped the stuff and passed it to her. Right before she had time to do anything with it, I told her to keep down as a car drove slowly past us. At one point, it seemed like the car was going to stop right next to us. Our breaths held, we exhaled only when the car passed by. Finally, we had our package and there was nobody in sight.
It was Ramadan, and all we wanted was ice cream. It was 3pm when we first set out and it wasn’t until sundown that it would have been legal to eat and drink in public. The monotony of our days was too much, as our usual cafes were closed during the day. We needed a snack outside of the four walls of the house. We were forced to break the law. We each opened our ice cream cones, hers chocolate and mine vanilla.
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