Contemplating Life: By Raghad Al Salmi 

Contemplating Life: By Raghad Al Salmi 


Roaming the streets of London, begging for a pound to quiet my starving stomach felt like a noose around my neck. With each passing day it seemed to get tighter and tighter, slowly draining the life out of me. I see others getting in and out of cabs, with a sense of purpose and comfort, knowing that they will be able to end their day with a roof over their head, and a home-cooked meal. I can’t avoid the feelings of envy and misery that drown me. I let out a sigh, and think to myself that I can’t continue living like this. I can’t stand the cold brick against my back every night, the gnawing of the rodents as they scurry past me, the deafening loneliness of the night, and the rumbling of my starving stomach.


Burning Moth


I get up tired of my apprehensive mind, an aching soul. I decided to wander around Hyde Park, the sight of the long green trees with their leaves falling ever so gracefully never failed to calm me down. I sit down and I let myself take a much-needed deep breath, and just as I exhale, I hear Mark calling my name. Mark is the void that has no end, the more you feed it, the more it wants. He doesn’t mind taking immoral paths if it gets him out of poverty. “ Look, I understand your whole wanting to stay within your values, but don’t you think that life was really unfair to you? I mean you were a perfectly good child to your parents who have always supported you, and one day life comes along and strips them from you. I don’t think it’s wrong to get back what life owes you”. I can’t stand listening to him right now, I get up, thank him for the talk, and leave. 


I fold my jacket and use it as a pillow. I try to fall asleep, but my mind keeps wandering back to what Mark said in the park, my mind circles around the word “unfair”. I look back to my life, and I have done everything right, but everything came out so wrong. I have done nothing to deserve to lose my parents, to be put in an abusive orphanage, and to be living in the streets. I grow frustrated by how wronged I was by life, soon enough my old friend, rage comes in dressed as a superhero as if it’s trying to save me. I let it move my strings like a puppet, well aware, but not wanting to do anything about it. It guides me to Mark. 



“Back so soon” he mutters under his breath. “ You’re right, life is unfair, I am in whatever you’re planning to do”. “ I am leaving for Brazil tomorrow morning”. He points to a house and says “ See that house over there”, I nod. “ The owner is out of town, I know where she keeps the keys; I have been following her. Tomorrow morning I’ll sneak in there grab her 3 million diamond necklace, and the bag of money under the bed. I’ll use half of the money to charter a plane to Brazil, I’ll live there, and start my business. No one will find out.” I am coming with you”, I say as I walk away he shouts “Tomorrow at 4 am”.


We sneak into the house, we find the diamond necklace on a box by her nightstand, Mark grabs it, and asks me to fetch the bag of money under the bed. I do so, surprised by my composure. As soon as we leave the house, Mark charters a plane. We get in a cab because now we can afford to. As we reach our destination, a part of me is happy to finally be out of this hell, the other part filled with guilt, for what I have done. I don’t pay attention to the part of me that is guilty, and focus on the life I get to live now. It takes us about 12 hours to reach Brazil. We arrive at a thick, dark, unexplored jungle. From there we start a new chapter of our lives.




We go to the city to buy fresh food and everything we need. Then, we come back to hide in the house we built in the jungle afraid of being caught. Life isn’t great, and we are still unable to be like everyone else, But going to bed with a full stomach is better than going to bed with an empty one. Even though the guilt eats me apart every night, I don’t regret what I have done, because I choose to believe that life was unfair to me, even though I am well aware that this isn’t the truth. Sometimes you have the choice of entering a long battle, and living a lie because it’s simple. A lot would argue that you should take the battle, because it leads you to the right destination, but what if you didn’t have the tools to fight?.


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