I knew I shouldn’t be there!

Yara Omer

I made sure that my face is covered and my gloves well fitted. I proceed cautiously and keep eyeing the exit door. It has been awhile since I have done this, and now I am having second thoughts. I wonder if what I came for is worth the risk.

I look around, and there aren’t many people. That is better. I adjust my face cover and anxiously increase my speed. I begin collecting whatever I can, praying that I wouldn’t regret this.

I see someone standing a few feet ahead and instantly change my direction. I will come by this area later when it is unoccupied. I can hardly breathe, and I start feeling a longing to be home. I look at what I had so far. I still need a few more things; but do I really need them?

Trying not to touch items I am not taking, I gather myself and prepare to leave. I steer away from the employee who is standing on alert. I avoid looking at people’s faces, hoping that I don’t encounter a familiar one. Hearing my own heartbeat, I self-check as fast as I can then storm out.

I’ve never felt so guilty and scared and excited at once! Do I really need to be here? Nothing scares me more than fighting an enemy that can’t be seen. With the forbidden excitement of breaking free and doing a normal thing—such as seeing bottles of ketchup with my own eyes at Target—I load the grocery bags in the trunk of my car and take off home.

Although I am beyond hungry, I sanitize everything before breaking my fast. I double and triple clean it all, then take a thorough, frantic bath. Never in my life has a grocery-shopping trip invoked these many emotions.

2020, April-Month of Ramadan, COVID-19 Era.


About Yara Omer
Yara has been an educator since 2008. She was published in the Arab American lit, Mizna 20.1., the Fourth River, and Saint Paul Almanac. She participated in the National Poetry Programming titled “Poetry and Protest,” which Mizna and AAWW are a part of as members of the Poetry Coalition. She also participated in the Saint Paul Almanac’s GLOBAL POETRY CELEBRATION 2021. Yara is fluent in Arabic, English, and American Sign Language.


I knew I shouldn't be there! Copyright © 2021 by Yara Omer. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book