Ifrah had no idea houses could be that big. Sure, she’d seen them on the television but this was far different than that. The first thing she noticed about the house was the large shiny gate, which loomed over them, watching them before allowing them to come inside. The next was the garden.
For someone who had lived in flats all her life, the green garden appeared to be something from an entirely other world. The bottom of her flat opened towards the market, littered with shops and traffic that never seemed to quiet and yet, this place was peaceful, no traffic in sight apart from the occasional passing car. It wasn’t just the garden; it was the cars parked in the garage. There were two of them, one a sleek black and the other a silver.
Ifrah had stopped chattering with the others as she went inside. If the outside was impressive, the inside shocked her to the core. The drawing room they were led to was spacious and airy, with large windows and glass doors with odd little things painted on them. The same room in her house dwarfed in comparison and did not even begin to match it in the way it was decorated. It had all sorts of things in it, so many she didn’t know what to look at first, so her eyes drifted to the walls. They had paintings of beautiful places she’d only seen in books.
The minute they had been escorted inside, she realized she was even more out of place than she had been at Rameen’s house. There were other children present, all of them dressed better than herself. They knew it too. She could tell by the way they’d give her a once over, slightly smirk and look at each other and then dismiss her. Some of the others weren’t as kind; they’d look at her, whisper to each other and then place their hands over their mouths and giggle. They did it conspicuously as if they wanted her to know they were looking down on her.
And so she painstakingly tried to make her visit as happy as she possibly could, but it was hard. Even her own classmates would hesitate to associate much with her. It was when Leila’s mother commented on her clothes that she completely gave up hope.
“It looks good, the lehenga,” she’d offhandedly remarked. Ifrah knew exactly why she’d said it. Just so she wouldn’t completely hate herself.
They were good children, so they helped clean up. That only added to her regrets. As she was carrying one of the intricate glass dishes to the kitchen, she compared it to the tiny space in her house again. This was a place designed specifically for aesthetics and function both. It was large and spacious, with numerous dark cabinets and gleaming stovetops. The fridge in the corner had two doors on it and there was a smaller room inside the kitchen Leila’s mother was calling “the pantry.”
Ifrah’s head remained low even as her Rameen’s parents dropped her home.