Kathryn Silver-Hajo ~ Blue Silk

Soraya’s lips curl in a sat­is­fied smile as she nears the front door and looks at her watch—9:33 pm. Baba won’t be home from his late shift at the phar­ma­cy for near­ly a half hour. Mama will have fall­en asleep watch­ing Turkish soap opera reruns wait­ing for him, know­ing that her daugh­ter (sure­ly) is at Mona’s house doing home­work. Soraya’s starv­ing now and dreams of a creamy lab­neh sand­wich with fra­grant mint and ripe toma­toes, driz­zled with olive oil, but when she reach­es up to adjust her hijab she feels only her own thick­et of amber-scent­ed hair. It’s a tan­gled mess after her fevered embraces with Naji, just min­utes before, in the shad­owy inte­ri­or of the ancient Roman tem­ple where his fin­gers feath­ered her shoulders—the press of them on her skin, still. Soraya swivels, heart pound­ing, the fog that had pro­vid­ed wel­come cov­er for their ren­dezvous now veil­ing the path. She retraces the route to the ruins on cau­tious feet, search­ing, search­ing. She’s about to resign her­self to Baba’s scold­ings for being bare-head­ed (they’ll call you a tramp!) and Mama’s scep­ti­cism over her where­abouts (no boys!), when she spies a hint of blue in the mist. Her hijab! Snagged on a jagged bit of stone on the para­pet wall, wav­ing like a long-lost friend come to help guard her secret. She silks it along her cheek, press­es it to her nose. Giddy from the lin­ger­ing musk of Naji’s skin still cling­ing to it, Soraya wraps the damp scarf so it hugs her head and neck. She doesn’t dare check the time as—breathless—she turns back towards home again.


Kathryn Silver-Hajo is a Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, Best Small Fictions, and Best American Food Writing nom­i­nee. Her sto­ry, “The Sweet Softness of Dates” was select­ed for the 2023 Wigleaf Top 50 Longlist. Her work appears in Atticus Review, Bending Genres, Citron Review, CRAFT Literary, Emerge Literary Journal, Ghost Parachute, New Flash Fiction Review, Pithead Chapel, Ruby Literary, The Phare, and oth­er love­ly places. Her flash col­lec­tion Wolfsong and YA nov­el Roots of The Banyan Tree were both pub­lished in 2023. Kathryn is a for­mer read­er for Fractured Literary. She lives in Providence with her hus­band and curly-tailed pup, Kaya. Learn more at: kathrynsilverhajo.com; facebook.com/kathryn.silverhajo; twitter.com/KSilverHajo; and instagram.com/kathrynsilverhajo.