That year in Jordan, I had five roommates. Quite commonly, newer flight attendants share apartments, as they often fly at different times. Our place was big. Natasha, my roommate, was madly in love with Tariq. This man, Tariq, lived on the second floor of the building in which we rented the apartment. Later on, I learned that Tariq was our landlord’s son. Natasha was tall blond, with naturally slim body. Her face was not the prettiest face, but her eyes were very expressive. She looked great in her flight attendant uniform. She had that excellent sense of humor that would brighten my day at the final hours of our long-haul flights. Tariq was a quiet man, in his late twenties, a bit shorter than her. They were so different, I thought.
As the months were passing by, Natasha smiled less and less. She and Tariq would spend long time alone and away from the rest of us. Our place was always busy. They appeared disinterested in having fun with us. I did not think much of it at first. That must be what people do, when they are in love, I though. At breakfast time, Natasha talked little and became more distant.
Next year I moved to another place to live on my own. I wondered if Natasha and Tariq were still together. She was often sick and missed many flights. Eventually, she moved in with Tariq. The rumor had it that something was wrong with Tariq and Natasha. I looked for her, but had no lack finding her. One day, Natasha appeared at my door. She was wearing long sleeves. It was a hot and dry summer day, typical of Middle East. She had a scarf covering her bruised neck. She was terrified that Tariq might trace her down and find her at my place. I set there in a shock. I set there thinking why did she take so long to finally speak. Was this a battered woman syndrome? Was there a history of abuse in Tariq’s relationships? I tried to think fast. I could read the terrifying signs. She wanted to get out. She had to leave Jordan and fly back home and she had to do it fast. She was worried that he would find her and follow her. She was worried that he would hurt her, this time, much more. We talked for hours. We did not sleep that night. Then, the following morning, I took Natasha to the airport and stood there, watching her flight depart, watching her leave Jordan forever. That was the last time I saw her. I was not worried about Tariq finding out, because I was the only one who knew. Later on, I met him many times. While watching him asking and looking for her, I had that little sense of victory feeling that never left me. I was so happy that he could not hurt her any more. Her clothes were still in his apartment. All he had were memories.
(photo by bbc.co.uk)