Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • They call it the “Champs-Élysées of the Bronx” and at the number 1150 address, if you search carefully, you’ll even find the “Aquarium”.
    From her round cornered window in the Fish Building, Jameela looks onto the street, then turns around. Her mother picks up the house keys, grabs the shopping cart and stops in front of the mirror in the entrance again, to hide a few wisps of hair that had slipped from under her veil. Jameela knows that a year from now she’ll have to do the same thing, she’ll have to hide her hair. For the rest of her life. Her father says she’s unique, but she only feels different.
    They speak Arabic at home and English outside. They celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice, which comes close to Thanksgiving Day. Two holidays dedicated to coming together and sharing. They offer spiced foods to their neighbours and in turn receive some turkey. But once the holidays are over, divisions come back. Her father wants Jameela to help her mother at home, while he goes out with the son. No going to the park, no games. She is growing up and is about to don the veil. Jameela has a million questions, she wants to understand before having to respect rules. And she wonders, do fish have rules to follow? Because she would like to live like fish, like the fish drawn on her building, that “strange” mosaic on the facade. How many times has she drawn them? How many times did she imagine that she could be the clownfish, that swims and doesn’t care about the religious interpretations of men, made to humiliate women. Swim in the deep sea, have a tail and a mane of hair to show, billowing freely in the current. That drawing has always represented her ideal world, a water world in which to find refuge and the strength to bow her head.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.