Excerpt of desperada

"They were young, and so sweet. They traveled with their parents’ money and had bodies that bent with confidence in strange lands that spoke of such perfect, disgraceful privilege – and yet their smiles were not to be mistaken for empathy."

Excerpt/Short Story. THIS Magazine. July/August 2017. 

Long-listed for The Journey Prize 2018.


This section of Desperada I wrote in a quick, three-day burst, first on the ripped, line pages of a blue spiral Hilroy notebook then later, on my laptop. Rihanna's "Desperadoplayed on repeat the entire time (still one of my fav songs). 

While I wrote this, I was thinking about how we can judge & love other people in the same quick, easy breath. I was thinking about how Westerners & the privileged travel with this seemingly contradictory sense of openness and ignorance. 

I was thinking about the friendships that form between women & of how women help each other heal from the pains that men can and do cause us.

And I was thinking of Orientalism, of the romanticizing and eroticizing of the East and of the Other, which persists, still.  

The story is part of a much larger project, which chronicles the journey of a newly raging and reckless young woman, Khorshad (Kora, for short). Prompted by the sudden and recent death of her little sister, Kimia, Kora sets out to travel across Europe and Asia, collecting as many friends, lovers, and experiences, as stamps in her passport.

Read the full story by purchasing your copy of THIS Magazine, in newstands now, or online here.