Out of Sight

This is one of several illustrations commissioned by Cricket Magazine for a story about an American girl who was invited to visit a friend's home deep in the Middle East. It is a travel adventure but this chapter reads more like a Saudi Arabian issue of Seventeen Magazine. The protagonist and her best friend spend the majority of the episode shopping for an abaya and a veil, the clothing that they must wear during their journey.

The veil and abaya are controversial symbols. To some people, they represent religious devotion. To others, they represent sexual oppression. What I like about this story is that it explores the clothing and the culture with a curious and open mind. The article cliffhangs on the girls' arrival in the Burdayah. The American girl wonders aloud how she will distinguish her friend from all the other women in the town. "Watch for my shoes," her friend guides her, "They're purple."

© 2009 rama hughes