I’ve never been good with boundaries. Perhaps this journey will sort that out. When you’re alone there’s little to hide behind. There’s no room for fuzzy boundaries or claiming the safety of a misunderstanding. You make yourself and your intentions clear because if you don’t (and unfortunately sometimes when you do) you’ll get this kind of introduction
BOY: ‘What’s your name?’
ME: Tamsin. And yours?
[Returning interest was my mistake…]
BOY: Bassan. Remember it, because you’ll be screaming it tonight.
[I feel uncomfortable, confused and walk away. Bassan follows.]
I met a Muslim woman in a Mosque who spoke English. We were speaking about the West and she told this story of when Western men had stamped over her boundaries. She was walking late in Paris and wearing the hijab. Three men approached her and began to yell at her for covering her face, for being downtrodden and for not respecting the freedom that Western men had killed and died for. They grabbed at her hijb and tore it from her. She left the West shortly after and is scared to return.