There’s pollen dusting the skylight windows of the sunroom. It softens the edges of the sunbeams that fall inside, casting shadows of leaves on the gauzy white curtains. Right now, the room is empty because I’ve claimed it for homework, but I can still hear my parents and three sisters sounding like a circus in the living room. Asiya and my dad have just come up with a pun, and Zainab and Mariam are complaining about how stupid it is, and my mom is telling them all to shut up in Urdu.

I consider getting up to pull the door all the way shut, but my plush armchair is too soft and I’m stuck, and anyway I’m forgetting how to use my limbs during this quarantine. So I stay put, watching the way the light make little stripes on the long gray couch with its sunflower-colored throw pillows. That couch has been in want of guests, lately. It looks lonely when it’s empty. It misses my parents, who sometimes come in here with cups of chai to gossip about their kids. It misses my friends, who come to eat salt and vinegar chips and play brutal games of Catan on the cushions. 

For now, it’s just me. I’m good company. I can appreciate the rustling of foliage, and the way the sun glints off the gold-embossed spines of our Qur’an collection in its bookshelf. I can pretend in here that the world is calm and bright, even when it’s not. 

Glass walls do have their downside, though. The exterminator guy just showed up behind one of them and is spraying the porch in something chemical-y, and I’m sitting here without my hijab in a panic. 

Commencing escape from this place in three, two, one.

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