Yes! Payday is here. Today I’ll only spend half my pay cheque…

The memory of her mum complaining about another one of those high electricity bills tugged at her heart strings.

Bloody hell how am I supposed to buy any decent clothes with only half the money? Maybe I can tell Mama I’ll chip in for the electricity bill next payday…

The image of her mum’s sorrowful brown eyes flashed before her.

It hadn’t been an easy life since her parents’ messy divorce when she was five.

Dad walking away from her and her little sisters. Mum left to pick up the pieces, sacrificing her old life of luxury, working hard to make ends meet.

Maybe that’s why she couldn’t commit to settling down. Why commit yourself to one person, who could just walk away?

But shopping made her feel good. When she shopped, she was in control.

As they say: when you look good, you feel good…

Especially when done in style.

“Okay Mama, I’m going now… call me if you need anything!” she yelled as she raced out the door, hoping to catch the next bus to Westfield.

It was like a whole different world. Bright lights, loud music, glamorous mannequins.

Shopping is truly a sport. Where to first? I need new heels...

She knew she didn’t, really. Her closet was full of unworn shoes.

Holding a pair of shiny black six-inch designer heels, she was in love.

“Perfect,” she told the salesperson. “I’ll take them.”

Now I need a new bag to match.

It was a very important rule. To always match the shoes to the bag.

But first the restroom. Her false lashes were irritating her eyes.

“Never again! Am I using that brand!” she muttered, frustrated at the inconvenience of interrupting her shopping trip.

Her phone rang. She didn’t recognise the number on the screen.


“Hi, is this Jasmine Hassan?”

“Yes, it is. Who’s this?”

The voice on the line kept talking.

Mother… car accident… intensive care…

Everything blurred.

She wasn’t sure how she made it to the hospital, to her mother’s bedside.

Long-term prognosis: not good. Spinal damage. Paralysis from the neck down.

Requiring round-the-clock care.

Her mum had little superannuation and no health insurance.

That left the responsibility for caring for her mum on Jasmine and her sisters.

Okay. Defer uni. Switch to full-time work. Find the right kind of chair. Find a home nurse. Pay the electricity bill…

Her shiny black six-inch designer heels began to pinch.

I can’t breathe.

Her mum’s warm brown eyes flashed before her. Her smile after coming home from a long day of work to find Jasmine and her sisters waiting. Her hands, rough and worn and strong.

Her mum’s voice, right after her parent’s divorce, telling her: It’s not what you wear, my love. It’s who you choose to become in the face of adversity.

About Author

Emaan Yaghi is 31-year-old mother of three beautiful children. Her relation to people of colour has come as a blessing from being Muslim and meeting fellow Muslims from different countries. Her father is Egyptian, her mother was an immigrant. She enjoys learning about new cultures and is passionate about helping refugees. Follow her on Google+: Iman Design.

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