Amman, Jordan

Todd wrapped a towel around his waist and was dripping his way across the bedroom when he sensed movement outside the back window of our first-floor flat in Amman. He saw a young woman in a faded floral dress, a scarf on her head, and on her feet, plastic sandals despite the cold. Their eyes met, even as Todd realized what was happening.

“Hey!” He shouted to me. “She’s stealing our laundry!”

I ran down the hall, through the kitchen, and out the back door. The clothesline was rocking like a jump rope, but the woman had fled. Thinking she couldn’t have gotten far, I took off up the steep street alongside our corner lot. Who was she? Was she a Bedouin living in one of the tents at the end of our street? Or was she from one of those dingy flats over the butcher shop? Todd ran in the opposite direction, and our neighbor Sameera joined the chase too. Before long, the three of us met in front of the house, breathing hard.

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