Behind Picket Fences exposes four families from behind their comfortable lifestyles and smiling faces. Sharing the same neighborhood, even spending time together, no family knows the truth about the difficulties the others face.
On the outside, Sidra and Farris have the biggest house and the most expensive cars. What no one sees is their struggle to accept an unfulfilled dream. If they do not adapt to the blows of fate, their malcontent may give birth to deception.
Mariam and Morgan’s modest home exudes the rich scent of family. With children playing in the yard, they seem picture perfect. But financial struggle is their continuous battle, and their only solution may produce an envy which is more destructive than hunger.
Summer and Porter enjoy youth and the freedom of self-employment. But discontentment and mental instability linger between them. If they are not able to bridge the gap, their search for happiness may have a fatal end.
May and Hasan enjoy peace and true happiness. Illness cares not, however, of letting them relish in their blessings. Only patience and time will prove if this unwelcome visitor is simply passing by, or if it will tear their world apart.
An honest portrayal of love and family, Behind Picket Fences opens our eyes to the difficult truths hidden behind each happy facade.
“Actually,” Farris interrupted, “I’m just going to call it a night.” Farris began to walk away without saying goodbye or even recognizing the women. Faruq stood there for a second, jaw open, utterly embarrassed by his brother’s anti-social behavior. “I’ll be right back, ladies. Don’t go anywhere.”
He ran after his brother and quickly caught up with him. “Man, what are you doing?! This is the best thing for you right now.”
“I don’t want this. This has never been my scene, Faruq, and you know that. I’m just going to…”
But the sight of something beyond Farris made his brother interrupt, grabbing him by the shoulder. “That’s him! Farris, man, that’s him!” Faruq shouted, pointing in the direction he was looking.
Turning around so he could see what Faruq was pointing to, Farris narrowed his eyes. “What are you talking about, Faruq? That’s who?”
“That’s him!” Faruq repeated, excitedly grabbing Farris’ shirt at the shoulder. “That’s the man I saw with Sidra!”
The words forced Farris’ eyes into focus. He saw the tall, brown haired white man so vividly, as if he were the only one in the parking lot. He didn’t hesitate for even a split second; Faruq barely blinked, and suddenly Farris was sprinting toward James. He lunged at him, punching him square in the face. The man fell to the ground as the woman who was with him let out a gasp and crouched to the floor beside him.
Looking up at the attacker she screamed, “What the hell is wrong with you?! Why did you punch my husband?!”
Farris hovered over the couple, breathing heavily, rubbing his throbbing knuckles. Faruq, now standing beside his brother, held Farris’ arm back and spoke out, “Your husband is having an affair with his wife. Isn’t that right, James?”
“James?!” the woman yelled. “He’s not James!”
Hend Hegazi was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts. Despite her desire to pursue writing as a profession, she graduated from Smith College with a degree in biology and a minor in religion. Shortly thereafter, the winds of life and love blew her to Egypt where she has been living for the past 14 years. She is a full time mother of four as well as a freelance writer and editor. Some of her work has been featured in SISTERS Magazine. Her fiction and poetry focus on the human condition, often shedding light on the Muslim American experience. Hend strives to be God-conscious and aims to raise that awareness in her readers. As a common theme in her pieces, the intimate relationship between God-consciousness and love is often explored. Hend’s debut novel, Normal Calm, was published in January 2014.
I have always loved animation movies. Growing up, I watched Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and ‘The Fox and the Hound’ (just to name a few) more times than I can count! And I’m not sure if my love for those movies is what caused it, but I now have a desire to be a voice for an animation! Not only do I think it would be wicked cool for my kids to recognize my voice in a character (yes, I just said wicked cool), but I think it would be super fun.
I love reading aloud to my kids; I try to do the different voices but it’s usually too stressing on my vocal cords to keep them up for the length of an entire story and I end up in a coughing fit. But one thing I am consistent with is voice acting. I *gasp!* as the sword slips through the hero’s hands and lands with a *splash!* at the bottom of the well, clear my throat *ahem!* as the dentist walks in on the little patient *click, click, clicking* the button so the water *swooshes* out of the water dispenser, *whisper* so the kids don’t overhear their parents’ surprise-party plans, and sneeze *achoo!* after the black pepper spills all over the counter. Okay, so I just made up all those examples, but you get the picture; you name it, I voice act it, all at the right time. And my kids really enjoy it. If I’m feeling lazy and try to read without the voice acting, they protest and I have to start over and do it right.
The best part is that they’re starting to pick it up. So, even if I never get to flaunt my voice acting skills in the animation world (*sigh*), this technique is instilling in my kids a love of reading. Whether or not I get to cross this off my bucket list, at least I know that this tiny talent of mine did not go to waste.