Sabah is just turning 40 and lives a quiet life in Toronto with her mother. She is a smart, attractive, Muslim woman whose passion and independence have been dulled by 20 years of duty to her loving yet demanding family, especially from the long days spent doting on her mother, the affable Um Mouhammed. While her spirit isn’t crushed, it has certainly packed its bags and taken a small vacation. Things used to be different but Sabah’s family retreated into a more conservative Arab lifestyle after her father’s sudden death upon their arrival to Canada.
All this starts to change when she receives a picture of her father taking a young Sabah for a swim in the ocean. Despite her familial duties, Sabah’s continual frustration is the regular need to answer to her older brother Majid, a man who controls not only the family fortunes but also the family’s choices. And it is Majid who delivers the photograph that ultimately forces the change in Sabah’s, and indeed the entire family’s life.
As a treat to herself on her 40th birthday, rejuvenated by Majid’s gift, Sabah sneaks off to go swimming, as a way to recapture happier times. Exhilarated and giddy from this act of rebellion, she cannot stop herself from returning. There at the pool, her spirit returns. By chance (and it’s always by chance in these love stories) a man named Stephen accidentally steals her towel. Their attraction is obvious and Sabah’s life begins to get more than a cool dip in the pool. After another “chance” meeting in the water, Sabah agrees to go out for lunch with Stephen. From there, more meals and meetings are shared. Their differences become their strengths and their attraction to each other grows. The world has become a much larger and more wonderful place.
With surprise and concern Sabah falls in love with Stephen. However, the pressures of leading a double life begin to take a toll on both the relationship and her family life. Finally, Sabah must confront her family in order to make them realise that living happily in Canada requires bending the rules of their own culture from time to time. What results is both a clash of values and a test of love’s ability to transcend two divided cultures.