Thanks for checking out my story!(:
I just wanted to let you know that on my profile page, I will have previews of what will happen in the chapters to come, so I hope you'll have a look! (:
There are days I love being Muslim. Getting all that money on Eid, not having to participate in the school Christmas play back in grade seven, getting to live off hummus and pita bread. At times, I feel this is the perfect religion.
Today, though, is not one of those days. As my family gathers around the dining room table I can sense the tension. Something is going on. I fear the worst; he's read my texts to Brody. We're moving to Lebanon. Crap.
My parents don't say anything, though. They just pass around the baked potatoes and force me to eat my broccoli, like usual. *Maya, my ten-year-old sister, talks about all her petty ten-year-old problems. "So Tammy told Jenna I said I didn't like her, but that was practically 80 years ago!" "80 years ago, huh? Well then isn't it about time you go to an old folk's home by now? Mom! Time for Maya to move out." I reply sarcastically. Dad takes it seriously. "Maya is never moving out."Ahh, good old dad, so protective and unable to take a joke. Maya smiles at him and they share a moment.
She doesn't get it. She doesn't get how serious he is. Sometimes I feel like he's going to control everything I ever do, overprotect me until I die."Why can't she move out?" My seven-year-old brother, *Rakeem, asks. He asks only a billion questions tonight. You'd think he'd run out of questions by now, after asking them day and night, but no, they just keep coming. I tune them out. "Because mommy and I will be old soon, and you three will have to take care of us." Dad pretends he's joking. As if.
I get up to leave the table as soon as possible, hoping to avoid whatever is coming up next. "May I be excused?" I ask as politely as possible. My father visibly tenses, mother eyes him nervously. Am I not supposed to leave the room? What is going on? I no longer feel safe in my own home.
"Honey, could you please do the dishes?" She hands me her plate, leaving me no time to refuse. "Maya, go start your homework in your room." My father, *Jamal, orders her. I turn on the tap and wait for the sink to fill, dipping my finger to test the temperature of the water. Maya drops her fork on the glass plate, making a huge clang. I jump, splashing the water in my eye. Apparently, the water is too hot. Is it possible to burn your eye?
"Why?" Maya whines, as if she is the only child in the world unlucky enough to receive homework. "Because it has to get done." Father replied simply. "Can't I do it later?" "Maya, go. Later you have to go to bed." Mom explains. Maya slides away her plate, which is crusted with halal chicken and ketchup, and thumps up to her room like the drama queen she is. "Do you have any homework?" Mother asks Rakeem. "I donno!" He shrugs his shoulders and runs down the hall, leaving his dirty plate for me to clean, as well.
My parents stare at each other across the table for a bit, while I finish most of the dishes. I'm scrubbing dad's plate when they call me over. "*Adila? Stop with the dishes for a minute, we want to talk to you." Its mom. This is it; they're finally going to tell me what's going on. Dad looks like he's going to be sick; whatever it is, I don't think he wants to tell me. I hesitantly pit down the plate, wipe my hands on my jeans, and walk over to the table. "Yeah?" Mother looks at my dad to take the lead, "Go on." She encourages. He clears his throat before he speaks. "Adila, you're sixteen now," My father points out the obvious. I nod, encouraging him to keep going. Get to the point. "And your mother and I agree you're old enough to meet *Shadi."
I look at my mom, who has always been the reasonable one. Whether it's because she grew up in Canada, and knows the way things are around here, or simply because she trusts me more, I don't know. All I know is that I don't like how this sounds and that she should have stopped this; stuck up for me at least.
"Who is he?" I ask, only because I feel obligated. I can't care less who he is. "He is a nice, polite, interesting, young man. He's Muslim." My father explains proudly. "And he gets straight A's." Mom adds. Well why don't you adopt him? I think sarcastically. "He wants to take you out Saturday night."
Dear Allah, no. I am not getting set up on a blind date by my parents. I should have just gone up to my room like I wanted to. Three hours ago I thought my parents would never speak of a boy in this house, let alone plan for me to go on a date with a boy! Ew, I bet he's disgusting. The only way he can get a girl is by having someone set up a blind date? How pathetic.
"What if I don't want to?" I stop them dead in their tracks. They're actually shocked I don't like some random Muslim boy I don't know? "Adila, you are sixteen. You want to." It's funny that when I'm lying, she thinks I'm telling the truth, but when I'm telling the truth, she thinks I'm lying. "Maybe she isn't ready, Linda." Dad is second-guessing now. I want to tell him that I'm more than ready for a boyfriend; it's just that the boy I want is not Shadi.
"Jamal, I think you're the one that isn't ready. Adila?" She turns to me, "Just give him a try. He's a great kid." My mom pleads. Why can't I just be like every other normal teenage and find my own boyfriend? "He's really nice." My father adds. Oh really? Well in that case...yeah right. I don't need some nice loser, that needs his parents help to get a girl, in my life. "How do you know him?" I ask them, crossing my arms over my chest. My father casually walks over to the kitchen sink and starts finishing up the dishes. If he thinks doing my chores for me will work, he should think again. "His parents are friends of ours." Mom answers. Of course they are. Of course dad had to know the family well enough, before introducing us. He has to approve of him, first.
See, my father is from Lebanon. Lebanon is a tiny country in the middle east, by Israel and Syria. He grew up there, and came to Canada on his 18th birthday. For college, of course. The whole "I came to Canada for a better life" thing applies to him, like it does with most immigrants. My mom grew up in Canada, in Ottawa, actually. She came to British Colombia for her job, as an accountant. She grew up Jewish, which is a similar religion to Muslim, so it worked out.
My parents met through mutual friends and everything took off from there. They got married and then had me a year after. When I was six they had Maya, then Rakeem, three years later.
"Adila? Just met him for one night. He's a great guy." Mom is practically on her knees, begging me. I don't answer my mom for a little while, making my parents panic. I don't know why this means so much to them, but maybe, just maybe, I could give it a try. Just one date. No. It's not even a date. It's dinner with a random boy. Harmless. It's nothing. I'm only doing this to get my parents off my back. I will make sure this "Shadi" guy knows we are not on a date, nor will we ever be.
"So, Saturday, huh?" Mom laughs, relief all over her face. Dad turns and smiles at me, only to continue the dishes after. "You'll love him." "Whoa, whoa, whoa. I haven't even met the guy! Let's not get carried away!" I joke, sitting down at the dining room table. I sip some disgustingly warm water that I left on the table just before dinner.
"Oh shoot, Jamal, cancel the wedding planner!" Mom jokes back. I laugh, when inside I'm actually slightly panicking, she was joking, right?
"How old is he?" "Seventeen." I slam down the cup of water that might as well have come from Africa. "He is older than me." I say it in such a fierce tone even dad looks scared. "You're telling me that for sixteen years I was never even allowed to look at a boy and now you're setting me up with an older one!? You've got to be kidding me." I rant. I'll probably regret that in the morning.
Dad turns to me, "Enough!" Apparently he wasn't so scared after all. "Adila, stop being dramatic." "Whatever. Is that it then, can I go?" "Please do." Mom replies with an eye roll. Gee, thanks mom.
For years I have been upset with my strict father and his partner in crime. They don't let me do anything. I can barely hang out with friends, frequent checks to see what I'm doing alone in my room are necessary, and being out past eight 'o clock is forbidden. It just gets to me.
I thump up to my room and open the door, with one swift motion. "What was that about?" I jump, startled at the unexpected voice. It's Maya. She's leaning against the wall a little farther down the hall, wearing dark jeans and a pink t-shirt that reads, "Daddy's little Princess".
"You were listening?" "Of course. When mom and dad want to talk to you alone it always gets interesting. Very refined." She explains her motives. What an annoying kid. "Refined? That makes no sense." I step into my room, hoping she doesn't follow. She does. "Dayton Olton said it today. I liked it." She sits on my desk chair and I throw a pillow at her, as I sit on my bed. She takes it and plays with the black tassels, not getting my hint.
"Well learn what it means before you use it. It sounds dumb." "Whatever. What did mom and dad want?" I will not tell her. I refuse. She'll only bug me about it, and I need to make this as quick and painful as possible. Once Saturday night is over I do not need to hear about it ever again. "Nothing." I mumble. Believable, I know. "Liar." Boy, she isn't just a pretty face! "Maya! Get out of my room! I have homework to do!" I throw another pillow at her, she smacks it away effortlessly. "Oh yeah, it looks like you're really busy." I never realized how annoying sarcasm is. "I am!" I yell. "Mmhmm," Maya gets off the chair, much to my pleasure. "Just know that I will find out, Adila." Maya threatens me, just before closing the door.
Good luck, I think. As soon as this Saturday is over, I will never have anything to do with Shadi again.
*Maya : [My-ah] *Rakeem : [Rah-key-mm] *Jamal : [Juh-mall] *Adila : [Add-eh-la] *Shadi : [Shay-dee]