I never thought that her anger could affect me so much. My mom is mad at me, for whatever reason, and she has been for a week now. It started last weekend, when I was supposed to wash the dishes. My dad started washing the dishes because he didn’t know that I was supposed to, and I didn’t stop him. I hate washing the dishes and if someone else wants to do it, that’s fine by me. My mom came down and was furious that I hadn’t stopped my dad and done the dishes myself. She started yelling at me, that I was a college student, that I should know better, that I shouldn’t let my dad do the chores. This sexist attitude of hers riles me up every time so I was pissed off because of it. I told her that my dad was almost done with the dishes anyways so there was no point in stopping him. That really made her mad. She began yelling even more about how I don’t do anything in this house and I act like everyone is my slave. Of course, that’s not the case. I may not do much in the house, but I do whatever she tells me to. And I certainly don’t treat anyone like my slave. Anyways, I stopped my dad, and finished up the dishes. I was really pissed at this point because she had been yelling that I should spontaneously clean the house but I don’t. That I should at least clean the stairs every weekend I come home but I don’t. I’m sorry that I wasn’t aware of this chore that I was never even told about. If she had told me to do it, I would have. That combined with that sexist attitude really had me boiling. I stomped upstairs and declared I wasn’t hungry for dinner. My mom forced me to sit and eat because she wanted us all to eat together. When she called my dad, he said he’d already eaten and didn’t join us. That really seemed to piss off my mom. At the table, as we’re eating, my mom starts to cry. I hate seeing her cry because it makes me want to cry. It wasn’t my fault that she cried but I still felt a little bad. To be honest, she’s been crying more and more lately and she doesn’t try to hide it in front of the kids anymore. I don’t know what it is. Anyways, after that, she ignored me for the next few days. She was at work during the day so we didn’t have to interact for most of the day but in the evenings, she ignored me. After about two days, she was ok but she doesn’t talk to me. She doesn’t tell me what to do. She hasn’t asked me to pray and when my turn to wash the dishes came around again, she indirectly asked no one in specific whose turn it was and my sister said it was mine. She didn’t even tell me to pick up the kids on Friday until I asked if I supposed to. I’ve already gotten over my anger, I was over it the morning after the incident. I get over things really fast. And she should have gotten over it too. But she hasn’t. I usually extend peace offerings if I’m mad at someone younger than me but she’s older and she’s my mom. And the fact that she’s still mad at me makes me want to cry. It has made cry. I feel like she doesn’t care about me anymore  and I want to do something really bad to get her attention, to see if she’ll do anything.

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Car Ride

We’re going to go see a movie. The newly weds will obviously sit in the front together, how adorable. They really are so cute. Now the rest of us have to cram in the back. That’s 5 of us. A couple people are already in the car and I wait for the other girl to go in first but she doesn’t get the hint and now we’re being yelled at for taking so long and somehow I end up next to you. I tried to avoid it, really I did. I didn’t want to sit right up next to you, crammed against your body. But the door is slammed shut, and it’s you, me, and the door. Everyone else is on the other side of you. So it’s not like I can talk to anyone else besides you. Not that I don’t want to talk to you, of course I do, but to have your undivided, focused attention, it’s a little unnerving.

You offer me a headphone and we start listening. You put your arm around me. You always put your arm around the back of the seat next to you but because we’re all crammed together, your arm ends up around me. I hate to admit it but I enjoy it. All of it. The arm, the headphones, the attention. I’ve felt this way for a long time but I can’t say I know about you. You’re way out of my league for one thing and I never picked up on anything from your end. So I quietly enjoy my time with you and try to hide my feelings because I know they won’t go anywhere. We talk about some of the songs and other stuff in general. I drop my bangs between my face and yours occasionally because the proximity makes me uncomfortable. You lean in really close and say things right into my ear when I do that.

After a fantastic 30 minutes that I thoroughly enjoy, we finally arrive to the movies. We don’t sit next to each other like we did last time. Afterwards, when I ask how you liked the movie, you tell me you don’t know because you weren’t really paying attention. My thoughts wander as to why but I quickly squash them before they wander too far. It’s nothing.

Crush

It has been a long time since I’ve crushed on someone. Like a very long time. But there’s this guy I’m currently crushing on. He’s so incredibly sweet, it’s unbelievable. He’s a busy guy but he made some time for me to just check in and because it was a rough time, I really appreciated it. That’s probably when the crushing started. Anyways, never met him in person but we skype all the time. He has a great sense of humor. We came together as part of an organization and we’ve been working together for about a month now. He’s a bit older but not sure by how much. Also, I can’t tell if he’s nice in general or just being ultra-nice to me. He messaged me wishing me luck on my exam, which I was surprised he remembered. Anyways, I’ve messaged him about 4 times over the space of a week about things relating to the organization work but he hasn’t replied to any. I don’t know why because that was our main form of communication so it’s not like he doesn’t use the chat. We skyped in between but I didn’t mention the chat and neither did he. I suspect something is going on but I don’t know what. The last two times we skyped with the whole crew, he hung around and we were the last two on the call. I stay on because I have to copy the side chat for the meeting minutes. But he doesn’t have to. So I suspect it’s because he just wants to chill but I don’t know. For now, keeping it to myself as always. If you haven’t noticed, I’m incredibly shy and until I am 100% the other person likes me back, I won’t say anything about my feelings to anyone. (which has never happened by the way) Anyways, just had to get it off my chest.

Hearty Laugh

“What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?” —The Daily Post.

The last time I really had a good laugh was earlier this year, during the spring semester. I had seen an article on Buzzfeed about girls who have b—- resting faces and it reminded me of my younger sister, who had been complaining of her own resting face a few days earlier. So I pulled up the article on my iPad and went to her room to show her. She finished up her drawing and came over on the bed to look at it. As she was scrolling through, she started laughing and laughing and then she was crying and then she was gasping for breath because it was so funny to her. I hadn’t found it that funny but seeing her laugh so hard made me laugh really hard and pretty soon, I too, was gasping for breath and clutching my stomach in laughter. We laughed together for a good bit and my sister had to put the iPad down in the middle of the article for fear she would lose her breath. We laughed ourselves out and then went back to the article and laughed some more and finally we made it through the article.

But what I love about that memory is that it wasn’t the article that made me laugh, it was my sister’s laughter that made me laugh.

Aside

Whenever I meet a new person, I try to figure them out. I listen to how they use their words, how they structure their sentences. I listen to what they say, what is important to them, what they find funny. I watch their body language, how they carry themselves, how they perceive other people or objects around them. I watch their faces, what kinds of expressions they use in different situations. And I’m not a very good judge of character/personality, but I’m working on it.

But people from another culture, another language, another country, they are so difficult to understand right away. And even after a month, when I think I’ve figured them out, they say or do something I completely don’t expect. Even though I understand the denotation of what they’re saying to me, I don’t get the connotation because I haven’t grown up in that culture. I can’t tell why they say something rather than something else. I can’t tell if they think something is genuinely funny or they’re just messing around with me. I can’t tell if they hold themselves the way they do just because that’s the way they are, or because they don’t like me. And that can get frustrating. Especially if you’re related by blood. Even though we look so physically similar, I still don’t know you. 

Public Transport

A girl in a neon green jacket sits by herself on a bench, waiting to catch the next train home. It’s late, but not that late. She has her headphones in and they stand out against her black hijab. She is looking down at her phone, tapping random apps. She’s not really doing anything of importance but she doesn’t want to make eye contact with anyone, lest they try to speak to her. The weirdos who use public transport are not worth her time. She could live without the stares she gets everyday. 

A man in a black coat comes to sit one seat down from her. He passes uncomfortably close to her and the girl pulls her body inward, away from him. She can feel him looking at her from her right side, but she continues to tap away at her phone, trying her best to look busy and focused.

“Salam walayka.”

The girl recognizes that the man is trying to greet her with the Islamic greeting, even though he doesn’t pronounce it quite right. But she doesn’t want to talk to him. So she ignores him and continues to tap away at her phone. 30 seconds pass in silence and the girl can feel his eyes on her. 

*cough* “Salam walaikum.”

This time he pronounces it properly. The girl considers replying but decides against it. Then she feels bad for not replying as she is representing her religion in this train station and she wouldn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or give them reason to hate her religion. But she decides that he is a stranger and it would do him nor her any good by replying. But then she thinks she ought at least to inform him of the meaning of what he is saying, as perhaps he is considering to convert but he doesn’t know many Muslims. But then, she realizes that she really doesn’t want to chat or have small talk with a stranger, as that is what he probably–.

“Can you hear me?”

He says it so softly, she almost misses it. She’s taken too long. She didn’t want to talk to him anyway. She continues to tap away at her phone, glancing up every few seconds to check train arrivals.