Quietly stomping through several inches of snow, our heroine mumbles slight profanities under her breath – that cursed Murphey’s Law. Why did that white jerk have it out for her anyway? Her skirt ends are heavy with remnants of slush and salt – imprinting a delicate pattern of white stains on the cloth. Canadian winters made her angry – so angry that her body was never quite cold – always being heated by internal seething. If she were in a warmer climate, she might be internally combusted.
Come, I will sing you a song of redemption,
your ebony black hair will sway with the tune
and the sad memories will fall off
and settle on your slender shoulders, but for a while,
we will indulge in merriment anyway.
I shall depart when gray matter
once again reassembles,
new pieces to fit the old jigsaw puzzle
so you will never recognize,
and it hits you like a cold splash of water in your face when you do
that life is everlasting,
resurfaces in a myriad of possibilities,
is a thin veil that shifts
ever so slightly from one frame into the next
only to begin anew when the camera stops rolling.
I dreamt beneath these branches
that you carved our initials in her trunk,
and we sat at her roots, learning
the intricacies of growth
we took her seeds, held them in our palms
and pushed them into the ground.
my hands touched the tips of your fingers
as we buried
our faith in the soil.
I wait without patience
for this seed to sprout, so I may sit
at the roots of something we created
and teach her to
absorb the sunshine.
Today I woke up as usual and put my clothes on. I ventured to work in a mumbly, sleep-deprived state – it strikes me as odd now, because I have been getting more than enough sleep. When I got to work I pulled a post-it-note off the pad and wrote “Ya Allah…”
A whole dua, from start to finish.
And it rested there for hours amongst the clutter of my day job. I wrote a phone number on the back of my dua.
When the end of the day crawled forward, I whited-out His Name, folded the square in half to make a triangle. The corners weren’t as aligned as I hoped they’d be. I recycled it.
I tend to write prayers on the corners of newspapers and pale yellow post-it notes. I scrawl them on my left palm, type them out into documents, and read them aloud when alone.
Tomorrow I will do the same.
Perhaps the more I write, the more likely my prayers are to be answered.
Our empty lunch plates have been taken away, and my attention is focused on the cold scoops of strawberry-laced vanilla ice cream laid out so temptingly in the glass platter before me. “How would you like to be proposed to?” she asks abruptly. She leans forward, black eyes level with mine, her slice of cake on the table seemingly forgotten.
“I don’t know.” I tell her. She says nothing, only continues looking at me intently. “This is not something I have given much thought to,” I insist, wondering privately from whence this bewilderingly disconnected question has arisen. She props her head upon her palm – cosily – as if she is capable of sitting in that chair indefinitely listening to me concocting silly fantasies, and I am flustered by the sudden attention.
“I – I guess I would like to be proposed to directly,” I blurt out, “and not through my parents like most traditional Muslims seem to do.” “Really?” she asks curiously. “Yes, really.” I slip a tart strawberry into my mouth, my lips puckering as I suck. Perhaps she is waiting for a fuller response, for she watches still.
“I am making this up as I go along,” I finally admit, and her mouth curves upward despite her disappointment. But I do not tell her that as I speak, I can see the uneven horizon in the distance and feel liquid waves of blue lapping at my toes. We have tired of walking, and when he finally turns toward me in askance, he does so with such sincerity and grace that I am moved to tears by his simple gesture. But it is a foolish childlike fantasy, and besides, February is too cold and dreary for such embarrassingly fanciful dreams.