"She said —My father loved me with an open fist, he threatened me so many times in one day that sometimes I thought that his arms only swung in the motion it took to hit me.
He didn’t mean anything by it, he is a man living in a place where people call him Osama just because he has a beard.
He loves this country you know.
Sometimes I think he loves this place more than he loves me.
And you know what Fuck it, I don’t believe Osama Bin Laden really orchestrated those attacks..
then again what the hell do I know about anything.
All I know is after that day, my father was assaulted 13 times driving his cab, just because he refused to cut his beard.
And we asked him to you know?
To cut his beard.. We asked him to do it, I’m ashamed to admit it but we did.
My brother started going by Mo instead of Muhammad.
My father wouldn’t though, he’d always say that Muhammad was not a name to be shortened so that white people feel comfortable..
But yeah, it was tough for my Dad, his accent is as thick as molasses, he couldn’t hide it if his life depended on it .. And It’s nuts right? I mean, his life kinda does depend on it..
He doesn’t talk to me much, he just asks if I need money and says ‘No’ to pretty much anything I ask.
He says women were made delicate because we are made to be protected by walls made of the men who love us.
I wanted to show him pictures of flowers growing on the sides of volcanos.
Or remind him that Aasiyah (ra) was crushed beneath a boulder by her husband, who claimed he loved her.
I could never talk to him about boys!
Oh my God never!
He’d say ‘ binti, it will be very bad for you if you even look to a boy’
I’d always laugh when he’d say this, he was more afraid of his daughter’s sexuality than he was of picking up strangers in his
But his threats have always been full of promise.
The first time I kissed a boy was in the foyer of my house before school one morning,
my parents were at work.
I remember thinking that my father would smell the boy on me during dinner.
I never knew boys could be so gentle,
my father turned my brother into a man immediately like himself and so, I’d always known men to be irritable,cold people, who lived in perpetual disappointment.
The first time I had sex, I remember feeling like my body would tell on me. I covered every inch of my skin in clothing, out of fear it would yell across the table at him,
but it knew (probably better than I)that a disappointed father was the worst thing that you could have,
so I didn’t even think about it around him, out of fear that he could read my thoughts.
My father worked hard.
Our fathers work hard.
I watched and listened to him every night come in at 6 am and leave again at 9.
He never missed a prayer.
He would never touch me, my mother or my brother with his left hand.
He never hit my mother. To him she is a woman more valuable than a girl.
There’s this thing about fathers who come to this country with dreams,
only to see them crash and burn in the fire of racism and xenophobia.
If they weren’t broken and hardened from the loops that they had to jump through to get here,
they are broken and hardened from the fall off of the American dream.
somehow we remind them of it.
Somehow they look at us and see everything for what it is.
And we become casualties of their inner struggle.
And one day we look at ourselves and realize we have too many secrets to name."