I’ve been wanting to write something about this special lady for a long time. I wanted to include a picture so you’d know I was talking about you without having to worry about it but I don’t think you’d appreciate your whole face being on the internet, particularly your eyes. They’re one of my favorite things about you actually, your eyes. They are so clear. It’s like your whole soul comes through your eyes. You’re so present.
I remember when we first met, in AP world. I was terrified of you because I thought you’d frown on my inappropriate relationship which went against the rules of your religion. But then you opened your mouth and the things that came out were just so incredible that I knew I had to be around you more. I was still scared of course, that’s one of the things I do best, but we didn’t have to discuss the elephant in the room just yet. You wowed me with your quiet intellect and cynicism and regal air and before I knew it you weren’t quiet at all. We were cackling and gesticulating and making quite the scene in our book group. We were magnetic. I remember one day in the bathroom when we discussed medication and we realized we were more alike than we’d thought. My favorite memory is of the last day of class when we had a ball interpretive clapping at our peers’ presentations. I hadn’t had so much fun in a long time. In that moment everything felt right.
You welcomed me into a world that I thought would never take me. You made me feel at home with you, something I hardly ever feel. And then just like that it was gone in a flash of tears. To be honest I really don’t remember what happened that broke us. I remember standing outside the school choking back tears and apologizing again and again into your answering machine. But I don’t remember what I was apologizing for. I’m not sure it matters anymore. We were both in a bad place then and we were so unstable that it’s no surprise we blew up once pushed together. We were novices, really. Novices at life, friendship, at fighting our battles. Things are different now.
After that our worlds separated for a while until we were thrown back together. It was hesitant, tiptoeing on eggshells and testing the waters. Then everything warmed and now we’re somehow here again, feeling ever as we did in the beginning. Your wedding day was a highlight sandwiched in between a lot of misery. Of course I was anxious to be at the mosque, but seeing you there all dressed up and smiling is one of my happiest memories. I wanted to tell you how proud I was of you, for doing things the ‘right’ way like I had not. For sticking through and for opening yourself to another person. But nothing would come out of my mouth except smiles and tears. I ate the cake at your wedding, it was wonderful.
I owe it all to you, my dear. You opened a whole new world to me. For one, you taught me the beauty of religion. You told me things I’d never thought of before. It didn’t change my belief (or lack there of) in god, but it did change my belief in people. You showed me that there is so much good in people even if it gets twisted. I was surprised to see the beauty in Islam, I wasn’t expecting to feel what I feel now at all. I’ve kept it with me, tied to you. You also taught me how to fight. My god I have never seen such a spirit as resides in you. I was quite the sad sack and you showed me how to fight for myself and for my happiness. Even if it hurt at times, you reminded me that it wasn’t okay to just sit there and be miserable and take it. Of course I still do that a lot, but sometimes I have your voice in my head telling me that I’m better than this. To be frank, at the time I considered you a hypocrite, asking things of me that you could not give in return. But even in that you taught me something. It was the beginning of realizing that everyone is a dichotomy. I see it in myself all the time. But now I can see that this isn’t hypocrisy, you were never a hypocrite, it’s just being human. In fact you are one of the most human people I’ve ever met. Everything about you is so real, so earnest, so raw. It’s impressive how you strive to live congruently with your values. You are endearingly head strong and noble. I’ve always thought that you look like a queen, and I still think it. If anyone were to be a queen it would be you. You have the purest of hearts. You deserve to be treated like a queen and it kills me that people at times have treated you like far less. I have so much compassion for you that I’m sure it would reach to the ends of the earth. When I think of you I am filled with pride that you have chosen me to be your friend. I love talking with you, I’ve rarely met anyone whose words I am so interested in. And I’m not even shitting you. I’m comfortable with you, and if that means you sometimes bring out the worst in me then so be it, because you also bring out the best.
Thank you <3
The Only Unfair Thing Ever
Jason Jones learns that profiling is unfair only when it’s directed against you. http://on.cc.com/170orDk
Nina Katchadourian - Sorted Books
“I suddenly recalled a moment in the university library when, looking for a book, I had turned my head sideways as I walked down the stacks and thought how spectacular it would be if all the titles formed an accidental sentence when read one after the other in a long chain. Standing amidst the bookshelves in Half Moon Bay, my next move was simply to make this imaginary accident real. I spent days shifting and arranging books, composing them so that their titles formed short sentences. The exercise was intimate, like a form of portraiture, and it felt important that the books I selected should function as a cross section of the larger collection.”
Ali Abdirahman Hersi (1977)
May Allah bless our masjid’s Sheikh Saeed the very best. Ameen.