“HeLLo-CAn-YoU-hEaR-Me?”, she asked.
She smelled liked ignorance and too much perfume. Unfortunately I could hear her. I replied with an utterly annoyed tone in my voice,
“Why are you screaming? I-can-hear-you.”
She proceeded to continue with her tour of the school. Not attempting to conceal what she was thinking. Her questions were painted all over her perfect face, everything she wanted to ask me she did.
“It’s a hijab.” I started.
“And these scars are from fourth degree burns.” In case my last statement didn’t satisfy her curiosity enough.
This was my problem, people were ALWAYS staring and I hated it.
“NO! I wasn't staring.”, she gasped.
Her face continued to cringe in shock.
“I think I’ll just continue the rest of this tour by myself”
This is my fourth school in the past-four years? Maybe?, There was, Grandview High, Pinewood School for Girls, Rosedale high and oh!, now this s***ty one. GOOOOO BOBCATS!!!. I've been expelled from every school I've gone to. For fighting mostly. But it wasn’t my fault. Nobody gets it. Every family I’ve been with think’s its me, that I'm the problem. Everyone always gives up on me. My religion has been treated so cruelly and continues to endure so much cruelty, my people have been stereotyped and victims of crimes out of pure hatred. No one else is fighting for us... I continued my walk down these boring hallways, reading a sign, “Cheerleading tryouts outside on the main field. 2:30-3:30. Bring your own water, sneakers and dress properly. Any questions regarding this flyer, call Adrianna Winters. 912-246-1001. Have a cheeermazing day!”.
“Have a cheermazing day, ugh gross.”, I can't help but mock this chick, I hate cheerleaders…
“HEY WATCH IT!”, I screamed as I proceeded to scramble for my hijab .
“I'm really sorry, I didn't see you. Please I’ll help you with your hat.”
“No! Don’t touch me!”
“What's your problem??”
“My problem is you, this place, this school. And this hat is NOT a hat.”
“I'm really so sorry.”
“Don't pretend to know me, you don't. Nobody will ever get it.”
I got up aggressively, and started running. Choking back the tears that were begging to come out. I stormed inside, upstairs, slamming every door I could. I couldn’t hold it, the tears streamed down my face, flowing one by one. I got on my knees, faced my wall, and recited, “Allaahumma 'innaa naj'aluka fee nuhoorihim wa nai oothu bika min shuroorihim”. When I recite my prayers, I feel like I’m actually a part of something. Like I belong. I just wanna belong.
“AAMIRA DINNER!”, Leanne shouted from the kitchen.
Leanne was my foster mom. She was pretty cool, she treated me a lot better than previous families did. She buys me clothes, she feeds me, she doesn’t hit me like my last foster mom did. But she just doesn’t get it either...She doesn’t understand, that my hijab is who I am. I can’t lose who I am.
“That sound! That annoying alarm.”, the sound from my alarm clock was penetrating. The sound bounced off everything in my room.
“I don’t want to go to school.”, I whined as I proceeded to shove my face into my pillow, and pulled the covers over me.
Everyone was staring at me. When suddenly I could hear a familiar voice take hold of my hand.
“We didn’t get to properly meet the other day, my name is Alex.”, he said.
I was like lost in his eyes, his big brown eyes. The eyes that melted away all the pain I was feeling in my heart.
“I-I-I Aamira, I mean my name is-uh Aamira.”, my nerves made my voice bounce.
He was beautiful, and he was talking to me. My heart beat was calming down, finally.
“Aamira huh? Well Aamira, I have off next period. I’d love to see you again. Meet me in room 102”
“S-s-sure, s-s-sounds good. Bye!”, I said, still letting my nerves get the best of me.
“Welcome class! Today we will be pairing up for our first assignment. Turn to your left, and say hi!, These will be your partners.”
Oh, no! The cheerleader.
“Um, Mr. Neckman, just curious, but why do terrorists need english class?”, she asked, trying to hold back her laughter.
“Alright, class that’s enough. Get back to work.”, he ignorantly proceeded.
It was people like Adrianna, teachers like Mr. Neckman and schools like Rosedale high that were so determined to bash and belittle the muslim culture. I felt the ache in the back of my throat, it was begging me to cry. A tear ran down my face. This pain was so unforgiving. 102, 102, 102, ah there we go. The plaque above the room number read, “photography lab”. Photography? I walked in. There he was. Standing so graciously and beautiful with a camera wrapped around his neck.
“Would you mind being the subject for my photos? Our project was to photograph something we found beautiful.”
Oh no, the stutter was gonna come back.
“I w-w-would love to!”, I said, attempting to conceal a smile.
He began clicking away, photo after photo. He handed me one of the photos with a note.
“This photo is for you, and this note is for you too. Read it when you get home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”, he said walking away.
This was the longest walk home. My eagerness was eating me. I held the photo in one hand and began to read the note.
Your beauty is fearless, and admirable. Just remember who you are will never leave you. It will always be in your heart. Your religion is your safe haven, I know. Hijab or not Aamira, your beliefs will never escape you as long as you don’t let them. Long black cloths concealing your body is a shame. You are beauty, in its entirety. I chose this photo, it captivated your beauty most. I’ll see you tomorrow beautiful.
He was right. My religion would always be apart of me, no matter what. I kept reading the note over and over again hoping to find the answer to my prevailing question. I closed my eyes holding the note close to my heart. The next morning I found myself standing in front of the mirror, I began to take the clips out one by one. Slowly the black fabric began to undress itself. Locks of my hair began to fall. I was beautiful. I was me. I would always be me. My black long fabrics turned into jeans, my body began to take shape. And my question got it’s answer. I will always be me.