The Unforgotten Day

February 7, 2010
By Azra Ariff BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
Azra Ariff BRONZE, Phoenix, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

She was in a cheerful and comedic mood, until her eyes feasted on the scarf atop the dresser. As she was sensing the raspberry scent, the luminous pink glow sucked her into complete admiration of the scarf. The soft and velvet feeling did not seem to stop the girl. She was still undecided, Should I wear it or not? Many thoughts were urging her it will be the biggest mistake of her life, but she knew that she had to make the decision soon.

At last a decision was made. Slowly she pins it up and thoughts are still whirling through her head. “I will wear the scarf no matter what anyone says,” exclaimed the girl. Every day she wore the scarf and no one said anything, except today everything was going to perceived differently, and not in a positive way .The date was September 12, 2001. The day before was the most devastating day for millions of citizens in America. The cause: a terrorist group who believed in the same religion as the girl. As people were still grieving over the lost lives, their dislike for Muslims was becoming clearer. Television channels reported about all the abuse facing Muslims, and with all this knowledge she still wore the scarf.

Wheels dragging themselves in the mud was the only sound heard. Sweat formed over her forehead with a nervous attitude. In minutes her worst nightmare would come true.

She reached the steps to the school hallway. All that could be done was to pray. Laughing and giggling was heard, until their eyes met the girl. Everything had stopped, and their laughter turned into frowns. The frowns were no surprise to her, and neither was the rest of the day. The vivacious and loud hallways came to an abrupt halt and silence. In every direction students stopped talking to one another. Her footsteps garnered the attention of everyone from students to faculty. Eyes inched closer and closer and the looks on their faces did not seem to disappear.

Minutes had passed and no one had moved or changed the expression on their faces. Whispers filled the hallways. Questions were cemented into their minds, but no one seemed courageous enough to face the girl. “What is she wearing? What is she doing here? She does not belong. You’re a terrorist and a traitor. How do you have the heart to step foot into the school?,” thought the children. Her footsteps picked up the pace and she kept going, until she was there. Her footsteps took her to a bathroom stall. Her normally pale face now turned into the color of an apple. Her usual smile was turned upside down. Her voice tweaked into the sound of a bird. Her eyes watered away turning her charming face into a wet washcloth.

Ring! Ring! School was going to start in five minutes. Sweat started dripping on her forehead again. The sight of her locker left her in shock. Spray painted in big and bold letters on the locker was a phrase, “Go back home.” Her gut was telling her to never come back to school, but she knew better than that. She could not waste any time, it was getting late for class. Again eyes were glued when she attempted to sit in her desk. There was snickering in the background and hands motioning. The motions were not quite clear at first, then she saw the motions. It was a word. Students grouped together and formed a word with their hands, “Looser.” The teacher saw all of this and immediately motioned the group to the principal’s office.

All the happiness soon came to a screeching end. As the class progressed it became evident that tensions were rising. While she was writing in her notebook, there was a sudden hand on her shoulder. It was one of her classmates. He politely asked if she needed anything, and she seemed delighted that he treated her like a human. She received a harsh reality check. Out of nowhere he yanked the scarf off her head. “You’re a traitor and go back to where you came from, which is clearly not America,” he said. The whole class burst into laughter. Trying to make the class stop was useless, as the teacher was defenseless. The girl’s face retaliated with anger and hatred towards her classmates, and seemed as if steam was about to come out of both ears, but then she remained calm and collective. Her face showed no emotion and she acted as if nothing had occurred.

Immediately, the girl excused herself and went to the only safe haven she had, the bathroom. Tears flowed down her rose cheeks like a waterfall. Even though she expected all of this discrimination, it still hurt her. Wearing the scarf was a big mistake and it had taken an emotional toll. It hit her: she cannot run away from her problems, but she has to face them.

Exiting the restroom with her head up high was turning out to be a big mistake. Slam! Books came dwindling down and so did her reputation. Ring! Ring! Perfect timing. School ended. Awkward silence filled the car ride home. “How was school,?” asked her father.”Nothing, just drive,” was her reply. Without delay she bolted to her room and started sobbing. Right away her mom knew exactly what to do. “Islam is our religion and we just have to ignore people who cannot accept it. One day all those kids will learn from their mistake and will accept you. This is how you were created and nothing can change that,” said her mother. Something moved. For the first time the whole day a genuine smile grew on her face.

The author's comments:
I really hope everyone enjoys this article because this issue is very dear and personal to me. I want everyone to see and sense the discrimination Muslims had to go through after September 11. I really hope everyone enjoys it.

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