You’d think she was a celebrity, the way I watched her from across the room. I tried to work up the nerve to speak to her but the taste of salt in the back of my throat gave me pause. I didn’t want to embarrass her and I didn’t want to cry. But I wanted […]
Our eyes grew wide in disbelief at the yelling, shoving crowd. We had been warned, to be fair, that our trip to the Mogamma, the towering government building in Tahrir Square, would be difficult. But this was something entirely otherworldly. We clutched our passports to our chests and braced ourselves against elbows to the ribs. […]
When we settled back in the U.S. last year after our living in South Asia, it felt like the world had moved on without us while we occupied another plane of existence altogether. We might as well have been returning from outer space. My family got used to living in partially packed houses or out […]
“It was such a God thing.” It’s our way of saying, God ordained this; it must have been the will of the Lord. That’s why it all worked out, right? But then, it doesn’t work out. Something that seemed so clear gets fuzzy. Dreams die. Plans change. Wasn’t that God’s plan, too?
They felt litter thicker than matchsticks in my hands; her tiny fingers seemed like they could snap in an instant. I was mesmerized by her smallness in my arms though her presence filled my entire life. As I held my firstborn in the dark of her bedroom, humming a song to her in the same […]
“I accept whatever He gives and I give whatever He takes.” – Teresa of Calcutta It’s not something you talk about in polite company—not being quite okay and being willing to admit it. When people ask how are you, they don’t expect an honest answer. I know; I’ve been answering honestly for months, unable to […]
I bristled when I received a message from an editor at a publishing house asking if I was working on any projects. “I can’t write a book now,” I thought. “I’m still living in this messy space of transition between Asia and America, between old dreams dying and not yet discovering the new. Standing on […]
They were the kind of sobs that you feel like rock your whole body in such a way that something must certainly shake loose from your heart. They were the kind of tears that feel like they reach back years in time, pulling up issues you didn’t know you were concealing. Those tears snuck up […]
Life is not a matter of creating a special name for ourselves, but of uncovering the name we have always had. – Richard Rohr My sense of the self I try to project, the name I hope to make for myself, started to unravel one day when I was deep in my own thoughts, walking […]
My breasts and bottom were fair game for open discussion; I learned this early in life…Always the message was clear – your body is ours to look at, to scrutinize, and to judge. After years of my body belonging to others, I just want it to be mine.
There’s something inside you waiting to unfurl. It is quietly growing beneath the surface. You can feel it gathering itself up, the momentum of its growth building. How it began is a mystery. What it will become is yet to be seen—even to you. But in its time, if you nurture it well, it will […]
Surveying the damage, they can’t imagine life again after the storm. They can’t yet see the trees that will grow to replace those pulled up by their roots. They can’t picture anything flourishing again in this place of devastation. *** Looking out at the endless sea of cars sitting on the interstate, I felt restless […]
I don’t remember your name. I do remember your laughter, your patience when you helped me with my pronunciation of sounds that are difficult for the English-trained tongue. I never saw you again after our college Arabic class ended but the look in your eyes has remained with me all these years—the fear and sorrow […]
My sister and I sat cross-legged, waiting to learn about meditation. Someone filled the little porcelain cups with steaming green tea; they grew warm in our hands. I looked around the makeshift temple in what looked like it used to be a gas station. Bars on the windows reminded us we were in the heart […]
I can’t tell you who helped me get to the University medical center or to hobble back to my dorm on crutches. I can’t recall exactly what the doctor said or much of the resulting physical therapy. But I can tell you the exact step I was trying to land when I, instead, found myself […]
I leave more than the stale air of a thirteen-hour plane ride behind in the airport bathroom stall. When I emerge into the terminal in Istanbul, I feel like a new person altogether. I had walked off the plane still wearing the evidence of the life I left behind in Bangladesh. I wore a salwar […]