You broke the ocean in half to be here.
Only to meet nothing that wants you.
salt. nayyirah waheed
We are stepping out of the movie theatre after watching Captain America. As I hand over my 3D glasses, I catch snatches of Arabic. Three young men, in Adidas tracks + baggy tees are standing there talking to the staff. All that my biased ears can hear is the start of an argument.
I am instantly transported to 16th Street, Bur Dubai. Mom and I walking back from Ms Feriyal’s, my Arabic tuition teacher’s and the taunts of “Aye Hindi!” from tall, oh-so-tall and obese young Arabs following us all the way till we reach home. Don’t show fear, I tell myself. Look down, don’t look into their eyes to confront, walk calmly but not too quick. And that’s how I walk out of the theatre.
It’s past midnight. Now there’s just 5 of us in the narrow corridor between the exit from the cinema and the mall entrance. I hear one of the 3 Arab guys asking the other to hurry. “If I’m late, my mother will kill me.”
And just like that we are all the same: young, stupid and afraid of the wrath of waiting mothers.