Archive | February, 2010

This wasn’t inspired by Valentine’s Day, I promise.

19 Feb

For you, my lovely readers, a bit of fictional schmoopy-ness. Any similarity to persons living or dead is probably intentional.

***

Jawdan can hear the scritch-scritch of Khadijah’s pen as she makes marks on her student’s papers. Even with his eyes closed, he can picture the look of concentration on her face, the way her nose wrinkles a little when she pauses briefly to scratch the bridge of it before returning her pen to paper.

He’s curled toward her like a parenthesis, face pressed into the warmth of her hip. She brings one hand down to push through his hair, comfort and the slightest bit of reproach. Jawdan sighs contentedly.

“Just a few more,” she says reassuringly.

“Mrph,” responds Jawdan.

A few minutes later he hears the rustle of papers as she puts her grading materials aside. His head jostles a bit as she shifts into a more comfortable position, and he opens his mouth to voice his consternation but it comes out as a sigh when her fingers finally dig into his scalp. Her other hand pulls at his shoulder, encouraging him to fully lay his head in her lap. He does so happily.

“Did you have a good day today?” she asks gently, her fingers carding through his hair, over and over again.

Jawdan opens sleepy eyes to look up at her. She should look ridiculous from this angle: upside down smile, being able to see right up her nose. Somehow she just looks more lovely, all long hair falling down to tickle against his face, the cut of her cheekbones. He can practically count each eyelash.

He’s still shy to look at her, sometimes.

Her other hand rests on his chest. Jawdan runs his fingers back and forth against her arm.

“It was…interesting,” he hazards. It’s a tepid response.

“Oh?” Jawdan’s eyes have fluttered shut again, but he can hear the teasing smile in her voice. “That bad, huh?”

He groans. “My god, Khadijah, it was like–if I don’t have to see the OIA tower ever again it won’t be soon enough.”

She chuckles. “Uncle Farhan give you a hard time?”

Jawdan snorts, recalling the chain of events that took place after he rolled in to passenger pick-up. After getting in his car Uncle Farhan–sorry, Frank–had taken one look at Jawdan, the CD player softly playing Abdul-Basit, the tasbeeh hanging from his rearview mirror, and began lecturing him about the importance of maintaining a low profile “in this day and age.”

“I think he would’ve been happier if  I’d rolled in blasting Jay-Z,” he says mournfully. He’d tried to dodge the lecturing as gracefully as he could by talking about the wedding. That had opened up an entirely new can of worms.

“Hmm. Sounds like Uncle Frank.”

(As soon as Jawdan had dropped him off at Khadijah’s grandfather’s house, his phone began to ring. It was his mother, announcing the arrival of yet another relative. Muneer uncle, his wife, and their kids. Jawdan repressed a groan.

Beta, bring them to the house. I made pulao,” his mother had ordered. “Asiya auntie and her family are arriving from Delta at 6, so make sure you eat before you go.”

Ji, Ammi,” he’d replied.

After ferrying what felt like half of Khadijah’s family tree from the airport to their lodgings, Jawdan was exhausted. Weddings sucked, just so much.)

He makes a noise of agreement. “I brought you pulao, by the way.”

“You did?” remarks Khadijah, pleased. “I’m surprised you were able to, in between all that chauffering.”

“I’m a man of many talents,” Jawdan intones solemnly.

“That you are,” Khadijah agrees. “My sister’s lucky to have such a dedicated brother-in-law.” Her hand now rests comfortably on his forehead. Jawdan leans into the touch.

As he begins to fall asleep, Jawdan thinks that while wedding planning may suck, the end result is totally worth it.

(The pulao was delicious, too.)

-end of random shmoopy-ness.

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You all carry so much meaning.

12 Feb

Aaah, Dean Winchester. The weeping Shahrukh Khan of the apocalypse. Everyone turns to God in the end. When you realize there is no one else who will listen except the one who has been there the whole time. When despite how dirty and despicable you feel, you turn back, offering up your rank and sullied soul and praying that He listens. And forgives.

***

I can’t believe it, I actually wrote a smidgen of Supernatural fanfiction.

Rated PB for potential blasphemous material. *cowers*

***

“I must join the ranks of the sayyahun,” says Castiel.

Dean glances at him sharply. “The say-what? That some kinda angel glee club?”

Castiel simply rests his gaze on Dean, although the twitching corner of his lips betray his amusement. “The Journeyers.”

Before Dean can say anything else, Castiel closes his eyes, and begins to recite something. It’s not the harsh, halting syllables of Enochian that Dean has grown accustomed to hearing. Instead, the words flow, lilting, melodious. It takes Dean a moment to recognize it: Arabic.

The words cease. Castiel opens his eyes, but does not look at Dean.

“There are angels, Dean, who travel the highways of this world, seeking out the people of Remembrance,” he begins. “When they find people remembering God, they call out to one another, ‘Here is what you hunger for,’ and they enfold them with their wings, stretching up to the lowest heaven. God will forgive them all, even the one who entered with some other purpose in mind.” Castiel recites the words slowly, stiffly. Like he’s reciting from a book. Dean would go so far as to say…uncertainly.

So it is an angel glee club, thinks Dean.

“Cas,” Dean begins. It’s enough to make him look up. “When you say, ‘Join the ranks’…are you telling me you’ve never actually been a part of this angelic wing-fest?”

Castiel shifts uncomfortably. Dean can almost imagine him arranging and rearranging his own wings against his back.

“I never had cause to be invited,” replies Castiel, sounding chagrined. The words, I’m just a lowly foot-soldier hang heavy in the air. “And even less, now.”

At Dean’s look of askance, Castiel continues.

“In the Beginning,” says Castiel, and Dean can tell from the intonation that it’s Beginning with a capital B, “the gatherings of God’s remembrance were many. The sayyahun were many. There were no shortages of suppliants. The sayyahun remained…sated.

“As Time went on, the gatherings of remembrance began to dissipate. The play and amusement of this world distracts mankind. The signs of the Hour foretold this. The sayyahun, once many, began to starve.”

“Wait, Cas,” Dean interjects. “Starve? Because there aren’t enough people saying, ‘Hallelujeah?'”

“Yes. There are many kinds of hunger, Dean,” says Castiel knowingly.

Dean rolls his eyes. “Yeah, no kidding?”

“No kidding,” Castiel says with complete seriousness.

Dean stifles a groan. He wants to hear the rest of what Castiel has to say, though, although he will deny that to his grave. So he just leans his head back, sighs, and says “Please, continue,” with all the gravity he can muster.

Castiel nods. “The sayyahun, many had to be…reassigned. The ranks of the sayyahun are honored, coveted. You can imagine the tension this spread among the ranks. Many who were reassigned felt it was…below their pay grade.”

“So what are they now? Heavenly garbage pick-up? Angel-mart door greeters?”

“Some were assigned as watchers over the mountains. Others, over the air, rain, or thunder. Still others were assigned to spend their entire existence in remembrance, either standing or prostrating.”

-end snippet.

Aaaaand basically in a nutshell Castiel wants to join the sayyahun to help him find God, because apparently they report these gatherings to God, although Castiel himself has never been witness to this, because the sayyahun are so few in number, they’re like an endangered species. They are also extremely secretive. Of course, Castiel needs Dean’s help. He needs Dean to attend a prayer gathering. Several prayer gatherings, including a visit to a church, a synagogue, and a masjid. Dean’s totally haram taveez (aka amulet) which Castiel appropriated (because it glows hot in God’s presence) begins to glow. Dun dun dun.

Yes, I know there are like a million things wrong with this. Don’t tell me you never wanted to work Islam into SPN’s crazy storyline, anathema as it may be.

[anti] Hero.

10 Feb

She always gave too much of herself, too quickly. Like a bright burning star, offering up all she had and more, shining fiercely, wonderfully, briefly. Some people could give and give and give, their light pouring slowly, steady, never wavering. A continuous, constant dependable stream of light. But not her. She gave her whole person, her whole existence, and didn’t stop until she was through. Until she was guttered out.

She watches them sometimes, in wonder. The normals, the ones free of scars. The ones that can walk out into the world and arrive home again, untouched, unscathed, undisturbed. She is envious.

Every word, every passing hurt, every raised voice, she takes it in, in in. Like a human shaped appendix, absorbing all the bad and stewing in it, until it became a big pulsating mass of unfettered resentment and fear and sadness. Until there was no more space left inside her, and the only way out was out.

***

His eyes are wide, innocent in their childlike wonder. “We think superheroes only exist in stories. That they have passed; like the rain on the mountain, like the wind in the meadow, like the shadow in the hills. That there never lived a man whose heart was washed pure by angels, whose touch made even a tree weep for it’s loss. That there never lived a woman who seemed to appear on every side of her beloved Prophet in the midst of battle, sword at the ready. That there never lived a boy who pledged his allegiance, with liberty and justice for all, whose hand touched the blessed hand of his Prophet, the same hand which later lay at his feet, as he stood proud and tall, even when he had no feet left, honoring the same pledge he took as a child.

“They lived. They were real. They breathed the same air, drank the same water. Just because they are not among us now doesn’t mean they never were.”

Who am I, Sami?

You’re our leader, Ahmad.

And you trust your leader?

The MSA will follow you, to whatever end.

To whatever end…where are the brothers and sisters who hunger for more? The days where they’d sweat, working for Islam? The nights where they would stay up, imploring Allah for victory. They have passed, like the rain on the mountain, like the wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in this campus, behind the hills, into shadow. What Dreams May Become, DatVon Productions



Self-Sabotage.

5 Feb

Why do I always do this to myself? Just when things seem to be going good, I pull the rug out from under me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m afraid of success–so I pile on an insurmountable load of work onto my shoulders–or because I’m just a glutton for punishment.

Either way, I’ve made the decision to dedicate myself to the life of a student. I’m killing myself for no reason, and fracturing my focus between far too many disparate goals.

It’s going to be hard to face the facts when I talk to my supervisors on Monday, but this is no way for anyone to live.

I need to own up to my one responsibility now: finishing school. Everything else can wait.

I need to rediscover who I used to be. The girl who craved the company of books, who wasn’t running 24/7. I used to spend every lunch hour in high school just reading, reading, reading. The best company was that of books.

I want to find that girl again, that girl I used to be. There is nothing wrong with being close to people, but people inevitably disappoint and hurt us.

I remember one day, long ago in high school, I ditched the bus and spent all day in a playground reading the final book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. After I read the last line I closed the book and cried. I cried because I was moved, I cried because I was scared to go to school, I cried because I was awed at what the human mind can produce when motivated.

I need to find that girl again, the one who loved books and not people. The one who cried everyday when she got home because she didn’t think about Allah for one second that day, and curled up with the Quran and read until the pain dulled. The girl who couldn’t sleep until she read the Quran and prayed with all her heart because it was all she had.

I was miserable in high school, but the one thing I knew was that there was only one way out: through the remembrance of God. Nothing else.

When things ameliorated for me and my family, I slowly became cocky and arrogant. I wasn’t alone anymore, I wasn’t miserable anymore. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by other Muslims in college. I slowly lost my connection to seeking solitude, and refuge in the remembrance of God and solace through prayer. My actions migrated from the inward to the outward, because for the first time in my life, my outward life was something I actually looked forward to.

Insha Allah I will find that balance. The balance between my inner spiritual life and my outward life. I can’t cultivate the outside without focusing on the inside.

I know that girl is in here somewhere. I’m gonna find her, insha Allah. She’ll step out into the sunlight, smile, sigh contentedly and murmur, “Well, I’m back.”

Then she’ll pick up a book, curl up, and rediscover the true meaning of solitude.