Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Asalamlaykom, I'm going off line today and I'll be off until I figure out how to get back on.

Had an interesting phone call from Egypt yesterday. My former in-laws are telling me that they are not accepting of the first/current wife. She is not allowed in their homes.

However, they are asking me there and I just might go. When? I can see three weeks bunking with mom and then heading out. We'll see. If I go, inshahallah, I would love to spend Ramadan in Egypt with family (who love me still, alhumdulillah) than in a new country with no one I know. And honestly, I would look for possible jobs in Egypt, as perhaps this is an indicator of where I feel more at home.

Right now, however, I feel absolutely sick to my stomach. Something I ate? Maybe. But definately it's the enormity of all the work of leaving; of moving on to the unknown.

I wish all of you well. Please keep me and Mr. Boo in your du'as.

My Best,


Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Not All Going With Me

I'm being interviewed by my three-year-old son on his toy microphone.

"Hi, Mommy. What are you doing?"

He then expertly puts the mic up to my mouth.

"I'm getting ready to fly on the airplane"

He flips the mic back to his mouth. "I'm not going on the airplane! I'm going to Baba's store! I'm going to run out and go to Baba!"

But then he puts down the mic and starts playing. Kids are resilient. I need some of this.

Did you see the GORGEOUS MASHAHALLAH GORGEOUS butterfly picture I posted? I didn't take it. Oooh, it's so lovely. And it was only a brief moment in time. I can't have that moment. I can only have a picture of that moment. It's a memory that's been caught; not the actual butterfly. And I love it! I enjoy it! However, I don't have to own it.

You get me?

I'm going to leave somethings...and some people...behind

Ectopic? Appendix? Hypochondriac?

How much would you pay to find out about that pain on the right side of your abdomen?

I paid $250 to find out that it's not an ectopic pregnancy.

I refused to pay $12,000 (like I had it) to find out if was appendix.

I'm going to tack it up to stress, carrying heavy boxes, stress, lifting Mr. Boo, stress, my period, stress and stress.

Sitting on the couch, which I should have sold this weekend, while Mr. Boo watches youtube. Our favorite video right now is Toy Story, except for the scary parts.

He takes after me. I don't like the scary parts either. And I'm a little scared...but don't tell him.
It's not fear about what's happening in my body. I think that's just the symptom. It''s fear about what's happening in my life. So, I guess that makes me a hypochondriac.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Boxing and Moving

I mailed the first four boxes.

All books.

Mostly children's literature.

Here's how they once looked.

Where the Wild Things Are

Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles signed by Julie Andrews herself!

The Big Orange Splot

Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse

and (obviously) many, many more.

Then there was also...my HUGE QURAN
(trans. Mohammad Asad, which is banned in Saudi) and my little Quran (trans. Ahmed Ali, which I will inshahallah be taking to Saudi). Fascinating assessment of Quran translations here.

It was all sent for $46.00, but these books are priceless to me.

Really, if you are moving across the country, send the books "Media Mail". It's the cheapest rate at the post office. You just can't include ANY thing that isn't a bound book, DVD, video, or tape.

Then, we went to Booga King. Mr. Boo can't say the 'ur' sound unfortunately, thus making the fast-food restaurant sound a little less appetizing. Oh well, we ate the fries and onion rings with gusto.

More boxes today, but I'll wait until Monday to send them. Really, that should be my last P.O. run. Tuesday, I'll need to run around to the bank, Salvation Army, rental office, etc.

Wednesday we leave.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Hejab Debate

I think this discussion (while I can't understand all the transliterated Arabic lingo) is interesting. The topic? An older actress might want to start wearing hejab.

Here's another blog talking about additional actresses wearing and then not wearing hejab.

Oh, and then
THIS caught my eye. Did that Egyptian actress, Yousra, tell another actress, Hanan Turk, not to continue wearing hejab? I love reading the comments.

It keeps going!

I looked up that actress Hanan Turk and found not only a pictures of her

Hanan Turk BEFORE:

Hanan Turk AFTER:

but I also found another controversy.

OK, and look at this great blog but tell me why the sis has her jeaned leg up on the rear bumper of a red car? What is she showing? Oh, sis, please put your foot down! If this was to illustrate what NOT to do, then I don't think it should be up on the web.

Roommate Checkmate

It was the same place.

Turn the key and open the door and you could see that it was the same place. It had to be. He demanded that it was like a museum.

She had laughed the first time he told her that he wanted his house to be like a museum.

"I don't want to live in a museum! I want to live in a home!" she teased and then added, "Don't you?"
What had been his answer? She couldn't remember, but the truth was staring right at her. Everything in its place. The pictures, the plant and the chess set by the door.

"That doesn't make any sense," she had told him, "to have a chess set right when you enter the door. That's where I need to put down my stuff."

A museum doesn't have stuff. A museum has treasures.

Where were the boxes? She needed the boxes he had promised her, since she was moving out of her apartment and heading back home. This wasn't a home.

She had to run back to the city where he had wed her and promised to love her forever. She had to face all the friends who had come to their party and wished them well. How would she explain what happened?

She wished that she could just show them what she was seeing: the dining room table, specially made, covered in a that new black tablecloth they had bought and never used, with the new colorful placemats she had picked out, and with a plate sitting atop every one. For whom? For no one. No one had sat there ever.

The framed photos on the wall. She had helped him choose every one. Until she had come into his home, the frames had hung empty. Why? At first, she thought it was because he didn't have enough time. Then, she came to understand how aiming for perfection disables a person.

When they had tried to reconcile a few months back, she had been surprised to see that the photos had slipped in their frames without being fixed. She redid every photo that weekend. She felt good to be needed. He needed her, it's true. However, he didn't really want her.

No one else knew the significance of the photos. That one, in the middle, of the waterfall, was taken the day they married. No people. They were so observant in their Islam this way; no people allowed in the photos on display. She didn't need to see the images of who they had been nine months ago. She could still see them in her mind's eye.

Everything in the house began to be too much for her. It was all in place. Every single piece. The remotes neatly lined up. The cups and saucers in a row. All of it for show. None of it helped him to build a life with her. It all got in the way. It was them that he loved. He truly loved his things. She only got in the way of that love.

Did he ever love her? Did he? Was he capable? She teared up at the thought of the house being his palace of perfectionism. He would live there alone now. He could find a sort of happiness alone.

And her? She grabbed the boxes and carried them out to her car; the one he had dented within the same hour she bought it. He dented it while reparking it because she, " hadn't done a good enough job". No, she was never going to do things good enough.

She returned to the door. Turned out the light. Was just about to lock the door, when she thought of leaving her mark; not vandalism. She just had to touch what screamed out, "DON'T TOUCH".
There infront of her was the chess set; the chess set with which no one played. She decided to make her final move.

When he came home that night, he would see that the White Queen was no longer standing next to her king. She had stopped following all the rules and left the game.

He Waited Up for Me

He stood there quiet; silently mad
thinking I'd been out and been terribly bad.

I'd been having a date; having a lark
I didn't know he'd be home; waiting in the dark.

The light flipped on; I was startled and gasped.
He said nothing; just stared. Time? It elapsed.

Said I,"Well, at least you never go away,"
"but, I'm sorry, my darling-- you cannot stay."

My sandal went forth quickly to stamp him out
"YOU DISGUSTING ROACH!" was my shrill shout.

Then, he was gone.

He had seemingly disappeared,
When I suddenly sensed what I had always greatly feared!

That creepy little guy was now crawling on me!
He had wanted to "shake a leg" and was up by my knee!

"GET OUT!" I cried and moved like crazy.
Out he was flung, and he sat there lazy.

He'd gotten some action, much more than my date,
and he was off to another; it was getting late.

"Go ahead--GO!" I called as he scuttered.
"Just like all the rest," was the last I muttered.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Things that Equal My Marriage

talking to my friend on the weekend = my marriage

a pillow not propped up properly on the couch = my marriage

my hair found in the kitchen = my marriage

not all the labels facing outward = my marriage

a scratch on the big screen TV = my marriage

my son not getting to bed on time = my marriage

the DVD player pushed in on the entertainment center=my marriage

the mess on my desk = my marriage

my need to grade papers = my marriage

the cost of my son's haircut = my marriage

the cost of eating out once a week for under $20 a time=my marriage

picking my son's father up from the airport = my marriage

two juices and a small bag of chips = my marriage

It comes to this.

It comes to a list of stupidity.

All of these items on the list somehow became as important as the union of two souls brought together to praise Allah. All of these have been used as reasons to divorce me in the last nine months. How did that happen? Why did it happen? Subhanallah! Each and every item I listed has been allowed such importance.

What are any of you allowing to be equal in weight to your marriage? Does it deserve that much importance? Really? Or are the problems too petty to really list.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Learning about Saudi

Trying to find out accurate information about Saudi.

Found this U.S. Government report:


but we all know how accurate those have been, i.e., the report on WMDs.

Found this about the Saudi woman killed by her father for chatting on Facebook.

This article is interesting, but contains a disturbing photo of a woman buried up to her head amongst rubble, seemingly bloody, with no explanation.

This other article is about women driving in Saudi. I DON'T WANT TO DRIVE IN SAUDI! I'm looking forward to having a driver.

OK, this site is an upper, not a downer. I'll leave you with beautiful images of the country I hope to see before Ramadan.

When I learn more, I'll post more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who Stole The Cookie From the Cookie Jar?

I'm not sure what's funnier: this video or the explanation from the teacher about his year teaching in Korea.

Cut and paste this link


Sorry that I can't seem to embed it in youtube.

Also, look for his old blog entries on the blogroll.

Procrastinating This Move

I'm 'fessing up: I don't really have the energy for this move.

I moved out of my lovely three-bedroom house in December, 2006.

I moved out of my homey one-bedroom apartment in November, 2007.

I moved out of his three-bedroom townhouse end of January, 2008.

I moved out of this two-bedroom apartment before February hit; the ink wasn't even dry on the contract I wiggled out of.

Then I moved out of his townhouse again on February 21st.

Then, after a lot of build-up, I started to move out of my apartment the first week of July.

But I moved back into my apartment when I was told, "After you leave for Saudi, we're all done."

OK, you tired?

I am.

I'm also sick...and not just sick and tired. I am sick with some kind of clogged up goopy throat/nose thing.

So, I'm lying (not laying...trying to remember to use English correctly before I head off to teach it) on the couch (which I have to sell this weekend) watching drivel: Daytime TV's Top 5 Moments from People Magazine. I no longer have a TV, remember? I don't really miss it, but I need a little fix, like any junkie does. This fits the bill. I am trying to get you to try it too, so I guess I'm now a pusher.

But I'm not all bad...

I woke early, prayed fajr (alhumdulillah), read Quran (not sure how I move the huge Mohammed Asad translation with tafsir), drank Lipton's Ginger Twist tea, and procrastinated.

Just a little more of Daytime TV...

I just read this on Wikipedia about my Quran translation : This particular translation is banned in Saudi Arabia,[1] perhaps deviating from the orthodox interpretation of some passages.

OK, well, I guess that's one less thing to bring to Saudi.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

10 Days

When you are counting down days, it doesn't really hit you until you reach 10. Then, it isn't like a prisoner tallying marks on the wall anymore. Everything speeds up like a rocketship launch.



And it's strange to be headed for the past; back home. Home was his house, then it was my apartment, but soon (in 10 days, remember?) I'll be back home in the Northland.

I'll be living out a wonderously funny sit-come idea:

She's a covered Muslim single mother of one.

Grandma is an ordained minster who's been living alone.

How do these wacky two get along?


Muslim: Mom, while we're staying with you, could you not buy any pork?

Grandma: Oh, I don't buy pork! I haven't bought pork it ages! I--well, except for the ham.

That's right! Meet My Muslimah is the sitcom that has all of Arabia up in arms!

OK, so how long is that going to last? I don't know. Allahu alim. My visa to Saudi is not ready. Red tape and not just for single-mom me, but for everyone.

And I am single...sort of...or I will be...am I now?

Look, Facebook has the best description of this and I first saw it on Safa's page.

"It's Complicated."

Oh, ya. Oh, ya, buddy, "It's complicated," is a good turn of phrase for me, for Safa, for a lot of us...maybe all of us.

May all of us see the simplicity as well.

So simple you could count it on your two hands: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine...


Friday, July 18, 2008

Heart Of Glass

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

In between
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing, there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you, it's just no good
You teasing like you do

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Man I Still Love

Who else could make me laugh and cry in a minute and twenty six seconds?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pleasure vs. Happiness

I've been making some tallies in my life.

What is it that I'm doing for short-term gratificaiton?

What is it that I'm doing for long-term happiness?

That pleasure is so fleeting. It isn't something to hang onto and the more you try to make it into something it's not, then the more frustrated you become. It will never be what you want because what you want is happiness.

Happiness is not guaranteed in Quran. That's the Preamble to the Constitution you're thinking of. We Muslims are promised peace. I think that once you have peace you acheive happiness. No peace equals no happiness.

Peace resides in truth, safety, openness, connectedness, honoring, loving, fulfilled promises and shared faith and hope. When you don't have those things, then you cannot acheive that small quiet inside you which produces the calm and then the joy.

So enough of where I've been. I'm re-moving.

I thought about that strange turn of phrase: I'm re-moving. In surah 94, Allah says, "Didn't we remove your burden?"

Yes, I am re-moving to get rid of my burden. This has been a burden where I am: a quest for happiness with an impossiblity. No peace. No happiness.

Only pleasure.

And I've had enough.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Bison

In honor of my baby boy becoming a big three-year-old boy today, I am going to share a story from last year.

Last year, at this time, he was just recovering from surgery. I had no energy to celebrate his birthday. The day came and went.

This year is going to be different.

I'm so thankful to Allah for what we've come through. Re-reading what I wrote a year ago helps my thankfulness grow.

Please read and remember to thank Allah for whatever challenges you are facing.

Baby Bison

The baby was resting, after two hours of wrangling with nurses and needles. Three pokes and only one success.

“I’m sorry, “said the exhausted nurse. “Usually, I have better luck.”

She had called in another nurse, this time from the ER, who had also failed.

“It’s his little veins. I keep digging and digging, but—“

I cut her off. I’m the girl who used to get faint in health class. I thought to be a nurse, like my grandmother and aunt, because I liked their white hats. I dropped the idea when I learned there was blood involved.

“It’s alright,” I comforted the two caregivers as I held my baby. “You are doing your best and that’s all I can ask. I can’t ask you to do more. I understand. I don’t fault you. Let me just calm him down and we can try again. God willing, we will get it this time.”

So, I surrendered him once more to being swaddled in the “baby burrito” while he looked at me with big dewy brown eyes. Those eyes searched me for the reason why I would allow this treatment; this seemingly cruel treatment. I reassured him the way I could.

“Bismallah a Rahman a Raheem. Alhumdullah Rabena ala meen. A Rahman. A Raheem. Maliki aw madeen…”

I spoke the opening verse of the Quran in his ear. It sounds like singing to recite Quran. The nurses probably thought I was singing. I didn’t tell them the words were holy messages from God; The Benevolent and Merciful.

I have a secret pleasure in sharing Quran with unsuspecting listeners. If anyone ever asks me about my Arabic language ability, I recite Quran, but in more of a conversational tone. I’ve shared The Message without ever letting them know.

The Quran is special. It is! Subhanallah! Created by God! At the zoo, which the baby and I go to all the time, I recite Quran for the animals. They listen.

There was a huge bison; a buffalo, chewing in the middle of its pen. We stood at the tall chain link fence, the baby and I, and I called to him.

“Hey! Hi!”

No response.

“Asalamalaykom!” That’s the Muslim greeting which wishes peace from Allah.

Then, I went for The Fatiha, the opening verse. I said it loudly enough for the words to reach him, as he snorted out there in his field. I got no further than “Rahman” before he charged the fence. Subhanallah! He actually heard Quran and charged to the fence, then stopped right in front of me and listened. I told it all. No one else was around in this magical moment---just me, the baby and the bison.

Now, my baby was the bison. He was the wild beast reduced to only thinking of immediate need and the need to escape from pain. I recited Quran to him as he screamed.

“That’s good, mom,” called the nurse. “Keep singing. We’ve almost got it. There!”

Third time was the charm.

I got to hold him again. I unwrapped him from the imprisoning blanket and took his hot, sweaty, suffering body from its encasement. He held onto me and took in the satisfying breaths of relief. His hand searched, with IV attached, and taped underneath it the padded board. His hand searched for my hair.

Do you know how many times I complained that he was pulling my hair? It hurt. I would get upset. And now? Standing there, after all that had gone on for hours of failed attempts and different nurses and new ideas and tries? Well, I loved that tug on my hair. I loved that my boy knew how to find comfort and that I was his connection to calm.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Awaking from a Dream

I woke from a meeting with the principal. You didn't read that wrong. In my dream it was very, very real. The principal was telling me that they had hired a non-Muslim to fill my teaching position and that it had been approved. It started to fight to get my job back, as the kids needed to have a Muslim English teacher. I was passionate and filled with conviction.

That's when I woke.

I called the school and my connection didn't go through.

I always trust that the call shouldn't be made if it didn't go through. I started to get ready for the day...

and maybe to talk with the principal.

I already talked with my husband. You didn't read that wrong either. I am once again by his side, in his house. I moved most of my things yesterday, when my apartment was due to get fumigated. Only Allah knows, but it seemed like a push to get out. I had to be out of there, actually. I could go back, but I don't feel it's right. I am needing to be here, even if it's a bit scary to trust; I just have to remember that I'm trusting Allah and not any man.

My man thinks that Saudi is a great opportunity, and he's right. He knows that I'm certified to teach English overseas and it's something I've always wanted to do. He doesn't want me to ever have regrets. Since coming to Islam, I've wanted to live in a Muslim country and to wake to the azan.

This morning, we woke to the azan clock. Not the same thing, but gets the same results. We got up and prayed together. It was the first prayer back together in the house. Really, I'm praying istakkarah; asking Allah to bring to me whatever is good for me in this life and the next, since He has the power and I do not. He has the knowledge and I do not. Then, I went back to sleep and had that dream.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Loving and Leaving

I do think that among Muslims there is more loving, leaving, and returning.
Men and women get engaged and yet do not get married right away. Or, couples meet and postpone being together until they get engaged. Or married couples go for seperation, due to jobs or family matters, while still loving each other.

Then there is our system of divorce, which holds out hope of reconciliation for three months without even the need for a new marriage contract.


It truly amazes me how a man and a woman can love and yet not be together.

I think it has something to do with "the unseen." This is a big part of Islam. We are to believe in that which is intangible. The very air we breathe and need desperately is unseen, as is love, and of course Allah.

Perhaps our religion, with the emphasis on believing that which is invisible to the eye, sustains those of us who contemplate loving and leaving.

One thing that helps me be away from those I love, is visualizing. Actually, visualizing helps me with many, many tough moments in my life. Visualizing is creating the dream in your head as much as you can imagine and then really putting your energy into it.

I visualize that I'm at a party. My kids are there. The older ones are across the room. You wouldn't say that I was away from them, right? I mean, we're at the same party. If the room was 10x12 or whether the room was an enormous ballroom, it would be the same room. I would still be with them. As long as we were under the same ceiling, we would be together, in most people's estimation.

Now, think: how many skies are there? There is only one sky. Subhanallah, I am under the same sky as my kids. There is no real break between us. We are connected; not only by love, but by a shared time and place. Alhumdulillah.
If I have to leave this place, and move even farther away from those I love, I will have to remember that we are still together--truly together.

Love doesn't need a passport to travel around the world.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wrighting My Life

I was musing over jobs, crafts, the arts, and wrighting.

Read this quote today: Simone de Beauvoir - "To catch a husband is an art; to hold him is a job."

Anyone can have a job. It isn't really a calling, or a career, is it? I can get a job at Wendy's, for instance, but I can't really say that it's my path.

Mr. Boo, by the way, calls Wendy's, "Hi, Baby!" for the smiling chick with the red braids.

A craft is like a skill. A craftsperson can whip out the same item again and again. I don't like crafts, to tell you the truth. The junk of life is made of such.

An artist is a creator of something unique and special. It is somehow in conjunction with, or in relation to The Creator. Either you are trying to imitate or out do. It often becomes pretensious or supersilious.

A person who is a wright is one that constructs or repairs something. It is a functional and necessary item being worked on. The word is often used in combination: a playwright, a shipwright, cartwright, wheelwright, or ploughwright. Funny that Wilbur and Orville Wright constructed the first plane, and that Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect.

I am a wright. I thought I was only a playwright, and that was a great thing to be. Now, I realize that I'm a lifewright. I am truly constructing my life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Asalamu Alaykom,

Trajectory is the path a moving object follows through space. The object might be a projectile or a satellite, for example. It thus includes the meaning of orbit - the path of a planet, an asteroid or a comet as it travels around a central mass. A trajectory can be described mathematically either by the geometry of the path, or as the position of the object over time.

A year ago, I was in a hospital with my son, who had just recovered from an emergency appendectomy  This was necessitated by his swallowing of six lead pellets he found inside a broken maraca.



Now, here I am preparing to leave my new home with my healthy son (and alhumdulillah for that) for teaching in Saudi Arabia. Inshahallah, a month from now I should be leaving.


It's too much sometimes to imagine how I can get to the future, but then I remember how far I have come from the past.

I am truly on a course and on course. I'm evolving as I'm revolving and I am going where I'm supposed to be, inshahallah.

A year ago, I was almost engaged to a man I didn't love and headed for a life I didn't want. I changed all that. I married for love and got the man I desperately wanted.

I settled down in a nice house, spent time off in a great city, then got a wonderful job and met fabulous friends. I couldn't have wished for any better. Though our marriage got confusing, many wonderful things remain, including our love for one another.

A year ago, I had $62,000 in unpaid medical bills. Alhumdulillah, they are all paid off.

Very importantly, the Consumer Product Saftety Commisssion has taken my testimony about the use of lead in maracas from Mexico. There is at least one major outlet in the U.S. which no longer carries this item. I stood there, amongst ever other decorative item from Mexico and felt such a huge relief at not seeing one maraca. They were all pulled from the shelves. The store did that because of me. I did that. I did that so no one else suffered like my son. Alhumdulillah for the small victories in life.

There will be no lawsuit. There are reasons for this, and I know best what they are. Plus, I don't need another lawsuit in my life. I just need the small victories.

A year ago, I didn't know whether or not I'd ever see my son's father again. I now have. It was healing. Alhumdulillah. I feel the truth on that. Time tells us the truth eventually.

Alhumdulillah that Allah Subhana wa Tallah is Ar-Rahman; Ar-Raheem.

So, as I continue on this path, I need to think of it as more celestial than earthy; more of an orbit than a jog. I am on a trajectory.

So are you.

If I start to freak out at where I'm going over the next year, I only need to remember how far I've come.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baba Shrimp

A Fiction

He always called the man Baba. It wasn't quite right. The man wasn't his father, but he was at least Arab. He was the second Arab man with whom the little boy had lived, and the two had been together for just over a year; a tough year.

What would make a single man accept a single mother?


It had been love. Love at first sight. Love like an addiction. Love like a tidal wave that is both awesome and terrifying and totally, totally unavoidable.

"Baba not Bubba Shrimp," the little boy spoke out of nowhere, like kids do. The randomness shocked his mother, who had tried not to think of the man who had divorced her.

"Tell Baba. He not Bubba Shrimp," he continued on in a serious tone.

The problem had started when the winsome twosome had been out for a day of fun alone. It was supposed to be a day with Baba, but she had canceled it at the last moment.

"There's nothing good that's going to come out of this. Really! You can't commit to trying again and I can't just be your Islamic girlfriend."

"Habibti, you know that isn't who you are for me," he pleaded over the phone. That phone had been hearing more conversations between the two without ever hearing a resolution.

So, the mother and son navigated the amusement park crowds alone that day. It was then that they passed by the restaurant with Bubba Shrimp.

The funny cartoon of a shrimp wearing a hat had to be explained, but obviously it was not a satisfactory explanation.

When the heavy rains came, no one shielded them. When it was time to eat, no one stood in line for them. They stood waiting behind a large man wearing a rain poncho emblazoned on the back with the smiling shrimp. When the day grew tiring, mother carried sleeping son like trudging through an endurance test.

Though a ridiculous comparison, she felt sudden empathy for those fleeing war zones, with the seemingly endless challenge of continuing onward no matter what. Yet, she had paid money to enter and now would gladly pay money to leave quickly. And they did leave. Bought a T-shirt and left.

The next day was going to be a bit of closure with Baba stopping by in the morning to pick up the TV he had loaned.

"What a jerk! He wants his TV back?" asked her friend.

"No, I want it gone. We aren't watching it and I want as much gone as I can before we leave in a month."

They were headed out of the country; out of his city, and out of his life.

The TV exchange hadn't gone well. There was a hug at the door, which wasn't asked for. The boy hadn't seen that one, as he had still been in bed. After the TV was brought down two flights of stairs, Baba had come back to say goodbye.

He had taken his former wife's face in his hands.

"You look like an angel," he spoke plainly. He wasn't actually a sweet talker. He had never mastered women, the way some men do.

Her hair was covered in modesty and she wasn't asking for the touch. She wasn't. He didn't mean to, but he did.

"Please don't," she said quietly in the hallway. She didn't want others seeing them, that's true, but most of all she didn't want Allah's displeasure.

The kisses landed on her cheeks and her forehead, but not her lips. To kiss her lips and to have her kiss back would mean that the iddah was broken and the divorce revoked.

The little boy broke the moment with his feet loudly plodding across the apartment.

"Hey, Penquenito!" Said Baba, who then scooped up the boy, wearing his new shirt from the day before. Baba read the shirt.

"High in the Sky Trolley," Baba read.

Did it say that? For real? She wondered how she had missed those words. "High in the sky," was the game Baba always played with her son. His amazingly strong arms would lift the toddler up into the air and they would laugh together.


She had hated her ex in that moment. How could he? How could he keep loving them yet not bring them back to his home? He had the house. She had moved out. He had done the divorce on her over small nothings and now everyone was injured from that uttering.

They still loved each other but they could not be together.

He left that day. She called him later to tell him off: He didn't respect hejab. He didn't respect her. He needed to apologize.

"For what? For loving you?" he questioned.

Yes, yes, yes. He loved her. He loved her to the best of his abilities, but he wasn't able to love her well. He was too hard-headed. He wasn't able to apologize.

They went for for days without talking.

Then, came, "Baba is not Bubba Shrimp." That was a fact. It was an important fact and it had to be told to Baba.

Mother made the call, then handed the phone to her son. The boy rambled on about the shrimp and then handed the phone back to his mom. She had to explain. The man laughed. She always made him laugh.

"I dreamt about you," came her ex's voice. "I dreamt that you were leaving and I was helping you move out all your boxes. They wouldn't all fit into your trunk."

He didn't know they were set to leave at the end of the month. She was planning it to be a secret escape. She thought to tell him right then, but decided to try one more time to speak to his heart.

"You know what won't fit? The boxes filled with hurt and misunderstanding. Can't you see that?"

It was a metaphor, sure, but they often spoke this way to each other.

"Wallahi, I'm sorry for any hurt," he offered. It was the most sincere she'd heard him.

"What about when you talked about divorce every weekend?"

"I was wrong." That was the first time he had said that.

"How do you think I felt?" she needed to know.

"Bad." was the too quick answer.

"Tell me more," since she wasn't going to accept that.

"I don't know. You tell me," he really did want to know.

"I felt scared. That's how it felt after I moved everything in my life to be with you. I lost my trust in you. Even now, I would love to trust you again. If only you could appologize for what you did."

"I don't want to stay in the past," he abruptly stated.

"But, those boxes are still sitting there! We can't move them out until we know what is in them! They are ruining any chance for us moving on!" She was desperate to be understood.

"No, no," he dismissed. "I don't want to go through any pain and drama any more. I only want to be happy in the present."

"Shut-up! Shut-up! Just stop doing this! You don't understand! You are losing me! You are losing any chance at being with me! If you really love me; if you really want us to be together, you have to stop denying our problems! Please! Please! Just..."


The conversation ended just like that.

"Then I wish you all the best," she ended it.

"I wish you all the best too," he ended it.

That afternoon, she was out with her son, who didn't know why mom was so sad, when they passed by a display of local attractions.

"Baba Shrimp!" he shouted and pointed to the brochure rack.

It made her laugh. The sadness lifted and she could see the funny shrimp. She called. He didn't answer. Her sadess started to fall down again. It truly was the end.

They grabbed the ad for Bubba Shrimp and walked back to the car.

While driving, she called him again. He didn't answer again.

"Alhumdulillah." She wouldn't drift into depression. She would thank Allah for the plan.

From the backseat she heard, "Give this to Baba!"

Her little guy wasn't going to understand. She could barely understand, so how could he?

He grew louder and more impatient,"MAAAAAMAAAA! GIVE THIS TO BABA!"

The turn-off to his complex was at the next lights. The car knew the way and headed into the turn lane without much thought. She knew now where she was headed, but didn't know exactly for what. There she was with a screaming, demanding boy and one way to cure it.

With the motor running, she walked up the pathway to the door. She wasn't going to knock, she simply bent down and slipped the brochure of Bubba Shrimp under the door. Then, she left, with her son in tow.

On the way home now, from the home they once shared, life began again. It had to. There was no other choice. Not every love continues. She had learned that with the boy's father, and she was learning it for the second time.

The phone rang. It was him.

"Asalamalaykom, Habibti. I was heading out the door and I saw the most amazing coincidence. Do you know what advertisement was delievered today?"

Should she tell him? This wasn't fate.

"It was me. I put it there."

"You put it there?" He sounded incredulous.

"Ya," she knew how silly it was.

He laughed. "Why didn't you knock?"

"I called twice and you didn't answer," she wondered.

"I was in the shower. What do you think? That I was ignoring you?"

"Well..." she didn't really want to bring it up, "this morning..."

"Ah, forget about it. Listen, we need to work on being together."

She countered,"I know you've been saying, 'no,' but would you agree to counseling now?"

"Yes, Habibti, for you: anything. I need to see you. Where are you?"

"I'm coming back to you."

The greeting at the door was public. The door shut and the kiss was private. The feeling wasn't of passion. Maybe passion had ignited their attraction in the beginning, but this was deeper than that. It was a realization that the iddah was over and that life is full of new beginnings.