“Matt, why are you angry? Sudah shook her head gently. “She was just making conversation.”
“She didn’t even give you the courtesy of asking you the question.”
She shrugged. “They see the color of my skin and my scarf. I’m different. They do not mean any harm.”
“You’re my wife Sudah and I want people to respect that.”
“Maybe they worry I don’t speak English?”
“If they bothered to speak to you they would find out that you do.” His wife always made excuses for people; she never wanted to see bad in any of them. But even her positivity wasn’t enough to dispel his foul mood.
Matt was feeling edgy all day. He was very aware of the hostile looks they received earlier in the day while touring some nearby towns. One old man even called Sudah an Aaa-Rab and made fun of her head covering. Matt almost lost his temper with the old man, but Sudah’s light touch on his arm calmed him. When she politely told the man she was Pakistani, the old guy guffawed and said “same thing.” Later, Sudah explained to Matt that she didn’t think it was worthwhile to argue. “We will not change a man’s mind unless he wants to hear something new.”
Earlier in the day he drove to the college campus with them so that Sudah could see the route she would have to take. He also wanted to see the area she’d be spending so much time in for himself and make sure that it was safe for her. That’s when he first got an uneasy feeling that they were being watched, but he didn’t see anyone specific. Matt convinced himself that it was just more of those hostile looks keeping him on edge. There was a small mosque in the student center and Sudah told him that she would pray there. Matt hoped she wouldn’t be harassed because of her faith. The campus advertised that childcare was available but neither of them were impressed with the facilities. That was when they started exploring and finally wound up in the diner on their way back home.
Sudah fed Aden creamed corn from a small jar while they waited for their orders. The waitress put heaping platters of food in front of each of them. She made sure to thank the waitress.
Matt bit into an overstuffed club sandwich with turkey and ham Sudah chewed slowly on her grilled cheese sandwich while she helped Aden hold his bottle.
“I am happy the drive to school will not be long.” She took time to chew the bite of sandwich she just put in her mouth.
He nodded. “It’s a pretty direct route. That’s good.”
“Matt, thank you for bringing us here.”
He took a gulp of lemonade. “Oh baby, I hope you’re happy.”
“Yes, I am happy.” She smiled at him. “You give us a nice home. You are taking care of your family.”
The three left the diner with their stomachs full and his foul mood dispelled a bit by his wife’s optimism. Matt stayed off of the highway as they headed back towards their home in order to see a little more of the area. Driving along a street of one and two million dollar homes, Matt tried to imagine coming home to Sudah and their son in one of those luxurious estates.
“One of these days…”
“One of these days what, Matt?” Sudah asked about his barely audible statement. Her own voice was low because of the sleeping infant in the rear seat.
He chuckled. “One of these days I would love to afford one of these homes for you and Aden.”
She looked out of her passenger side window. “These homes, they are so big.”
“Yeah. They’re beautiful.”
“But Matt, compared to the house I grew up in, our home is a,” she paused to come up with the right word, “a… a big house.”
“Like a mansion?” He was amused by his wife’s naivety about the language and expressions.
“Yes, a mansion. It is a mansion to me.”
He pulled the car to the side of the road and put it in park. A wisp of hair had escaped the scarf she wound around her head. Reaching towards her, Matt tenderly brushed it behind her ear. “Baby, I want to give you so much. I want to do so much for you and Aden.” He wanted to be the perfect husband and father, everything his own father wasn’t.
She smiled demurely. “You have given me everything. You are everything that I need.” Looking around quickly to make sure they were not being observed, Sudah leaned forward and placed a light kiss on his lips. “You have made me very happy. I never thought that I would find a man like you for me. I am so lucky.”
When Sudah looked at him like that, she made him feel successful. “I’m the lucky one.” He gently pulled her forward to kiss her again. “Would you mind if we went home?” He knew she wasn’t comfortable with public displays and it was a lot more than simple kissing that he wanted to do with her at that moment.
“I think that might be a very good idea.”
Okay – here are the contest details…
My latest release, HYPHEMA, is a murder mystery set in North Carolina, one of my main characters is a Muslim Pakistani immigrant and the book deals with a lot of post-9/11 sentiment.
Ten years ago the world changed, nearly three-thousand people lost their lives and the lives of millions more were irrevocably changed. Recent news has been filled with families of the victims telling us how they have tried to do “positive things”, honor their loved ones, keep the memories alive, and work towards a brighter future.
So here is the contest opportunity – Tell me what POSITIVE thing you plan to do this September 11 to honor the memories of those that perished and work to make this world better. You have all day to post on the Coffee Time Romance Yahoo group , entries will be accepted until 10pm EST (please include your email address).