“I don’t care what you say bitch!” Madhia Screamed.
Barreling into her room her mother lunged with the fury of a rabid animal, “What did you call me?”
Madhia cowered on the floor in the space between her desk and the bed with her arms over her face. She’d been pushing the limits for more and more over the last few weeks and this time she was sure she’d pushed to far. She could see the fists raining down on her, but they never came. Her mother proved weak once again.
Like most teenagers caught between childhood and adulthood, Madhia tested the boundaries to see where the family stopped and she started. She wasn’t trying to piss her parents off, it was just a byproduct of trying to find her identity.
One day she’d lash out, stretching the bounds of reason, and the next she’d be a docile sleep-a-holic, loathing the thought of getting out bed before noon. But that was because she had no vision. No vision until now. Everything was clear to her now.
From her crouched position, Madhia tried to calm the tempest as best she could.
From behind the shelter of her forearms she yelled, “I’m sorry Mom … I’m sorry … I didn’t mean it.” They were empty words masked by fake emotions. She just needed a few more minutes to get through this morning and then the journey would start. Destiny.
Hearing the emotional cry, Madhia’s mother pulled her fist back before it swung down.
Pointing her finger down at her, “You’d better be sorry. You have no right to speak to me that way. Your father and I have given you everything. And there you go, spitting on us once again. You should be ashamed.
Ashamed. Madhia thought. You both should be ashamed. Ashamed for not honoring Allah and allowing these infidels to corrupt you with their worldly ways.
Madhia stood up as her mother backed up. She watched her head drop as she turned and walked out of her room. All bark no bite, she thought. In about ten minutes her mother would start a dramatic display of hurt and disappointment. And as long as Madhia kept her cool and played along everything would be back to normal by dinner time.
It hadn’t always been like this. Just a few short years ago, they were in Iraq and the family was fully connected. They were constantly engaged. They had to be. It was the only way to survive as the country crumbled around them. But here, London was a farce. All her mother talked about was what so-and-so did at the tennis club, while her father had become a workaholic physician to support their new Western lifestyle.
Back in Iraq. Everyone had virtually everything in common. Family, neighbors, friends, everyone was willing to help everyone else. Yes it was survival, but what they all shared together as a family and community was real. A real connection. Not this new life of bullshit.
Her teachers were bullshit. Her schoolmates were bullshit. And her parents had followed suit.
Real life had nothing to do about with latest cell phone or Burberry scarf or Louis Vuitton hand bag. This was emptiness. But she didn’t expect anything more from infidels. From shallow people who’d never witnessed the body of a lifeless child pulled from the rubble of a coalition air strike. None of them had to work shift-on / shift-off to care for wounded innocents caught on the wrong end of a mortar shell.
It was survival, but it was real. Not some artificial reality show invented in the mind of a infidel to entertain the masses while they sold new cars, perfume, pots and pans, or the latest fashion.
Madhi’s new home was no home at all. It was a breeding ground for infidels. And her mother and father had already betrayed Allah by bringing her here.
Grabbing the brown canvas duffel from the bottom of her closet, Madhia opened her bedroom window and gently tossed it out onto the grass.
She unzipped the school bag on her bed. It was already filled with some extra hajibs, toiletries, her journal, and a Macbook. But today, there would be no school.
She opened the front cover of the Quran on her desk and ran her hand across the flap of the envelope. Looking inside, she pulled out the boarding pass for Istanbul. In bright red she saw the Turkish Airlines logo, the only airline that anyone over the age of twelve to ly lone. It was her first reward for being loyal to the cause.
After more than four months of talking online with Amir, he had taken care of everything. All she had to do was pledge allegiance to the new Islamic Caliphate and she would be on her way to supporting the cleansing of her homeland and supporting the mujihadeen.
Madhia had only seen pictures of Amir. But his handsome face, and poetic words melted her heart. The romance of being a bride on a holy mission was almost more than she could take. Even thought the Quran prohibited women from waging jihad, her support of these holy warriors would bring eternal blessing just the same.
For once she would be respected for who she was. No longer bound by the elementary control of her Westernized parents.
Madhia weaved her way toward the side door. The smell of muffins and fresh jam wafted through the kitchen, giving her a moments pause. “I’m sorry mom. I hope one day we will understand each other more.”
“I think we will, it just takes time my dear.” With a slight hint of dismay, Madhia’s mother turned and gave her a hug, never knowing it would be the last.
This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by me …
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. – Proverbs 29:18
These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels, and me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.
Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).
Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.