DEAR LIN,

Dear Lin-Manuel Miranda,

Hello, beautiful Lin! I hope you’re having the most wonderful of days…

I’m not quite sure if its night or day at your side of the world but now it’s 2:35 over here and I’ve decided I wanna write you this letter. And maybe a couple more letters in the future, I don’t know if that I’ll work out but i hope it does.

I finally got your GMORNING, GNIGHT book yesterday. Technically, I got it the second day it got out but my brother only managed to fly in from Chicago yesterday and safe to say we were too busy being wrapped up in him till now to do anything else.

I’ve read the first 70 pages or so, I wanted to read more but I might’ve broken down crying in the middle. I don’t know why but when I made it back to page 21 and I realized this was the same goodnight tweet I tugged at more than 8 months ago, I just couldn’t hold back.

I’m sure you don’t even remember, but that tweet means the world to me, not just because it sort of saved my life. It’s because it’s our tweet; mine, yours, and thousands of others like US. You asked us to tug if we need anything; I needed a lot of things, Lin, a lot. You gave me everything and more by just hitting a like button on my tweet, one amongst a sea of hundreds others u saw and liked as well.

I am so, so fucking grateful to you, a million times grateful for you and all that you do, all that you represent by being you.

Thank you, Lin-Manuel.

Hopefully I’ll see you later…

Love,

Salma (or sometimes Tangerine)

24/03/2019

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HIM.

“The hypnotizing sound of Umm Kalthoum’s voice as she sings ‘Alf Leila we Leila’ in the middle of the night when there’s nothing else but her, you and him.

The smell of cigarettes and smoke that you hate to the bone, barely covered by the traces of a mint Chiclets gum that he always chews afterwards, he carries a pack around everywhere he goes, of both the plague and its temporary cure.
The touch of his calloused hand as I held mine against his, the feel of his skin as I compared my smaller palms to his own, I vaguely remember asking how he kept them so warm.
The sight of a blinding smile that wasn’t there before, but is now all that I recall from the days were the line between everything and nothing frequently blurred.
A figure that always was, and always will be, taller than mine and could’ve easily engulfed me in warm hugs, ones I did not necessarily ask for often yet is now all I crave.
I first met him in the days of March, the ones Dickens wrote about so eloquently; “When it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

I believe I met him in the light, his summer, but it’s impossible to place anything from there. His summer was a mystery; a closet full of hidden skeletons I do not dare to unveil in fear of discovering something that changes everything.
Autumn, that’s where I knew him best, my only glimpse into who he was, or who I think he was. He used to dye his hair black every month, perhaps an attempt to strengthen an illusion, one of youth and vigour, or perhaps he just hated how those white strands looked. If I’m honest, I hated them too. I thought of them only as a reminder of how the strong body is now beginning to frail, and even at twelve, I couldn’t bear the thought of what that meant.

Maybe he wasn’t dyeing it to console a fragile ego, maybe he was doing it for me. I wanna think he was doing it for me; trying to save me from the constant realisation of how limited our time together was, of how the mere presence of those silver strands is enough evidence of his mortality, a symbol of what he knew would always make me cry.
I wish I could say I witnessed his winter, a time where I’d naturally anticipate an end, expect what would’ve seemed inevitable, but there wasn’t one. I wish he did have a winter, but his winter never came.

He only had one third of an autumn, only a few years into what should’ve been at least two decades. It’s obvious that I didn’t anticipate the end. I don’t think anyone did.

I’m not sure if anything I write or say would ever do him justice. At times, I believe he’ll always be a missing puzzle piece, a part of me that I’ll never manage to quite figure out. And yeah, I get it, the amount of carefully recounted stories and awfully considerate eulogies will never really tell me about who he truly was. And I’ll be okay, one day, with not knowing the truth, but I’m pretty damn sure I’ll always want to seek it. Be it because he deserves to be remembered by that truth, or because I deserve to know it.”

21.3.2019
S.H

 

Tedious affair.

Buying clothes is a tedious affair.

You enter a store full of beauty and you think

“Oh, perhaps I could be one of those who’d never care”

And then You pick a thousand dresses and a thousand skirts

“I mean, one must surely make me a Cinderella’s heir!”

And hope fills you up to the brim

as you dream of dazzling those who always dare.

Unlike you, they try on everything and nothing is too tight or too bare

You pull on that dress, and you’re a sight to behold

but it’s too tight round the middle and you’re mum goes

“Maybe a size bigger?”

And now you frown cause you already picked the last one from the “plus size” section. But…

“It’s okay”, you say, “there’s Plenty more clothes that could bring me satisfaction”

An hour later and nothing is like you imagined in your head,

and the fitting room is nothing but evidence of the thing you cannot bear.

and the thought overwhelms you when you see a floor full of cloths you cannot hope to wear.

You try not to cry when you realise you will never be one of those who dare,

you’re never going to fit in when you can never fit something that’s extra slim.

A tear slips by as your knees sink,

you’re surrounded from every corner with the evidence of your crime…

……………………………..

crime? why yes, it’s a crime.

your body is a sin and that you’ve told since the day you were born,

but you’re not on trial for just being a woman,

you’re on trial for being a plus size woman.

The prosecutor is merciless and you’ve been told he’s never lost a case, not even

once.

“how dare you be born taller than your fellow neighbouring man?,”

He asks

“how dare you have hips so wide and legs this thick and expect not to be judged, ma’am?”

you try to silence him, but you so quickly learn that man never stops.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, can you not see it written on the red skin round her belly? Blood-rimmed stretch marks for all to see and isn’t it that enough proof to charge her guilty?”

you can’t take it any longer, because if the law dictates it so, then who are you to shout out not-guilty?

The sentence isn’t cruel, or so they told me. It’ll make you better, make you like us.

Pretty, skinny and lustrous.

what is it, you ask?

What miracle? What cure?

What is it that can make me

pretty, skinny and pure?

They answer.

“Do not eat, do not be,

never let the calories run free.”

But…but….

“Shhhh…do not argue, newbie.

It’s only a matter of time.”

……………………………….

Your mum knocks on the door, she asks if you’re ready to see some other store.

You’re not.

But you wipe up that damn tear and yell “in a sec, mama!”

when you wish you could just rush home.

you, me and insecurities.

How beautiful, how wonderful and how so out of my league you are!

I don’t even think you’d batt your eyes at me, let alone look at me twice.

i’m useless, unlovable.

my hands are too big compared to most girls and too shaky sometimes but I could never make it stop.

They’re always too sweaty in the summer and too cold to hold in the winter that even my mum flinches when I try to hold her hand.

I smile too much now because I think my face is undesirable otherwise and I think they don’t know how much I used to hate to smile. Back when a jaw was too small and another too big and the doctors told me that a boy would never kiss someone whose teeth looked like that. So I put those braces in, hoping someone might someday see that smile and think “it’s her for me”.

My hips are too wide, too thick and covered with way too many scars.

They’re ugly, hideous and I know a gap between those thighs won’t make that much of a difference and yet still I’ll try.

I go on all the diets, look up all anecdotes and do every single thing an auntie says will make me a beauty in your eyes.

It’s not your fault that I’m this way; it’s how I’ve been long before you stepped into that dusty classroom. I don’t think you’ll ever read this but, if you do, know I hope you never feel the way I do.

In loving memory of yesterday.

I came into this place a figure unknown,

a figure so vague with outlines not shown.

I found myself indifferent in a sea of walls,

ones that dictate whose to run and who’s to fall.

I’m searching for a meaning,

one in case I’m meant to soar,

but the rules are simple:

“Only misfits are meant to fall”

I thought maybe I should crumble,

learn to mold into the wall,

because who am I to change

what’s simply sacred by the law?

I think I’m a deformity;

unable to function,

unable to conform,

unable to make sense of what’s logical to all.

An error to a code carefully composed

by those who did not think a flaw,

or perhaps not of one that might dare to oppose.

Am I flaw?

Is it in my nature to remain a casualty of my inner war?

Because if it’s my battle and my fight,

why can’t i just end it all?

…wait…

If the illogical can occur

and to that I easily concur,

shouldn’t there be an anomaly to my flaw?

Is it possible,

if I search,

that I might no longer feel like a fraud.

Is it possible,

if I search,

that I might find someone who sees more

than my aches and my silent “oh”s?

 

 

Thank you for trying to get the others to read, and reading it beside me while I wrote, and making sure I actually said the words I wrote in front of Juniors right there, right then. 

Oh, and most importantly, thanks for agreeing that ‘A Simple Favor’ had a predictable plot.

You know who you are.

16.2.2019 – Politics/Juniors Crossover.