practice play between two teams
There will be drills and running lines and
scrimmage matches and laughter and gossip.
a large gathering of people
Again, I’m struck by the Americanness of the
throngs of people.
be in an agitated emotional state
Looking around, I see people staring ahead, wide eyes brimming with fear, with tears,
seething with anger.
the feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself
But that girl—the photographer caught her in the moment when the light in her eyes was extinguished. Stamped out not merely by fear but by being forgotten, by the
complacency of the world around her.
a loud harsh or strident noise
din rises as people find their tables and their voices, though I can’t imagine anyone is actually saying what is on their mind.
a force that makes something happen
I wonder how they came to this, what the
impetus would be to turn against your own.
a partiality preventing objective consideration of an issue
We may all be Muslims, but we still have our
prejudices and racism.
intolerance and prejudice
Today, we’re all Muslims who’ve been forced here, but maybe it wouldn’t be hard to tap into our
bigotry to turn us against one another, to turn our gaze away from where our anger should really be directed.
a title or expression that conveys respect
“Auntie, Uncle.” Ayesha addresses my parents with the automatic
honorific accorded all desis of parental age.
allow to have
“Auntie, Uncle.” Ayesha addresses my parents with the automatic honorific
accorded all desis of parental age.
the process of absorbing one cultural group into another
Some of us may have lost our “mother tongue,” as my nanni used to call it, but the custom of tameez—respect—for elders stays strong, despite decades of
unfriendly and inclined toward anger or irritation
“It’s like junior high lunch all over again.” Ayesha grimaces as we walk back to our table.
“Down to the hairnets and
surly looks from the cafeteria workers.” I scowl as I take my first bite.
a feeling of profound respect for someone or something
“My mom had this girlhood crush on Luke Skywalker,” I say. And it’s true. “She talks about waiting in line to see Star Wars when she was a kid, and I swear to God there’s this
reverence in her voice, like it was a religious experience. She joined Twitter to follow Mark Hamill.”
a path or strip
The searchlights from the watchtowers sweep the grounds with
swaths of light while guards patrol on foot, guns and Tasers at the ready.
lasting for a markedly brief time
Their blank faces hide any feelings or
showing an inappropriate lack of seriousness
“You’re right,” I say. “I didn’t mean to sound
flippant. Sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s the dust. It’s the isolation. It’s the fence. It’s David. I want to talk to David. To hear his voice, or maybe—”
deviating from a straight course
We’ve been hanging out, doing our best to escape the claustrophobia of living behind a guarded electric fence—gabbing, taking
circuitous walks around the camp, meeting other kids who have nothing to do.
uselessness as a consequence of having no practical result
Ayesha grins. “Maybe. He seems to go out of his way to talk to me. And I am definitely encouraging him to do so. He’s cute. He’s smart. He’s funny. But what can flirting be in this place besides an exercise in
futility? I mean, it’s not like were going to go out on a date and then to prom.”
an official form on which a request is made
“But they’re totally listening in on the calls. And you have to submit a
the trait of being rude and impertinent
“A problem? A problem?” I start to laugh but choke on it. “Where should I start? It’s not one problem; it’s a million. It’s my life. It’s the fact that I’m in this...camp because I had the
gall to merely exist.”
give in or consent reluctantly
I only choked out one word before
succumbing to my anger and slamming down the phone.
an outward appearance that is deliberately misleading
I’m at the farthest end of the rock garden, trying to give Ayesha and Soheil some
semblance of privacy.
an illegal action inciting resistance to lawful authority
Not clapping for the president at his damn State of the Union address is practically
give a false appearance of
But it’s whispers mostly, bits of rumor from the staff here who aren’t military, the ones who feel twinges of guilt that make them
feign not a friendliness but a base level of civility.
less than the correct or legal or full amount
scant thread of civility, that nod or half smile, that extra pat of butter on a scoop of mashed potatoes, sometimes comes with tiny tidbits from the world beyond the fence before it makes its way around Mobius.
cultivated and genteel
“Obviously, Ayesha has
refined cultural taste, and I totally approve of this friendship,” my dad says, and chuckles a bit.
showing pensive sadness
My mom gives me a
wistful smile. “I’m telling you: Young Luke Skywalker, he was my first crush. And first love is one you never forget.”
a feeling of joy and pride
My only emotion right now is a giddy
elation because David is here.
marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity
David, with the floral notes of his clean clothes and the minty smell of his soap and the
intimate, familiar ways our bodies fold into each other.
a favorite saying of a sect or political group
“I know how it seems. How it is. But I think he wants to help us. He used the word as a sign, or a—”
shibboleth. He used it as a
shibboleth,” she says.
speak out against
“I’m familiar with their story,” Soheil responds. “And it doesn’t have a happy ending. They were a group of students, and two of the leaders were Hans and Sophie Scholl. They handed out leaflets
denouncing Hitler, totally risking their lives. They even advocated sabotaging the war efforts.”
brief and to the point
“There is no plan,” Soheil says. He’s
terse, and I can see Ayesha tense up. But she doesn’t back down.
a period of illness
While he’s walking, Ayesha opens a small plastic bag and hands each of us a sandwich. She smiles. “I was a Girl Scout. I’m always prepared for my inevitable
bouts of hunger.”
a political theory advocating an authoritarian government
When I asked her if she had done what they claimed, she looked at me with a mysterious smile and said, “Rebellion is as American as apple pie. And so is
experiencing or displaying extreme joy or bliss
beatific smile crosses her face, but before she can take another step, two guards are on her.