In the Language of Miracles

In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib Read Free Book Online

Book: In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rajia Hassib
nodded at Hosaam and Natalie racing around the yard. “Besides, it’ll be good for the kids.”
    Samir watched Nagla push Khaled’s stroller across the lawn, nodding as Cynthia spoke to her.
    It was at that exact moment that he felt the pieces of his life falling into place at last. As he and Jim walked inside to construct his new kitchen, Samir knew he was building not just a house, but his home, surrounded by good American neighbors, where his children would flourish and he and Nagla would grow old together.

3
    ENGLISH : If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
    Saying
    ARABIC : Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak benevolently or remain silent.
    Saying of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon his soul
    K haled could not sleep. For close to two hours he fiddled on Facebook, trying to block out the whispers seeping through the wall at the head of his bed, Ehsan’s voice distinguishable from Fatima’s, the words muffled and incomprehensible yet audible still. His sister and grandmother were the only two capable of discussing today’s events—what were they saying? He doubted his parents would talk tonight. He didn’t check to see if his father had eventually joined his mother in their bedroom.
    On his nightstand, his phone beeped, signaling a text message—doubtless from Garrett, the only one who would text him that late. Garrett’s message showed a picture of the flyer.
    Did you see this?
    Yes, Khaled texted back.
    This Sunday.
    Yes.
    What will you do?
    Khaled thought of possible answers to this question: Get out of town, stay in hiding, watch a
Star Wars
marathon. Instead, he typed, Dad wants to go.
    WTF? Why?
    Wants to give a speech.
    Bad idea.
    I know.
    Man. Your dad. Should be banned from contact with public.
    Khaled sighed, put the phone down. Of course Garrett was right. Ever since Cynthia had left, Khaled had been wondering which was worse: walking into that service knowing that nobody wanted them there, or watching his father actually get up and address the crowd.
    Samir had a track record of unfortunate public announcements. A year earlier, he had spoken to the reporters who showed up on their doorstep on the heels of the police officers who came to talk to his parents. Khaled had let the officers in and had watched as one of them walked into the kitchen, where Nagla, towel in hand, raced toward him, her face blanching even before he spoke. She listened, intent, her eyes searching his face, and then she quietly lowered herself to her knees bythe foot of the kitchen table, the towel in her lap, as if expecting a toddler to rush into her embrace. As the officer stooped down to talk to her, tears streamed down her cheeks, but her face remained expressionless, showing signs of only a mild surprise, a puzzled look that reminded Khaled of the way his mother sometimes stared at people who spoke too fast for her to catch up. He wondered whether she needed him to translate for her, whether the officer’s English, like so many others’, was beyond her grasp. But she did not. She had understood.
    Standing in a corner, a terrified Fatima grasping his arm and sobbing, Khaled saw his father thunder down the stairs, almost tackling the officers, speaking so fast they barely had time to answer his questions. The other officer, the one who had stood in silence and looked around, grabbed Samir by the elbow and led him out of the kitchen and into the living room. Samir’s questions spilled out in a mad rush. Where did it happen? Were there any witnesses? Did they check the surveillance tapes yet? Maybe someone put that thing in Hosaam’s hand afterward. And how did Hosaam get to the park? He didn’t have his car. Samir pulled at the officer’s arm, wanting to lead him to the garage to show him, to prove to him that Hosaam did not have his car. Yes, he understood that Hosaam was dead, and Natalie, too, but how

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