Writing Sample – Saad

“Our lives changed. We had to move out of our house into a cheap apartment in Milliken. I still went to the same school, having to endure a thirty-minute bus ride plus an added fifteen minutes of walking time to get there. Ammi maintained the apartment as she could, finding whatever job would take a middle-aged immigrant woman with a foreign degree and no domestic job experience. She worked in donut shops, as a paid lunch-room monitor in an elementary school, finally as a bank teller in Unionville. I never heard her complain. I asked her one morning, on one of the last days of high school, how she felt doing this. Putting on her dense, white, down coat she said simply: “Allah ta’ala always provides a good life, but we have to put in the effort. That’s up to us.”

Abbu maintained a stoic facade as he went through the same process as his wife. He eventually started working with another one of their friends who exported rugs from Pakistan, but he never seemed the same, his stern dignity disappearing, his actions slower and less energetic as if he had aged ten years in one. This was all a different world a sadder one I realized I wanted to be distant from. I supplemented the money my parents had saved for me for university with odd jobs, enough to afford residence fees when I was accepted into school. The possibility of being away from my family drama was tangible and real, like an escape route I had previously never known, one that I was now forced to crawl backwards through when I was asked to go back home for the funeral.”

Saad Omar Khan

From Under Frozen Soil, published in Descant 162 (“Masala”)