Respect the Letters (Continued)
ﺭ* ﻁ* ﻝ* ﺩ
Me *Hey Rokeeya, how are you?* I initiated
another text a few days after she suggested
that I stop at the MSA which I haven’t done
Rokeeya *Hey… You again?* she asked. Her
annoyance was definitely ‘showing’.
Me*I am sorry to bother you. What are you
studying by the way?*
Rokeeya *Who wants to know Aaron? I am
busy.* I felt the sharpness in her words even
though they were not said to my face.
Me*Do you always have a wall up?* I asked
intrigued by this creature. My intuitions were
telling me that her acts were just smoking
mirrors. If there was one thing I knew how to
do was to spot a girl that had a thing for me.
And on that night she came to our house, I
definitely sensed distraction in her thoughts
before she spoke.
Rokeeya *I am studying for finals. I am on
working on my PHD in Chemistry, and this
semester is my last insha Allah*
Me*Wow! Good luck.* This girl was almost
taking off with her life, and I was still trying
to get a Bachelor’s degree. I thought to
If I wanted to have any chance to graduate to
impress her, I needed to put some order in
my life. I was two years behind on my degree
because of the distractions of Greek life. So
much for wanting to become a History
teacher. I needed to leave New York and go
somewhere else more student friendly. I
barely passed my classes. The life here
worked for some people but not for me. My
fraternity alone was my biggest distraction.
What makes you think that she would be
there when you are ready to affront her again ,
my consciences snapped in. ‘We will just
have to wait and see,’ I muttered. She
seemed like the type that make men run in
the other direction. So, I may be in luck
because I had eyes on the prize; her. I swore
to myself then that her tenacity would not
deter me from trying to get her.
Where can I go? Where should I go if I want
a taste of some American History? The
questions just kept popping in my mind. All I
knew was that Google could point me in the
right direction. After searching American
History, a list of redneck TV shows popped
up. As stereotyping this sounded but true
enough, I decided to go to Texas.
Now, Houston or Richardson? According to
my researches, both cities have a high
community of Muslims. Hmm, maybe this my
ticket to get to know more on Muslims and
see what they are up to since the school year
is over. I decided to go for a school that did
not have my fraternity so that I wouldn’t
betempted to join. UTD (University of Texas
in Dallas) is my first choice.
I applied to the school for the fall 2013 and
decided to take the spring semester off. Time
to make money for my trip to Texas!
I stared at the last text feeling cheated; ‘Wow!
He didn’t even say good bye. It was like he
was intimidated by my level of education or
saw a ghost then scurried away as soon as
possible. He also didn’t even try to flatter me
with Latin words like he normally did. Oh
well, why am I even obsessing over this boy
when he wasn’t even Muslim? He will
probably try to text me in a few days, I
Days passed. Then weeks elapsed. And
before I knew it, months had gone by. Aaron
had probably found a girl that was not harsh
like me. Every day, I had to stop my
nafs from constantly reminding me of
someone I could not have. It is probably
better that way. But how did he even
disappear with noone knowing where he was.
As a new Alumnus, I inquired on him a few
times and that raised doubts in the minds of
my sisters that were still in the House and
going to school. This is how it went down
during one of my weekly visits after grad
“By the way Ameetah, is that tool of Aaron
still leading that TMZ chapter?” I asked her in
a pseudo disinterested tone.
“No one knows where he is. He never came
back after last fall semester. You keep asking
that question a lot. Why do you care?”
“Yes, why do you care?” Homayra jumped in
in our A to B conversation. She was
Darn ! There were no secrets in this
sisterhood. Ameetah knew everything on
campus even though she was unnoticeable
the majority of the time like Madhuri in
Outsourced . She was the gossip queen with
her nerdy classes and self. Bright sister
After that, I stopped inquiring to raise more
suspicions on myself. However, one day I
don’t know what came over me, and I
decided to text him. I had his number on my
phone all along but assembling all the guts in
the world to cross ‘The Line’ was my main
concern. I am still human so don’t judge me.
Me* Hi Aaron, did you ever check out the
Aaron’s phone*Who are you?*
Me*Wrong number.* I prompted to reply. I
knew this was a bad idea! Ugh! I wanted to
dig a hole and hide myself in. I am such a
Aaron’s phone *Liar! He will only marry me
la bellaza or whatever your name is.*
May be the receiver had a point, I was lying.
Ignoring this ever happened would be the
best thing to do now. But wait a minute, la
bellaza ? Forget it; he probably didn’t
remember my name so he went by this
predictable name. I refuse to believe that he
was still into me. Plus, he looked like he was
getting married. Excuse me! I was not getting
on this train. So long irrational wishes! I
finally thought before unplugging him from
my thoughts forever.
“Uncle A, this girl texted you but I deleted
her texts and her name from your phone
along with other ones. I will be the only
woman in your life.”
“Melanie…You did what?” This niece of mine
was definitely a psychopath. I had yet to
understand her infatuation with my lame self.
I wanted to scold her further but her eyes
started to water and she was about to burst
out in tears.
“I ..I …I am sorry uncle Aaron.” Against my
will, I gave her a hug. I knew she was
playing me. And she probably had a smirk
on her face while faking these crocodile tears
while my protective arms were wrapped
around her. A few more minutes of
consolation went by before I gently kicked
her out of my room. Unbelievable! I blinked
for a second and she was all over my private
‘Now, who are the ones that she deleted?’ I
secretly pondered. Then, I thought of
checking my data usage online. Ha! I
seriously hope it is Rokeeya. But it dawned
on me that our internet was down and my
cell phone was not immune. Seriously no
bars? The universe must be against me. If it
is important, God please let whoever that
contacted me do it again. God? I never asked
upon him. That’s a first.
And so I waited and waited and no one ever
did. From that point on, I carried all my
personal belonging around with me. I logged
out of my computer. I put a password on
everything I owned to deter that little pest to
screw with my life again.
I wasn’t interested in girls after I met
Rokeeya because I yearned for that rare
feeling I experienced when I first laid eyes on
her. She didn’t have an overpowering scent.
She just smelled fresh. She was very
attractive. Having said that, ‘beauty lies in the
eyes of the beholder.’ I wondered if her hair
was curly under that scarf of hers. My
curiosities were satisfied when her vindictive
sister posted her pre-Islam pictures all over
the school campus. I kept a picture of her,
and I bet she would have been mad if she
knew I held on to one.
When you are a crook, you think like one and
act like one. I said that because my eyes
were sparkling with malice because of my
next move. Because I snatched a picture of
hers without her knowledge, I searched the
pockets and clothes of all my pledges before
we got inside our frat house. Then, I told
them that if anyone was caught with a
picture of Rokeeya I would personally see
that they are reprimanded. I implied and
intensified that hazing was meant. I knew I
was selfish but I couldn’t bear the thought of
her being slandered as I was growing a
strange sensation to her.
“Why do you care?” a pledge inquired.
“Because I said so Bill! She is Muslim and
she doesn’t deserve the disrespect. I am not
one but I know that much from their religion.
Their privacy and respect is something they
strive to keep intact.’
“ Oooo , someone is going gooey on us…” and
a bunch of more oooo followed from the
crowd of pledge.
I thought quick and decided to give them an
ultimatum they would take seriously. “If you
value your initiation that is taking place the
day before finals, you will do as I say.” They
knew then I wasn’t in the mood or for that
matter joking around. There were dozens of
boys that would literally kill to rush our
My threat worked and that was my last
semester as acting president. As I was
thinking this, I reached for my wallet in my
pocket and admired her picture once again.
Here she was; temptatious and the real
Devious Maid of her Master. Like a stalker
would, I perfected her poster into a wallet
picture and stared at it for hours. Some days,
I would fall asleep watching her. I was mad
about her but I promised I would not contact
her until I was a descent and eligible
candidate to be able to make her fall for me.
Hopefully, she would miss me during the
silent time that had elapsed between us.
“Hey Jerry! It is Aaron.”
“Hey man! The hermit is finally out! Where
were you man? We missed you!”
“Same here, I am in Dallas, Texas.”
“Wow, all the way there? Why?”
“Long story. Do you have Fatou’s number?”
“Yea, but she doesn’t give me the light of
day. You aren’t trying to hook up with her?
“Shut up! I need to talk to her friend
“Oh, the former freak. Man, I wished you let
us play and fantasize with her pics.”
“Watch it man! If you don’t have room in you
to see past people’s past and respect
women, you will never land a decent one
brother. I wouldn’t even dare to play with her
picture that way.”
If my subconscious was in control, I would
have gave in. I resisted the urge every time
the desire presented itself.
“I am sorry dude. You are different now. I
wonder why… No offense, I was just joking.
Take a pen, I know her number by heart. She
drives me nuts!”
I jotted down the number and thanked him
and promised to come visit them soon. Then,
I called Fatou.
“ Assalamu aleikum Fatou, this is Aaron.”
“ Assalamu aleikum ?” she paused trying to
understand why I was calling her. And to top
it all, why I was greeting her in Arabic
“Yea, I am a new member of ALM.”
“ALM? As in Alif Laam Meem? Is everything
okay with you?”
“Yes, I need to talk to Rokeeya. Is she
“No, she is not. Did you become Muslim to
impress her?” her tone was very inquisitive.
She wasn’t convinced at all. And all I was
thinking was ‘she was a career girl for sure.’
The idea gave me hopes of still being in the
“Yes and no.”
That’s all I said and my short answer tipped
her off to drop the subject. She realized it
wasn’t her place to question my faith and
“Let me talk to her and get back to you. If
she is interested in talking to you, she will
contact you herself.”
“Sounds good, thank you Fatou.”
“No problem Akhi . Did Jerry give you my
number?” she asked.
“Yes, he did. I apologize for that.”
“It is okay. Jerry has a bad case of not
“I agree.” And we both laughed and I said
houb salam to her. I also asked her not to
say anything about my new faith to her
friend. I wanted to tell Rokeeya myself. I
hoped she didn’t steal my sun. I was also
elated to know that my Devious Maid wasn’t
wedded yet. She had the mean-strong
character of Zoila Diaz and the intuition and
intelligence of Marisol Suarez. Such a
contradiction but I was falling with her every
day that passed.
(To be continued)
Jazak’Allah Khair for reading,
Papatia F eauxzar
Author of “Between Sisters, SVP!” and
upcoming novel “ The Hazardous Life of
Copyright © Papatia Feauxzar 2014