Todd Clayton is an AmeriCorps service member, working in National City, Calif., as a mentor for violent, underserved, minority youth.
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Never Again: Shaima Alawadi and Islamophobia in America
On Saturday, doctors took Shaima Alawadi, 32, an Iraqi mother of five, off life support, three days after her 17-year-old daughter, Fatima Al Himidi, found her brutally beaten and unconscious in the dining room of the family’s home in El Cajon, Calif. She died a short while later at 3 p.m.
Fatima told reporters that her mother’s head had been repeatedly smashed in with a tire iron — a metal rod used to pry the rubber tube from a bike tire. Next to Alawadi’s barely breathing body was a note: “Go back to your country, you terrorist."
How to Forget Paris
A friend of mine — one who’s wiser and kinder and more thoughtful than I — knows the difficult, painful unweaving I’m talking about. She, too, was carroted down the rabbit trail of a hope-filled future shared with someone, only to discover her bed was left just as cold as the promises she’d so earnestly trusted.
“Falling in love is totally magical and beautiful and gives you this insane ability to operate on 4 hours of sleep a night for a long time,” she said. “It chooses you and that gift is one of life’s best ones. You have to choose it back, though.” She paused, her voice cracking, and I knew she meant it. “At some point, you become more real to each other and the hard work sets in. So you try and try, and even then, sometimes it doesn’t work out. And when that happens, you’ll be ok.” I was looking at her across the table.
“Just let it be sad,” she concluded. “Ironically, sadness will be your guide out of sadness.”
She bit her bottom lip first, then lifted her gaze to my unassuming face. When she started looking at me softly, like I was some sort of oft-beaten puppy, I knew what was coming.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, “but your card’s been declined.” I offered a solution.
“Huh. Want to try it again?” Unsurprisingly, nothing changed, save her face, which only contorted more.
“Weird,” I said. The steam tauntingly danced on my cheeks. “Let me go check with my bank and figure it out.” I walked to a table, leaving the coffee, and pulled out my computer. After entering my username and password, my statement appeared on the screen.
“Available Balance: -$10.41,” it read.