Scribbles of the Mind


I received a text from my immigrant mum rushing me to the hospital but I didn’t really rush, in fact not at all. Why would I? It’s probably just another illness that my brother caught with his practically nonexistent immune system. Well luckily for him his said low immune system and “sickness” 24/7 comes with being the favorite child, a label he got the first day he was conceived at CHOC Children’s hospital. When I got to the hospital, my parents met me with an usual look on their face. It wasn’t the usual “your brother is ill” look, it was a more concerning look, a look I don’t recognize. My mom spoke to me in Arabic, asking me to go speak to the doctor with a crack in her voice. I followed her to the doctor’s office and knocked on the door, it looked like he was waiting to tell us something. “Weird..” I thought to myself. But, it’s not like I was expecting anything I haven’t heard off from doctors before. 

“Hi, I am Zain’s sister, Maya. My parents are a bit concerned about my brother. Do you have any updates for us?”

He didn’t greet me back, but instead, looked me in the eyes, some hesitancy reflected from his orbs. After a long pause he opened his mouth but I wish he didn’t. 

“I deeply apologize but your brother has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, lung cancer”.

“What..”, I said in a rather quick and tense tone. A cold sweat started going it’s way down my spine.

“Your brother has stage four lung cancer that developed a few months ago. He also has less than a fifty percent chance of living” He repeated. I didn’t hear the last part. My mind was fuzzy and all I could hear was static getting louder and LOUDER. 

I was flabbergasted to say the least. I immediately fell to the nearest chair to me, losing the ability to talk or stand. All because my mind was a wreck of how and why this would happen to MY brother of all people. I felt completely and utterly devastated. I never knew such emotions would ever overcome me. Suddenly, a river started trickling down my face. My mind erupted like a dam exploding and rapid uncontrollable impounded water started racing its way down my cheeks to my throats and under. It’s like the tears were racing down my face.. My throat on the other hand, felt like a lump, burning it’s way down to my stomach. Burns, like the fiery celestials in the upper air. I just felt great amounts of sadness and grief because he’s MY brother, the one that I mistreated the entire time. The one who I pushed away like a sack of nothing because I felt neglected. No matter how much I hated him, this moment just washes away any hateful feelings for him, and what remains are feelings of regret and grief.

“….ya, aya, maya, Maya, MAYA!” 

I looked to my side and found my parents shouting at me to snap out of it. 

“Two minutes have passed,” I thought. “It’s not much, it felt like an hour.”

“Maya what happened to YOUR brother ?! What happened  to OUR son?!” My parents wailed.

‘I can’t say anything. I can’t tell them,’ I thought. It’s not like I wouldn’t but it’s because I couldn’t look them in the eyes and tell them that their son is dying…

The Viper

Things started going down for her when her father died when she was only 17. Her family started suffering financially and was eager to marry her off. To whom? That didn’t matter. As long as it’s someone who’ll pay off the bills and provide for the household, it’ll work. The family, however, forgot to marry her to someone who can take care of her and treat her the way she deserves to be treated. She graduated highschool but wasn’t given the chance to go to college. She had everything going for her: pretty, smart and talented. She was ready to go places with her high school diploma but was obligated to go home with the first man that asked for her hand in marriage as it was her “duty”. He seemed nice, sweet, well mannered, financially stable but a viper never reveals its inner and truest self when encountering prey. He didn’t show his true colors until 2 months into marriage where his hands came before his words and his tongue only ever met hurtful and degrading words. He made her quit her fashion designing career and sit at home where her only job was to keep the house clean and put food on the table before he comes back home, but even that wasn’t enough. I would always hear him screaming at her and the screaming would get louder and louder, indicating he abused her physically. The viper would physically and emotionally abuse her on Saturday nights but I would be surprised to see him smiling and praying at church on Sunday mornings….. he was good at wearing masks. Frankly, I wasn’t close to her, I was just their neighbor but I didn’t need to be close to them to hear what goes on in their house. I was supposed to feel sorry for her, I was supposed to do something, tell someone but I couldn’t because she wasn’t the only one crying for help in the middle of the night. I am sure she heard the screams, smelled the burning arguments, like a forest in the midst of California’s wildfires, and recognized the look on my face whenever I was near my husband. She should’ve helped me and I should’ve helped her. But that never happened. 

I was growing accustomed to the screaming daily that it felt unusual to go to sleep without hearing it for 3 consecutive days. I didn’t pry… 

Even so, It’s been years since I moved out of this building and I still wonder what might have happened to her everyday. I know that my story ended but did hers…?


Growing up money was never scarce, always available when needed. Trouble with money was never a topic discussed over dinner, in truth be told, there were more concerning topics my parents discussed while my siblings and I were bringing food to the dining table: leaving this dangerous place, “home”. Every time we came close to our parents, they would always stop whatever they’re saying and switch the topic immediately. But, we always knew what they were saying, always listening, always aware of our grim situation. We loved living amongst our family, we loved our social status, but we never felt safe. My dad would often tell me to stay home from school whenever he watched the news. He would never say why but seeing the fear on his face said it all. Because all the wealth in the world wouldn’t matter if you’re living in a discriminatory country where you can’t find an ounce of safety in. It was like being in a den of lions, trying to walk along a wall, trying to be like chameleons, trying not to disturb our perpetrators. Hence, We had to leave, so we left


They ask me to decide who I wanna be yet it looks like they’ve already done that for me. They’ve decided what to call me and put me into boxes, male, female, race, face, ethnicity.But my check mark doesn’t belong next to any of the boxes, because they forgot to put a box for me. It’s like a puzzle. Each day that passes by I figure out a piece, each day that passes by I become closer to knowing what the full picture looks like. I am just fifteen, I don’t know much yet, I am still finding out who I am, and my favorite tea. But what I know for sure is that none of their boxes are for me.


“We came here for YOU.” Said ماما.

“We didn’t suffer all of this just for YOU to be lazy and humiliate us.” Said بابا.

YOU should be thanking us for even bringing YOU here.” They said.

YOU felt a sense of impending pressure, like a tipping point, waiting to occur, slowly and steadily, when your family first told YOU those dreaded sentences. True, your immigrant parents want YOU to have a better life in this country of ours, for YOU to have the best education than they ever did. To be someone THEY could be proud of. But, it doesn’t help when YOU are being slammed onto the ground like a house thrown by an avalanche of hailstone. Trying to get up, to stand up once more, but to no avail.

THEY care, I know THEY do, but, sometimes I feel like THEY see me as grades rather than their daughter. With every struggle THEY face, with every loss THEY meet, THEY want ME to reassure them that it’s worth it, that I’ll make immigrating here and all the losses they took worth it in the end.

“When will I be loved?”

Perfect Halves

I’m a twin.

There’s something about being a twin.

We’re not only perfect halves of each other, we’re whole. We’re siblings.

But, in some way, we’re not equal.

I am a woman of my own right. I’m limitless and blessed with purpose, I can wield a pen and create masterpieces of fine art, change the perspectives of various close minded individuals with my silver tongue, benevolent yet steadfast.

I am marvelous and silver footed.

Yet, I’ll never be golden. 

And what is the moon in the presence of the sun?

What is the knight in the presence of a king?

We’re a conglomeration of two supposed perfect halves, but we’re not equal. 

All the glory and praise is directed towards him, only him. 

But, despite it all, I love my brother and he loves me.

He protected and cared for me and I protected him and cared for him. We’re best friends. 

After all, what is a king without his knight?

What is a sun without its moon? 

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