Sakina grabbed her by the hand and try to pull her away into the apartment. Khadijah’s world was spinning and she held onto Sakina’s hand to keep steady. Sakina’s dark curls moved out of focus as Khadijah’s footprints carved fossils into the concrete. Sakina rooted her feet behind Khadijah’s, forming her palms into gentle cups around Khadijah’s waist. Khadijah’s sisterlocs licked out of her bright chiffon scarf as Sakina kissed her on the cheek encouragingly.
“Babe, listen to me. It’ll be okay. Just try to breathe. Focus on the good energies, exhale the bad, you got this.”
Khadijah stared past her head at an invisible target, motionless. She was transported to the camp—its imprisoning fences. Sakina squeezed her hands around Khadijah’s waist, resting her curly head on Khadijah’s chest.
“Let’s close our eyes. Think about…think about camping. Shit, I didn’t mean like... I meant, that time we went canoeing and smoked out of an apple and prayed Fajr together by the river. Remember how pure everything felt. You said you’d never felt more clear.”
It was too late. The word “camp” sent Khadijah spiraling, away from clear water and summer love to the smell of layered waste and decay. To being kept away, incapable of sound. To the involuntary thirst and dust coated throats. It had been six years, and she was still the frozen fourteen year old watching from afar. How could she have known? Six years later and she was still frozen into stillness.
Sakina kissed her again, on the nose, emphatically. She was caught between canoeing and concrete, pulling Khadijah in between.
Khadijah's mind was lost in the back of a pick up truck driving away with the camps behind her. Her family, shimmering into the background. The stress of refugeehood orbited around her body, and she could not lift herself into reality.
“I don’t know, Sakinah. I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I don’t like being here, in this place without them.”
Sakinah sighed and whispered Ayat al Qursi into her ears.
“I know this is hard. Survival is not easy.”
Khadijah took Sakinas arms and traced her bloodflow through her fingertips, light caresses almost too soft to feel. They were in the car on the way back to Sakina’s apartment, with Kendrick Lamar’s voice reverberating through the windows,
“Lord forgive me…sometimes I need to be alone.”
Sakina could sense it was coming. She pulled the car over. The dreaded words spilled out of Khadijah’s mouth slowly, like she had been rehearsing them. “I think we need to talk. It’s not you….it’s…”
Sakina grabbed Khadijah’s hand. “It’s okay, sometimes others intersect with us in this universe when we need them to.”
Khadija kissed Sakina gently on her collarbone and tugged lightly at her curls. “You mean so much to me. You are an ocean of healing love that I’ve never felt this way. But I don’t know how to explain this feeling. Like I exist with you here but I exist in another place and that fracture is making me scared. I’m scared of the place in between. I’m scared of losing the little family I have left if they find out about us—I’m scared of losing you because I love you so much.”
Sakina looked at Khadijah’s beautiful browness, her roundness, the way her eyebrows formed perfect question marks when they were upset.
She grabbed Khadijah’s necklace and began running her fingers up and down her fossilized fibonacci fractal. She thought,
“Ya allah, please soften my heart in this moment. This is all I need.”
cuz im thinkin see, we will live in parallel kinda realities. where ever you go ill keep you here under my fingertips, it’s all jumbled but, i feel like ill feel you next to me when i wake up at nite im gonna look for you in the morning okay n see you talkin w me sweetly in my dreams im sorri for lashin out n being absent n moody when i clda held you im sorri abt this feelin in my chest where i cant luv anymore without luvin myself a little more without thinkin of all my family n the waze i’m scared of breaking what’s left of them. i want to so badly but there is nuthin i can do except let time heal me here and there
and when we were talkin to aisha peace be upon her in my dreams last nite she said we knew more than her, we knew everything all along n i heard fatima peace be upon her say i will meet you again when we’re decomposed into the flowers and trees we were meant to become i can’t wait to fill the earth with you and know your spirit again somewhere else
im sorri for shuttin my heart away from luv because it feels so raw and difficult to luv like that when you’ve been hurt . i will sit by the ocean in the mornings to watch you wave at me, when i miss you i will take baths and coat myself in lavendar lotions and honor every way you have loved me, allah and alla the goddesses as my witnesses,
i will honor every way you have loved me.