You’ve waited for several months, so its only right. Last excerpt before release…10/18/19. Preorder your copy.
With a slight turn in the front of the mirror, Halima Danjuma glanced once again at her appearance. The hugs her nieces had given her when they arrived at Gerald R. Ford International Airport some minutes earlier had her hijab twisted and loose. Her brother, Kamal, was getting married next month. Their family was growing as all her brothers were getting married and having children.
Damisi, her brother Jabir’s wife, had bought the dresses, she and Ibiso, her brother, Rasheed’s wife, were supposed to wear for the wedding. It amazed her that she had gotten close to her brothers and to their wives in the time since her father died.
Since she was in Canada for business, Halima decided to make a quick trip to Detroit, pick up the dresses and fly to South Africa from there to meet up with her mother. Satisfied that the head wear lay flat against the brown jumpsuit she had on, Halima rolled her luggage out of the women’s restroom.
Announcements blared from the overhead speakers and the walkway between gates was filled with people moving to their destinations. She maneuvered her luggage to the right and the left to avoid passengers who were more concerned with what was going on with their smart phones than where they were going. If there was one thing she hated, it was flying in Western airports. She never felt any kind of anxiety until the last year. She’d heard horror stories of Islamic prejudice and discrimination and always prayed she never fell victim to it. So far, so good.
Through her peripheral vision, she saw the man who’d been following her for some time.
Maybe I spoke too soon.
He’d followed her when she went to get a coffee, then again when she went to the kiosk for a snack and now, he’d reappeared out of nowhere.
She quickened her steps. He quickened his.
I should have had Damisi mail me the dress. Five more gates, Halima, come on.
That was where Abubakar, her mahram and travel guard was. Abubakar had been assigned as her male guardian since she moved to Lagos some years ago. As a single Muslim woman, he served as an escort and her protector. She never liked the idea of him following her around, so she’d asked him to stay put. “Three more gates to go,” she coaxed herself.
The words hadn’t left her mouth good when her arm was jerked. Her heart pounded as she tried to free herself from his grasp. His grip became stronger. She opened her mouth to yell, but shock muted any sound.
“Take this off when you people come here or stay where you belong.” He punctuated his rant by wagging a finger in her face. “You cover because you don’t want us to be able to identify you…”
In a flash, he lifted his other hand and tugged at her hijab. Adrenalin rushed to her heart when she realized nobody was going to help her. People kept on walking like no one could see him assaulting her. She pushed out of his reach and he stepped forward. He reached out to grab her again when he was shoved by a huge figure.
“Get your hands off her,” the man said. He was now joined by a woman who stood by his side.
Her aggressor regained his balance and stepped forward. “Who are you? It’s people like you that encourage them. I’m being a patriot!” Spit flew from his mouth.
The dark-skinned stranger who came to her rescue stepped in front of her. The woman with him helped Halima adjust her clothes as Abubakar came rushing over. Everything became a blur. Voices were raised as she was ushered toward her gate by the kind woman and Abubakar. The lady kept asking Halima if she was okay, but all she could do was nod. Her eyes watered. Not only was she attacked for no reason, but the accuser believed he was justified in his actions.
She plopped down in her seat and put her face in her hands. She shuddered as her aggressor’s rage popped in her mind. She saw fear and the realization that she wore a physical representation of a religion he feared dawned on her.
In his eyes, she was the villain. In hers, she was the victim because she was no more to blame for terrorism than her brothers who were Christians were to blame for colonization.
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Unoma Nwankwor 2019