Muslim Girlhood

I never found myself in any pink aisle. There was no box for me
with glossy cellophane like heat and a neat packet of instructions
in six languages. Evenings, I watched TV like a religion
I moderately believed. I watched to see how the others lived, not knowing
I was the Other, no laugh track in my living room, no tidy and punctual
resolution waiting. I took tests in which Jane and William had
so many apples, but never a friend named Khadija. I fasted
through birthday parties and Christmas parties and ate leftover tajine
at plastic lunch tables, picked at pepperoni from slices like blemishes
and tried not to complain. I prayed at the wrong times in the wrong
tongue. I hungered for Jell-O and Starbursts and margarine, could read
mono- and diglycerides by five and knew what gelatin meant, where it came from.

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