Three Word Wednesday
A Self-Made Man
A young man sits on the steps leading up to the yawning mouth of Robinson Hall. In this building, his fate awaits him. The economics department of Brown University is housed here, and Ahmed has classes soon. But still, he sits on the steps, unmoving. It’s a beautiful early fall day in Providence, Rhode Island, but the sun is dark in Ahmed’s eyes.
“Ahmed, Brown is a good school,” Father had told him.
“I’m just not sure it’s where I want to go, sir.” he replied, trying hard to keep his voice from trembling.
“Son, I did not have these opportunities,” Father said forcefully. “Allah blessed me, and I was able to come to this great country as a young man, and make myself what I am today. You will follow in my footsteps.”
“Insha’Allah, Father. But…” Ahmed swallowed hard. “I’ve been accepted to the School of American Ballet, and-”
“I will not hear of it!” his father roared. “You shame me, Ahmed. I have allowed this hobby, this deviation long enough. You are going to have a real education. You are going to have a respectable education.”
“Yes, father.” And so he had agreed, and something inside of him had died.
Ahmed still sat, an island of indifference in the sea of activity around him. He remembers the day of his audition. He and Mother had gone behind Father’s back to the school; how nervous he had been, but he had dazzled them. They told him he was the most brilliant dancer they had seen that year. They told him his pas brisé and tours l’air were executed perfectly. They told him they hadn’t seen a more elegant arabesque yet. They told him his passion shone when he danced.
Now Ahmed drops his head into his hands and takes a deep breath. He raises his head and looks up at the sun drifting from behind a wisp of clouds. He grabs his book bag, slowly stands up, and strides away from Robinson Hall.