“the glint in her eyes sparked a great deal of fear within me”
Talk To Strangers
June 24th, 2017,
‘Twas a superbly average Saturday on the transit home from a wonderful afternoon out on the town. Having just missed the bus, I was met by a quaint little woman who kindly inquired if I knew when the bus was arriving, to which I responded I didn’t. Now, usually this would be the end of any other Canadian conversation, due to the fear of seeming overbearing, but she chose to pursue it further.
The discussion progressed and naturally schooling was brought up as she could tell that I was quite a bit younger than her, most likely due to my youthful, effervescent glow. I admitted I went to the wonderful institution of Foundations For The Future Charter Academy (FFCA) and her eyes lit up – uh-oh. Hopefully it is understandable that the glint in her eyes sparked a great deal of fear within me as the next question to follow is usually about my ability, or lack there of, to get their child into said school. Excitedly, questions about FFCA were asked and she told me that her children were on the waiting list – gulp. We talked for a bit longer and I learned that she, like my mother, was also a student studying to be a nurse.
When discussion of FFCA had died down she talked about her family and her heritage and quickly I learned that she was an immigrant from Bahrain who had to leave due to the fact that her children would have been deported when they turned eighteen – an understandably undesirable prospect. Though, Bahrain is where the money is and she wanted to go back there in order to live a comfortable life, unlike what she was struggling for in Canada, her family was more important. She told me about all five of her children, her husband but very little about herself speaking volumes to her caring nature. She was willing to give up everything she had grown comfortable knowing, start her education over again, and risk failure in order for her children to attain success in a new country without fear of deportation. I suddenly felt pretty terrible for fearing the spark in her eyes as it was ambition, who was I to deny her that?
Then the bus arrived.
We both got on, I waddled to the back to partake in some people watching and she sat in the front to ask questions about her destination.
After a bumpy twenty minute ride I saw her hobble off and look at me through the window distressingly so I hopped off and stood with her in hopes of finding her destination three stops away. The sun was hot, she was lost but I knew my way around the neighborhood; thus, we started walking toward her friend’s house. Who could turn down such an evident opportunity for adventure?
Along the journey I learned she was going to a friend’s house to get some pampering done in preparation for an Eid party the next day. She didn’t seem like the sort to do this often and after our brief interaction I already felt that she had worked hard enough to deserve it. We chatted some more and the trauma of first immigrating was reintroduced as she began to discuss the lack of hospitality apparent in Canadian culture, as compared to Bahrain. She spoke of the manipulative nature of people, how they’d fein wanting to help when in reality they had no intention to. She’d been in Canada for less than three months and this was sadly her first impression. She felt unsafe and unwelcome when asking for assistance in what was to become her new home; which, in my mind, is absoloutley no way to live.
The walk was proving extremely difficult as it was nearly thirty degrees out, she was fasting, and covered from head to toe. What was going to be a twenty minute walk – three stops – turned into more of a thirty minute walk but we both got to learn about different perspectives through the experience. I got to talk with a perfect stranger about her experiences and wisdom in this whole life thing and she, hopefully, was able to gain a little bit of hope about immigration not being all bad. No bias, no expectations, nothing. It was amazing!
We exchanged names but I forgot hers and I feel she may have forgotten mine also; both far too exotic for the other, I presume. Nevertheless, from this I was able to learn the joys of a good conversation. Untainted by the desire to impress – intellectually, comedically or otherwise – but just conversation with no intention other than the art of it. I hope to be able to experience a moment as such again soon as they seem to be becoming more and more rare.
I stood on the corner as she rang the doorbell of the house she thought was her friend’s and waited for the door to open; when it did her friend welcomed her with open arms. She turned back to me with a grin from ear to ear and waved frantically with joy in her eyes.
Then the door shut.
That was it. We each continued with our individual lives and our thirty minute walk was a wonderful little blip on our time lines. Thus, the intersection of our lives came to a close. The ending was not tragic, nor beautiful, it was not anything because it did not have to be. It was the end of an interaction, simple as that.
8 thoughts on “I Took A Walk With a Woman Who Wished To Move Back To Bahrain”
I just want to start off by saying what an incredible person you are – the entire time I read this piece, I was smiling. Your ability to completely give yourself to others, even strangers, is inspiring – it is people like you who restore peoples’s impressions of the nature of Canadians, and people in general.
Your ability to tell stories is captivating. I felt like I was walking with you as you were conversing with the woman from Bahrain and loved how true you were to the emotions you felt. You were also able to capture the woman’s emotions, further indicating how wonderful you are and how invested in the conversation you were. I loved how you ended the piece as well – “Thus, the intersection of our lives came to a close. The ending was not tragic, nor beautiful, it was not anything because it did not have to be. It was the end of an interaction, simple as that.” It was as simple as this blog was, yet profound and powerful at the same time. You have taught me about the importance of the little things and taking time to slow down and learn about others many times before, and have done it again with this blog. Thank you.
As for improvement, I loved the simplicity of this piece, however I feel like, stylistically, there could have been some changes to the sentence structure, diction, and presentation – I definitely heard Ibukun’s voice while reading this though, so I wouldn’t change it too much.
Thanks again, I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog, it means quite a bit (especially from an ICON such as yourself)! I am glad that you enjoyed my ~story telling,~ truth be told its secretly (not so secret now) one of my loves that I shall continue to work on it and improve. Your kind words of encouragement will be sure to continue to motivate me. As for the “incredible person” thing I am SO grateful for such a kind compliment but I am really not that magnificent. I truly didn’t tell this story because I wanted you to put me on any sort of a pedestal – I can be the human embodiment of garbage somedays, please don’t think too highly of me. >.<
As far as your improvements I will be sure to take that into consideration with my future pieces and blogs. I am, and most likely will continue to, struggling with finding the beautiful balance of ~scholarly~ language, conciseness, and maintenance of voice. Thanks for this note, I will continue to work harder!!
Thanks again for reading and commenting.
I would like to start off by commending your extraordinary storytelling skills, while I was reading this piece, it was effortless and engrossing. Well done. I especially like how you chose to write an anecdote for your free choice – rather than the typical stories or poems other students write, it was “out of the box”. This piece truly speaks to the beauty that lies within your soul, as Shyla previously said – you are an incredible and inspiring person. If the world was able to give themselves to others, the world would become a much more beautiful place.
Through your colloquial language advanced this piece in terms of understanding, yet it also added a level of simplicity that added to the beauty of this piece, especially, when you seem to effortlessly stop your life for the sake of another. This instance is enhanced by simple diction choices. You also add in rhetorical questions that seem to add humor to the piece, but they also add a level of understanding of the human condition and the “matter” behind human action.
In terms of improvement, I would offer that you switch up your sentence structure as there were times that simple sentences dominated. However, I understand that this made this piece beautifully simplistic, which I understand is a stylistic choice. Additionally, I would have also liked to see more of the contrast and comparison of a Canadian and Bahrainian.
Never stop writing!
All the love,
Thank you oh so much for taking time out of your day to read and comment on my blog, much appreciated. *tips hat* I’m glad that my storytelling ~skills~ aided in your appreciation, if that is the right word, of my blog. All of these compliments are making me very nervous! Thanks for calling my soul beautiful, that is just such a magnificent compliment that I feels speaks to how thoughtful of a person you are to string your words together as such. Anyhow, my “beautiful” soul aside, I am so grateful for your compliments and am overjoyed that you enjoyed the blog – I wouldn’t want to waste your time if it was a pain to read.
As far as improvements go I will be sure to work on that. As I mentioned in my response to Shyla, I am working on finding a balance in my writing and perhaps this time I shifted a little bit too far in the opposite direction – oy vey! Time and practice, that’s what it takes! I loved your suggestion about a Canadian and Bahrainian contrast – that would really add another level of depth to the piece. Perhaps if/when I rewrite this I’ll attempt to incorporate that for some more razzle dazzle. Also, having to do research would allow me to understand “the woman” a tad bit more, wow! So wise!
Thanks again for reading and commenting, I appreciate that you must be very busy and took time out for lil’ ol’ me.
I must say you have quite the talent when it comes to telling stories. I believe yhis comes a lot from the fact you have such a beautiful voice mixed in with good morales and effervescence. I’ve heard little pieces of the story from the moments we had conversation, and I was drawn here to find a wonderful human being talking about their experiences with an immigrant of Canada. As said by Victoria, there was a beauty to the simplicity in this piece. I too use an abundance of simple sentences in my own writing, and I can tell from experience you used them wonderfully!
Again, same as Victoria, try to find a small balance between the simple and complex/compound sentences. Aside from that, beautiful work!
I realize more often that the world around me isn’t as perfect as I see it. Here, it is a shame that Canada isn’t as perfect as we all make it out to be. I wish it were so, but reality is as such cruel. Reading this story, it’s begun to inspire me to take more action in being welcoming. I want to make people feel like they belong. I know all too well what it’s like to be excluded for things as simple as race or appearance. I wish not to continue the cycle of hurt that the condecending continue. Keeps being yourself! You are a welcoming individual, and that inspires me. Thank you!
Never stop writing, and keep being brilliant!
Thank you so so much for taking the time out of your day to read and comment on my blog. I am so happy that you were able to appreciate the ~storytelling~ and I am a tad surprised that our brief conversation about it inspired you to read my blog – that’s cool! I couldn’t agree with you more on the point you made on the imperfection with Canada, as well as every country, it’s sad but I am glad that reading the story inspired you somehow.
Thank you for the critic on the sentence structure, as I said before, I will continue to work on it and work on improving my writing style! 🙂
Thank you once again for reading my blog and commenting such kind words. <3
This might be my favourite piece of yours that I’ve read so far. You have this ability to take a simple encounter and write it in a way that is so beautiful and so entrancing. There was no need for lyricism or poetry or fancy metaphors, it was told as it happened. The style of your writing is meaningful without being overbearing, and that’s something I’m trying to work on in my writing lately. So, thank you for this.
If I were to offer improvement, it’s pretty synonymous with the comments above. There were a couple issues with gumps, and making some sentences more complex could really add depth to the piece. Overall, amazing work. I can’t wait to read more of your work.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read and comment on my blog! I am glad that you enjoyed the piece, your kind words mean a lot. I’m not sure how to respond to your “thank you for this” so I shall simply say that I appreciate the support and am most certainly inspired by you also. It is a beautiful thing when ~artists~ (a term I shall use very loosely in reference to myself) can support and inspire other artists.
As I echoed above, I will continue to seek progress and improvement in my writing so thank you for your wise words as to improvement
Thank you again for reading my blog and leaving such kind words.