Men don’t cry.
Men don’t run.
Fear is natural, only fools pretend they aren’t afraid. But be afraid of the right things! Be afraid of letting down your family, your country but most importantly be afraid of letting down the man that’s fighting next to you!
I was 16, Albert was 17, John was 18. We were sitting in a bar, every one knew our father and it was a small town so no one questioned us. 4 shot glasses and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Each of us got a shot and a lecture. I remember the look in their eyes when he talked.
Men would send him drinks out of respect, the manager at the grocery store personally took our moms groceries to the car. There were no Walmart’s or Mega Malls, Houston was just an hour away but somehow our town remained untouched.
My brothers couldn’t understand why I wanted to chase education while they wanted to chase adventure. Her accent was thick even though she went to high school in America. My electives were Arabic and Mandarin, I already spoke Spanish. While my brothers boxed I sat in the back reading with a Mexican kid who’s brother was Golden Gloves champion. It wasn’t long before I realized we were teaching each other.
Arabic was a whole other beast though. Every other person in the class was Middle Eastern, probably aiming for an easy A. I’d never dated anything but women that looked like me, I didn’t even know how to approach her in a personal way, we only ever talked about studies. To my father they were sand niggers, terrorist, threats to the real America! I’d been in enough classes to know that most of the Middle Eastern kids loved BMW’s, iPhones and malls more than American kids. The girls didn’t cover themselves, the guys listened to rap. She was different though, carried herself differently.
She was beautiful and no matter how hot she was always in pants and long sleeves. The rest of the class viewed me with mild annoyance while she took the time to help me.
Her brothers were in England, her father a translator for Exxon Mobil, her mother a professor. If gotten that much out of her. I could tell she was nervous around me, I was nervous around her.
Sitting next to her felt right but sitting next to her felt like betrayal.