Anisa, Anissa, London discussed on LeVar Burton Reads

LeVar Burton Reads


When her father joined them in London, three years later, he found anissa grown several inches taller and several sentences shorter. Her mother's insistence on speaking Arabic together at all times, pushing her abilities as a heritage speaker to their limits, meant that anissa often chose not to speak at all. This was to her advantage in the schoolyard, where her eyes, her looks, and rumors of her dark powers held her fellow students in awe. It did her no good, with her father, who hugged her and held her until words and tears gushed out of her in gasps. The next few years were better. They moved to a different part of the city, and anisa was able to make friends in a new school. To open up, to speak. She sometimes told stories about how afraid of her people used to be. How she convinced them of her powers like it was a joke on them. And not something she had ever believed herself. Owls heard from themselves the matter they can not absorb. Bones, fur, claws, teeth, feathers. Is that for school? Anisa looks up from her notebook to her mother, and shakes her head. No, it's Welsh stuff. Oh. Her mother pauses. And anisa can see her mentally donning the gloves with which to handle her. Why? She shrugs. I like it. Then seeing her mother unsatisfied adds, I like the stories. I'd like to read them in the original language. Eventually. Her mother hesitates. You know, there's a rich tradition of Arabic storytelling. The power flexes inside her like a whip, snapping, takes her by surprise, and she bites the inside of her lip until it bleeds to stop it. Stop it. And I know I can't share much myself, but I'm sure your grandmother or your aunts would love to talk to you about it. Anisa grabs her books and runs to her room, as if she could outrun the power. Locks the door and buries her fingernails in the skin of her arms. Dragging long, painful scratches down them. Because the only way to let the power out is through pain, because if she doesn't hurt herself, she knows with absolute certainty that she will hurt someone else.

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