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Asian American Sad Teens & Young Adult

Trigger warning: Suicide

Pink sunlight flooded the room, caressing every surface with its light, rosy fingertips.

Zaneerah stared out of the open window, hands fidgeting with the dull sand-colored quilt on her bed.

Behind her sat her mom, who held a wooden comb and a piece of Zaneerah’s hair.

The brush connected with Zaneerah’s hair in soft strokes, brushing each piece with such delicacy-.

Zaneerah cried out as the hairbrush discovered a tangle in her silky smooth hair.

“Sorry, Zan,” her mother said, her eyebrows furrowed and her full, red lips pursed.

Blinking away the tears that sprouted in the corners of her eyes, Zaneerah nodded and gave her mom a closed-lip smile.

The silence in the air thickened and Zaneerah choked on it as the clock ticked loudly. She felt more uncomfortable than if she’d waved at someone who wasn’t waving at her.

So she tried to break the silence.

“Hey, Ammi! Guess what?” she asked, grimacing as her mom pulled at the hairbrush which had gotten stuck in her charcoal-colored hair.

Her mother stopped brushing and set the brush down next to her. “What, sweetie?”

“You’re supposed to guess!” Zaneerah whined, her pure, rosy lips scrunched together.

“I’m not good at that stuff, Zan.” her mother reminded Zaneerah, tapping her on the nose.

“Okay, fine. I know what I want to be when I get older!”

Zaneerah shifted closer towards her mother, but she wore a big frown.

“Zaneerah,” - her mom grabbed Zaneerah’s little hands and held them tight- “you don’t have to worry for your future.”

“Why, Ammi?”

“Because you need not think that hard, we’ve decided everything for you. It’d be a shame if it went to waste.” Zaneerah’s mom said with a smile.

“Everything?”

“Sit still now, میری محبت, so I can brush your hair.” her mother instructed, picking up the brush.

Zaneerah rubbed the wooden frame of her bed, sighed, and watched as the sky changed color.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

There she was.

A man with a receding hairline stood at the door, sweat dripping down his red face.

“He’s my...” Zaneerah said, turning back to her mother, who was staring at the man with a nonchalant expression.

A few minutes ago, after cleaning the dishes and cooking, Zaneerah’s mom had come out of her room and she had on one of her most refined dresses.

She’d instructed Zaneerah to put on something nice.

This was her first time in the mardānah, but her mother had assured her that everything was okay.

“He’s your husband.”

Zaneerah’s mother hugged her daughter, smiling at the man who had to be at least five years older than herself.

The man grinned at Zaneerah. She avoided the man’s eyes, feeling as though she were pizza on a fancy platter.

“Pleased to make my future wife, my name’s Hamood Farooqi.” the man said, holding his hand out to Zaneerah’s mother.

“Um... hello, I have a question.”

“Ask away,” Hamood said, his eyes glued to Zaneerah.

“How, um...” - Zaneerah stopped, not wanting to sound rude, and glanced at her mother, who nodded - “are you older than me?”

“Um...” Hamood mocked Zaneerah, “I’m 37.”

Ah, so he’s... what’s 37 minus 14? Oh, he’s 23 years older than I am. Great, wow.

“So, how did this,” - Zaneerah motioned to both her and Hamood - “happen?” she asked, ignoring the ‘what’s-wrong-with-you’ glare her mother was giving her.

“Your uncle, he committed a crime, and... let’s just say he owes us. So, you’re my prize.” Zaneerah’s froze, her eyes widening.

Oh. My. Gosh. What the hell is wrong with him?!

“We’ll be leaving now,” Hamood said, grabbing Zaneerah’s wrist.

Zaneerah felt the urge to scream for help as soon as she saw Hamood's gray eyes glaring at her.

“Um, no. I-I’m good. I have... school tomorrow?”

Zaneerah’s mother nodded slowly and grabbed Zaneerah’s wrist.

“She has to pack and finish her studies, don’t worry,” she told Hamood, who flashed her a suspicious look, “school ends tomorrow.”

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

“Zan,” Zaneerah’s mother said, walking behind her. “Can I brush your hair?”

Zaneerah turned to face her mother, her arms crossed. “It’s fine, I could brush it.”

“It’s fine, I’ll do it,” her mother pleaded, “it’ll be just like old times.” She had a weak smile on her face.

“Alright,” Zaneerah said, walking into her bedroom. “When’s Dad coming home?”

“Soon, sweetie.”

Zaneerah’s dark brown eyes widened, and she said, “So, does he know about... this?”

“Yes,” her mother answered calmly.

 Zaneerah nodded, pressing her full, peach pink lips into a thin line.

“Don’t be too hard on him, okay?” her mother asked, squeezing her shoulder. “He had no choice, and he loves you.”

“Fine, sure. Whatever. Choices are everywhere. Can’t we just move or something?”

Zaneerah’s mother sighed and patted her daughter on the back. “Sometimes it’s not that easy, پیاری.”

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Now we’ll be leaving, right, Zaneerah?” Hamood said with a shark’s grin, grabbing Zaneerah’s wrist even tighter than before as if making sure there were no interruptions at that time.

Zaneerah’s mother aimed a tight smile at Hamood. “Your wedding is in a week, congratulations!”

Zaneerah’s eyes widened, and she felt numb as Hamood dragged her to his silver Audi A8.

“Love you, Ammi!” she cried out with tears in her eyes and the man forced her into his car.

Her mother waved before closing the door.

As soon as she was inside the car, she heard a click. Her heart stopped.

Are the doors locked?

She tested the door, pulled with all her might, yet it didn’t open. Hamood opened the door to the front seat and Zaneerah froze, jumping in her seat.

“Listen, girlie,” Hamood said, seizing her chin and inspecting her face. “You’re pretty, I could get some money outta you,” he muttered, not talking to her. He caressed her back, and that single action sent shivers down Zaneerah’s spine. “I want kids.”

Zaneerah’s eyes widened. “What the hell?”

Hamood grinned in a deranged way, letting go of her and starting the car.

“You’re my wife, it shouldn’t be a problem!”

“I’m not your wife yet.” Zaneerah reminded him, her arms crossed. “Plus, I never agreed to this marriage.”

“That’s the good thing about this. Nobody needs your approval. I’ll use you ‘till you’re worn out. That’s what you’re made for.”

Zaneerah snarled at Hamood, her nostrils flaring. She crossed her arms and turned away. The rest of the car ride was silent.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Only one bedroom and the house itself was quieter than dust. From the outside, the house looked alive with all the colors, but the inside was one step above emptiness.

“Is there another bed or something?” Zaneerah asked, searching for another soft mattress.

“No, it’s this or the floor.”

“I’ll take the floor.”

“You’re going to sleep on the bed, honey. I’ll kill you if you don’t.” Hamood had tried to make his sentence sound humorous, but it just made Zaneerah want to scream and cry louder.

So she slept in the one bed. The night was more silent than the car ride, which Zaneerah hadn’t thought was possible. Even worse, Hamood’s arm was wrapped around her waist tightly.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

The cold metal pinched at her feet, but it was better than the last few weeks of her life, because she’d been with Hamood.

Everyone referred to her as Mrs. Farooqi. She was only 14, and Zaneerah had wanted to help animals.

She was married now, and Hamood had no intention of letting her pursue her dreams.

Zaneerah took a step closer. Closer to the end. To freedom.

That’s what I want. To be free.

She took another step, gasping as she did so. She plunged to the ground like a bird with broken wings. Yet she was soaring.

October 09, 2020 23:17

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26 comments

Ash M
00:20 Oct 10, 2020

:D I love the small details in the story, it really brings it to life. Idrk what else to say so like uh, this was rlly good.

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:36 Oct 10, 2020

Thank you so much, EMALYN! Lol :)

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B. W.
20:25 Oct 26, 2020

Hm, so do you know how i have a couple of novels that I'm working on? what if I made you a character in one of them or mentioned ya in it at least? :)

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Raquel Rodriguez
20:27 Oct 26, 2020

Sure, if you want you could add me, that would be so fun! And if you want, I could help you edit it! But I submitted the story that you guys are in, hope you like it! :)

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B. W.
20:41 Oct 26, 2020

Which novel do ya wanna be in?

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Raquel Rodriguez
20:42 Oct 26, 2020

I don't know, I guess you could just put me in one that needs another character to hold up the plot or something?

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B. W.
20:42 Oct 26, 2020

ya still remember the demi-god novel right? maybe i could add ya in that one ^^

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Raquel Rodriguez
20:48 Oct 26, 2020

Is there even space for me in there, lol?

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Misheru .
00:27 Oct 16, 2020

Wow, Rocky! (It’s me Michelle) I’ve been reading your stories for like ten minutes now and they’re really good! I love your use of metaphors and the way you use words to make the story more intense and interesting! Amazing story!

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Raquel Rodriguez
00:39 Oct 16, 2020

OMG MISHI!!!!! Thank you so much! :))))) I'm so happy you're here! ;D

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Misheru .
02:42 Oct 16, 2020

No problem! Your stories are great! I hope we can do a collaboration one day once I improve my writing skills because they’re not really detailed lol. I hope some day you write a famous series!

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Raquel Rodriguez
11:13 Oct 16, 2020

Lol, thank you! I'm trying :)

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Kristin Neubauer
17:41 Oct 15, 2020

Another wow, Raquel. What a tragic story - the end reminds me a little of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. You did such a great job of creating a truly terrifying figure in Hamood and my heart just broke for Zan. You've created some characters that I felt truly invested in.

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:49 Oct 15, 2020

Oh, I've never read that story before, I'll have to check it out! Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked Zan's character! :)

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Izzie Chan
03:17 Oct 10, 2020

Oh wow... I’m speechless lmao This is amazing! I really like how you incorporated culture into this story by using Arabic. And omg the ending was so unexpected! I like your use of the metaphor there, it really highlights how she felt. Awesome story! :D

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:39 Oct 10, 2020

Thank you, Izzie! I'm glad you enjoyed the story! :D

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Arham Ishraq
00:20 Oct 10, 2020

WAIT WHAT?! SHE KILLS HERSELF!! Honestly I was surprised how you made it seem so real. I felt so bad for Zaneerah, she had no control over the situation, and I can't believe her parent just gave her up like that. This is actually a real thing that happens, and you put to words incredibly. Bravo!

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:38 Oct 10, 2020

Thank you, Arham! I'm excited to read your new story! :)

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LILY DAWN
07:24 Dec 25, 2020

Oh goodness, my goodness! Your writing is sick. Once again I love the flow. How you captured the emotions of the reader without actually saying but saying it at the same time. (I say confusing things) also, your choice of words is impeccable

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Raquel Rodriguez
04:17 Dec 26, 2020

Ohmisoul, thank you so much! I'm so overjoyed that you like my writing! Thank you! Lol, it isn't confusing at all, don't worry! Also, same, I say confusing things too! Thanks (again)! Merry Christmas and keep writing!

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LILY DAWN
13:13 Dec 31, 2020

Merry belated Christmas. Man, I do need to spend more time on Reedsy, Thanks!

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:19 Dec 31, 2020

Lol, thank you! I haven't been spending that much time on Reedsy either, you're good. :)

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LILY DAWN
10:33 Jan 07, 2021

you're good, too.🤗

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Raquel Rodriguez
15:11 Jan 07, 2021

:) Thank you! So, what's up? How's life? Lol, I'm so original, right? I'm in Earth Science class :P

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