The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Growing up, Linda’s siblings were much older than her, and they didn’t quite act as siblings to her. Instead, they took the roles of parental figures. She has 9 older siblings; 3 older sisters, Kawla, Shuaa and Asma, and 6 older brothers, Mohammad, Ahmad, Mahmoud, Salah, Saleh and Khalil. By the time Linda was born, Kawla and Asma had already had kids, and those kids along with some other nieces and nephews that were born within 2 years after she are who Linda spent most of her time with. They all lived together under the same roof in a 4-bedroom house that was not definitely meant to fit all of the people that it actually did at the time.

In most cases, being a teenager means being rebellious and mischievous, but circumstances were different in Linda’s case. Her siblings were extremely strict on her. All 9 of them were born in Jordan and spent at least the first 10 years of their lives there. They were molded to the old-school closed-minded typical Arab traits. The family eventually moved to the states about a year after Linda was born. During her childhood, her mother didn’t speak a lick of English and her father passed when she was just 3, which left her 9 siblings with the responsibilities of parental figures.

Linda wouldn’t dare try something sneaky on her own, but if she had her closest friends with her, it was game time. So, one day, Linda, her friend-nephews Ibrahim, Sammy, Rammy, and Amar decided it would be fun to go into town. Linda’s brother Salah (my father), who is almost 9 years older than Linda had a car. Ignoring the fact that they were too young to operate a vehicle. The car was a black Chevy Camaro Iroc-Z, not made to fit 5 people, but they figured they could make it work. So, they sneakily took the keys from the kitchen counter from inside the house and sped off.

The independence that Linda and friends finally got to experience was amazing. They had the T-top roof open and the windows rolled down giving them a nice refreshing breeze of freedom. Back home, they were always closely watched by the elders, but out in town, they were on their own. They went to Seven-Eleven and got as many snacks and sodas as their hearts desired. They ran up and down the aisles as if they were little kids grabbing anything and everything that seemed appealing and eventually brought the luggage to the counter, paid and rushed back. This was Linda’s first glimpse at adulthood after being heavily monitored by her older siblings for the majority of her life. They never let her go out, hang out with friends after school, go to sleepovers, or anything that seemed normal to the average American teenager, but the thing is, she wasn’t the average American teenager. Her siblings knew nothing of the American lifestyle, and that led to them keeping Linda and her nephews sheltered for the majority of their teenage lives. But when they could, they continued to steal my father’s car and enjoy the little brief glimpses of freedom on the open road. To this day, my father doesn’t know that she used to steal his car, and I promised to keep it a secret. 

The Joyride

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1987
Yorktown, New York

Growing up, Linda’s siblings were much older than her, and they didn’t quite act as siblings to her. Instead, they took the roles of parental figures. She has 9 older siblings; 3 older sisters, Kawla, Shuaa and Asma, and 6 older brothers, Mohammad, Ahmad, Mahmoud, Salah, Saleh and Khalil. By the time Linda was born, Kawla and Asma had already had kids, and those kids along with some other nieces and nephews that were born within 2 years after she are who Linda spent most of her time with. They all lived together under the same roof in a 4-bedroom house that was not definitely meant to fit all of the people that it actually did at the time.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Naseem Jamal on March 13, 2019
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