I was having dinner with my mother, Mama, at the table in the backyard of our house. The backyard is the only piece that retains the house ancient history after the house burned down ten years ago.

The burn scars that the accident left on my skin still hurting me as it happened yesterday. The scars don’t hurt physically, it hurt emotionally. The emotional breakage that the scar on my skin has caused made me not able to feel confident.

I was done being lost on my thoughts and then continued to eat dinner with my mom. I asked my Mom, “When is my older sister coming to visit us?”

My mom replied, “She is coming tomorrow.”

I said, “why my sister is lucky and have a better life than me. My sister was able to get a higher education, but I didn’t even complete my high school. She has more confidence than me because of her lighter skin and her beautiful look. Life is so easy on her and cruel on me. I do love my sister and wish her a good life, but why life chose my sister and didn’t choose me.”

My mom looked at me emphatically and said, “it will be ok, Maggie. Your chance didn’t come yet. I hope that your sister acknowledges my endless efforts and the church to raise money to her in order to go to college. College is what has changed her life.” My mom repeated again, :it’s gonna be ok, Maggie.” Then, she started to get ready to go to sleep and put me to bed.

I woke up the next day on a sound of car tires. It was my sister’s car. It’s not normal to see a car every day in my village. My first look at my sister made me astonished. Her white dress was shining in the sunlight like diamonds and her high heel shoes make her walk with solid confidence. The black car that made her look like a high profile person. I waited for my sister on the door’s house, while I kept looking at her and still astonished.

I felt like my sister is a stranger to me. She shook my hands and Mom hands in a different way than she used to. She thought that this is an authentic African way to shake people’s hands. I think that my sister was trying to tie herself with the roots of the African culture.

We went to the living room to have our dinner. We started to eat. Dee started to feel the nostalgia to the African food and how she missed it so much. Again, I was sure at this moment that she is trying to be a real African.

After we were done with lunch. Dee started to take a picture with us in every corner in the house, making sure that every picture she took include the house in the background. Dee asked Mom for the quilt that her ancestors made to give it to her, but Mom refused and said, “this quilt is for your sister Maggie.”

I was restless to ask all the question that I have for Dee, which was bothering my head. I gained the courage and told Dee that “I have some questions for you about your ties with the African culture”

Dee replied, “ Go ahead, but I don’t have that much time for a lot of questions.”

I said, “it has been a long time since the last time we saw you, so you should stay with us today.”

Dee replied, “go ahead and ask your questions.”

I said, “all of your actions show that you are trying to promote your culture through some artifacts and pictures. In fact, you don’t know your ancestors that well and you always hated to be in that house. All of a sudden, you decided to come back not to see us, but to take some artifacts to promote your culture.”

Dee, was angry, and replied, “You don’t know anything about African culture, I know the real African culture and I am trying to promote for it. You will never understand, Maggie. I hope you understand that I am trying to use my education to promote our culture and to take pride in who I am. I know that I hated to be in that house, but I am proud to be raised in that house, and I just wasn’t satisfied with our living situation at this time. I was looking for the better. I know that I don’t know that much information about my family, but, because I have been away for a long time. Now, I became mature and I learned from my mistake. Maggie, if you took the quilt, you will use it for everyday use, but I will use it to preserve our heritage by keeping it and taking care of it.”

Maggie paused for a minute, then, replied, “I understand what you said. Also, you should understand that I am proud of being African. For sure, we have a gap in the education level, but just because our Mom and the church helped you to go to college. Dee, I know how to make the quilt and to cook African food, unlike you that you don’t know how to make African food. I don’t mean to offend you. I am trying to make you understand that both of us tied to the culture in a different way. In addition, both of us trying to preserve the culture in a unique way.”

Dee, started to shed tears and approached me to hug me. Then, she told me, “I understand you, Maggie. I am sorry for not getting your point.”

Mom approached both of us her and hugged both of us. All of us started to laugh and then Dee said, I miss those old days and said Maggie, can you sew me a quilt?”

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Preserved Heritage by El-Hassn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

1 Comment
  1. El-Hossin 4 days ago

    Dear El-Hassn:

    I am inspired by your short story because it is a very powerful and phenomenal piece of writing.

    One sentence that stands out for me, “Dee, started to shed tears and approached me to hug me” I think this sentence is critical to your story’s overall feelings, because it is very sad!

    Your short story reminds me, wallah, of my childhood 🙁

    Thanks for your short story. I look forward to seeing what you make next.

    Bas Bas

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