Faduma shook her head to get the thoughts of Abshir out of her mind. She needed to concentrate. Holding, Khadra's arm firmly, she drew the henna tattoo design on her friend’s hand. Faduma had created a new design for her customers. Today her friend was her test subject.
Khadra’s eyes widened as she watched. “Faduma this is beautiful. I am sure every girl is going to beg you to get this done. Wow-”
Faduma blushed, but didn’t look away from the design until she finished. “Just be careful until it dries.”
Faduma started her henna design business two years ago. She made a few hundred dollars a week drawing henna tattoos and always gave half of her money to her mother. Then she spent the rest on clothes. But- now she wanted to buy a car. She knew that buying a car in Toronto was expensive, but her uncle in the States had told her that, if she sent him the money he would buy one for her.
“Don’t forget Faduma. You promised you were going to come with me to that reggae club. I do not want to waste my Eid night at a Somali concert,” she reminded her.
The doorbell buzzed. Faduma grabbed the remote from the table. She put on channel 159, so she could see who was in the downstairs lobby.
Khadra raised her hands in frustration. “Are you still talking to him?”
Faduma ignored her. She knew Khadra meant well, but Khadra thought she always knew what was best for Faduma.
Pulling her long hair into a ponytail, she put on her necklace with a small golden heart, and she smiled brightly. “How do I look?”
“Beautiful. But Faduma, why do you like Abshir? You are pretty, artistic, and on the honor roll. You can do so much better than Abshir. He is just another loser Somali guy who roams the streets. Does he even know that you are interested in him?”
Faduma’s lips tightened in anger. “Shut up. You don’t even know him. Abshir is sweet, funny, and smart. He is not a loser. Besides we are just friends.”
“Friends?” Khadra snorted. “You need to stop wasting your time with Somali guys.”
“Wasting time? I don’t understand why you hate Somali guys when your brothers are Somali and your father is Somali. Other guys- will see you as just another girl, like you are nothing- While a Somali guy sees you as so much more than-”
“More than- what?”
“I can’t explain it. Look I’ll be back.” Faduma said.
Faduma pushed the apartment building doors open and saw Abshir leaning against the wall, when he saw her he smiled revealing his perfect teeth.
He looked so cute today. She could tell that he had a new haircut. He was the cutest guy that she had ever seen. He pushed back against the wall and stepped towards her. She felt her skin flush. She hated all the new feelings that were boiling up in her for him. What was wrong with her?
Nervously, she pushed back a stray hair. Abshir watched her intently. Her heart started pounding.
“What’s good?” he asked in a low voice.
She took a deep breath. “Just practicing a new henna tattoo with Khadra.”
He rolled his eyes.
"What? She is my best friend. I need a new design since I am saving to buy a car," she protested.
“Oh-I just came over to ask you a quick question,” he ran his fingers through his short curls.
She rubbed her hands against her jeans, and held her breath as she waited for him to continue.
Abshir cleared his throat, “I wanted to know if you had an extra phone charger. I lost mine.”
Immediately Faduma hopes crashed. Phone charger! What! She tried hard to keep her temper from exploding. She breathed out. “I will check.”
Later that night Faduma sat at a table in Club Paradise with Khadra. Khadra had been making fun of her all night. She refused to let go of Faduma’s humiliation.
Khadra’s eyes were bright with tears of laughter. “He wanted to borrow your cell phone charger! He came all the way to the Westside just to ask you that. Loser! I was sure he was finally going to ask you out. I told you not waste your time with a Somali guy.”
She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. “How many times do I have to tell you that Abshir and me are just friends?”
Khadra wiped her eyes. “I don’t know who is worse. You or him,” she doubled over with laughter, again.
A gorgeous, tall, caramel-skinned Jamaican walked up to their table and extended his hand to Faduma. “Do you want to dance? I will buy you whatever drink you want.”
She hesitated, but Khadra pushed her.
Faduma shook her head.
“Ok, what about you?” he laughed, “What is your name?” he asked
“My name is Dante,” he took her hand, and pulled Khadra into the dance floor.
Abshir looked around the concert hall until he saw Ladan sitting with her friends. He went up to her and tried to speak over the music. “Where is Faduma?”
“Oh- she went to Club Paradise with Khadra. I can’t believe it. I heard that a girl got raped there last week. ”
Abshir pulled back in surprise. What-? If anything happened to her-. It was time to go.
Dante was too grabby. Khadra kept pushing his hands away, but he kept trying to touch her. Finally, she had enough. “I need to go to washroom.”
Khadra squeezed past all the people on the dance floor. She rolled her eyes. Dante was such a jerk. At least there was no one in line for the restroom.
She started to open the door when someone grabbed and pulled her into the corner.
It was Dante.
He pushed her against the wall, and she struggled against his grip, “Let me go.”
“Why are you being so stuck up, Somali girl?” he said as he breathed on her neck.
“Stop it,” she said.
“I hate you Somali girls. You are always so stuck up just because you are pretty. Never want to give a chance to anyone unless they are Somali.”
“You don’t even know me.”
He laughed, but didn’t release his grip. “I know you Somali girl. You are all the same. You walk around with your good hair and light skinand think you are too good for guys like me. I am going to teach you a lesson. I will show you what you missing.”
Khadra tried to push him, but he was too strong. She wanted to scream, but his hand covered her mouth. Her fear rose into her throat. What should she do?
Faduma searched the dance floor for Khadra, but couldn’t find her. She had a bad feeling. Khadra had been gone for a while and she would never disappear this long. They had a rule that they had to check in every two songs.
She turned around to see Abshir grinning at her.
“Abshir, I can’t find Khadra. I looked everywhere. I-”
Abshir frowned and his eyes darkened. “Don’t worry. We will find her.”
Khadra struggled against Dante but he was too strong. She felt like a child. She couldn’t get away no matter what she did.
Suddenly, Dante let her go.
Abshir held Dante’s shoulder then punched Dante in the face sending him staggering back. Dante rushed forward in anger, and then Abshir punched him in the stomach.
Dante held his stomach in pain. “Bamba-clot Somali boy stay out of my business.”
Abshir gave him a scathing look. “You messing with my sister is my business.
Dante’s eyes flew open and he stormed out of the hallway.
“Khadra!” said Faduma as she reached out to pull her into a hug. “Are you okay?”
Khadra couldn’t believe that Abshir had defended her. Why would he bother?
Khadra stiffened when she saw Dante behind them carrying a knife. “Look out!” she shouted.
Abshir faced Dante.
Grinning wickedly, Dante waved the knife, “Now, what are you going to do?”
“No, what are you going to do?” Mohamed AK threatened.
Khadra eyes widened when she saw five of Abshir’s friends walking into the hallway.
Dante glared at him. “This is one on one.”
“In life we don’t always get what we want.” Mohamed AK exchanged glances with his friends and they pulled out their knives.
“What the-” Dante spat on the floor.
Abshir raised his eyebrows. “Didn’t anyone warn you not to never ever touch our sisters?”
“She is not really your sister- is she?” Dante asked.
Abshir laughed. “Every Somali girl is my sister.” He nodded towards the girls. “Let’s get back to the concert before it ends. You are making me miss Hassan Adan Samatar, and he is my favorite singer.”