via Daily Prompt: Expectation

The young girl stood at the railing of the Golden Gate Bridge staring out into the thick gray fog.  She secured her long curly black hair  up into a bun at the back of her neck as tears rolled down her cheeks.  She had come to get a last look at the city she had loved, a city that no longer felt safe, but the fog was so thick this morning, she could barely see 2 feet in front of her.  She closed her eyes and thought of the last time she had seen the city from this view point.  Tina came here often.  Her family lived close by and she liked to run everyday.  Running across the bridge provided such a beautiful view, plus she loved seeing all the tourists taking pictures and how happy they were to finally be on the famous bridge.  Yes, it was annoying sometimes to run around them as they randomly stopped with their selfie sticks, but she made a game out of it, ducking and dodging them like she was in a video game silently keeping score every time she was successful.  Her Mom always had a large glass of cold water and a plate of nuts, apples and cheese waiting on the kitchen table when she got back from her run.  She had loved her Mom and all the little things she used to do.  Tina began to sob now as she thought about it.  Her Mom had been killed 6 months ago.  She had been walking to her car in a parking garage downtown when a man had grabbed her hijab from behind, pulled her close, and shot her in the head.  The man had been caught a week later because he had gotten drunk and started bragging about what he had done to a friend he thought shared his same hatred.  The fact that the man had been caught was a relief at first, but all the media attention, the stares, the insults to her Mom, her family, and to her, were too much.  Many people had come to support their family.  They had received an outpouring from the community of money, food, and some people even came to walk with her to protect her from the haters, but Tina didn’t feel supported.  All she could think about was that her mother was gone.  She couldn’t get the images of what she’d seen on TV of the people who supported the man who’d killed her mother out of her head. There had been a spray painted message on their garage that had read “You don’t belong here!”  And the worst of it, a group of girls had surrounded the outside of her toilet stall at school and had whispered things like “your mother deserved it”, “your mom was a terrorist”, “muslims are scum”, “I hope it hurt when that man shot her”, “I hope the President deports you and bans you from coming back” and so much more.  It seemed like they had kept her trapped in there for hours whispering horrible things, things that kept popping into to her head when she least expected it.  She can’t forget them no matter what she does.  Her father keeps trying to talk to her, but she doesn’t want him to know about it all.  He is already so hurt and so angry.  She sees how he struggles to keep going for her sake.  She hears him crying all night, but every morning he’s in the kitchen making breakfast and trying to appear like nothing is wrong.  Tina had stopped running, stopped laughing, stopped caring.  She just wanted it all to end.  Everyone kept telling her it would get better in time, just think about the good times, remember who your mother was not the way she died, take one day at a time, but that was all bullshit.  Her mother was gone and never coming back.  Her life had changed forever and she couldn’t handle it.  Her Mom had been her rock.  The expectation that she be just as strong as her mother, pick up the pieces, and carry on were unfair.  Her mother was exceptional.  That man had extinguished her life in seconds knowing nothing about her other than she wore a hijab.  Tina pulled one of her mother’s hijabs from of her pocket now and put it on.  It felt warm like her mother had put her arms around her.  As she straightened the material around her neck and head, she caught a whiff of her mother’s scent.  She smiled. It was the scent of lavender.  She thought of the time her mother had put a little drop of lavender on her wrist and how grown up she had felt.  Tina took a deep breath.  And another.  She knew she had to be fast.  She didn’t want anyone to stop her.  Someone may be on their way now with all the crying she had been doing.  She was angry with herself.  She had told herself that she wouldn’t give off any signs of wanting to jump. That anger helped her stop crying now.  She wiped her tears away.  She took another deep breath, quickly climbed over the railing, and jumped before she could change her mind.

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