To the LGBTQIA person working at the sandwich stand,
When I noticed you watching me, I thought you hated me. I was afraid to come over and ask for my order. How could I, when along with my hijab I was also clothed in fear that you despised me?
But I held my breath and I came over anyway. And when I said, “Can I have a turkey sandwich?” what I really meant was, “I’m not dangerous.” When I said, “Thank you,” what I really meant was, “You and I are in the same boat. We’re both fighting to be who we are in a world that wants us all to look the same and live the same life.” When I said, “Can I have some mayo on that?” what I meant was, “I’m sorry. Even if it’s not my fault and I’d never do what that awful man did, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
You weren’t nervous. When a smile cracked open in your face, it was like seeing the sun rise in the morning. Your watchful eyes met mine. When you said, “You’re welcome,” did you really mean, “I’m not afraid of you”? When you said, “Have a good day,” and you kept your eyes on mine for a long time and smiled kindly, did you really mean, “We’re in this together”?
You put me at ease. And I want to thank you for that.
I want to thank you because you made the world a bit less scary.
The Muslim girl in the hijab