X is for Xenophobic #AtoZChallenge

“Get away from the window. They’ll see you,” my mother hissed as I stared at the moving van across the street.

“Look! There’s a girl about my age,” I cried with excitement. Since I turned 12, my younger brother was even less appealing to hang out with and I longed for a girlfriend. “I’m going to invite her over.”

“No, Anne! We don’t want you associating with them!” my father said, anger clouding his face.

“Why?” I asked, confused.

“They’re Muslims,” he said.

“So, what difference does that make?”

“They’re different from us. They don’t live the same way we do. I bet they don’t even speak English.”

“That doesn’t bother me. I want to know more about them,” I insisted and opened the door. My father stepped into the doorway, blocking my path.

“No. I don’t want you going over there and that’s final.”

Our eyes met and he gave me one of his tough father looks. Finally I backed down and went to my room to do my homework.

My parents were so fearful and narrowminded. Somethings it was like living in a prison.

A few hours later, I heard the doorbell ring.

“I’ll get it!” I yelled and ran to the door. The new girl was standing there holding a plastic container.

“Hello, I’m Shira,” she said shyly. I liked the look of her huge dark eyes and her brightly coloured headress or hijab as they were called.

“I’m Anne,” I said, unsure of what to say. I gave her a big smile to cover my nervousness. “Welcome to the neighbourhood.”

“Thank you,” she replied politely. “Here. This is for you. My mother sent it. It’s Shish Taouk, chicken kebabs.“ She handed me a container. I could smell the fragrant spices and it made my mouth water.

“Thank you so much,” I said, taking it.

My parents appeared from the kitchen, wide-eyed, curious and apprehensive.

Shira gave them a nod in respect. They just stared at her, unsure of what to say.

“This is Shira. These are my parents. Look at what her mother sent over,” I said handing them the container. “Wasn’t that kind of her?” I gave them a pleading look.

My parents looked at each other and then back at Shira.

Honestly, sometimes I felt like I was the parent and they were the kids.

“Thank you. Tell your mother thank you,” my mother finally said, giving Shira a weak smile. My father forced a smile, too and nodded in agreement. Both of them relaxed and their faces softened.  

It wasn’t much but it was a start. I had my work cut out for me but I was determined.

I am participating in the A to Z Challenge writing a blog post for every day in April, except Sundays. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Here are my previous posts for the challenge:

A is for Andante or Allegro, which one are you?

B is for Beauty of Birds
C is forMy Favourite Words begin with C
D is for It's Still a Delightful Day!
E is for Elusive Eloise
F is for Forgive and Forget
G is for Guilt
H is for Holiday in your Head
I is for Introverts can have Impact and Influence
J is for Jack and Jill
K is for Katie the Klutz 
L is for Lollygagging
M is for Magical Moments
N is for Never Again 

O is for Object 
P is for Picture Perfect 
R is for Romance 
S is for Squirrel 
T is for Thoughts 
U is for Unplugged 
V is for Verse 
W is for Weight/Wait


  1. This captures the fear of other communities / foreigners so well, Cathy! Great story telling here!

  2. Nicely illustrated, Cathy. Sadly, so many people have these same attitudes. They fear the unknown and buy into all the bullshit propaganda online. My next door neighbours are Muslims. Very quiet. Their kids are always courteous and neatly dressed. I have zero tolerance for xenophobia, having lived through it myself as a child. Daily harassment and bullying were normal, because of my German heritage. (When I started school in London, WWII had only been over for 15 years.)

  3. Sadly these attitudes still exist. And these days fear is an emotion that is gaining momentum. Both nicely depicted in your story.

    Suzy at Someday Somewhere - Xtraordinary Moments

  4. If only we all could be like Anne! This world would have been such a peaceful place, isn't it?


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