Native in a foreign land

Standard

“I’m from Pakistan.”, I say and my gut suddenly starts to churn. I’m anxious about how they will react. So I search for signs that show their discomfort.
“Phaa-kiss-taan” someone pronounces. I’ve always hated how the lips come together like they’re breathless when they take the name of my homeland.
“Yes, Pakistan”, I nod.
I’m labelled even before I tell them that my country is not all bombs and barbarians.
This label I did not ask for.
My passport is green and my language originates from Arabic and Persian. I’m a mix of cultures but they define me with words that I abhor just like them.
“Isn’t that where they caught Bin Laden?” they ask and I nod.
I want to say, “aren’t you the ones who made Bin Laden?” but I nod and look at the floor. My heart bleeds red, just like the hispanic man who sits across from my table. But he’s afraid of the wall that Trump is going to build and I’m afraid that one of these days someone will jump my nephew and I won’t be able to do anything about it.
There is a lot I want to tell the world as I skip continents. Make way through paper planes and travel roads that lead nowhere.
“No, bombs and barbarians are not the synonyms to define me”
“I am the courage of a nation still standing even when the world said that it can’t stand a day on its own.”

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