I know I know….smoking is a bad habit, but this is how it started. The strongest encounter with my dad was around smoking of course. When I was 16 years old, I started smoking, only to impress girls and fit in with the kids I wanted to fit in with. So I gave in to pressure and started my journey with Marlboro lights. The way we would walk in the park, with cigarettes hanging out of our mouths, and walking by the girls was a quiet experience. They liked it for it was a cool thing back then. A kid who smoked was a tough wise kid that feared nothing. I guess when you gamble with being caught smoking by dad or mom was indeed a fearful thing. So yes, I was the wise guy..or should I say the wise kid amongst a group of “cool kids”. That worked nice so the girls were impressed and you could hear their giggles as soon as we walked by, out of their “impressed” status. Yes, they were impressed by our group.
However, the price of being the “cool kid” was hefty. My dad was known to be a “gunaholic”. In addition, I hated the shoes that the army was issuing to them. I mean it hurts for crying out loud. Oh well…my coolness was about to take a toll on me. So I was walking like a rooster amongst the hens, and the cigarette was hanging out of my mouth as if I was Clint eastwood saying “hey punk, are you feeling lucky today?” or maybe Robert Dinero and his famous line “hey you…are you talking to me?”. Then suddenly, I saw a friend of my father who was walking the opposite direction, and he saw me smoking. I started remembering the shoes that my father wears, and started praying that he doesn’t tell my father about what he just saw. I quiet frankly saw my life in front of me, right there, and felt that My god was punishing me for the past 10 minutes when I was flirting with my chemistry’s teacher who was the most beautiful woman I saw, up to that time of course. I guess God is watching me and the time has come for punishment. Still, I had a slight glimpse of hope that either this guy didn’t see me, or he may have felt petty and not told my father.
So I go home shaken as if I was hit by a lightening. Dad was asking me “are you ok?” and I answered him yeah sure dad..everything is fine. Now, my dad is the kind of father that wasn’t rough on me, and the last time he laid a hand on me was when I was about 13 years old when I cursed God in front of him, after he cursed God. He slapped me on my face that I felt my head turned around few turns. When I questioned him for why he hit me, he yelled and said I only curse God in this house, not anyone else” Of course I wasn’t convinced, but it’s ok, he is a changed man now and went to haj a couple of time. So anyway, few days later, I was walking home after a soccer game (we called it football of course) and as I walked in the house, is saw my mom shivering and telling me to get out of the house. I panicked and got scared. Then I see my dad screaming at me from the hallway and cursing me with every bad words that you could think of. Then he goes to his room, and I see him coming out with his favorite UAE army issued gun, and he runs toward me. I ran out as soon as I could, and was still running in the street. I looked back and saw my dad with his gun running after me. Now this is a funny seen, but I guarantee to you, I almost peed my pants that day. He was screaming at me saying he was going to shove the gun up my…ummm..well..you get the story anyway. I ran to the mosque, and stayed there. He was not around. He must have gone back to the house. Still, I was in no way to go back home like this. I know my father, and he is..well, was a crazy man, specially with a gun in his hand.
I called my uncle and begged him to do something about it for I was about to lose my life for a damn cigarette. Just around 10 or maybe 11 pm, my uncle comes to the mosque and picks me up. I got in the car with him after he assured me that he calmed my dad down and he was not going to shoot me. He was laughing when he said that, but I wasn’t. So I walk into the house, and I see my dad so angry screaming at me why would I smoke. I just didn’t answer. I couldn’t anyway even if I tried to. Then he gets up, as I was turning around to go to my room, and I feel this big painful kick on my behind. Quickly, I knew that my father feared army issued shoe has struck my behind. It was so painful that makes the pain of hemorrhoid looks like a vacation from pain. Ouch…it was a very painful one. Oh well, at least it felt better than a bullet into my behind.
15 years later, I asked my dad “hey dad, were you really going to shoot me that day?”. He paused..and said “well, you were bad that day” and that’s when the thought of my father being a crazy man was assured in my mind. He would’ve done it, maybe shooting my leg, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m 37 years old now, and until today, I can never smoke in front of my father. He smells me, and he knows I smoke, and he told me one day to go ahead and smoke, but no way, I’m serious, I can never smoke in front of my dad. But this is for another reason of course. He gave up smoking when I was 13 years old for us as I found out later. I respect him so much that I just can’t break his heart and have him see me smoking, even if he felt I was smoking. Beside, the shoe mark on my behind is still showing. Ok, fine, I was exaggerating a little about the shoe mark but I respect him that I just don’t see myself lighting a cigarette in front of him.
Today, and in my own home, and as my parents are visiting me in the states, I sneak upstairs to the master bath, and open the window, and turn on the venting fan, and smoke my cigarette. Could’ve been an army shoe trauma, I don’t know, but this is what’s happening.
Girls were another reason that got me in trouble with my dad. There was this girl, and she was my age, 17 years old back then. I didn’t like her at all for I was in love with another girls. So at any rate, she calls my house, and speaks to my oldest sister begging her to have me call her. My sister would tell her to forget about it. So few days later, I see this girl coming to my house, with two guys, whom I found out later to be her dad and uncle. So they walk in, introduced themselves and sat. My dad didn’t know what was going on, but I got a clue. So I went back to my room thinking of what these guys want? Then my dad calls me, and that’s when I saw my life again in front of. I walked in the room, and he told me to sit down. Then the girl claimed that I was bothering her over the phone and was flirting with her. Of course I denied strongly, but my dad was yelling at me to shut up and not to raise my voice in the room. So the girl and her dad went on and on about this story of theirs. Luckily, my dad asked “what have you got to say about this?” I said “ask my sister and she will tell you who was bugging who, and beside, I would never flirt with a girl, that is the girlfriend of my friend” Now, keep in mind that “girlfriend” is different than the today’s common term. That’s when the girl started crying, and my dad yelling and I’m screaming “ask my sister, she called our home two days ago dad, and I refused to talk to her” Before they could ask my sister, the visitors decided to walk outside the house, and I could tell that I have won my first battle, but still, could see the flames coming out of my fathers eyes. He asked me later to be honest with him, and I swore to him that she was the one was bugging our house.
Or the time when my sister decided to go out with her friends, wearing a skirt that was above the knees, and a shirt that was too tight. I behaved like the man of the house and demanded that she changes into a more decent outfit. Then my dad comes running, and pushing me outside her room telling me “when I die, you decide what she wears, but today, she is going out like this, take it or leave it”. Of course I took it. He trusted my sisters so much for he knew what kind of girls they are. He always believed in giving them the freedom they wished for, but within the honor of the family, and they proved to be up for the task. Heck, if you think I was tough, wait till I start talking about my sisters and what they did to guys who tried to flirt with them. Maybe in another chapter.
Although I had a strong relationship with my dad (believe me I did), he managed to make me run outside the home for few hours on few occasions. Like the time when I stole his car when he was a sleep for test drive, and instead of putting the gear on reverse, it was on first, and hit the house. I didn’t even get it outside the parking garage. I ran away quickly anyway, and came back later.
Nevertheless, he had lots of positive effect on me. He trusted me, even when I was 17 and a half years old when he threw me in abu-dhabi airport to travel to America. He knew I was responsible in the house, and when he left for extended time, he would tell the whole house that I am the man now. Even today, I look up to him, and he trusts me very nicely. Sure he was tough, but I tell you, what he did to his country and his family by far surpasses any negatives he may have. Funny I’m writing these words, and my dad is sitting in the end of the room watching aljazeera TV. I would smile while writing these words, and taking a quick look at my dad’s face, and remember the “good old day”. So if you’ll execuse me for now, I need to sneak upstairs to the bathroom so I can smoke a cigarette and come back to start working on my next chapter.
Crazy & random thoughts
8 years ago