Friday, January 29, 2010
Blue and purple polka dot pajamas, at the pool
When I was six, I used to wear a homemade bathing suit to the pool.
At age seven Muslim kids are required to start practicing rules they must abide to after hitting puberty. Covering up was one of them.
The apartment pool rules were, “Only bathing suits allowed.” Therefore my mother got to work.
My ballerina-looking swimsuit was getting too small and my legs needed to be covered.
She bought colorful blue and purple polka-dotted nylon and spandex fabric. She bought just enough to make sleeves and long pants. It was baggy.
I was proud of my mother’s stitch work. I wasn’t too happy about the bathing suit but I understood it was something I had to do, otherwise, no more going to the pool.
It was a glistening beautiful day in Florida. The sun warmed the chlorine-filled blueish-green water. Everything seemed perfect except, the kids were quite mean.
“Why are you wearing your pajamas to the pool?,” they screamed. They shouted, pointed and laughed. They followed me around.
Again and again the repeated the menacing question. Twice to me, then to my parents.
I felt afraid. Embarrassed.
I kept saying, “I have to. It’s a part of my religion.” (As far as I remember).
My mother looked uncomfortable. She told me to ignore them.
We were the only ones – Muslims – at the pool. We were the only ones who cared to cover.
I think it was the same day my sister almost drowned in the pool. She was 2 1’2 years old.
Forgetting the pool rules, my mom jumped in the 3-feet end to save her 2-foot child. Clothes, shoes and all.