by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
“Impossible, my friend. Say it.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of exasperating,” Sameh laughed and kissed Miriam.
“What will we tell your parents?” Hell, what will we tell my parents?”
“That we are both people of the book. Depending upon whom you consult, I suppose,” he laughed again. It really wasn’t a laughing matter, but humor served on occasion to diffuse the tension created by so many of their choices.
Sameh had chosen Med school, which was a good idea. That he interned at Cedars of Sinai not so much, but his parents were merely uncomfortable with how their family back home would see things. The same concern likely drove them to move to the United States since neither parent had ever intended or even considered doing what was expected.
And Miriam had chosen Sameh, which was not just a bad idea but a sad one as well, since her mother stopped talking to her. Her father had stopped talking to her only a few years before when David Jr. had made the choice to transition. Not the choice to be a woman; of that there had been never any doubt in her mind. The choice to follow through with the needed adjustments that allowed her to express outwardly what she contained without word for years inwardly. It wasn’t quite a popular idea post-decision with Sameh’s parents, but they loved him and he loved Miriam.
“Insha'Allah,” his father Jamal had said with a shrug. Whatever Miriam was, it was who she was that mattered to both Jamal and Dimah. Odd that the man would be beautiful and the woman would be the prayer, but that defined their relationship, because Jamal was a beautiful human being. And Dimah was his prayer warrior in a way; the one who reminded him where the character in his heart originated.
David and Beth, on the other hand, were much slower to accept the union because they were slow to accept the ones who united. But finally David had come around to loving his daughter. Almost words out of a movie or story, but he uttered them anyway, ‘life is too short’ when he had the second of two heart attacks and realized that both Beth and Miriam had hardly left his side. The devotion of a child rejected by the devotee turned his eyes to her and his heart to the truth; that he indeed had a daughter to be treasured even if she started out differently.
And the stalwart support that Sameh gave Miriam the entire time both parents had rejected her turned Beth’s heart as well. To know that the man’s love for her child was unending? Undaunted? Unashamed? How could she do less?
And so on the anniversary of their meeting; the 2nd of April, 2015 CE; the 13th of Nisan, 5775; and the 12th of Jumaada al-Thaany, 1436 A.H., Sameh Gamil and Miriam Hershlag rented a nice apartment in a three story walk up on the upper East Side of Manhattan.
Little steps, folks….
Chag Sameach, As-salamu alaykum, and have a wonderful weekend!
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