It’s late tonight. The lights are out.
The time has come check out every route.
Stealthily checking every door.
Windows and balconies, once ignored.

Drumming my fingers, nodding off
Still waiting for a single cough.
A sign of life, that she is there.
Just one more stitch to mend the tear.

Tossing, turning. Unfit for sleep
Don’t dream, I think. Don’t go too deep.
Don’t travel far from where you are
Leave the hall light on, the door ajar.

My heart is aching. Be a little stronger.
My mind is racing. Stay awake longer.
The exhaustion finally pulls me deep
Free-falling in a fitful sleep.

Slowly walking through a dream
A cloudy type of haze it seems
And when it clears, I see a girl
Whose actions make my very heart soar
Surrounded by books, no phone in sight
Studying, I think, to my delight.

I run to her, with an open heart
For she would never do me harm
I blurt out a question with little charm
“Are you my karma?”

She twists her chair around towards me
her face contorts, she looks so mean
With a vicious look, she sneers at me
“Your karma is the studious one? Oh please.”

Why would I belong to you?
I study on my own, you fool.
I need no tutors, no after school sessions
My prized notebooks are used to teach others lessons

You act like such a tiger mom.
As though you never had a single qualm.
You messed up one too many times
You failed your tests and then you lied
You partied late and tried to cram
You sometimes cheated. It was easier then.
This karma does not belong to you
You deserve much worse, you know you do.

I stumble away. How dreadfully mean!
Someone should really control that teen
What an awful thing to say to me.
My karma is something yet to see.

A few more steps, the haze then parts
I see my perfect counterpart.
He’s fit. He’s toned. He makes his own shakes.
He grills his food, whether chicken or steak.
No energy drinks or unnatural food
Some broccoli and fruits, some carbs for a boost

My nutrition lectures have finally worked!
The pat on my back was definitely hard earned.
With absolute confidence I’m happy to grace
I ask “Are you my karma?” with a smile on my face

The boy starts to hiccup. I’m completely alarmed
Is he choking or something? Where do I start?
He’s laughing so much, he can hardly breathe
It takes a few minutes when he finally speaks.

He looks at me with obvious scorn.
Your karma? Me?’ My heart feels torn.
I don’t need you to make me whole
To make a basket or score a goal.

You never cared for your own health.
You only think about your wealth.
Your own workouts are useless and small
They don’t do much for that gut at all.
So no, dear mother, your karma is not in me
I’m fit, you’re not. It’s plain to see.

‘You’re awful’, I scream as I run away.
In this dream landscape, I cannot stay.
My fragile heart is torn asunder.
The tears of pain I’m drowning under.

Just wake up now, I tell myself.
Don’t break down now. Get a hold of yourself!
There’s no one left to cause you pain
To break your heart, to cause you strain.

I’ll wake up any minute now
And then I’ll make another round.
“Wait for us.” I hear a voice
A gentle sound. Should I rejoice?

They’re two of them. They help me up.
They wipe my tears. They give me a hug.
Each one speaks, as they hold my hand
To calm and help me understand.

For every ditch that comes my way
That force me down, that make me stay
The ones that I did not foresee
The ones I make with my own deeds

The way out has been shown to me
Though I avoid it painstakingly
You gave me tools, you gave me the means
The drive to climb, that belongs to me

The karma that you so desperately seek
Is not going to come from me
I am as I am, a mix of genes
Of experiences lived and changes seen

I cannot say that I won’t trip
That promises won’t break and lies won’t slip
But I can wipe away your tears
And do my best to assuage your fears

So wake up mom! Wake up from this dream
That keeps you in your slumber deep.
Be the parent, make the rules
And I’ll do my best to follow through.

Adeeba Jafri is an expat mom of four (three teens and a tween), currently residing in the ME. She is a teacher, writer, Muslim youth group coordinator, IB administrator and major foodie. You can find her on her website at dessertinthedesert.org
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