The Beginning

The first time I walked on Manchester Street in Virginia, where I have been living now for about six years, I was an outsider, lost, looking for a way to fit into the crowd. A crowd of all nations, cultures with so many faces that mine was lost among them. I felt as though I would never be able to feel normal again. The unfamiliar roads were too foggy, too hard to pass through, so out of reach. I never thought I would make it; there were too many things to know. It was like starting life all over again, from zero. The stores were too big, the roads were too wide, I was a lost kid, trying to figure out where to go. Where ever I went, I was being watched; at least that’s how I felt at the time. The scarf around my head (at the time I still wore a scarf, I had been used to wearing it in Iran) felt too out of place. I never knew what to wear, how to look, what to say, I didn’t want to say anything. I hated going outside, everything was too strange, too different from what I had been used to. The nights were the worst, I had to sleep in an apartment where nothing felt real, the empty walls, the empty rooms, the loneliness of it still makes me sick. I was hurt, I felt betrayed. I felt betrayed because they told me America was going to be great. But it wasn’t, not then. I was alone and misunderstood, I was twelve years old. How was I supposed to understand that it was for the best, that it was the first step towards a successful future? Mornings were depressing; breakfast was a way to be distracted from the somber atmosphere. I felt small and belittled, a vapor. Life was unfair, ridiculous, but I had a loving mom and dad who left their children, my siblings, behind in hopes of meeting them again in America. They came to forget a past that was too unbearable and to give me a life where I could make my own decisions, find my own peace of mind and my freedom. It was a new beginning for them too. They understood why they had come, I hadn’t yet. I was just a beginner, a novice at a new life…

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