All people throughout this world are proud of what nationality, ethnicity, culture, and or religion they have. I am certainly proud of what nationalities I carry. I am Native American, French, German, and a majority is Syrian. Yeah, this little bundle of joy right here is almost fully blooded Syrian. Surprisingly, folks all around town say “Oh wow, that is a cool name you have! What nationality are you?” Of course respond with, “Oh, well my dad is from Syria.” Some give me funny glares and have their mouths open from the “O” shape they made. I ignore this and go on with my day. As a child it never bothered me but right as soon as middle school came, the gears shifted.
Peers started talking and rumors spread that this girl was not fully Catholic or was not like the rest of our friends. It was more boys than girls. I always sit at the table where the boys sit directly behind us. One day back in mid March of seventh grade, I had gotten crackers thrown at the back of me along with the attachment of the sentence of “Layla, are you gonna go and bomb a school or something?” I turned around to see boys snickering at the comment. My friends and I did nothing. We sat in peace and ate the rest of our lunch. Days past and comments were still being thrown at me like a baseball was being chucked at you in the face. I ignored, and ignored, and ignored until one day something was said that threw me over the edge. A dare was sent across the boys table from the main person in the situation.
He got up from his seat and came over to me looking like he was so confident and was enjoying the entertainment. He said to my face, “Layla, are you a part of Allahu Akbar, ISIS, or some other group from the Middle East? I mean, don’t you have to go and bomb some people like now or?” I looked at him blankly along with all my peers at my table. The boys were laughing and I sat there horrified of what just came out of his mouth. The other boy said, “Layla’s a part of ISIS!” I could feel my face start to turn bright red with anger and my eyes started burning. My friend sitting next to me started rubbing my arm and saying “It’s okay Layla, they are just stupid.”
I could feel tears rolling down my face. My breathing started to get heavy, more tears came the more I got upset. Everything was a complete fog to me for the rest of lunch. All I could hear was the soft sobs coming out of my mouth and the voices of friends yelling at the boys. I turn around to see the boy with a blank face recognizing what he had done. He mouthed to me “I am so sorry.” but I didn’t respond. Friends passed by while emptying lunches and asking what had happened. I would cry even more every time someone came to check on me asking what happened and then would comfort me for a period of time. Lunch was then over, still in shock from what happened. Both eyes red, tears still streaming down my face at the thought of what happened. The first thing I had thought was that I needed to see a teacher for help.
I immediately went to one of my 7th grade teachers that I trusted the most out of anyone. I had explained to him what had happened and he had gotten up from his chair and said “Come with me.” We sprinted down the hallway to find the principal. Frantically looking, we ran into her in the cafeteria. She had a horrified expression on her face almost as if she had seen a ghost. Mrs.Patten had handled the situation well and I went on with my day. After school, my phone had been exploding with text messages and snapchats. The boy Damian texted me sending his apologies in a paragraph.
At the time, I realized what these boys had done was just a silly mistake. When I look back at it now, it will always be stuck in the back of my mind. No other person has treated me as harshly as these peers that I have known for a while now ever have. There is still a part of me that will never forgive these people. Of course they are friends of mine, but nothing will ever fix what has been broken.