Henna Mizan 27'
Looking into the present day of October 19th, 2010, I start to realize everything in life is valuable. Nothing has a little meaning in today's world. I am now 47 years old: the same age as Baba when we came to America.
Baba had everything taken away from him at 47 years old, his business, his family, and his home. However, I am just now getting everything. Soraya and I are happily married. Sohrab is a happy kid. He’s a kid. He’s a regular kid who plays baseball. He plays baseball with me every Friday afternoon after school. He even goes to school every day.
We are a normal family in America who lives an ordinary life.
2003, a year after I took Sohrab to America. I had just picked up Sohrab from school. We walked past this beat-down gas station on the way home. It reminded me of the one Baba used to own when we first moved here. For some reason I felt a force dragging me towards the doors. As we walked in, I saw a wall of lottery tickets. Some teal, some sliver. They're all beautiful.
“What are those?” Sohrab asked.
“Lottery tickets” I said, as I picked one out.
“What do they do?” Sohrab asked, while walking down the aisle.
“What can’t they do” I said as I handed him the ticket.
I bought a 2003 Lucky Ball scratch ticket. We sat down on the side of the curb, as we started scratching, praying to Allah for a win. As we scratched more, I stopped and looked up to Sohrab to see his smile grow bigger and bigger each scratch, revealing the numbers hidden beneath. As we unveiled the card, we yelled “Mashallah! We won!'', hugging each other. We won. We won the lottery: 10 million dollars! From that day forward I never took life for granted. No matter how big or small, everything has a purpose in life. If I never returned to Afghanistan…If I never married Soraya…If I never walked into that gas station, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Just three months after winning the powerball, I put most of the money into something that will live on for generations: an orphanage. I built an orphanage and named it after Baba. I spent all my days and nights there making sure everything was perfect. I wanted to do something for my inspiration, the man I will always look up to. I built this in memory of Baba, to give back what was taken from him.
Sohrab worked there every weekend and summer. He found this place to be a comfort place eventually instead of a hell. He made friends with the other kids there, some even went through similar situations as him. After the orphanage was settled, I bought Soraya a nice big house that had a big backyard and space for her family to come and visit whenever they wanted.
In the back of the house there was a tree. Not any tree, a pomegranate tree. In the spring it bloomed full of pomegranates, delicious and juicy. Sohrab and I would sit under the tree, face full of pomegranate juice while talking in the summer afternoon, just as Hassan and I did many summers before. Hassan will always be in my heart yet, now it isn’t in remorse and guiltiness. It was filled with memories of us as kids with not a care in the world. It’s him being there by my side through it all.
It’s him and me under that pomegranate tree forever.