I was seated at the computer when Moona softly tiptoed out of her room. She was supposed to be asleep, but I was used to the half-hour or so of coaxing it takes.
“فقط أسألك شيئا “ “I just want to ask you something.”
“Mm hmm, go ahead.”
She will pull anything out of her brain, just to prolong the moments before going back to bed. Maybe she will retell part of a story we read earlier, tell me exactly what color she wants for her hairpiece next Eid, or remind me that we need to call her grandmother later. Sometimes she will ask me how big Allah is, or if she can hold her baby sister when she wakes up. You never know what random question she will think up when she is dodging sleep.
She took a deep breath … and held it. And held it. And held it. She stared at me, eyes wide, mouth half-open. I watched her frozen face and realized that her mind completely blanked on her. The seconds ticked by…
“Moona, go to sleep.”
Her breath whooshed out.