A child prepares food for Iftar (evening meal) before the breaking of fast on the first day of Ramadan. (REUTERS/Athar Hussain)
The story originally appeared in the anthology, POW-WOW (Da Capo Press, 2009).
The young boy – ashamed, dishonored, and fearing the wrath of a vengeful, omnipotent Allah – promised his Pakistani immigrant father with conviction and resolve.
“I promise not to eat during my fast. I will only eat at maghrib, after the sun sets, with every other fasting Muslim.”
This previous promise fell victim to a delectable and treacherous “M & M.” Like Eve and her apple, the young boy discovered his “fall from grace” stuck to the inner linings of his Husky pants’ pocket covered with a still edible chocolate-y goodness. His first attempt at fasting was hijacked by a stale, melted candy.
But, that was 2 days ago on the 27th of Ramadan. The blessed month – the young boy was taught – in which Muslims fast from eating, drinking, and being bad people, so Allah would be happy with them and forgive their sins and let them enter heaven and not go to Hell, where they would burn forever and ever and ever.
During the month of Ramadan, fasting Muslims were also forbidden from engaging in “adult activity” and “fornication” until sunset. The young boy asked his parents, “What does adult activity and for-nee-katyon mean? Is that what happens when men and women go to their rooms, lock the doors and it sounds like they’re hurting each other? ”
The parents, flushed with concerned, grave looks blindsided by a question they hoped to avoid till the boy was a teenager, sharply answered, “We’ll tell you when you’re older! Who taught you this word?”
“It’s in the book you gave me about Ramadan.”