Chapter 15: Discoveries

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     "It's flying away, Baba!" Khadijah squealed as she struggled with her kite. Dawood chuckled as he built a fire in front of their tent and watched Khadijah run up and down the beach. "Baba!" Khadijah cried out as the wind picked up and soared her kite higher. Dawood laughed and jogged towards Khadijah, just in time to take the kite string into his own hands. "Phew!" Khadijah sighed dramatically. "I thought I was going to be carried away!" "Now you know I wouldn't let that happen, right?" Dawood asked and began pulling the kite down. "I know," Khadijah giggled and danced around Dawood. "What are you doing?" Dawood asked as he wound the string around its spool. "I'm dancing. It's called bhangra. You hold up to fingers and dance," Khadijah sighed as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Yes, but why?" Dawood asked. "I'm happy," Khadijah explained. "When I'm happy, I dance." "Ah," Dawood nodded. "I understand. Why are you happy?" "Because you're home, Baba," Khadijah grinned and gave Dawood's legs an enormous hug. "I love you and I missed you, so I'm happy you're home."

     Dawood smirked at his daughter as he snatched the kite from the air, "I love and missed you too, Shehzadi. Should I dance too?" "Are you happy?" Khadijah asked as she took the kite from Dawood. "Yes, I am," Dawood replied as he placed his hands on his hips. "Then you should dance. Fingers up!" Khadijah declared and began hopping around with her index fingers raised. Dawood laughed and mimicked Khadijah's dance, which made the little girl erupt into a fit of giggles. The two of them lay on the sand and laughed as their worries drifted away. "Baba?" Khadijah called out as she crawled over to Dawood and sat on his waist. "Did you miss me all the time when you were away?" "All the time," Dawood smiled as he reached up and touched Khadijah's cheek. "I wondered if you ate on time, if you did your homework, if you were behaving yourself, and if you were being naughty." "I wasn't being naughty," Khadijah said quickly. "You can ask Aunt Rana and Uncle Ahmed. I behaved like you asked me to." Dawood sat up and wrapped his arms around his daughter, "That's why I'm so proud of you, Shehzadi. You always do what you're asked." Khadijah looked up at Dawood and smiled before kissing his cheek.

     Dawood smiled and rested his forehead against Khadijah's. Khadijah sighed and wrapped her arms around Dawood's neck before resting her head on his shoulder. "Baba?" Khadijah whispered. "Yes, Shehzadi?" Dawood asked as he held her. "I love you," Khadijah whispered. "I love you too," Dawood smiled at the little girl's admission. "When I grow up, I'm going to invent a machine that makes lots of money so you won't have to go to work," Khadijah whispered. "Do you miss me that much?" Dawood asked with a laugh. "Yes, sir," Khadijah nodded while she looked at Dawood. "Money isn't the only reason that I work though, Shehzadi," Dawood explained calmly. "What else do you do, Baba?" Khadijah asked as she turned around and looked at the ocean while sitting on Dawood's lap. "I help people. Sometimes when a bully bothers someone who is weaker than them, I stop the bully," Dawood explained simply.

     "I stopped a bully," Khadijah admitted. "It was a bit scary though." "I know," Dawood whispered and kissed the top of Khadijah's head. "It can be scary, but you did a good thing. Who was this bully bothering?" "My friend Sabrina," Khadijah explained. "This boy in my class kept calling her poor because she wore the same shoes everyday. Sabrina started crying. I didn't like it when she cried." "So what did you do?" Dawood asked as he held his little girl. "I pushed him and said that if Sabrina was poor, so was I. I wear the same shoes everyday. There's nothing wrong with that. Plus if you're poor today, you could be rich tomorrow, right?Allah can change things very fast," Khadijah said as Dawood nodded. "How did Sabrina feel?" Dawood asked as he kissed Khadijah's hand. Khadijah smiled and looked up at Dawood, "She said thanks and then we played in the sandbox. Baba?" "Yes, sweetheart?" Dawood asked and noticed that Khadijah was gripping his hand now as if she was scared. "What's wrong?" "Why do people say mean things?" Khadijah asked as she pursed her lips. "I don't like it." "I know, Shehzadi. People say mean things because sometimes they want you to feel as bad as they are on the inside," Dawood explained. "Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad on the inside, okay?" "Yes, sir," Khadijah smiled.

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