The Bereavers at the Crying Competition
The MC introduced each contestant, and at the end, said that that year’s grief counselors in black would like to be called the Bereavers. He mispronounced it as the Beliebers, and the audience laughed, because they are American, and have no idea what Bereaver could mean.
I heard about it from Adnan, the guy who works at the Smoke Shop on Vermont and Hollywood. Adnan is a Syrian refugee. He moved to LA from Aleppo and we still haven’t fucked, but I’m working on it.
Randa Jarrar’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Utne Reader, Salon, The Offing, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, The Sun, Medium, and others. Her first book, the Arab-American coming of age novel, A Map of Home, was published in seven languages & won an Arab-American Book Award. Her most recent book, Him, Me, Muhammad Ali, won an American Book Award, a PEN Oakland Award, and a Story Prize Spotlight Award, and was named a Key Collection for Fall 2016 by Library Journal and one of Electric Literature‘s 25 best collections of the year.
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Alfonzo looked aghast, like they were the two most naïve immigrants in the history of New York. “ICE is preparing to break through that door with guns and night vision goggles, maybe even dogs, and you’re worried about the breeze?”
When you disappeared, three nights ago, I told them you were up north, visiting your mother. Why should I tell them different?