A SHEIK FOR ROSE
“Come on Ro, just walk away,” Mary said pulling on Rosie’s arm, trying to get her to
move away from the girls taunting them. If the odds had been better, they would
stay and fight, but three against eight was not fair at all.
“Yeah, they’re not worth it.” Annie took the other arm and pulled until they were well
out of range of the hurled insults.
The girls walked home from school that day hand in hand. It was always the three of
them against what seemed like everyone else in the town.
“You know it’s not true Ro. Why do you let them upset you?” Mary kept checking
behind them to make sure they weren’t being followed.
“I don’t know. It was Gina that started it,” Rosie said as she combed the
spaghetti from her hair with her fingers.
“I saw her trip you. Why did she call you a hoe?” Annie said as she helped pick
noodles from the back of her hair.
“I don’t know. Why would you call anybody a hoe? A rake maybe, but a hoe?” Rosie
shook her head trying to dislodge more of the spaghetti that had now congealed
in her hair.
“You know why she did it? I saw Jason Beckman look down your shirt when he went to
sharpen his pencil today in class. Gina saw him do it. I think she was
jealous.” Mary put her hands on her hips, already plotting.
“Yeah right. Jason Beckman, the most popular boy in school, wants to look down my
shirt. I mean really, what’s he gonna see? You know we don’t have boobs yet.”
Rosie pulled her tomato covered shirt away from her body and shook the excess spaghetti
“Well, maybe he was just checking to see if you did.” Mary stopped strategizing long
enough to answer.
“Gina doesn’t have boobs yet either. I know ‘cause I saw her behind the slide with
Peter Foster. She pulled her shirt up and showed him. He even touched them!”
Mary and Rosie froze in their tracks, their mouths gaping open. “No way Annie. You’re
making that up.”
Annie’s chin went up. “I am not. She doesn’t even wear a bra.”
“Well, we don’t either.” Mary and Rosie answered in unison.
“When do you think we will get ‘em?” Rosie asked longingly.
Annie thought a moment before answering. “I don’t know, maybe by winter break.”
“Hey come on, let’s go to Mr. Kesler’s pond. We can wash the spaghetti from your
clothes and take a dip all at the same time. We’ll be dry by the time we get
home.” The three changed directions and took off running through the field to
Mr. Kesler’s pond.
Rosie wished they were normal. That was always the wish she made. On her birthday and
on falling stars, it was always the same wish. Just to be a normal kid. It was
around the second grade that they realized they weren’t normal.
Their lives up until that point had been filled with love, laughter and adventure.
That was when they realized that the treasure hunts they thought were so fun
were ridiculed by others as dumpster diving. Their house was beautiful and
magical to them. But others didn’t understand the importance of reducing and
reusing. It was a game to them to come up with a new use for something they
found on one of their treasure hunts. Others laughed and called their beautiful
house the trash house.
“Last one in eats worms!” Mary said as she threw her shirt on the ground beside Mr.
Laughter and squeals could be heard just before splashes were made by three naked bodies
as they ran and jumped into the pond.
“So what do you think about glue?” Rosie asked the other two as they floated on
“Where would you put it? In her lunchbox?” Mary asked before she spit a waterfall from
“No, that’s not very creative. How about worms in her lunchbox?” Annie offered.
“That’s ingenious Annie. How do you come up with these ideas?” Rosie’s eyes gleamed
with mischief thinking about the look on Gina’s face when she opened her
“It’s just a talent I guess.” Annie ducked into the water and came back up with a
mouthful of water that she proceeded to shower her sisters with in a perfect
Giggling the girls set to work digging worms from the edge of the pond and putting them
in a bag from their lunchboxes, lunch boxes that at one time had been cereal
boxes but were now covered in duct tape and even had a duct tape handle. That’s
the thing about picking on one of the Gold sisters. Retaliation was swift and
sure, it was an unspoken rule.
They would be coming for him soon. Rashid looked out the window of his new room. He
missed his old room. It was the room of a young boy with parents to guide and
nurture him as he grew, until one day he would become the Sheik.
He looked around the room they said was now his. This room would never be his. It
belonged to his parents and would forever belong to his parents. It made no
difference to him that they would never again sleep in the bed or play with him
on the rugs. One day he would make them listen, and he would move to a
“Rashid, it is time,” Adamir, his friend, came into the room to collect him.
Rashid left the room as a boy of thirteen but returned as Sheik Rashid Sadid Baasar of
Altraan. His parents were killed only a few days prior, and now a boy was left
to rule a country. The ceremony that laid his parents to rest was also the
ceremony that placed the title of Sheik before his name.
Be strong, they said. The country needs you to stand tall, they said. Everyone had
an opinion of what he should do and how he should do it, but no one told him
how to stop grieving for his parents. Only a few days prior his greatest
concern was finishing his school work so he could play with his best friend
He missed his mother’s smile and the way she could make him feel better if he was
feeling sad. She always knew just what to say. He missed his father’s guidance.
His father always took his time in explaining his reasons behind any decision
he made. He felt safe when his father was near. Would he ever feel safe again?
He must say goodbye to his parents and his youth and move forward as the ruler of
Altraan. He must not show his fear. That is what his father had taught him.
He ate his dinner quietly, the sole member at the table that could easily seat
twenty. He remembered the noisy meals his family would have as they shared
their day with each other. After dinner he walked back to his room and stood
just inside the door. He looked at the chair by the window where his mother
should be sitting working on her tapestry, but it now sat empty.
He walked to the table across the room and opened the black and gold box that contained
his father’s pipe and tobacco. Carefully he picked the pipe up and ran it under
his nose. It smelled of his father and happier times. The last conversation he
had with his father was about the women of the palace. Rashid thought it was
time to begin his lessons with them. His father insisted he wait another year.
He had not been happy with his father’s decision, but he would obey his wishes.
Now it seemed irrelevant.
He put the pipe back in the box and walked out the door, down the hallway, and
into a guest room. If they insisted he have the master suites, then they would
be redecorated and his parents’ possessions would be boxed up and placed in
storage. He could not live in a room full of memories. It was best if they were
packed up and never seen again. Just like his youth.
He slept and he ate and he sat in meeting after meeting until his life became one
big meeting. They asked him to made decisions that would affect the people of
Altraan. He listened and tried to understand what they asked. The elders would
guide him in making decisions.
They said he didn’t have time to see Aamir. Running his country was more important
than childhood friends.
As the months went by, he became good at masking his fear and feelings. The
executive board told him he was excelling as Sheik. They told him his father
would be proud. Then, he discovered many of his board members were using their
allegiance to him for their personal gain. They had been guiding his decisions
towards their favor.
He fired them and fined them a ridiculous amount of money. Now the people of
Altraan said he was cagey and ruthless and just what the country needed. But
people he had come to depend on and trust had forsaken him. A lesson learned, trust
no one but yourself.
His meals were still spent in quiet isolation, but now it was his choice. He
preferred solitude instead of the disingenuous and useless conversation of
people that only wanted something from him.
The lessons he learned over the years he learned well. Never show your emotions.
Trust no one. Never depend on anyone but yourself. These lessons, learned so
early in his life, got him through.
Rashid rose from behind his desk and walked to the window.
“Sheik Rashid. The executive board is ready when you are.”
“I’m coming, Meric.” The trees in the courtyard were blowing gently in the wind. He
watched as several birds flittered amongst the leaves, seeming to play catch me
games. He smiled, a very rare occurrence for him these days. Aamir used to play
such a game with him. They would run among the palace hallways trying to catch
each other and end up in a pile on the floor, laughing over silly things.
Rashid straightened his jacket and put back on his mask of indifference. He turned his back to the
window and the life he had before his parents were taken from him so cruelly
and walked through the door towards his future, as Sheik Rashid Shadid Basara
ruler of Altraan.