Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

When I was Rakan’s age, my dad took me to the Jeddah waterfront for some father-son time.

The sun was setting, the weather was cool, and the Red Sea waves flirted with the shore.

In my hand was a cup of Balila, a local street food composed of boiled chickpeas, diced pickles, hotsauce, salt and cumin. The layered flavors of it still make my mouth water to this day.

After I scarfed it down with the small white plastic spoon, we walked together along the promenade and returned to the car. By then, the sun had set and it was getting dark. As we approached the car, my father reached into his pockets for his car keys and realized that he’d left them in the car. We were locked out.

After a few moments of cursing, some of which were new to my ear, he came up with a plan. He grabbed a heavy rock from the ground and smashed the back window. Not the main window, but the smaller triangular one at the very edge of the door, surely to minimize the damage and repair costs later.

He reached in with his arm, unlocked the back door, and climbed into the car for his keys. A few moments later I was seated in the back next to the perfectly shattered glass shards, watching them glimmer under the orange street lamps all the way home.

I was in awe. That was the most bad-ass thing I’d ever seen my father do. I remember thinking “wow, my dad is such a hero!” and couldn’t wait to get home and tell my mom about it!

I wonder if my kids will ever consider me to be a bad-ass. And I wonder what their “my father is such a hero” story will be.

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