The Asha Renu Series (Book 1)

By Amira Awaad

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The ancients used to say that a spirit resides in everything. That all matter, living and inanimate, are gravitational channels of energy.

They believed that some individuals were selected to encompass magnificent fragments of older souls.

But unless all the components of the new soul were complete and known to the host, these people could never be whole — merely pieces of a puzzle that remain disjointed.

Many, today, still believe it and some even know the signs. Yet, others conceive such stories as forgotten lore…

But there are those — a very rare few who live in our time — that actually experience the gravitational channels in consciousness.

They awaken to the spirit and accept the gift it offers.

Farewell, New York.

It was a rainy morning in front of the 22-story high rise, and as the last suitcase was loaded into the back of a black embassy Cadillac, Nadiah Zahi turned around to say goodbye to the greatest friend she’d ever known.

The news of returning to her homeland did not bode well with the fresh college graduate. She majored in English Literature and dreamed of spending her life in a library surrounded by books. Nadiah had a life in New York. She had aspirations. She also had Dean Stanton, her best friend and confidante.

You’d think a girl like her would be used to it all by now. After all, it wasn’t as though she was born and raised in New York. In fact, she was born in Tanzania and raised all over the world. She had said ‘goodbye’ to friends all her life. But, after a lifetime of living as a stranger in the world, Nadiah was finally going home — to Egypt.

The great irony in Nadiah’s life was that she knew everything about being a perfect stranger, but nothing about being a native. The thought of going back to her own country scared her to all ends. What did she know about being an Egyptian in Egypt? Nothing.

“Hey D,” she breathed meekly into his ear. It was the same way she’d greeted him every day since they met on the 22nd Floor of the Pembroke. She lived in 22J, he in 22F. For someone trying to say goodbye, the words failed to come.

“Hey yourself,” came the broken sound to her ear. His massive 6 foot 3 frame loomed protectively over her slighter 5 foot 3. It was all Dean could do to hold her and pray that a miracle would happen and that she just wouldn’t leave.

“Mademoiselle…,” it was the embassy driver indicating that everyone was settled into the car and it was time.

Dean handed her a giant bag of Twizzlers and a small box. In it, was a single earring — the sun. Nadiah followed his own hand up to his ear where his finger ran over the single earring he wore — the moon.

“Together,” he said, “forever and for always, come what may. Remember that, Nadiah.”

As the car drove off, Dean conceded to the falling tears from heaven. He’d said ‘goodbye’ to the most amazing woman he’d ever known.

Ambassador Zahi and his family were met at the airport with security details, VIP ushers, and a few familiar faces from the embassy. They’d come to bid them one more ‘farewell’ before the ambassador and his family boarded the Egyptair flight bound for Cairo.

Nadiah received the news confirming their return date six months ago. That day, she’d heard her father come home from work followed by the sounds of her mother’s laughter. Mrs. Zahi’s melodic excitement lured Nadiah into her their room. Her smile waned when they said it was official — they’d be traveling home on December 31st. Nadiah’s world cracked, in that moment, and threatened to shatter around her.

It’s not my home, she thought, I’m already home.

Her parents were acutely aware of how much their daughter resented going back to Egypt. She’d articulated and pronounced her position on the matter quite vehemently. The fact was, Nadiah was still young and having spent the truly formative years of her life in New York, her relationships with friends weren’t the same as when she was seven or even twelve. Her emotions were raw and far more complex than when she was a child.

Back then, life was just one big adventure. She’d board a plane and travel to fantastic new places — learn new languages, eat new food, make new friends, and play forever.

But now, Nadiah was 21. She didn’t want to play on swings. She wanted stability, continuity, control over her own future, and to be accepted for who and what she was.

For Nadiah, that was the beauty of New York — she assimilated flawlessly. No one would have ever imagined that she wasn’t actually born or raised there. But, in the end, she wasn’t. She was born in central Africa and raised all over the world.

Still, New York was where she actually felt like she was home. Nadiah and The Big Apple — they spoke the same language. Egypt, though, that was another story.

The homebound family waited in the VIP lounge, and while Mrs. Zahi smiled and kissed her husband’s cheek, Nadiah’s mind wandered off to once upon a time… there, her painfully knotted face softened when she recalled how her high school band director used to call her a flower-child.

She was such a free and lively spirit. To everyone who knew her, she was a bright muse that inspired love, peace, and everything hopeful in the world. Of course, she also had a wicked little sense of humor that used to drive Dean insane — but he could dish out just as much as he took. It all seemed so far away now, like a thread of smoke she couldn’t hold on to. Nadiah was angry and heartbroken. But even then, she only thought she understood why.

Growing up, she’d spent a few months in Egypt when she was seven and even fewer when she was twelve. She knew her grandma and some cousins, but they all existed as distant memories.

Her broken Arabic and fluent English constantly amused her parents’ family. But she was always aware that an invisible wall separated them from her. Though they all held the title of ‘Egyptian’, Nadiah was not like them and she knew it — and so did they. ‘Egypt’ was her passport, it was her birth certificate, her DNA; but how does one reunite with their biological mother after spending a lifetime raised by foreign caregivers? Nadiah and Egypt — they didn’t speak the same language — not even close.

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About Amira Awaad

Amira Awaad is an author and academic dean. She's blissfully addicted to the written word and enjoys connecting with her readers.As a product of international upbringing, Awaad's writing is inspired by the diverse languages and peoples of the world. They intertwine with her ancient soul and pour out in her ebooks. In them, Awaad carefully folds a piece of herself, opened for readers to see.
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