It seemed that the world itself was mourning a great injustice. Dark grey clouds spanned across the sky and the wind howled, fighting everything in its path. Fat rain drops slammed into the windows. Thunder boomed while lightning flashed teasingly, neither giving any indication as to when they would occur. The scent of gloom and depression filled every crevice, eventually making its way into my home.
Baba came home about two hours later than usual and it was obvious that work had not gone well. His movements were slow, lacking both energy and motivation. His eyes, which were always full of warmth and love, now were sunken and a frown was present on his face. A calloused hand, decorated with a river of conspicuous veins rubbed against his temple, a tell tale sign that a headache was occurring. My eyes were drawn to the receding hairline. It had once been a source of happy teasing but now seemed to be a sad reminder of what had been lost. No matter how frequently Baba would dye his hair, it seemed that the grey never left his head. Wrinkles were set deep within his skin, telling a tale of tension; a tale that didn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. It was these nights, when the sky would darken before my father came home, that his age was truly seen.
“Baba? Is everything okay? What happened?”
“Nothing pottri,” he raised his head and forced a smile on his face, “I just got assigned another project to head.”
“Aren’t you already assigned to two other ones? Doesn’t your boss know that? Why isn’t she heading the project?” Red hot anger tainted my words. These late nights would now become normal for months. The nights my family would have spent together playing cards would soon soon be replaced by memories of an empty, quiet house. No longer would our dinners be filled with the sound of excited talking or his booming warm laugh.
“She’s going on vacation and all her incomplete projects are now under my supervision until she gets back.” Again, another sigh.
“That’s not fa–.”
“I know. You want to say that it’s not fair. And you’re right. Life isn’t fair and it will never be fair. But that doesn’t mean you should stop fighting. You keep going after what you want, no matter what. This is America, pottri. Fight for your American dream. You and I, your mother and your siblings wouldn’t be living in a house with a heater or with a fridge full of food if I hadn’t taken a chance to come here. We would have been in a small, one room shack in Pakistan. I know that you hate that I work so late and don’t spend enough time with all of you, but as your father. I have to do what is best for my family. If that means that I have to sacrifice my comfort for your happiness, then so be it.”
With those parting words, my dad shrugged on his two year old black winter jacket and slowly slipped on his worn brown shoes. With one last apologetic smile, he placed his red ball cap, one that he wore everyday for the last ten years, upon his head and headed out the door. He drove towards his second job and another paycheck. He drove toward opportunity and the American Dream.
 Sweet Daughter