My parents are from Bangladesh but I was born in Miami. They moved to America for the sake of father’s business. My sisters and I weren’t allowed to step out of the house just like that plus we were homeschooled. My father used to tell us,” I don’t want you girls mixing with them Americans and forgetting your roots.” I used to think he was racist or something.I never had my privacy. I had to share a room with my nosy older sisters. You can imagine how frustrating it was when I was angry, sad, or frustrated but couldn't go out for fresh air...all I could do was look out of my window. Or runto the bathroom. Yeesh! Few days to my 15th birthday, my older sisters got married. The marriages were arranged and they looked so unhappy. But I was so happy that I was finally going to have my privacy. I used to think arranged marriages worked by having men line up in front of you but my sisters’ experiences proved otherwise. I didn’t care anyway.After my sisters’ wedding, I was no longer homeschooled and I was finally allowed to go to school like normal people. Life couldn’t get any better. First, my own room, and now this? Dreams do come true! I did well in school, had straight A’s and was always praised by my teachers. I still remember one of my teachers telling my father “Dawn is a smart kid. She’s going to do great things in the future.” Oh, sure I would.But one day, things started to go downhill. It began with my love for novels. Iloved reading them and could stick my nose between them daily. I wasn't particularly into romance novels but whatever genre I chose, there was a touch of romance in it and so I became obsessed. I started visiting the local library and taking out many books at a time.
To make things worse, I started noticing the way my father looked at my mom, how our next-door neighbor kissed his wife in the mornings, and the couples that held hands at the park. It was like I was surrounded by love but it didn’t want to come near me. Then Jake happened. He was a new student in my class and super cute! I tried to talk to him many times but he always had girls swooning over him. But fate smiled on me.It was after school and I was at the local library when Jake entered. Our eyes met and he smiled. My heart melted...did he just smile at me? He walked over to me and said, “Hi Dawn. I was hoping to find you here.” “What? How?”I stammered. He told me that he had been wanting to talk to me but never got the chance to. And then he asked me if we could go for a walk in the park. I didn’t think twice and I agreed. “Why were you looking for me?” I asked when we got to the park. “I would like you to be my date for the schooldance. Someone told me I could find you at the library.” I almost jumped intothe sky and out of excitement, I hugged him. Worst decision ever.Seconds after the hug, I heard my name and I turned. It was my father! He looked angry and he charged towards us. He seized Jake by the collar and warned him to stay away from me. Then he grabbed my hand and dragged me home. When we got home, my father lashed out at me and told me that talking to boys was a taboo in our family. “This is why I homeschooled you! You’re not returning to school after your exams till college.” He said.My whole world was crumbling and fast. I thought about running away but I was too scared. The next day at school, Jake avoided me like a plague. That wasn’t all. Some students had videoed what happened at the park and I became the talk of the school. The humiliation was too much for me and I ran home.For the first time, I begged my father to homeschool me again. He did so gladly. Fast forward and it was time for college. Now, you might be thinking that I would have more freedom now to mingle but my experience in high school threatened me. I didn’t want a situation where my father would show up and beat up anyone. I graduated from college and my father hit me with the news. Someone was coming for my hand in marriage and they had agreed. "He has been waiting for this day since you were 16 but insisted that you finished college." My father had said amidst smiles. They told me he lived in Bangladesh. And since it would take time for me to be able to sponsor him as a citizen, I wouldneed to go back to Bangladesh with him. I was calm until they showed me his picture. He looked older than my father!I told them I wasn’t going to marry someone older than my father and they