My name is Gabrielle Essa. I am a slightly nose challenged Lebanese-American girl. My loud and hairy family own a greasy spoon “restaurant,” the Hamburger King, on Route 66 in Gravestone, Oklahoma. It is my wish to live a different life, a different dream, and most definitely in a different state.
This is the story of my journey.
In less than two years I will be 18. I cannot wait to graduate from high school, so I can get out of Gravestone. Today at school I had to explain again to some grey complexioned rednecks that Pakistan is not an Arab country. Even though I find it insulting when they call me “Lesbian-ese” and “Assy Essa”, I take silent content knowing that their career ambitions will be realized, as they end up working as mechanics or welders here in Oklahoma.
Mother and Daddy really don’t like for me to have to work at the Hamburger King, but they are short handed, and besides, it gives me extra money to stash away for my Great Escape. This weary greasy spoon has been in our family for generations, and it shows. Occasionally, a couple of my VERY, VERY, MOST FAVORITE EVER, cute truckers drop in, Gus and Billy Ray. Their uniforms are always crisp and clean, certainly by trucker standards, and they always make me laugh at their antics.
Time to go do my homework. I’m writing a thesis on the Balfour Declaration. Then off to bed to dream my Pink Clouded Dreams.
Daddy got mad again last night for me playing my rock music too loudly. One of my friends introduced me to LP albums (LP means “long playing).” The sound is soooo incredible! And it makes me feel just like one of those SuperStar DJs I read about at the big hot nightclubs in Miami, LA and New York.
Daddy likes to teach me about operas, as he drives me to school every day. He also teaches me how to count in Spanish, French, and Arabic, although in most languages the lessons end at “dix.“ That means 10.
Every day I think of how I will get out of Gravestone (though it pains me to leave my family), and into which profession I will engage once I have left. Trust me on this: I will NOT EVER be a traditional subservient Lebanese wife, cooking all the time, breeding hairy Lebanese babies, always looking Out The Window and Up At The Ceiling, searching for a Way Out. Journalism really appeals to me. I do feel that I have a very poetic side. And I just love all the poems written by fabulous, suicidal women.