Azra brushed aside Yusef’s bangs, wet from a spiking fever, then kissed his forehead and pulled him close. Soaked as the fever passed, he followed her to the three- foot wide bathroom, careful to choose the one at the rear of the plane. Like the dutiful mother she waited outside for what seemed an eternity, wondering what was taking him so long. He was staring at those eyes so seductive, they would slay armies if hadn't been born a boy. “Yusef!” Azra was calling to him. "Are you all right in there?” Before he emerged from the tiny cabinet he had to tuck himself in, conceal his genitals, ones he had no use for, ones he would have gladly relinquished in the battle against non-conformity. Should he tell her that she had adopted a person of no known origin, of no known species, a person whose gender was inwardly expressed and outwardly imprisoned in a body so alien and intrusive? He struggled with the door trying to manage the lock. When it finally clicked open he walked out head lowered, wearing shame like a uniform that hung too loosely, and he longed for the day when he would not feel the residue of commands that ruled his life in the madrassa, where the vanguard of Qutb taught the seven attributes of lordship, constancy, comprehensiveness, balance, positivity, realism and monotheism in preparation for Jihad. He knew it was only a matter of time before the boys his age signed up to pay the mortal price in the name of Allah. This life, the one he planned to live now, had no real meaning, according to the Mullahs. Although he found that hard to believe, he harbored the warning like a bird in captivity nursing a broken wing, and held it close to his breast for honor and protection. The seatbelt sign was lit so they hurried back in preparation for landing. Nimbus clouds filled the sky with intermittent bursts of blue, revealing the brilliant spires of skyscrapers lording over New York City. Yusef was glued to the window, his nose pressed up against it. Azra took great pleasure watching her new son search for the city of silver and gold, light refracting and bouncing off the shiny wing of the airplane like a laser blinding them.