birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

My Grey Jacket with the Red Vest

When I was around 8 years old, I insisted that my mother buy me a light grey suit with a buttoned red vest. I was so proud of the suit that when several weeks later my dad agreed to take me along on one of his numerous business trips to Mashhad --a famous city for muslim Shi’ite pilgrims—I insited to take the suit with me.

After my dad was done with his business, he suggested we go to see the shrine of Imama Reza. It so happened that this was the day of Ashura, a high holy-day when mulsims go out to processions where they flaggelate themselves! You are not supposed to wear the color red on that day! Here I was, a little boy on his dad’s shoulders, in a sea of people, beating their chests, crying, mourning the death of Imam Hussein 1,300 years ago. Suddenly a hand reached out of the crowd and grabbed my red vest and yanked it out of my grey jacket! I never saw who it was. I just knew what happened and was grateful that they didn’t do anything worst! I was both terrorized and angry that my lovely grey suit was torn. Somehow that moment has never left me!

Running into Mustangs