“They forced you?”
“No,” she said. “They just chose him for me.”
“But you said Yes?”
Her lips stretched into a shy smile.
“It was the right thing to do. It is my culture, you know?”
“Oh,” I said.
“If it’s my culture it must be a good thing, doesn’t it?”
“It could be,” I said. “It just seems strange to me.”
Saraswati pushed her lightly curled black hair behind her ear.
“It’s strange to me too. I’m not really connected to this culture anymore, but I wanted to make my parents happy.”
“And that is more important than your own life?” Continue reading →
The sweet smell of chocolate, one of the warm and soft cookies melting on my tongue. My grandmother smiled, then turned back towards the sink to clean the tray.
The orange sun rained warmth on us. With my fingers still sticky I sneaked up to her side, grabbed a cookie from the white plate and quickly ran back to my chair.
“Hey,” she said. Then she laughed.
I reclined on my chair with both hands on the cookie. The backrest knocked against the only wood-paneled kitchen wall. A dull, hollow sound. Then my chair slipped.
During those two weeks in the hospital the orange sun and sweet chocolate air filled my head. That might be why this moment still lives so vividly in my wind. Whenever I remember that moment I can place my hand back into the scene; the coldness of the wooden chair and the warmth of the sunrays on my skin. It is the last memory in which I can still see my grandmother with brown hair. The movie that lives in my head just lacks the end; the fall. The best of hundreds of memories in that kitchen. Continue reading →
On Tuesday morning, around 10AM, I heard the first glimpse of eternity. It was my second holiday day. I was standing between cereals and pickle jars and somewhere above me a voice tried to convince me to buy slabs of steak that I had seen and that looked unhealthily red. When I saw those steaks a sick cramp formed in my stomach. Humanity has degenerated to the point that meat must be pumped with salt and chemicals to look red as we have grown so accustomed to colored food that we don’t even know anymore that flesh, after being drained of blood, is gray.
I picked a pack of sugared cereal off the shelf and it began. There was no warning. Just one voice stinging through the normal bustle of the shop. It sounded like a young screaming child that quickly ran towards me. I looked around to see the child until I heard it right in front of me but still could see nothing. Then, one after the other, more voices joined in, a choir of pained screams that grew in number and loudness by the second.
My forehead was slammed repeatedly against cold linoleum until one of the clerks did the last nice thing anybody will ever do for me. She pushed a pack of marshmallows between my head and the floor. I slammed my head into the pack rather than the floor. My hands were still pressed on my ears and I kept screaming for the voices to stop. Continue reading →
I stood up when the doctor stepped into the room. “It’s nice to see you again,” he said. His hand was cold. He glanced at the gray clipboard. “When is your child due again?” I asked. He looked up. “Two months,” he said. I smiled. “So soon? I’d like to buy her a gift,” I said. “To thank you for all that you’ve done for me.” His hands sank. He looked past me. “That’s not necessary,” he said. “And it won’t be possible.”