My father said he chose Suraiya for me because she was blind. He said she would understand my fears and worries. Maybe that’s why I, too, understand her so well.
She was twelve years older than me and even as I was her master she always called me her little brother.
In just fifteen years my father had transformed his father’s fruit shop into a wholesale franchise that served most of south India. My grandfather chose a good bride for him. They held a festival when she got pregnant. I was meant to be the completion of their happiness. Two days they were the happiest pepole on the planet. It took them two days to notice my flaw and two years to travel the world’s hospitals to find there was no cure.
I was two when they hired Suraiya. I was six when Suraiya told me that her parents repaired and sold second hand sandals and that they could not afford a dowry big enough to find her a husband.
I was eight when she shook me awake in the dead of the night.
The first time I arrived at the club I could think of nothing but my brother.
Bare walls covered with dirty blue tiles, foldable wooden chairs, a net on top of what used to be a pool. Five men inside.
Not a place you find in the newspapers; a place to which your friend brings you along. A place where you know that whoever is running the show must have a lot of friends and certainly the right friends – because if they don’t the place would long be shut down.
When you have crossed the parking lot the first thing the two large men ask for is your name. They don’t ask for you ID, but they ask for your name and if your name is not on the list then you won’t get in. The list says whether you’ve been there before; the list says whether someone trusted you enough to bring you along the first time. The list also has the name of the friend that brought you along and if you mess up then that friend will have a problem. Continue reading →
“Oh,” my mother replied. “I thought that would happen someday.”
There was a crowd of kids at the back of the class laughing about something. One of the girls kept saying “Eww.” When I shoved my way through their ranks I found him in the middle. He sat on the floor and a squeaking mouse was wriggling in his hand. Just the tips of the mouse’s feet touched the floor and it desperately moved its legs to try and grab hold. Every so often its legs touched the blue plastic floor, but Dalton didn’t allow it to run away.
When I reached the front of the crowd Dalton looked up.
The first time I met Shanna and Sharisse they were just 12. We had moved into the house next door and the two girls in their red and white dresses sat on the front porch of their own house. They didn’t smile or laugh or say hello. They only waved for a moment and then kept staring.
I thought that it would be nice to live next to neighbors’ with daughters the same age as Becky. When the agent told me about the twins next door I imagined that they would become friends with my own daughter. Already in that short moment of seeing them for the first time I realized that I was wrong.
Becky tried to be friends with them. She went over every day to talk to them or invite them for play or meals.
Their parents told us that Shanna and Sharisse were unusually bright but very antisocial. A doctor had suggested that the twins were autistic, but their parents didn’t seem to believe that.
“They are just a bit more mature,” said their father.
“They really like to read, but they still do kid stuff,” said the mother. “They have their own language and everything.” Continue reading →