Saffron Dreams – Shaila Abdullah

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“I delighted in how my insides felt, like they had just been laundered and wrung dry, soapy smell suspended in the air. Invisible molecules tickled my nostrils and I sneezed at the thought.”

“I wished his embarrassment was a tangible stain that I could scrub away.”

“You perfect that art of deciphering the unspoken words when you live in the Amaan household and confront a situation over and over again.”

“I felt annoyed. We all knew what she meant –that girls are a burden to the family until they are married off. No wonder the woman rubbed me the wrong way, although she seemed to be doing a great service to mankind in an environment where it was not easy for singles to meet and fall in love. Not that most families wanted that. Most were content with the well-oiled vehicle of arranged marriage, which gave them perfect control over their children’s destinies.”

“Our flaws are what make us unique. Mine must make me go off the charts. I had so many.”

“New York, a city that walks. People walking with a purpose, never running, minding the space around one and another, occasionally getting into sidewalk rage, but for the most part maintaining that unique New Yorker demeanor that is focused and primed but reserved. For me, New York held so much promise, opportunities bursting at the seams.”

“If the resulting color is not dark enough, there are whispers among the elders that the union might not be that strong. Of course, if the bride couldn’t even produce a darker color of henna, what is the guarantee of that union?”

“A life-altering occurance usually bring with it a series of premonitions leading up to the actual disaster.”

“Lives weren’t private; material problems were out in the open, bare before public.”

“I had slept through the moment that would forever alter my life.”

“The dust colored my hair and settled over my soul like a dense miasma that kept on building. I had aged gracelessly over a matter of hours.”

“I felt sorry for their desperate attempts to make a declaration. A statement of uniqueness, the silent cry that we all carry in our hearts: I am important, look at me, a wailing that ultimately gets lost in the deafening roar of everyday life.”

“Love has a curious way of finding its way through oceans and skies; distance is never a barrier.”

“She was built lean and had a slightly extended abdomen from childbearing. It was ironic that she had no children left to show for it. Instead, she carved her space in the lives of others, giving more than she ever received.”

“He made certain that when the cat was away, the mice didn’t play.”

“Throughout their son’s death and afterward, they held each other through the waves of sadness and the ripples of lost hope that crashed against the giant rocks of desperation and made it ashore –always together, generously passing on that gift to me.”

“My scab had been scratched again and I was too busy bleeding.”

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