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Lady in Waiting 1 January 2009

Posted by ANNA in ANNA, Culture, Relationships.
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Neela toddles across the bridal suite, and finds my makeup bag. At three, she is old enough to unzip; a gray kohl pencil, a strand of pink pearls and a collection of pins spill onto the floor. From these she extracts the pearls. Looping them around her neck, she shuffles in the direction of the windows.

Her presence is a relief. I didn’t know what to do with myself, waiting here alone. There are steps which must be taken: changing clothes, arranging my scarf, making wudu, praying. Perhaps other things must be done, but I do not know what they might be. Moreover, there is nowhere to hang my things. My wedding dress stretches along the floor, crepe over satin. White. I kneel on the floor by the collection of pins, pursing the carpet in my hands. One, two, three. One has a head of white, another of pink. The third is slimmer, black. I stick them through the makeup bag’s thin plastic sides. There they wait, like three exclamation points, ready to punctuate something.

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Driving 31 October 2008

Posted by ANNA in ANNA, Misc, Relationships, Travel.
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We’ve been together for two and a half weeks now, the five of us, mistaken at the tollbooth for a family. The journey between Sharon and home is thirty-six miles; when we’re lucky, it’s forty-five minutes. When we’re not, it can take an hour.

Our games to entertain each other are evolving: what began with “twenty questions (animals)”, has progressed from “two truths and one lie” to “math jeopardy”. On Fridays we stop for pop or snacks (less than two dollar each), if they give me an easy time the rest of the week. Sugar is the currency of bribes.

Bahadur leans out of the back right window at the tollbooth and asks the man making change how he gets home. The man, tall, dark and young, looks uncertainly at me. “What?” “He is wondering about how you drive home,” I nod my head, and smile. “He can’t see your car, and he’s worried about how you get out here.” “Oh.” The man smiles, and turns to Bahadur. “Biggens,” the homeless man at the end of the exit in Cambridge calls him. Eight years of good eating and exercise have formed a muscular child.

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Question of the Week: Love, Twice 22 June 2008

Posted by SA'ILA in Culture, Relationships, SA'ILA.
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In Islam, polygamy is effectively allowed. Can a man be in love with two women at the same time—and should it acceptable that he may be?

Further, can a woman be in love with two men at the same time?

Hair (Between Us) 5 June 2008

Posted by ANNA in ANNA, Relationships.
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“Do you have long hair?” Sahla asks, next to me on the parlor couch. We are turned in toward each other, with our knees angled almost to touch. Aisha crawls into the space between her mother and the back of the sofa. She kneels forward, giggling, and pokes me with her thumb. “Your hair is like this!” She makes sawing motions along her jaw bone, with the edge of her palm. “No, it’s not,” I tell her. “It’s longer than that.” I trail my hand down to my shoulders. “But it’s not as long and beautiful as yours.” She has just undone her braid. Waves of hair, long like wheat, reach halfway down her back.

I turn my attention back to her mother. “It’s about the same length as yours, but dark and annoyingly fine.” Between us, Aisha listens. “Your hair is thin?”

I shake my head. “No, not exactly. If you were going to look at one of my hairs under a microscope and look at one of your hairs under a microscope, then your hair would look much bigger.” Her eyes do not follow me. “Okay,” I try again. “Sometimes, when people are from Poland and Scotland, then their hair has a different feel to it than the hair of people who are from, say, Syria and Palestine.”

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poached| Joan Didion on Death 10 May 2008

Posted by EDITOR in Psychology, Relationships.
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When something happens to me, he would frequently say.

Nothing will happen to you, I would say.

But if it does.

If it does, he would continue. If it did, for example, I was not to move to a smaller apartment. If it did I would be surrounded by people. If it did I would need to make plans to feed these people. If it did I would marry again within the year.

You don’t understand, I would say.

And in fact he did not. Nor did I: we were equally incapable of imagining the reality of life without the other. This will not be a story in which the death of the husband or wife becomes what amounts to the credit sequence for a new life, a catalyst for the discovery that (a point typically introduced in such accounts by the precocious child of the bereaved) “you can love more than one person.” Of course you can, but marriage is something different. Marriage is memory, marriage is time. “She didn’t know the songs,” I recall being told that a friend of a friend had said after an attempt to repeat the experience.

– Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), written after the death of her husband of forty years.