CHAPTER 12 (continued)

Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

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“Hmm. My girl, this chut pati is delicious and so fresh and healthy. You have really outdone yourself” my father in law commented. I just served the first course after the men returned from the Masjid after Jummah prayers.

“It reminds me of when I was younger and my mother used to make it often” my father in law continued.

“She did not”, said my mother in law abruptly to her husband. My father in law laughed and shot a wink in my direction, “We have been together so long, she even thinks she grew up in my house”. It is a joke but I am numb, I can’t respond. My mind is somewhere else. Yusuf watches me and he knows.

When I clear the starters and bring out the main meal, Yusuf fills the air with compliments about the food. I can’t look him in the eye.

“Fish AND prawns Hasina?” my mother in law questioned. She says something about India and then addresses me, “At least you didn’t make us sit on the floor and eat from one big steel plate” I heard her say. My father in law shot her a warning look, but I didn’t care. My mother in laws criticism is the least of my worries. Yusuf said something but I’m not listening anymore.

When my ears are able to make sense of the sounds around me again, I hear the conversation turn to my Father in laws new car and I was glad that I wasn’t obliged to participate. The conversation then went from politics to the gold price, who is sick and who has died , back to politics, crime, property and business. I made myself busy with serving and clearing the table, much to the Elizabeth’s confusion.

After lunch was dessert and after dessert was tea. Yusuf went in the house for something and I was left with the in laws.

Jameela came to my mother in law and pulled her towards the pool to show her, her new gymnastics routine.. It was just my father in law and I left at the table. I leaned over the table for a slice of cake and offered him one too.

“No thanks. If she sees me eat another slice” tilting his head in the direction of his wife, “I will be living on carrot sticks for the next week. She is taking my diet very seriously after the doctor said I have to watch my cholesterol levels. Who will drive her around shopping if I kick the bucket?” he jokes. I smile back at him.

He leaned in a bit towards me. “Hasina, is everything ok?” he asks me. “You haven’t been yourself today. You know I’m always here if you want to talk. You are like a daughter to me” he said earnestly. His words caused my eyes to burn threatening tears causing me to turn my head away. How could I tell him anything? I don’t know the details myself. “agh, its ok” I said bravely. “You know if my son gives you problems” he said now jokingly, “Just let me know. I’m still his father” he said pointing to his belt. It made me chuckle. I could see my attempt at a laugh brought him some relief.

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