What do you think?
Rate this book
305 pages, Hardcover
First published July 31, 2018
I should accept his invitation. It's rude, stringing him along, but I need to sort through the abundance of questions in my head: what his invitation suggest, who I am to him, who he's becoming to me, and how I'll deal with the impossibility of us.
She looks out over the water, face flushed. I have flattered her, and I will never be sorry. She is fragile, and she is valorous, and for me, she is fleeting.
He steps closer, crowding me in the most wonderful way. He leans in to whisper, “What is your wish, shaahazadi?”
“You,” I say, without hesitation. “You, always.”
I don’t believe myself better than anyone else. And I don’t hate. Except... yes, I do. I despise the people who killed my brother, who fight and oppress, who punish with fists and stones, who launch rocket-propelled grenades at American military vehicles. But I also understand that the men who took Nicky aren’t representative of all Afghans, or all Muslims.
“I believe in soul mates,” I say.
Her mouth dips into a frown.
“That concept seems... impossible.”
I inhale, and revise my statement.
“I believe two people, two souls,
can know each other instantaneously,
and recognize how each longs
to spend a lifetime devoted to the other.
Like when you hear a song
and feel its lyrics profoundly,
as if they were inscribed on your heart,
and yours alone.
It’s a connection that eludes explanation,
and defies logic.
It seems impossible, until it happens.”
"Does he even speak English?”
I blow out an exasperated breath. “No. We’ve been communicating in Pig Latin.”
I hate him,
but I hate myself more.
It reeks of weakness,
allowing prejudice to affect me,
to hurt me.
But sometimes ...
Sometimes I wish I were anywhere but here.
“Your parents are cool with you missing prayers? Hanging out with a girl?”
“Oh, totally cool,” he says, and then he grins, waiting for me to acknowledge his use of slang, I think.
“Nice,” I tell him. “Now we’ve just got to get you cursing.”
He says softly, “Kaishta.”
I recognize the word, the perfect intonation of his accent. “You said that the other day. What does it mean?”
He smiles, guilty, like he’s been caught with a fistful of candy, then translates: “Beautiful.”
Walking, wandering, toes in sand,
how he longs to take her hand.
Dandelions, foggy skies,
sights now seen through wondrous eyes.
Glinting in a night of black,
thanks to her he can’t look back.
Take a breath, away they’ll fly,
up above the world so high.
Twinkle, twinkle shiny star,
she has marked him like a scar.