Page 20

Reflect By Lindsey Oliver Fiction

Barsad is pulled from sleep by voices around him that he recognizes as news anchors on the radio. Their American English is heavy on his ears today, which is unusual—he normally likes accents—but not unexpected. The dream about his wife is too fresh within him and he turns the alarm off quickly. In his dream, it was his wedding day. An absolute lie, he knew instantly, because he was marrying Fatima with proper ceremony. He sat with her on a thick rug in the center of the ordeal. There were many witnesses, many of her relatives and relatives of his own he knew existed but never once met, yet were somehow present. There was an imam, a respected elder and not the drunkard he actually paid to marry them in secret. His mother was in the dream with them, looking happier than he ever saw her in life, her light grey eyes wet with tears; his father next to her, unsmiling as ever, but looking to be in good health for once. He can see no sign of her father or brothers in the crowd, which is fitting: when her father found out about their marriage, he threw Fatima out on the street, called her a whore and Barsad a dog, vowing revenge for the insult. He is aware of the truth of their marriage and does not wish to indulge in fictions even while sleeping, but when he turns his head to look at Fatima she is smiling at him, smiling her shy smile that she only used with him, and he cannot tear himself away, all he can do is stare. Her face uncovered but he can’t see her beautiful hair and he wants to kiss her; she blinks and takes his hand like she knows what he’s 20 Spring 2014

thinking. Her hands are intricately painted. Barsad could see the whole of their life together in the dream-Fatima’s eyes. He could see the tragedy which marked the end of her life, her death and the death of their child—an ugly, utterly unremarkable murder by her father’s relatives eager to avenge their sullied name. He remembers the dead infant more than he remembers the sight of Fatima’s corpse. When he thinks of her, he does not see her alive and smiling but cannot picture her death either. The babe he remembers—a little girl with the strangest red hair that Fatima had said was good luck, and had come from him and his pale skin and brown hair. He could have looked away, focused on the fantasy of their gathered relatives, of the past made right, but he did not, only stared at his dead wife and waited to wake up. This night will be difficult. He can feel it in how heavy his bones are as he swings his legs to sit on the side of the bed. Normally he goes for a run before showering and reporting to the hospital, but as it is all he can do to make it across the room and select a pair of scrubs, he dismisses the idea of a workout. He bathes and dresses. The idea of a meal is repulsive, so he leaves his apartment early and makes his way to the train station. It is seven PM. Mrs. Lee is there ahead of him, firmly planted on the edge of the platform so as to be the first on the train when it arrives. She gives Barsad a look that would peel paint, eyes small but hard and beady, like onyx pebbles. Barsad would be offended by her glare if he were the kind to take offense at anything; even if he were, he would have to admit that she does it to everyone, so

Miscellany Digital Edition, Spring 2014  
Miscellany Digital Edition, Spring 2014  
Advertisement