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An Arranged Marriage by Nell Freudenberger / Fiction

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Short story about a woman from Bangladesh who travels to Rochester, New York, to marry a man she met through the Internet…

Theirs was the second-to-last house on the road. The road ended in an asphalt circle called a cul-de-sac, and beyond the cul-de-sac was a field of corn. That field had startled Amina when she first arrived—had made her wonder, just for a moment, if she had been tricked (as everyone had predicted she would be) and ended up in a sort of American village. She’d had to remind herself of the clean and modern Rochester airport, and of the Pittsford Wegmans—a grocery store that was the first thing she described to her mother once she got her on the phone. When Amina asked about the field, George explained that there were power lines that couldn’t be moved, and so no one could build a house there. After she understood its purpose, Amina liked the cornfield, which reminded her of her grandmother’s village. She had been born there, back when the house was still a hut, with a thatched roof and a glazed-mud floor. Two years later, her parents had left the village to find work in Dhaka, but she had stayed with her grandmother and her Parveen Auntie until she was five years old. Her first memory was of climbing up the stone steps from the pond with her hand in Nanu’s, watching a funny pattern of light and dark splotches turn into a frog hiding in the ragged shade of a coconut palm.

Nanu had had five daughters and two sons, but both of Amina’s uncles had died before she was born. The elder one, Khokon, had been Mukti Bahini* during the war, while the younger, Emdad, had stayed in the village so that her grandmother wouldn’t worry too much. Even though he was younger, it was Emdad her grandmother had loved the best: that was why she’d kept him with her. When you tried to trick God in that way, bad things could happen. Emdad had died first, in a motorbike accident on his way to Shyamnagar, delivering prescription medicines for her grandmother’s pharmacy. Two months later, Khokon had been killed by General Yahya’s soldiers. Those deaths were the reason that Nanu had become the way she was now, quiet and heavy, like a stone.

Little by little, over the six months that they’d spent e-mailing each other, Amina had told George about her life. She’d said that she came from a good family, and that her parents had sacrificed...

Продолжение читайте в журнале English4U №10 (октябрь 2010) на который можно подписаться или купить здесь.

28 декабря 2010

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